Monday, December 26, 2011

Tomato Growth Patterns

It seems that some of the best tomato varieties I have trialed here in Tucson are those that continue to grow new branches despite having a shorter growth pattern. These tomatoes are often called semi-determinate because they exhibit the growth pattern of an indeterminate without having the size of one.

The wild tomato variety, L. hirsutum exhibits growth size based on pot size.
Determinate tomatoes usually grow short bush-type plants and have a crop that ripens all at once. This is very helpful with a farmer who harvests all his nearly ripe green tomatoes with a tractor. Meanwhile, indeterminate tomatoes are characterized by tall growing tomato plants that can often grow as tall as a small tree and often require support to keep them from rambling. Determinates tend to do very well in pots while indeterminates tend reach their full potential when grown in the ground. Gardenweb has a good explanation of both determinate and indeterminate tomato plants while Sandy’s Garden has a good explanation of what a semi-determinate tomato plant is You can use the tomato's growth habit to your advantage if you factor it into the positioning of the plants in your garden.

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