Gardening · Growing Vegetables

How to Choose the Right Kind of Tomatos for Your Garden – Part 1.

Two Basic Kinds of Tomatos and How to Decide What Kind is Right For You.

The Amish Paste tomatos growing in our garden and still going strong around the end of September, 2016. They were growing besides huge oregano plant, which was attracting many pollinating insects.
The Amish Paste tomatos growing in our garden and still going strong around the end of September, 2016. They were growing besides huge oregano plant, which was attracting many pollinating insects.

This is part 1 of this article. I have decided to divide it into 3 parts since otherwise it would be too long for an easy to read blog post. Other parts of this article will be published next week. If you find this and my other articles interesting, please subscribe to my blog to make sure you will receive automatic updates. Thank you.

Part #1.

When I have started gardening about 2 years ago, I had no idea what kind of tomatos to buy and start growing in my garden.

I knew I wanted to grow tomatos, since we love to eat them, they are very healthy and I have also heard that tomatos are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

But how to choose the right kind of tomatos if there are so many varieties! I felt really overwhelmed.

I started by asking one of my friends who was gardening then for at least 3-4 years. She has recommended one of the very popular varieties she was growing herself, called San Marzano. I have checked them out and found out they originated from the small town in Southern Italy, San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples.

Various kinds of tomatos and herbs growing in our garden in 2016. In front you can see purple bee balm plant, and fennel plant on the left further to the back, which were also attracting many pollinating insects. I think it is very important to have such plants in your garden since some plants relay on them for pollination. More pollinated flowers, means more fruits for you.
Various kinds of tomatos and herbs growing in our garden in 2016. In front you can see purple flowers of bee balm, and on the left further to the back, a flowering dill herb. Both of them were also attracting many pollinating insects. I think it is very important to have such plants in your garden because some plants relay on them for pollination. More pollinated flowers, means more fruits for you.

I have research tomatos further and have discovered that there are two basic kinds of tomatos called determinate (or bush tomatos) and indeterminate. Determinate tomatos keep growing to a certain height and then once mature, start producing a full crop all at once. So you have to be ready to collect all these mature tomatos during a short period of time. Then the plants just stop producing flowers and fruits then slowly die.

Instead, indeterminate tomatos, continue growing and once mature, produce flowers and fruits all the time till, in our colder climate, they are just killed by the first frost.

Another view on our vegetable garden with 2 Chadwick Cherry tomatos in the front. This picture was taken around the end of August, 2016. They have continued bearing a big number of tomatos till the first frost around the middle of October, 2016.
Another view on our vegetable garden with 2 Chadwick Cherry tomatos in the front. This picture was taken around the end of August, 2016. They have continued bearing a big number of tomatos till the first frost around the middle of October, 2016.

So which variety you choose, depends on your needs. If you like to collect many tomatos at once, perhaps for sale, or if you like canning, then the determinate tomatos are probably a better choice for you. On the other hand, if you will be overwhelmed by they huge number of tomatos your plants can produce all at once and not able to eat or preserve that many tomatos at one time, then a logical choice would be to grow indeterminate tomatos.

Commercial growers usually prefer determinate types of tomatos, since they can harvest all of them at once and it is more economical for them. Also people who like to do a lot of canning all at one time, often like to grow this kind of tomatos.

Close up of our Amish Paste tomatos in the end of September 2016. Here you can see well their elongated shape characteristic of many tomato varieties especially created for having lots of flesh and less water inside. They are particularly good for making sauces and also very suitable for drying for future use. I like to grow at least a few such plants, to make sure I have sufficient supply to make preserves for the time of the year when fresh tomatos from my garden are not available yet.
A close up of our Amish Paste tomatos in the end of September 2016. Here you can see well their elongated shape characteristic of many tomato varieties especially created for having lots of flesh and less water inside. They are particularly good for making sauces and also very suitable for drying for future use. I like to grow at least a few such plants, to make sure I have a sufficient supply to make preserves for the time of the year when fresh tomatos from my garden are not available yet.

These are two basic kinds of tomatos and when deciding which one to buy, you should know in advance if they are determinate or indeterminate varieties.  Most of the heirloom tomatos are indeterminate.

Once I have discovered that, I immediately knew, I would like to grow indeterminate tomatos since I wanted to collect tomatos all summer long and not all of them at once. I also knew that I wanted to grow no GMO plants, so I made sure I have purchased my seeds from companies, which specialize in “No GMO Seeds” and offer many heirloom varieties.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 and 3 of this Article Coming Soon.

Here are my still pretty small tomato plants along with basil growing at the beginning of July 2015.
Here are my still pretty small tomato plants along with basil growing at the beginning of July 2015.

Here is the end of part 1 of this article, so it won’t be too long to read. Stayed tuned to read the rest of this article next week.  I will tell you there more about what you should also be looking for when choosing tomato plants and when it is better to start them from seeds, or just buy small plants ready to grow in your garden. Also I will write about tomato plants I have already tried, which one of them I like the most, and where I have purchased my heirloom seeds.

I Look Forward to Your Comments.

I look forward to your comments and finding out more about which tomato plants you have already tried, do you like them and why. Also which variety of tomatos you plan to grow soon and why you want to give them a try.

Please Share this Article and Comment on the Blog.

If you like this article, please share it with whoever might be also interested in reading it and subscribe to this blog to receive future updates. On Vibrant Garden blog I write about gardening and garden design, as well as I explore related subjects like herbal remedies, my favorite plant nurseries, events, and I tell stories about the most interesting and beautiful gardens I have visited.

Copyright Info.

All images and the article are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk and can not be used without further permission. If you are interested in using any of them for your publications or on websites, please contact me. Thank you

Other Articles You Might Also Like.

  1. The Next Article From this Series Is Now Ready – “How to Choose Tomato Plants For Your Garden – Part 2”.
  2. Seven Important Questions to Ask When Choosing Plants For Your Garden.
  3. How I Have Started My First Garden- Part 1.
  4. Are All Weeds Bad? Starting and Designing Our First Garden – Part 2.

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