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Old November 29, 2017   #1
Nan_PA_6b
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Default The Huge, Glaring Problem With Determinates!

Nobody says whether a determinate has a concentrated fruit set or produces all season. Without this information, how can one ever select a determinate?

I mean, it's a REALLY BIG DEAL if your plant is going to produce for 2 weeks or 3 months! Why is this the best kept secret ever? Anyone who considers growing a determinate has to know one way or the other. Yet tomato descriptions rarely specify.

Sometimes seed sellers will say "produces over a long season", or "has a concentrated fruit set", but I have not seen ANY sellers describe the production of more than a few of their determinates.

I was trying to research a suitable determinate with concentrated set for my 2018 garden. It's maddening how far I had to go to find out length of production for each tomato considered.

Does everybody else just not care how long a tomato will produce? How does anybody ever buy determinate seeds or plants?

If there is a way to find out the production time of determinate tomatoes, please let me in on the secret!

Frustrated,

Nan
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Old November 29, 2017   #2
pmcgrady
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I planted rows 1 week apart last year, and learned a lot!

Last edited by pmcgrady; November 29, 2017 at 08:31 PM.
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Old November 29, 2017   #3
Nan_PA_6b
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PCMG, how did you find out it was a concentrated-set plant?

Nan
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Old November 29, 2017   #4
Rajun Gardener
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Nan I think you're on the right path with the Heinz tomatoes you're growing this year. That's the problem with growing paste tomatoes, not all are ripe at the same time.
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Old November 29, 2017   #5
KarenO
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I think all determinate tomatoes have a concentrated fruit set in that they bloom, set fruit and ripen them within a time frame of a few weeks and are pretty much finished although a few will set a second flush after a rest if the season is long enough and the plant doesn't succumb to disease first. Many determinates are actually quite late to mature as well in my experience. There are lots of great determinate varieties bred for the home gardener. Most commercial tomatoes such as the Heinz ones for example were bred not for flavor, they were bred to be mechanically harvested as processing tomatoes. productive,red, round, hard, tart with tough skins in my experience. the Heinz factory just needs something red to add the sugar, salt and vinegar to. the first ingredient listed is tomato paste, perhaps they still make their own paste, hard to know.
Fruit set and production though will vary from one determinate variety to another like all tomatoes and will be affected by weather and other growing conditions.
I hope the Heinz ones are good for you Nan. If not, I can send you seeds for some other very good red determinates
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Old November 30, 2017   #6
Cole_Robbie
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From what I understand, determinate just means that the end of a branch ends in a flower cluster and not a vining tip. Most determinates I have tried have a harvest window of about 3 weeks or so, but others crank out all season. I don't know if that is what seed companies might mean by "semi-determinate."
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Old November 30, 2017   #7
AlittleSalt
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Nan, what I've found about DETs is that they are actually Semi DETs at best.

I am opinionated. I won't grow anything but IND. anymore.
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Old November 30, 2017   #8
Nan_PA_6b
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OK, so I'm not the only one who has this problem. Salt, I'm with you. When I want a long-producing tomato, I stick to indeterminates because anything that says "determinate" is almost impossible to find out the production time. I end up ignoring good tomatoes that way.

Here are a few varieties Tania calls determinate that my research says are long producing: Aurora, Carmello, Danko, Glacier, Hanky Red, Marglobe (2 months), New Big Dwarf, Patio (2 months), Sioux, Walter. And nowhere on the Internet can I find the production time for Early Wonder. It must be classified Top Secret. Maybe one day Wikileaks will publish it...

Sorry if I'm ranting or whining or both. Does anyone know a good way to find out how long a determinate produces? (please don't say "grow it yourself"!)

Nan
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Old November 30, 2017   #9
KarenO
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It varies Nan. What variety specifically are you researching?
If you are asking how long does a standard definite determinate plant produce ripe tomatoes I would say again average over about 3 weeks in my experience and usually at the end of the season ie late August/ September . That’s me, a home gardener picking ripe tomatoes.
Commercial field producers of tomatoes, who grow for processing do not concern themselves with niceties such as ripening. They would purposefully not allow them to ripen but would mechanically harvest at mature green stage and then gas them ripe all at once. Tomato Flavour is not much of a concern nor is quality.
I think you will find the DTM on most any available tomato variety. If so, add about 3 weeks for first to last ripe. No plant I have ever grown ripens all if it’s fruit simultaneously.
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Last edited by KarenO; November 30, 2017 at 12:46 PM.
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Old November 30, 2017   #10
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I actually agree that there is no way to determine how long or over what period of time they bare or is it bear? fruit. I grew BHN 589 (D) in my hightunnel this year. I picked fruit almost all Summer. I grew Pink Cupcake (D) last Summer in one and I got TWO distinct crops. I didn't have time to pull and get rid of them after they quit producing in the early Summer. I just left them alone and got another very nice crop much later. I grew Red Deuce this year also and they were caged and had fruit all summer long. I grew big dena in between them expecting a better crop since they were indeterminates and was sorely disappointed with their production but it could have been my lack of knowledge and crappy drip tape this year. I kept finding holes or no working emitters. poorly watered and fertilized.
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Old November 30, 2017   #11
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
OK, so I'm not the only one who has this problem. Salt, I'm with you. When I want a long-producing tomato, I stick to indeterminates because anything that says "determinate" is almost impossible to find out the production time. I end up ignoring good tomatoes that way.

Here are a few varieties Tania calls determinate that my research says are long producing: Aurora, Carmello, Danko, Glacier, Hanky Red, Marglobe (2 months), New Big Dwarf, Patio (2 months), Sioux, Walter. And nowhere on the Internet can I find the production time for Early Wonder. It must be classified Top Secret. Maybe one day Wikileaks will publish it...

Sorry if I'm ranting or whining or both. Does anyone know a good way to find out how long a determinate produces? (please don't say "grow it yourself"!)

Nan
You added the don't grow it yourself line after I first read your post this AM.

There are several definitions for what a determinate might be that were mentioned above.

Not everyone grows their tomatoes the same way as to inground, staking,containers, etc., that's just one variable. When you see a report you don't know what the season was like when that report was given.

How do you determine if a variety is indet or det? You look at the internode distances, and then of course there's semi-determinate.

So yes Nan, I am going to suggest that you answer your own question by growing whatever with your conditions, since what YOU think about this or that variety is what matters to YOU personally, not what someone else has reported.

Best I can do for now,

Carolyn
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Old November 30, 2017   #12
HudsonValley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
OK, so I'm not the only one who has this problem. Salt, I'm with you. When I want a long-producing tomato, I stick to indeterminates because anything that says "determinate" is almost impossible to find out the production time. I end up ignoring good tomatoes that way.

Here are a few varieties Tania calls determinate that my research says are long producing: Aurora, Carmello, Danko, Glacier, Hanky Red, Marglobe (2 months), New Big Dwarf, Patio (2 months), Sioux, Walter. And nowhere on the Internet can I find the production time for Early Wonder. It must be classified Top Secret. Maybe one day Wikileaks will publish it...

Sorry if I'm ranting or whining or both. Does anyone know a good way to find out how long a determinate produces? (please don't say "grow it yourself"!)

Nan
Marglobe is definitely long-producing. I've grown it three years running; here in zone 6a, it produces from late July/early August through frost, but the late-season fruit size is smaller. Marglobe can grow into sprawling behemoth of a plant, but it's a tomato machine and I'm very fond of it.

I'm trying Glacier in 2018, since it's supposed to do well in the Northeast; it's supposedly Semi-D, bears all season, and good-tasting.

I share the frustration with the Ind./Det./Semi-D labels. I once had a Roma (Det.) plant churn out a second flush in early October. I've also had an Indian Stripe (Ind.) give up the ghost by the end of August. Average first frost here is Oct. 15.
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Old November 30, 2017   #13
oakley
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You didn't mention why you are looking for determinate. Or what
you were hoping to find. A big blaster pumping out fruit over a
shorter time frame for sauce?

Yet I suppose the frustrating search is the main reason for the rant.
(information not as clear as expected)

Did not realize Carmello, Glacier, and Sioux were listed as determinate.
I did give them three strikes, three seasons. (Sioux maybe once)
They must be listed as ind or semi most places. I only grow ind.
All three were a disappointment in flavor for us.

In my short growing season every plant pumps out fruit mid August.
So I look for early mid-season, (not early-early-mediocre-just-so-i-have
-a-few)...by 4th of July.
I want good taste, quantity not important. A few like SunGold keep me
satisfied early. Now starting to grow some indoors for a jump start.

Maybe rephrase the question to 'does anyone grow determinates and
have a variety that grows true to form...mid-season, lots of fruit over
a two-three week time frame?'. My neighbor only grows paste for sauce.
No interest in anything but sauce. Thick boil-all-day sauce.

I know, I know,...you just want some clear answers.
I'm not much help,
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Old November 30, 2017   #14
Nan_PA_6b
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Karen & Oakley-
What am I looking for: I constantly investigate likely tomato varieties to consider them for future growing. My spreadsheet now has information on 700 varieties. The things I look for vary. My latest investigation was to find a concentrated-harvest determinate to kick-start the soup making for 2018 (Heinz 1439). But there are lots of different types of tomato I look for, for many different purposes: good fried greens, tart plus disease resistance for my sister, productive & strong tasting for mum, a shapely heart to use in a cross, a tasty long keeper, a tasty stuffer, a container dwarf, and whatever else I need.

Nan
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Old November 30, 2017   #15
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Nan, if you ever want to try Porter tomatoes - I have plenty of seeds. They were developed to grow in the Texas heat, but the way it's been hot in summer up north the past few years - they would probably grow and produce fine for you in PA. They are an IND. pink cherry tomato used for eating fresh off the vine, juicing, canning, sauces, etc. They are very balanced taste-wise, and are my wife and my first favorite tomato. Just don't over water them.
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