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Art Knapp
So Much More Than Plants
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Art Knapp Articles

Choosing This Year’s Tomato Varieties for Your Garden

in Informational

Now that we are in the middle of February, many people are deep inside their seed catalogues trying to decide what seeds to get for this spring and summer. In today’s blog article, we are going to talk about growing tomato varieties at home. This is a giant subject, but we will try to hit the high points.

Determinate vs Indeterminate

Tomatoes can basically be divided into two types, determinate and indeterminate. Indeterminate tomato plants grow bigger and generally need to be staked. They also bear fruit all season long until the weather turns bad. Indeterminate varieties need a little more room (footprint) than determinate varieties.

Determinate varieties are somewhat smaller and shrubbier and often do not need staking. They bear all their fruit at one time, and it all ripens around the same time—which is handy if you do canning, for example.


Be aware that the vast majority of tomato varieties have been bred for a lot of things, but taste is not one of them. Heirloom varieties are the exception, here. Commercial varieties are bred for bearing a lot of fruit, being very disease resistant, and shipping well. If taste is your most important consideration, then choose varieties known for their taste.

Shape and Size

There are hundreds of different shapes and sizes (and colours) for tomatoes. Choose what suits you. Do you want a big tomato that you can slice for a sandwich or little tomatoes that children can eat whole? Heirloom tomatoes often have interesting colours but some individuals may not find all these colours appetizing.

Growing Season

Remember that we do not have a very long growing season, so if all things are equal try to choose varieties that set fruit quickly (short “days to maturity”). Sometimes the month of September allows us to keep growing, but during some years, tomato plants are finished the first week of September.

Before ordering seeds from far away, always come first to our store and see what we have. We have a giant seed selection. We are very excited for tomato season!

Art Knapp has 15 locations across British Columbia and is well known as the go-to garden centre for everything garden-related. Art Knapp, himself, began the business in the 1940's, and now, 80 years later, you can find more than he ever dreamed of in our stores. Come and see us on King George Boulevard in Surrey. 

If you have any questions about this article or want to talk to us about gardening, just give us a call at (604) 596-9201.

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