Determinate VS vining tomatoes

Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Determinate VS vining tomatoes
3
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 3:31pm

I faced off with my dog Lucy, the vegetable thief, and decided to plant one determinate tomato in a container on my patio.  I had to look pretty hard for a determinate variety, but the plan is that if Lucy gets too interested in the tomatoes, I can move the container up onto the picnic table.  And I won't have a tomato cage waving above that pot that will cause the FAA to fine me for violating the airport's air space. 

Tomatoes that don't vine are VERY hybridized and don't producce as much fruit as vining ones.  Tomatoes are by nature meant to sprawl on the ground, Mother Nature does not stake tomatoes.  I've always wanted to grow a vining tomato without staking, but with fruit-eating dogs, it is a little difficult.  It also makes them squirrel food. 

Tell us about your tomatoes!

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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 5:46pm

I grow mostly vining tomatoes, on horizontal trellises. I use the redwood trellis with the large squares (maybe 6" openings) and position it about 4 ft above the planting bed by lashing the corners to 1"x 5ft redwood stakes. There should be a stake every 3 ft or less to support the trellis, because at the peak of production the vines will be pretty heavy. When the plants are young they usually need to be supported, often by that green stretchy plastic garden "tape" until they are tall enough to start laying across the trellis; or with some other staking material. I've found a number of benefits to this method: the leaves don't get wet when I water; slugs etc don't get on the plants; its easier to see and harvest the fruit; also easier to see and get pests like hornworms; you can use the ground space around the plants to put other things like flowers (esp. marigolds) or veggies; and it seems to extend the growing season because when it starts cooling off at night and the cold air settles at ground level the flowers and fruit are above the cold.

I also grow pole beans and vining cucumbers with this method with great success, and snap peas and snow peas in the cool months. I haven't tried it with spaghetti squash because of the weight but I know they will grow well with the vines above the ground.

If you think your dog will jump up to get the tomatoes hanging from the underside of the trellis you could fashion a screen of chicken wire along the sides of the frame.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 8:41pm

I have always planted vining tomatoes.  When I had a ground veggie bed, I used cages, I planted them deep, and I cut back the side shoots.  Then about 6 years ago, I got mosaic virus.  It is an EXTREMELY hardy virus, survivs both high and freezing temps, and overwinters in the soil.  It was in both my peppers and tomatoes, and after battling it for a few years, I gave up.  We planted the bed over with grass, and I just grow in pots now.  I have a walkout lower level, and on one side I have a retaining wall, and on the other I have a terraced garden.  I either put my pots on the top of the retaining wall, and let the vines spill over, or I put them across the bottom of the terrace, and lift the vines up on the first "shelf".

This year, like most years, I have Early Girl, Better Boy, a Beefsteak, and a San Marzano Roma.  I also have a low-acid yellow cherry tomato, and a Heirloom variety.  No peppers, zuch's,  or eggplant this year.  I'm getting old!   But I do have basil, and flat-leaf parsley.  My oregano was in a pot on the deck, and it did not survive our horrible winter.  HOWEVER, it did bolt before I picked the last to dry, and now I'll be yanking, yanking, and yanking once it warms up.  Little shits are gonna be everywhere! 

Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 9:57pm

So far I only have the one tomato, basil, rosemary, and lemon thyme in pots.  I'm trying to get some cilantro to sprout but the seeds are old and it may not take.  I have containers of dwarf zinnias coming along.  I got hit with squash bugs 3 years ago, and have to wait for the recovery of my yard.  I want more containers, so as to add some more herbs and maybe some hot peppers.  I still might add a cherry or grape tomato!


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