In regards to tomatoes, what is meant by the terms determinate and indeterminate?
Determinate and indeterminate refer to the tomato’s growth habit. Determinate tomatoes are small, compact plants. They grow to a certain height, stop, then flower and set all their fruit within a short period of time. The harvest period for determinate tomatoes is generally short, making them good choices for canning. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, flower, and set fruit until killed by the first frost in fall. Accordingly, the harvest from indeterminate varieties often extends over a 2 or 3 month period. Yields are generally heavier than determinate types, but are usually later to mature. Indeterminate tomatoes are large, sprawling plants which often perform best when grown in wire cages or trained on stakes.