First and foremost, you should still select your tomatoes for their physical characteristics and your personal preference. Color, size, sweetness, disease resistance, time to maturity, etc. These are independent of their determination as the world's most delicious tomatoes are of both types. Whether a tomato is determinate or indeterminate describes the growth pattern of the tomato and the total harvesting period. Determinate is often abbreviated Det., and indeterminate Ind. or sometimes Indet.
Now that you know the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes, you can plant your garden so that you have tomatoes all season long making the proper use of space.
- Sometimes gardeners will plant a determinate variety next to an indeterminate one so that two indeterminate varieties don't get tangled up with each other.
- Other times people will plant one or two indeterminate varieties where they have room for a trellis or stake, and plant determinate varieties in pots on the patio where a cleaner, more compact plant is desired.
- Indeterminate varieties are great in Topsy Turvys™ because they can make long vines that produce hundreds of tomatoes without needing additional staking.
- Determinate varieties can often be grown next to lettuces and carrots because they will provide shade for them while minimizing the risk of taking over the entire area or crushing the plants.