Tomato Plants - Determinate, Indeterminate and VFFNTAcomments (0) June 10th, 2009
Choosing tomato plants isn’t necessarily tricky. Still, most people only think of two things when they consider purchasing tomato plants for their home garden. They ask themselves what size (regular or cherry)? Next, they decide how many plants to buy and that’s it.
There are a couple of other factors that may guide you in how to decide what tomato plant varieties to choose. One of them is difference between determinate plants and indeterminate plants. This detail tells you the growth habit of that particular tomato.
A determinate tomato plant’s habit is to grow into a bush. Once these reach a certain size (3-4 feet), they bloom and set fruit. After that, they’re pretty much done. One reason someone would chose a determinate plant is because they don’t want to mess with a lot of staking (although you still would be smart to toss a cage around them), plus you don’t have to prune them.
An indeterminate plant is a true vine and continues to grow forever and beyond (up to 12 feet) if you don’t do a little pruning once in awhile. These guys can take up a lot of space and that could be a nuisance to some people. They need to be trellised throughout the season and pruned regularly.
|More on pruning, heirlooms, and tomato supports:
• Video: How to Prune Tomatoes
• Pruning Tomatoes
• Heirlooms: Tomatoes with a Past
• The (Tomato) Stakes are High
• Build a Freestanding Tomato Trellis
• The Supporting Cast for Tomatoes
When purchasing tomato plants, you may have seen these letters on the plant’s tag next to the variety name. Sometimes it’ll be “VFF” or VFN”. Have you ever wondered what those letters are telling you? Should you even care? Well, it all depend if your growing zone encourages certain diseases or not and if incredible flavor turns you into a risk-taker.
Each one of the letters stands for a different disease that tomato plants can be prone to developing. Tomato-freaky scientists have bred and produced tomato plant varieties which are prone to these diseases. If you buy a tomato plant that has the letter “V” next to its name such as “‘Oregon Spring’ V”, this tells you the disease the plant is bred to resist is verticillium wilt which commonly attacks tomato crops.
V = verticillum wilt
F and FF = fusarium wilt
N = nematodes
T = tobacco mosaic virus
A = alternaria leaf spot
|More on managing tomato pests and diseases:
• The Road to Healthy, Productive Tomatoes
• A Few Good Bugs to Fight Tomato Pests
posted in: tomatoes, indeterminate tomatoes, VFFNTA, determinate tomatoes