Author Topic: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?  (Read 1252 times)

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 362
  • Karma: 35
    • View Profile
Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« Reply #15 on: 2019-02-07, 09:37:46 PM »
Howdy, I think at the moment I don't need more tomato germplasm myself. Joseph and Andrew have sent me quite a bit! I suspect that some of the wild species tomatoes I have now to work with have extraordinary drought tolerance. The Peruvianum complex is particularly intriguing. I'm going to try some S. Arcanum from quite dry areas.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Kai Duby

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 25
  • Karma: 3
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« Reply #16 on: 2019-02-09, 09:25:42 PM »
Thanks for all the perspectives!

I've decided to do a big tomato grow out this year with dwarf and determinate varieties just to figure out my own take on the small guys. I'll be growing a small amount of ind. that, if they do well enough, I will cross with the best dwarf/det.

William S: I was excited to see the sungold f2 on your list. It's one of the ind. I'll be growing this year and I will certainly look out for all of those other varieties too! Thanks!

San Luis Valley, CO. >7,500'. Zone3-4. Low rainfall: 8-10''. Low Humidity. High winds.

S.Simonsen

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« Reply #17 on: 2019-02-10, 08:44:17 PM »
The only tomato I grow now is Principe Borghese. It is a determinate variety with small dense fruit suitable for drying and sauce production. I don't eat fresh tomato so it works for me. It is extremely vigorous and pest/disease resistant under my unirrigated conditions in the humid subtropics in Australia. Most other tomatoes get hammered by fruit fly, except wild pimpinellifolium. I normally grow it as a cool season crop since our frosts are minimal and the hot summer sun tends to make the fruit taste weird to me, but I have self sown bushes growing all over my garden that fruit prolifically all year around. We just had the driest January on record with basically zero rain, though the temperatures rarely got over 35 C and the soil moisture was reasonable. My soil is a heavy cracking clay that has only just started to be improved and is still pretty terrible.

I saw a genetic analysis of tomato somewhere and it turns out this variety is very basal and probably formed before tomato went through a series of genetic bottle necks when it was exported from South America, to Central America, then to Europe and again back to the USA. This matches my experience of it having exceptional vigour and productivity in comparison to any other variety. I'm also too lazy to make trellises and train my plants, so being determinate works for me as well.

One last warning- it took me buying seed of this variety from several different sources before I got the real thing, but maybe your seed sources are more dependable in the USA than tiny Australia.

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 362
  • Karma: 35
    • View Profile
Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« Reply #18 on: 2019-08-25, 11:12:24 AM »
Found some determinates amongst the earliest to fruit of my large dry farmed direct seeded multiple F2 grow out. My take: probaby not an automatically "weakling" determination. Can't make life much tougher on them.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Kai Duby

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 25
  • Karma: 3
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« Reply #19 on: 2019-11-25, 07:06:07 PM »
After this years tomato abuse I would say that determinates are not weaklings, at least in my own harsh conditions.

I planted a good slew of different varieties and about half of them were dets. I also did a side by side comparison of transplanted vs. direct seeded with roughly the same varieties.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) I did not have the time during the busy summer to coddle the plants like I wanted to. In fact, they were a sad, neglected bunch planted in first year beds, in what used to be a compacted pad for a trailer. So they were planted in what was basically a road, dug up a bit (so compacted that shovels literally bent), and sprinkled with some old horse manure. I heavily watered them twice after planting out and that was it until the drenching rains of mid July. Then they were haphazardly watered once while in flower.

I was very surprised in September when, after forgetting the tomatoes and really having no hope for them because I abused them even more than I intended to, my dad handed me some tomatoes that I had somehow grown.

They certainly weren't lush but they had fruit setting on them despite a lack of water, heat, and wind. And the direct seeded plants had caught up with the transplanted, and in some cases, surpassed them.

Sure enough, the first to set fruit was a transplanted, red fruited Sungold F2. The determinate Bonsai variety was also loaded with ripe fruits at the same time but they were hit with some kind of fungal disease. Most of the other varieties were close behind.

I did not even have time to harvest the tomatoes so I knew when frost had hit when my dad handed me a big sack of the most ripe fruit and I went out and harvested the next to ripe. They yielded surprisingly well!

The indeterminates were all stunted by the harsh growing conditions so that it was difficult to tell them apart from the dets. In some cases the dets grew quite a bit bigger and made more fruit.

I gathered tons of seeds and every fruit was packed with flavor! The difference between the taste of these neglected fruits and those I helped grow on a local farm with plentiful irrigation was pretty striking. A single thimble sized fruit had more goodness than two pounds of the irrigated tomatoes.

Here's a bad picture of the tomatoes after frost. The bed on the right is direct seed and the one on the far left was from transplants started about a month early.



San Luis Valley, CO. >7,500'. Zone3-4. Low rainfall: 8-10''. Low Humidity. High winds.

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 362
  • Karma: 35
    • View Profile
Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« Reply #20 on: 2019-11-25, 08:02:02 PM »
That's excellent Kai. My 2019 observations correspond to yours. Determinates not rejected. Dry farming improves flavor.

I had plants on shallower soils over a clay accumulation layer show stress. Then added sand mulch, it rained again, they recovered.

I think no irrigation slows maturity. So dry farmed direct seeded takes a longer season.

Determinates could fall out of a mix if all ripen sooner and seed isn't saved early.

Interested in the dwarfs. Someday will try one.

I got some neat F2s especially some of what must be Blue Ambrosia x Amurski Tigr. Both red and yellow some with a little blue.

In transplant sector bulked up seeds of wilds and half wilds and 1/4 wilds. Not sure what to focus on in 2020. Any number of sub projects could take the whole garden!
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days