Tomato Personality Types

Well, the garden season is at its height, and, of course, Husband and I are assessing our current varieties and planning next year’s garden.  We just can’t help ourselves. We’re certifiably nuts.

I have been scrutinizing our tomato varieties closely. The header photo is of three Brandyboy tomoto plants (a hybrid) and one San Marzano paste tomato ( an heirloom) planted in front of our house. They are about 6 feet tall, and are wonderful exemplars of their varieties.  The Brandyboys are terrific. I am very unhappy with the other eight San Marzano plants we have, since they are suffering from blight. I spray with fungicide weekly, but it is getting away from me, and I need to find another paste tomato variety next year that is more dependable and more disease resistant and isn’t so much work.  Heirlooms are not very disease resistant. The photo below gives a better idea of their height. The tomatoes are the plants farthest on the right.  The pole beans in the foreground are at least 7 feet tall.

I want a hybrid paste tomato. I want disease resistance. The question is determinate or indeterminate.  I never really quite knew what those terms meant until recently,  and I was delighted to find out that I could use the terms for describing people’s personalities.

Determinate tomatoes produce lots of nice, smaller tomatoes, but stop growing at about 4 feet, and then stop producing any more fruit. They may or may not need staking or supporting cages. They are often really good in shorter season areas. We used to grow them in Winnipeg.  They were short but produced well.

Indeterminate tomatoes absolutely need staking or other supports.  They never stop producing fruit or growing taller and wider until it freezes.  Our Brandyboys and San Marzanos are indeterminate, and the plants are enormous.  They are, even now, producing flowers and fruit.  I have the cages supported with bungee cords and stakes to keep them from tipping over.

I have decided to grow Brandyboys again next year, along with a few San Marzanos and a hybrid indeterminate variety named Gladiator.  It will be an experimental year.

What kind of tomato are you? Determinate, indeterminate?  Hybrid, heirloom? What kind of tomato do you want to be?


24 thoughts on “Tomato Personality Types”

  1. At my age, I’ll have to go with heirloom. As far the fruit goes: firm, plump, juicy and oh so tasty. I find that tomatoes these days rarely live up to my expectations, tastewise – even when picked fresh from the vine. I do consider the possibility that it’s my tastebuds that are slacking off and not a problem with the tomatoes. It’s not a possibility that pleases me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I bet that with the farmers markets you have access to, heirloom tomatoes, which have the best taste, are readily available. I like Brandyboy since it is a hybrid of the heirloom Brandywine and the hybrid Big Boy. It has taste and size. My best friend swears by Cherokee Purple, another heirloom.


      1. Yes, heirloom tomatoes are readily available at the farmers’ markets, and I’m growing several different kinds myself this year. I’m not very good at keeping track of which ones are which ones, but I believe one of them is Cherokee Purple.


  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I see from the pictures that I need to plant fewer heirlooms and more hybrids. My blighted tomatoes are productive, but not attractive this year.

    I am an indeterminate pasty tomato. Given my medical history, I am amazed at times, to be alive. That said, I am going to be happy and productive for every minute I get. The pasty part is about my body’s fleshiness. I seem to be favoring some of the portly ancestors in those old pictures. But at least I am alive to notice this.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes! Neither type of tomato is better than the other, but if you are an indeterminate type you better have your supports clearly identified and working well, and if you are determinate, you need to assert your independence and rid yourself of unwanted or unnecessary constraints.


  3. I think indeterminate – definitely need staking and support, preferably of other like-minded tomatoes. Not sure about the hybrid/heirloom part – aren’t we all hybrids of some sort? Definitely heirloom if we’re talking about age…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I suppose I fall into the determinate category; I can only produce so much. Then I’ll probably disappoint you. I admire indeterminate tomatoes, but can’t seem to be one.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am an over ripe tomato to myself. Right now I am a rooten tomato to Sandy.
    I forced myself to get out and now I am gone quite a bit. Sandy is not adjusting well to having to schedule her trips out. She is used to just announcing that NOW she wants to go to the mall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Today I had to report my friend Lee, the 93 year old man for suicidal wishes. Hard moment but I have to protect myself and Vine. So I am a sort limp tomato vine right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The more I think about it, I’m a schizophrenic tomato (or maybe bi-polar?) – go back and forth between determinate and indeterminate. Today I feel like I can stand on my own, even let other tomatoes lean on me. Tomorrow – who knows? And that bit about growing taller and wider… let’s not go there.


  7. Evening all! Not so sure about me, but my life usually feels indeterminate – sprawly and chaotic.

    I have massive numbers of still-green tomatoes on the vine. My little grape tomatoes have been producing and producing for the last couples of weeks. Just a couple of Roma and heirloom have ripened but I’m guessing in a week or so I’m going to have a tomato explosion!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Today at farmers’ market, large baskets of tomatoes could be had for $8.00. At the beginning of the season, it wasn’t unusual to be paying a buck a piece. Now they’re virtually giving them away. And I’m in the mode of deliberating whether or not I have the energy to bother with anything other than the daily grind. Hoping for a surge of energy one of these days.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.