You might probably recognize determinate tomatoes by their other name: bush tomatoes. These are compact varieties that grow up to around 3-4 inches, and then they stop growing when fruit forms at the top bud. Tomatoes from determinate varieties tend to ripen simultaneously, after 1 or 2 weeks. Because they ripen all at once, determinate tomatoes are ideal if you want to grow them for canning purposes. Some staking is needed to give determinate tomatoes added support but they’re also ideal for container gardening. When it comes to the distance of determinate tomato plants, 2 inches apart works just fine.
On the other hand, indeterminate tomatoes also called vining tomatoes will continue to grow and bear fruit until frost kills the plant. They can grow as high as 12 feet tall although it’s also common to see indeterminate tomato varieties grow perfectly healthy at 6 feet. Indeterminate tomatoes, especially those from the heirloom variety, can grow around 7 inches tall, and as wide as 4 inches. Throughout the season, indeterminate tomato varieties bloom, bear fruit and then ripen at the same time. Substantial staking is needed to support them. Indeterminate tomatoes are recommended if you are interested to have a steady supply of tomatoes for your kitchen and cooking needs. Since these tomatoes are pretty big it’s best to space them around 3 inches apart in your garden or container.
Structures for Growth
Vertical-growing vegetables such as tomatoes often need help “climbing” something. Because of this, gardeners often make use of stakes and cages since these are the easiest ways to give vertical vegetables a structure to climb on. Despite the inclination of tomatoes to climb, they still aren’t considered vines and their branches need to be supported by being tied regularly so that they stay in the upright position.
For determinate tomatoes, caging is ideal. Although caging also works for indeterminate tomatoes, staking offers excellent support. Using stakes is a great way to make sure that your tomato plants always remain upright and will also help ensure that the fruits stay off the ground. Many different kinds of material can be used for stakes, such as bamboo, metal, and even scrap wood.