So, you’re taking the tomato growing step — having lush, ripe, flavorful tomatoes for your kitchen (and your tastebuds). Congratulations! You’ll be thrilled when you bite into your first ripe tomato, fresh from the vine. It’s a taste like no other. But before you buy that packet of seeds or run to the garden shop for a plant, know what you’re buying.
Tomato Growing Terms To Know
There are some terms you’ll hear from time to time, and you’ll want to know what they mean. Here are some of the most frequent and need to know terms, to get you on your tomato growing way!
- Determinate: This means that the tomato plant grows to a certain size (dictated by genetics), then produces all of its fruits at once. Great for canning, saucing, or if you just want lots of tomatoes!
- Heirloom/Open-Pollinated: These are tomato plants from yesteryear, whose seeds have been passed down for generations. These tomatos generally have that luscious taste you remember and long for, and many are very easy to grow.
- Hybrid: These tomato plants are generally higher-yielding, more uniform, and have more disease tolerance. These are the “no fuss” tomato plants, but they may somewhat lack the intense tomato taste of the Heirlooms.
- Indeterminate: These are tomato plants that grow a little, set some fruit, grow some more, set some fruit, etc., until the plant dies. Tomatoes are produced over a longer time period than for determinates, but fewer are produced at a time.
- Potato Leaf: This refers to the shape of the tomato plant’s leaves. Potato-leaf plants have leaves shaped like those on a potato plant (hence their name), which are more elongated and smoother than on a “regular” tomato plant.
- Semi-Determinate: There are a few definitions as to what makes a tomato plant a semi-determinate. My definition is a semi-determinate is a plant that grows to almost it’s full height, then sets lots of tomatoes, kind of like a determinate. Then, it slowly grows a bit taller and puts out a few more clutches of tomatoes. So, kind of like half-way between a determinate and an indeterminate.
Grow your own tomatoes and find out what fresh really means!