Tomatoes. The holy grail of gardening. When most people make the decision to start their home garden tomatoes are always at the top of the list of vegetables they they want to plant. (yes I know they are technically a fruit 😛 )
When I first started out I was overwhelmed by the amount of options when it comes to tomatoes. Look through any seeds catalog or online seed company and there will be pages and pages of different types of tomatoes seeds to choose from. I had no idea there were so many different types of tomatoes!
What most people do not know is that there is a way to narrow down your for the search the perfect tomato to plant. Tomatoes are divided into two categories: Determinate and Indeterminate. Both types of tomatoes will give you beautiful delicious fruit and there is not much difference in how you would care for them. The difference between determinate and indeterminate comes in how they grow and how they produce fruit.
Simply put a determinate tomato plant bares all of their fruit at one time and an indeterminate bares fruits over the course of the entire season. In order for you to decide which type of tomato plant is best for you, we will need to dig into their differences a bit further.
In the case of determinate tomatoes you will have a shorter, bush-like tomato plant that does does not require much pruning. Determinate tomato plants normally do not grow more than 3-4 ft tall. Because of this, they will not require much staking either. Since you will get most of your fruit at the same time, determinate tomatoes are best for people who are hoping for large crop harvests at a certain time of the season. Most large scale tomato farms use determinate plants in order to schedule crop harvest in the small 2-3 week window when all of the fruit on the plants are ripe. Once most of the fruit on each plant is ripe, new flowers will very seldom produce fruit.
Indeterminate on the other hand are very different. These types of tomato plants produce fruit throughout the season. This means that rather than getting all of your tomatoes in a 2-3 week period, each tomato works individually to ripen on its own. Some indeterminate tomato plants can grow more than 8 ft tall! Since this type of tomato plant grows tall vines rather than short bushes like determinate; strong steaks, tall tomato cages and / or a trellis for the vines to climb will be essential. Indeterminate tomato plants will also require a bit more pruning than the determinate variety. It will be important to prune off dead or diseased leaves and suckers that way the plant can focus on producing more fruit rather than foliage. This type of tomato plant is ideal for home gardeners who want to enjoy tomatoes all season long because you could be harvesting several tomatoes each week rather than having the whole mother-load all at once.
Tomatoes are the go-to plant to grow for most home gardeners. I do not think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like them, even if it is just to make pasta sauce! Understanding the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants is the first step in choosing the perfect variety for your home garden!
Until next time, good luck in the garden this season!
Is it really New Years Eve already?! This year has flown by and what an exciting year it was! 2015 was the year that I decided to put “Phase 1” of my dream of full self-sustainability into action. I had never successfully grown ANYTHING before and this was the year I decided to jump in head first and start growing my own food. I have had some failures but have had many more successful beautiful harvests! This is just the beginning of my journey and I am so glad all of you have come along for the ride!
Here is my last harvest of 2015 and I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful! I can not wait to make delicious meals with this food!
God Bless all of you and have a happy and prosperous New Year!
Planting squash in your garden can be very exciting especially since they tend to germinate very quickly. I have had zucchini and yellow squash germinate within 4 days! The also produce beautiful large flowers that will attract bee’s to your garden.
One issue that seems to plague various squash plants is stem-splitting. This is when the stem of the plant seems to dry and crack open, exposing the inside of the stem. Stem splitting can happen very quickly, sometimes within just a 24 hour period. It can be very disheartening to see your stems split and your squash plant slowly dying but before you throw your hands in the air and give up on gardening, lets take a look at why this happens and what can be done to help save the plant.
Many times the reason why your squash stems are splitting are due to natural causes. Strong gusts of wind can easily put stress on the large hollow stems causing them to split. One way that I combat against this is to mount some soil around the stem until it reaches the leaves. Make sure the the soil covers the split. Also many people use tomato cages for their squash plants. Both methods will help stabilize the plant to combat against stem splitting. By using a tomato cage you will also slowly teach the leaves to grow vertically in order to save a lot of space. This will especially come in handy for home gardeners with small back yards who are trying to maximize their space as squash plants tend to take over the garden bed!
Another possible reason for stem split are pests. There are many different bugs that can wreak havoc on all different varieties of squash but there is one that stands out when it comes to identifying the cause of stem splitting. The Squash vine borer is a black and red moth that resembles a wasp in body shape and flight. These moths lay their eggs at the base of the plant and when when the larvae hatches it burrows itself in the stem of the plant, stopping the flow of water and nutrients to the rest of the plant and ultimately causing the stem to eventually split. Using organically acceptable insecticides will only help if you catch the larvae before they get inside of the stem. The best way to get rid of them is to cut them out at the first sign of possible stem split. Gently cut them out and cover the stem with good soil. I have heard that some gardening pro’s simply take a pin and kill the larvae without damaging the stem. I certainly am not there yet but hope to be one day!
Until Next Time!
I am so excited that my first harvest of the season has finally come! I remember last season when the garden was producing at amazing rates and I had an over abundance of crop. I didn’t know what to do with it all! I had canned, dehydrated and used all I could. I was at the point where I was giving a lot of vegetables away to friends, family and neighbors. At that time I was actually saying I had too much **Gasp!**
Looking back at that time just a few months ago I cannot believe I was complaining! Now I feel like it has been forever since I have harvested any food beacuse we are waiting for the fall crops to ripen. Oh how I wish I could go back to that time when God allowed our “cup to run over”. A hard lesson to learn as a new gardener. As my first fall harvest comes, I will always remember to be thankful no matter what part of the growing season it is or how big or small the harvest is. Ever harvest is a blessing
Today I am thankful for radishes and the all of the food I will be growing for my family in the next coming weeks.