Posted on 01 April 2009 by

Learning Tomato Terminology

white-tomatoBy Vanessa Richins

When you see tomatoes in the store, they are usually red and round.

When you really start to explore the world of all things tomato, however, you will come to realize it’s a complex subject.

For example, did you know that tomatoes can be:

-Combinations of the above.

Also, as the Idaho Statesman explains, “Black tomatoes are that color because the green color remains, overlaid by the red color when the fruit ripens. Green plus red equals a dark brown, called “black” by most.” I suppose I just never thought about why they were black, but it makes perfect sense.

When you buy your tomato plants, you should keep in mind whether you are looking for ones that are determinate or indeterminate. Determinate ones are your bush types. They will only grow to a certain point and will usually product all of their fruit at one time. Indeterminate grow more like sprawling vines and keep on growing. They will produce fruit throughout the entire summer.

Then, of course, you must remember that tomatoes may either be hybrid or heirloom. Hybrids have been bred to have specific characteristics such as disease resistance. These tomatoes will usually give you many tomatoes.

However, since these are hybrids, they will not produce the same variety from saved seeds. These take the genetics from both parents and may revert to either parent or create a whole new set of (often)inferior characteristics. The tomato may prove to be less pest resistant, for example.

If you would like to save seeds every year, be sure to choose an heirloom tomato. These ones will produce the same variety year after year. These are often more colorful and oddly-shaped than the hybrid tomatoes.

How do you choose what tomatoes you want to grow?


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