Which Variety is best when Growing Tomatoes From Seeds?
When it comes to growing tomatoes from seeds, getting started can be the hardest part, since there are plenty of varieties to choose from. I tend to stick with heirloom varieties because in my opinion they just taste better. There are a few hybrids that I like though and usually will include a few of those in my planting.
It’s important to know whether you are planting a determinate or indeterminate variety, basically so you know what to expect from your plants.
There are many varieties of determinate tomatoes, also known as “bush” tomatoes, are bred to grow to a more compact height (about. 4 feet). When the fruit sets on the top bud the plant quits growing, all the tomatoes on the plant ripen at or near the same time (generally over a 2 week period), and then die.
Just like determinate the indeterminate tomatoes have many varieties. They are also known as “vining” tomatoes. The difference is that they will grow and produce fruit until the frost kills them. They can reach heights of up to 10 feet but 6 feet is generally considered to be the norm. They bloom, set new fruit and are ripening fruit all at the same time during the entire growing season.
Here is a list of some determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties:
- Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato
- Pink Brandywine Heirloom Tomato
- Red Beefsteak Heirloom Tomato
- Golden Jubilee Heirloom Tomato
- Black Prince Heirloom Tomato
- Better Boy Tomato
- Sun Sugar Tomato
- Homestead Heirloom Tomato
- Rutgers Heirloom Tomato
- Heinz Classic Heirloom Tomato
- Patio Tomato
- Phoenix Tomato
- Heinz Super Roma Tomato
- Bush Goliath Tomato
I start my heirloom plants from seed and harden them off myself because I have more control over the variety I’m able to plant. As for the hybrid variety, usually the better boy variety, I will go to my local greenhouse and buy a few plants.
But whether you are growing tomatoes from seeds or not, really doesn’t matter when it comes to the technique and methods used to grow them.
Another important step when growing tomatoes is whether they are determinate or indeterminate, they like soil that has a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 and need a good consistent source of nutrients. Time released fertilizer can help you give your plants the nutrients they need, but you should also mix in some compost and give them a liquid fertilizer every few weeks or so during the growing season. They also require a good deal of sunlight, at least eight hours a day.
So far we know we need good soil that is rich in nutrients with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 and plenty of sunlight. Now we need to add a stake, trellis or tomato cage right after planting and some mulch or plastic sheet to hold in moisture and warmth. Tomatoes do best with warm moist soil, about an inch or water a week. Since they can grow to heights of up to ten feet, the importance of a good strong trellis or stake for them to grow up cannot be overstated.
If you don’t get enough rain in the area you live in, a soaker hose will fit the bill. Having the soaker hose on a timer is my preference. Drip irrigation is another option as is are sprinklers.
Growing tomatoes from seeds is just a start. After you have started the plants and hardened them off to help your tomato plants develop a good strong root system when planting them in your garden bury them about two-thirds up their stem. Don’t go getting any ideas though about your other vegetable plants, this is something that is really specific to tomato plants, but not necessarily other plants.
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