Indeterminate plants grow, blossom and fruit all through the season, but they have fewer mature tomatoes at any one time. Plants reach 3 to 6 ft. or more and need staking so they don't sprawl on the ground. There's a subgroup called semideterminate. Among them, varieties such as 'Bush Big Boy' and 'Husky Gold' are more compact than indeterminate plants, but they will produce full-size tomatoes until frost. Choose indeterminate and semideterminate varieties if you want a long, continuous harvest. Days to maturity. Seed catalogs and plant labels usually list the approximate days to maturity from the time of transplanting. You can use this number as a guide for choosing early, midseason and late varieties. If you live where summers are short, growing early-maturing varieties (52 to 65 days) gives you the best shot at an abundant harvest before frost kills the plants. If you have a long, sunny growing season, you can probably grow most any variety, including the beefsteak types that yield huge tomatoes. They typically require 80 days or more to ripen. In general, late-maturing varieties give larger, more flavorful fruit than short- season varieties. Disease resistance. The initials V, F, N, T and A after a variety name indicate the variety is resistant to certain diseases or tolerates a common tomato problem: verticillium wilt (V), fusarium wilt (F), nematodes (N), tobacco mosaic virus (T) and alternaria (A). 'Celebrity' (VFNTA) is an example of a variety with outstanding disease resistance. Grow at least a few plants with built-in disease resistance to be on the safe side. • • •Q: Fruit or vegetable?
A: Botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit, the ripened ovary of a seed plant. But in 1893, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are a vegetable, not a fruit.
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