Whether you're an experienced gardener looking to get back outdoors or someone who's trying their hand at starting their own garden this year, there are a lot of fruits and vegetables to choose from. Even some of the most experienced people have a hard time keeping up with the different varieties of tomatoes, avocados, or apples out there. But, once you have the names nailed down there's having to learn about the different caretaking involved, Each fruit and vegetable requires its own form of special care in the garden.

Rather than worry ourselves about the thousands of different food types out there, let's focus on one thing at a time. If you're someone who's interested in planting tomatoes this year, we're here to help you spot the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes so that you can get the most out of your garden.

tomatoes on the vine

Determinate Tomatoes

Simply put, the biggest difference between the two is that determinate tomatoes come with a growth cap. Determinate tomatoes, also known as "bush tomatoes" only grow to an approximate height of four feet. Unlike indeterminate tomatoes, a determinate tomato plant will begin sprouting flowers when their production draws to an end.

This type of tomato will also yield the majority of its produce at the beginning of the season. The produce will also develop at the same time, so in about a week or two you'll have a significant amount of tomatoes ready to be harvested.

Garden Care

Determinate tomatoes will grow in a bush as opposed to a vine, which requires significant staking. Though, a determinate tomato plant will yield a heavy load once the produce begins to grow, which is why a bit of staking or caging is still recommended. Container gardening has been referred to as the perfect gardening method for these tomatoes as they don't take up a lot of space and can fit comfortably in confined quarters.

staking tomatoes
Staking tomatoes ensure that the plants and their structure will be supported. Shutterstock / Nina Malyna

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Indeterminate tomatoes, also known as vining tomatoes, don't come with a growth cap and will continue to grow in size until the cooler weather comes. Typically, the only thing that stops the growth spurt is frost. This type of plant has the potential to reach up to 12 feet, but a more common height is 6-7 feet. Indeterminate tomatoes take a little longer to sprout because the plant itself spends the majority of its time growing in size. This means that you'll need to wait until later on in the season before you start seeing any tomatoes growing.

Garden Care

Due to their grand height, some serious staking is required to keep this plant at bay. Not only will staking help you keep the fruit off the ground, but it will also maintain the vines so they don't take up a large portion of your garden. You can also cage them if you feel like introducing additional support methods.

Indeterminate tomatoes aren't exactly best kept in containers given that the large plant will need some room to grow. Many gardeners prefer keeping these for in-ground growth as opposed to confining them.

caged tomatoes
Caging tomatoes are a wonderful way to support the stems of your plant. Shutterstock / HildeAnna

Which Is Better

Well, the answer to that question really depends on the type of produce you're looking for.

If you're someone who has a larger area to plant tomatoes and you're not in any rush to get them then indeterminate tomatoes are more than likely your best option. Indeterminate tomatoes also have the tendency to last you the season as opposed to determinate tomatoes which grow all their produce up front in the span of a few weeks.

However, if your garden is somewhat limited on space or if you prefer to grow in containers, you should lean more towards determinate tomatoes. These are also a good choice if you're planning to harvest a good amount of produce in a hurry.

It really all comes down to what you're looking for and how you'd like to garden.

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