Indeterminate And Determinate Terms - Knowledgebase Question

Youngstown, OH
Question by johnmendel
April 17, 2000
I am new to gardening. I've seen the term "indeterminate" listed while going through the tomato categories. What exactly does that mean?

Answer from NGA
April 17, 2000


"Determinate" is a plant growth habit in which stems stop growing at a certain height and produce a flower cluster at the tip. Determinate tomatoes, for example, are short, early-fruiting, have concentrated fruit set, and do not require staking. These are the types you should grow if you want to harvest your main crop all at once for canning, drying, or freezing.

"Indeterminate" is a plant growth habit in which stems keep growing in length indefinitely. For example, indeterminate tomatoes are tall, late-fruiting, and require staking for improved yield. These are the types you should grow if you want to harvest frest tomatoes over a long season.

Hope this clarifies things for you! Burpee carries the following tomato varieties:

Determinate: Heatwave II, Medina, Red Satin, Celebrity, Super Tasty, Sweet Tangerine, Ensalada, Viva Italia, Patio Hybrid, Bush Early Girl

Indeterminate: Early Pick, Early Girl, Better Boy, Big Beef, Big Boy, Big Girl, Bush Big Boy, Brandywine, Super Steak, Delicious, Red October, Winter Red, Juliet, Sungold, Gardener's Delight, Super Sweet 100, Sugar Snack

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