While we’re starting our seeds and fantasizing about our first harvests, HerbDoc has some kind words for determinate tomatoes:
Tomatoes are definitely the most popular home garden crop, and although I’ve heard many negative comments about determinants, these are among my favorites to grow.
On the positive side, determinants only grow to a certain height. This makes them perfect candidates for small garden spaces where one can’t deal with the sprawl and staking of the indeterminate varieties. In the past few years I’ve grown my determinants on Earth Boxes (two to a box) on a second floor deck to prevent the deer from eating them. Two years ago I harvested 60 plus pounds of Romas from 6 plants!
The only problem with determinants is that they set a certain number of flowers, and the fruit will all come in in a week or two! This requires a frenzy of “putting by” after which no more tomatoes will appear unlike the indeterminants which will produce until frost.
I’m definitely growing the Roma variety again this year and am tempted to try Johnny’s new determinant, Defiant PhR even though I haven’t had a problem with late blight.Others on my list include the indeterminate cherry tomato, Husky Cherry Red which I bought at a local big box store last year. It provided a heavy yield of salad tomatoes all summer long. Another dynamite cherry is Black Pearl, sold by Burpee. Right off the vine it has a wonderful tomato taste but if refrigerated (which I frown upon for most tomatoes), it has a delicious, sweet, Concord grape flavor.