Tomato Talk

IMG_6684The elusive tomato.  That garden great we all long to pick and slice immediately.  The RIGHT tomato!  There are so many choices when it comes to those red, yellow, black, green, orange, purple, pink, cherry, plum, grape, saladette, large, indeterminate, and determinate berries.  Marvin’s sharing the “101” on how to decide what tomato you are going to grow this Fall.  One of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing a tomato is the type of plant you want, that is determinate or indeterminate.

Determinate.  Bush type. These plants grow to a certain size and then put their energy into fruiting, typically 2-3ft. Fruit ripen in a shorter period of time and produce very little after that. Plan on multiple plantings over our season in order to have fruit throughout the entire season. Plants are easier to maintain and grow as they require less pruning and staking, and you can grow more in a smaller area.  Most of the commercial varieties are determinate.

Indeterminate.  Will grow and fruit all season long and tend to have better flavor than determinate varieties.  Will need to have a lot of support to hold the vine up and periodic pruning to remove the suckers.  Heirlooms are indeterminate.

Once you have selected the type, you want to decide on the size of the fruit that will meet your needs and these start from the smallest; the Cherry, to the 1-pounder, and every size in between. Typically the larger the fruit, the less fruit the plant will bear.  Cherry varieties are a favorite for many reasons, one being you can eat the fruit right in the garden and  another being, once they start to fruit there’s no stopping them!

Another consideration is the color of the fruit.  Tomatoes are not all red!  The acidity of the fruit is generally tied to the color of the fruit.  Yellow tomatoes have less acid than red.

Heirloom tomatoes are tomatoes that have been passed down through generations and tend to have better flavor, but lower yields.  The plants can be a little more fickle with less resistance. Fruit are thin-skinned and can crack when ripening.

Our modern varieties are F1 hybrids and the letters after their name (F2, TMV, V) mark the more resistance they have to diseases. This adds up to stronger plants, higher yields and less maintenance.

Tomato plants are available this weekend!  Stop by and we’ll get you growing the right tomato!

Find a chart with more information on Tomato varieties, here.