Types of Tomatoes

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Westi
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Types of Tomatoes

Postby Westi » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:19 pm

Hi KG Team

I am going through the catalogues & find the terms for tomatoes a bit confusing, Cordon, Indeterminate?? Possibility of an idiots guide in regards to location, staking, tying please, plus all they indoor/outdoor stuff? To date I buy by description of the fruit & get all sorts of growth which means some are not in the right spot. I know you will cover it in the mag at the appropriate time to sow but need to choose by mid November.

Many Thanks
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby sally wright » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:54 pm

Dear Westi,
cordon and indeterminate are terms for the types of tomato that have the side shoots removed and are grown up a single stem with the aid of a cane or string.
Determinate and bush are terms for the types of tomato that are not generally staked because they grow several stems and are not sideshooted.
I have to remind myself sometimes when ordering so you are not alone in your confusion.
Regards Sally Wright.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Westi » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:44 pm

Thanks Sally,

Thought I was right about the cordon but determinate & indeterminate threw me. Also noted on the 'cheaper' seed packets they don't tell you that detail, just description of the fruit as well.

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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Tony Hague » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:53 pm

Just to confuse matters, there are those (e.g, Roma) which are sometimes labelled "semi-determinate", which I think mans you can try to coax them up a cane if you like, and they may or may not oblige !

Oops - just realised this is in "ask the team" and we see mto have beaten the team to it. I hope they don't mind. Are we allowed to chip in here ?
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Westi » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:59 pm

Hmm! Tony - that really muddies the water? I've not come across a semi-determinate so far in the lottie catalogue.

I making a concession to the 'Forum Team' - read I just answered as well! Didn't even note the change, always been top thread to answer 1st, being a systematic reader of the posts.

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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby FredFromOssett » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:36 pm

Tony Hague wrote:Oops - just realised this is in "ask the team" and we see mto have beaten the team to it. I hope they don't mind. Are we allowed to chip in here ?

I have been presumptuous enough on other posts in 'Ask The Team' to assume that if any member of the forum, whether 'oldie' or 'newbie', has an answer to the question raised, it is legitimate to post an answer. After all, we can all learn something from one another.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:38 am

If you are choosing from a catalogue you should be safe to go on the description they give. I've had heritage varieties that are definately determinate. However you grow them they stop after four or five trusses. Unless described as bush, the majority are indeterminate and grown as a cordon.

I usually tie them up anyway whether they are bush or not as the slugs find any that trail near the ground.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby OscarSidcup » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:43 am

are you all saying that there are tomatoes that do not need staking :?:
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Primrose » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:01 am

It's obviously important to know whether a variety is determinate or indeterminate - otherwise how do you know where to plant it?. I once grew Roma a few years ago and to the best of my memory found it grew virtually as tall as the other stake varieties. As I grow my indeterminate tomatoes in a row close together in a border, having a mistaken tumbler in the middle of them would really throw my spacing out !

I agree it's frustrating when the cheaper seed packets don't display this information. I guess the only way of avoiding a mistake is to try and do your research from the catalaogues beforehand. Life would be very complicated if the growers started developing other determinate and indeterminate crops like sweet corn ! Beans of course can also be confusing if you get your bush beans and climbing beans mixed up which I once did in my early growing years
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby John » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:46 am

Until a few years ago tomatoes were described simply as cordon or bush which is very simple for us lesser mortals to understand.
I don't know why this now widely used determinate/indeterminate nonsense is used to describe their growth.
Regards
John

PS I'm a big fan of bush tomatoes - Red Alert is great - but that's a different topic.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby KG Steve » Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:04 pm

Feel free to answer 'Ask The Team' posts chaps - after all most of you will know as much as we do! :| But to give you my tuppence-worth I agree with John - cordon and bush was far less confusing and if we use determinate (bush ) and indeterminate (cordon) in the magazine we (hopefully) always explain the terms afterwards.

And yes - I still have to think twice when reading the descriptions, too, so no need to feel bad Westi!
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Primrose » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:05 pm

OscarSidcup wrote:are you all saying that there are tomatoes that do not need staking :?:

Yes , the bush and tumbling varieties don,t need staking at all, because they don't grow more than a foot/18 inches high but spread out sideways to the same same width. and you don,t have to bother with tiresome side shooting either! The sideahoots develop fruit, and the sideshoots of those sideshoots grow in turn and also bear more fruit. I grow mine both in patio tubs and open borders.

A few things I!ve noted about growing determinate (bush/tumbling) tomatoes

1 They seem to crop and ripen much earlier than the upright tomatoes (especially red and yellow Tumbling Tom). This is good in years of blight as you run less risk of losing all your crops. Even in bad blight years mine have not surcombed to blight so quickly as upright tomatoes.

2. All the bush tomatoes I've come across bear small tomatoes so if you like larger fruit for slicing in salads, these are probably not the best choice.

3. However , you will collect them by the bowlful. They're very prolific and I freeze many of mine whole and use them in winter soups and caseroles, so they're ideal for busy cooks !

4. One disadvantage of bush/tumbling tomatoes is that the lower fruits can end up resting on the ground if grown in borders so you may need to prop up lower branches as they become heavy with fruit to avoid the slugs getting at them.

5. Growing both determinate and indetermine varieties can extend your cropping season.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby John » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:21 pm

Hello Primrose
I grow my bush toms in the same way as strawberries - on a bed of straw - this keeps them clean and well away from the soil. I think it also helps the ripening process.
Tumbling toms do well in large pots where most of the fruits just hang over the side of the pot.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Primrose » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:44 pm

John, that's a very sensible thing to do and I think next year my border grown bush plants will receive the same treatment. The tub grown ones of course don't suffer snail/slug problems to the same extent. In years where my bush tomatoes are grown in front of the staked tomatoes, the comparative difference in development and ripening is quite marked.
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Re: Types of Tomatoes

Postby Westi » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:34 pm

OK! Think I've got it (kind of)!

For the greenhouse crops best to do Cordon or Indeterminate (& a couple in my wee structure on lottie) but in the open determinate - which my self sown ones obviously are & probably why they do OK even when blight strikes.

Couldn't they just say stake & pinch out side shoots on the pack? No wonder there is so much confusion using terms that mean nothing to the novice! Don't start me on the swots that understand the Latin terms.... :roll:

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