The local “plant swap” is my favorite way to learn from other gardeners. This year I’m relying on the experts to help me choose the best heirloom tomatoes for our yard.

For me, heirloom tomatoes are unique. But more than a novel appearance; many heirlooms taste different. Different from one another and different from supermarket tomatoes. Commercially produced tomatoes vary in size and shape, but regardless of their appearance they all taste the same. Growers who took the time to save tomato seeds did so because the variety was worth saving.

In Michigan the growing season is rather short, so I’m looking for a tomato that ripens sooner rather than later. The most common “day to maturity” number is 65 days. I’ve noticed some of the cool climate selections boast 55 days to maturity.

Determinate vs Indeterminate

A Determinate tomato plant will stop growing once it sets it’s fruit. Determinate varieties are more compact. It’s not all good though, you can expect to harvest from these plant for only 7-10 days.

Indeterminate plants will keep growing and producing new blossoms even after fruit has set. Harvest may last for several months.


Much of what I’ve learned about tomatoes has been through trial and error: a slow a often disappointing method. Expert information can be found at:
Tomato Fest

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