Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Indeterminate or Determinate?

Can't wait to pick something!

I am so impatient to plant the rest of my garden that I decided to toss 10 tomato plants in the ground last night. If they don't make it due to this chilly, wet weather, well, I've got hundreds more. At least I feel a little more productive right now.

When I started them from seed, I just wrote the name of tomato on each stake and failed to include any info. It's important to me to have determinate & indeterminate tomatoes planted in specific places in the garden, more for the difference in staking than anything.

What's the difference? Well, Determinate will set fruit all at once and then they're done. So you can pull the plants out and do something else in that spot. Indeterminate will continue fruiting as long as there is favorable conditions (not too hot, not too cold.)

Rather than have to dig thru the seed packets, I turned to Wikipedia and found this table of Tomato Cultivars. It came in pretty handy.

On a side note, I'm glad I didn't plant last Thursday when all my neighbors did. We got hit with penny to nickel sized hail and they've all lost their tomatoes. I haven't had much luck with having tomatoes bounce back after being destroyed by hail. Other plants/vines come back, but not the tomatoes. Now, they're all in a scramble trying to find more. I have plenty to share of certain varieties, thankfully.

When I plant my tomatoes, I put about 1 tablespoon of Epson Salts in the bottom of the hole (our soil test shows we're on the low side for Magnesium). Add a little compost, then set the plant. I actual bury my tomatoes up to their uppermost leaves. A past neighbor of ours actually laid his in the ground horizontal and gently bent the leave up above ground. Either way, it seems to help the plant set out additional roots. More roots = more stability in these winds.

I am listening to the thunder as I type this, thankful that my collector hubby has a large supply of milk crates. All the maters have their milk crate armor on ~ hopefully this will ward off any hail/dogs/chickens/kids. LOL What we gardeners go thru, huh?!


David said...

Wow! Learn something new everyday.

I did not know that determinate tomatoes fruited once in the season.
This is the first year I am growing determinate tomatoes (Urbikany, Maskotka, Market Miracle).

I am so happy to hear this because I now know which plants are going to be the subject of my extreme pruning experiment (whereas I cruelly and decisively, prune a tomato plant of just about every leaf).
The extreme pruning experiment is supposed to force the plant to aim all of the its energy into producing fruit.
Since my determinate plants will have lived their usefulness after they give fruit (they all have blooms now and some have tomatos), I will do this to see if I can coax another round of fruit out of them. Also, I guess one should stagger these plants to get fruit throughout the season.

Also, the hail totally missed us here on the West side of Wichita.

Becky said...

That's good news for you that you didn't get your tomatos in the ground before the hail.
Great tip about planting up to the first set of leaves I will have to try that when I get my plants.
I'm slowly getting things in my garden.

Sue said...

Hey, that's a great idea about the milk crates for hail, animals, etc.
We've had a few nights of 24 degrees. My experimental tomato wore a shoebox! He lived through it!

ChristyACB said...

I had a question on the determinates. I know they are supposed to go all at once, but the Romas I've got seem to go in a few flushes. An early flush is already growing fast, but there is a whole lot of growth still to go on the plant and new fruiting branches are growing.

How many flushes do you get?

Christy said...

I'll have to plant my tomatoes deeper next year. I hope they do well this year.