We made a little discovery that we wanted to share. At Home Depot, they are selling a 6 pack of organic tomato plants that contains six different tomato varieties for $4.48. It is a nice mix of early, late, cherry and roma plants. I can’t grow the seedlings myself for that little amount of money! Most years we want to plant about 6 tomato plants with several varieties, and end up buying a combination of single pots and six pacts of single varieties to get what we want. Then we have to give away or throw away the ones we don’t have room to plant.
Although we might not pick the exact mix of plants available in this specific six pack, the variety choices and types of tomatoes offered are very good and will cover most back yard garden needs. We still may add a couple more varieties to our garden, but this is great start.
This combination of plants contains:
1) Early Girl, 59 day, Indeterminate, multipurpose
2) Celebrity, 65 day, Determinate, multipurpose, AAS winner*
3) Better Boy, 70 Indeterminate, multipurpose, AAS winner*
4) Beef Master, 80 day Indeterminate, multipurpose
5) cherry tomato, “generic” variety, most likely indeterminate, salads & snacks
6) roma tomato, “generic” variety, most likely determinate, sauces, and multipurpose
*What are All-America Selections®?
All-America Selections is an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties then introduces only the best garden performers as AAS Winners.
What is the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes?
Determinate tomatoes are a bush type tomato (2-4 ft) that you do not prune or stake. You can grow them in a short cage to help support the fruit. You can also grow them on plastic or with fabric underneath to keep the tomatoes off the ground. The plant generally sets all the fruit about the same time (about 2 weeks) and stops producing fruit when the top bud is pollinated. Commercial canning varieties are produced this way so they can be hand harvested, or mechanically harvested, all at once at the peak of ripeness.
Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow throughout their life and can reach 12 feet tall or trained to grow laterally. They can easily reach 6 feet in height. These varieties require support, with a stake, cage or trellis. They will continue to grow throughout the summer. Larger fruit and more consistent fruit production will occur if the plants are properly pruned. Once the plants start blooming, the plants will continue to bloom, set fruit, and fruit can be harvested all at the same time. When daytime temperatures are below 85 and above 70 tomatoes should set fruit consistently. When temperatures are consistently 90 or above, the blossoms may not set and fruit production can be limited. All tomato plants will die with a killing frost, although a few varieties seem to be a little more resistant than others.