I received this question via email so thought I would answer it in a blog posting so more folks could read it.
Determinate and indeterminate are terms you usually see with tomatoes. The terms refer to how large the plants get and how they grow.
Determinate types grow more bushy and compact. They grow well in cages and are good for small space gardens, and don’t have to be pruned. These plants reach a certain size, flower, set fruit, then pretty much stop growing.
Indeterminate types are vines that grow tall. They will outgrow tomato cages, but grow great on a trellis. They will need some type of staking to keep them off the ground. These types set fruit continuously, and grow as large plants with lots of foliage.
Generally speaking, the most flavorful varieties are the indeterminate types. These plants also grow the biggest tomatoes, and more tomatoes than determinate types, so your yield per square foot is greater.
Indeterminate types can take up a ton of garden space if you don’t train them, but if you trellis them, you can grow them in only 1 square foot of space per plant. See my other blog posting on trellising tomatoes, if you’re interested in learning more.
Tomatoes are usually the first and favorite vegetable (OK, I know it’s a fruit) grown by vegetable gardeners. What are your favorite varieties?