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What Does 'Determinate Tomatoes' Mean?


Tomatoes on a tomato bush Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

Determinate tomatoes are varieties that grow to a fixed mature size and ripen all their fruit in a short period, usually about 2 weeks. Once this first flush of fruit has ripened, the plant will begin to diminish in vigor and will set little to no new fruit.

Determinate tomato varieties are often referred to as “bush” tomatoes, because they do not continue growing in size throughout the growing season. They are generally smaller than indeterminate tomatoes, with most growing to a compact 4-5 feet. Pruning and removing suckers from determinate tomatoes is not recommended. Despite their compact size, staking or caging is still recommended, since the concentrated fruit set can contribute considerable weight to the branches.

Many paste or roma tomatoes are determinate varieties. Some others bred to be determinate include: Celebrity, Marglobe and Rutgers.

Growing determinate variety tomatoes makes good sense when you want a large omount of tomatoes all at one time, to make tomato sauce.
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