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When most people think of a vegetable plant, they think of tomatoes right away. Over the years, I have planted various vegetables and fruits, but my personal favorite is the tomato. The tomato can be one of the easiest plants to have with a little work and the right amount of space. There are two types of tomato plants, indeterminate and determinate. Determinate means the tomato plant will grow to one height, then stop and begin pushing tomato blossoms to produce tomatoes. Determinate tomato plants typically will not produce a lot of tomatoes because of the restricted size. Indeterminate tomato plants will keep growing until the first heavy frost. I grow indeterminate tomato plants to over 10’ tall. The indeterminate tomato plants can produce lots of tomatoes all season long. One of my favorite things about indeterminate tomato plants is that the tomatoes do not all ripen at the same time. If you have ever driven past a farm that grows tomatoes, more than likely, these are indeterminate plants. Most farmers who grow tomatoes in bulk do not stake them, so they do not lie on the ground. I will talk about how to stake tomato plants for another day.

What is the best tomato plant to grow? That is totally your choice. The produce section of the store will usually stock Beefsteak and Cherry Tomatoes. These two types of tomatoes are often referred to as conventional tomatoes. If you look on my Instagram page, you will see the two plants are Better Boy and Grape Tomatoes. I chose these two for their size and flavor. I have grown Roma tomatoes before, but these tomatoes are mostly for canning and making tomato paste. Roma tomatoes would be considered indeterminate plants. Better Bush, Biltmore, and Celebrity Tomato plants would be considered Determinate. These types of plants do very well in garden pots or even between flower beds since they are more of a bush style plant. I have grown these as well, but they yield a smaller amount since the plant is not very big. These would be a perfect fit for someone who lives in an apartment with a small deck or porch. I recommend you get plants that have been started at different times. This way, when you are harvesting tomatoes off one plant, you have another plant with tomatoes that are still ripening. This year I decided to try something new. I will be planting Heirloom tomatoes in my garden. Heirlooms are non-hybrid tomatoes, meaning they have not been genetically altered to grow a certain size, shape, or color. Hybrids may have also been cross-pollinated to be disease free as well. The heirloom type of tomato seed has been in the U.S. for at least 50 years. Heirloom Tomatoes were first brought to Europe in the 1500s from South America. These tomatoes have a shorter shelf life and are less disease resistant than hybrids. I was given some Cherokee Purple seeds this past fall and asked to try my hand at growing them. If you look them up on the internet, you will see that they are not a very flashy tomato, meaning they will have some brown spots and will be different colors. They may not be the prettiest tomato, but they taste amazing! They have a smoke fire undertone with a sweet taste. I love trying to grow new types of fruits and vegetables each year. Please follow along and see what challenges I may have with the Cherokee purple tomato.

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