Determinate Tomatoes

Country SunflowerJune 25, 2012

Hello everyone... My husband and I have decided to try to supplement our income with our hobby of gardening... and would live to get some input as to which determinate (bush) tomato for market y'all would recommnend..

Would love an early, midseason and a late variety to cover most of the summer...

Thank you for any and all advice, etc you might be willing to share..


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I'm assuming that you're talking about next year, right? Where I'm at, it's too late for market tomatoes. They would come in at the same time as everyone else's.

Early Girl, Celebrity, any of the Mountain series, have been good for the Midwest around me. All hybrids. If things are like this year, most of the varieties will ripen about the same time, no matter which variety you choose, since tomatoes ripen with heating degrees instead of number of days.

Read some of the previous threads, I think you may find your answers there. Also, without knowing where you are, we can't help that much.

Also, around here, it seems everybody and their brother is trying to 'supplement' their incomes by growing for market. Therefore there is not as much available spending dollars as there was 5-10 years ago.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Country Sunflower

I live in Tennessee, along the Tennessee River... and yes, I am talking about next year.. We already have a garden in with several varieties of tomato... We only have about 4 acres on which to grow... and that is probably more than enough for us old folks...Not trying to get rich.. but just make enough so we don't need to go on welfare.. LOL But this is something we both love to do is grow things.. and up til now, we just gave away our excess... and hubster thought it might be more prudent to sel some of our excess.. he has a truck, trailer, and a canopy.. etc..

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:20AM
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It will be hard for those people that you've been giving produce to to figure out that things costs money. Instead of giving away this year, explain that you're willing to take donations to cover the price of seeds and gas for your tiller. That will break them away from just getting for free. I would start that now!

4 acres is MORE than enough for old folks, my husband and I are 60/56 and have done this for 13 years. Boy, do you age fast doing this. Plus once you decide to try to make money, it seems like EVERY bug or disease will come visit AND it's not as much fun.

If you're already growing tomatoes, choose the ones that you like and grows well for you. Stick with those.

If you have excess this year, start selling this year. You may not be able to get into a farmers market, but is there anything stopping you from having a table out front of your house?

Do keep an eye out for a good scale and tables that are sturdy enough to hold alot of weight without weighing a ton.

Do some learning this year while you're selling your excess and good luck.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Country Sunflower

Today was a great start.... I picked blueberries and so far have made $72 selling them at $4 per lb. I did it by letting folks know on Facebook.. And we already have an order for a bushel of Green Tomatos... I gave a price of $50.00 for the bushel.. and they grabbed it.. ooops, am I selling too cheaply?? But sold some red ripe tomatos too today at $.99 per lb.. And that was just off of my kitchen

I do have a couple of good sturdy folding tables and a pop up canopy that my late husband and I used at craft shows... My new husband has a great set of scales that we can take along.. and he came with pint, quart, half bushel and bushel baskets that he picked here and there... I have a few myself...

This year is just a trial run down in our meadow.. it has lain fallow for nearly 40 y ears.. just hay cut off of it for bedding animals..Today, the well drillers hit water and so hubster is hooking up the pump and whatever that all entails.. Then he will crank up his backhoe and start laying pipe down the middle of the meadow where we are keeping a wide grass strip..

Most of what I gave away previously was to folks that were in dire need.. found them through our "Hope" program at church... and I will still give to some that are in dire need..

I love to grow lots and lots of cutting flowers and was thinking of using them at the market as well...

We do have some hired help.. 2 guys that live near us.. and they work cheaply and are extremely efficient and knowledgable about gardening... and of course they sure make a big difference.. Hubster runs the machinery and they do the manual labor mostly... I can't do much this year because of back surgery I am facing.. and so hope that the surgery will be a success and I can go back to life as usual.. =0)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Blueberries here go for $4 pint, 3/4# at most.

Green beans have gone for as much as $75 per bushel (25#) last year.

Tomatoes are going for $2.50 per lb.

Be sure that scale is legal for trade, if not, you can be shut down. Look for either 'legal for trade' or NTSP on it. And it needs to be certified each year.

Definitely try the flowers, you might be surprised how many you could sell.

Congrats on having help available, we weren't that lucky.

I don't blame you giving to those in need, still take any donations that you can get. It might just be excess pint/quart baskets or even just used plastic bags (clean, of course), or maybe some free help.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:08PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

In my opinion, if you want to be serious about market farming, then you need to take a look at High tunnels. It will really increase your sales for a longer season.

As far as determinate tomatoes, you need to know and understand the advantages of different varieties. I for one find Early Girl, Celebrity, and Jetstar are poor choices. I have tried them several times and I have never am happy with them. Low quality, low production. These are just my finding, but tomato breeders are making great strides in production, flavor and taste.

I am very happy with the BHN series BHN 589, 640 are two good ones. I also like Florida 91 during the hottest part of the summer. They will set and produce when others are dropping blooms. We have had a week of over 100 degrees and the row of Florida 91's are blooming and setting while the other are shutting down.

If you have good markets in your area, then go ask the farmers what they are growing, that would be an easy way to find out what works in your area.

These are just my opinions.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:28PM
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Your farmers must like to talk. At most of my markets no one wants to tell you the variety they grow. The competition in pretty intense even with just a few growers selling toms.

I have been able to gleen that most of the growers in my area are going the "mountain" series. They have lots of toms, but I don't think they taste all that great. I also grow them as they are reliable, but I added BHN 589 this year as well. Seedway and few extension agents told me it is one of the best tasting hybrids available. I also added Red Bounty for heat set. We had a week of 100+ degree days last year and I lost all of my large toms and flowers. It was weeks until I had more.

This year is what I am growing this year:

- Mountain Magic
- Sweet Millions (Most popular)
- Sweet Gold
- Sun Gold

- Tami G (Agriset series)
- Cupid

Beef Steak:
- Big Beef (Leftover seed. Crop Failure 2011)
- Celebrity
- BHN 589
- Mountian Fresh Plus
- Red Bounty
- Parks Whoppers (Leftover seed. Crop Failure 2011)

- Plum Regal

I will watch how they all do this season. We are supposed to have 10 days of mid to upper 90's this coming week. The cherries loved it last year, most of the big toms did not.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 2:55PM
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I've told people to help determine if the seller is actually the grower, then ask what variety an item is. This is something that a vendor that just resells usually can't answer. Plus, if the customer finds a variety that they really like, they can and will ask for it. We've always had plenty of tomato growers in any of my markets.

You must be much further north of me, We're supposed to have all days in upper 90s and several days in 100+s, not looking forward to those.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 3:46PM
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I agree with Marla - I tell people what variety a tomato is so if they like it they can ask for it by name - and if they don't like it, let me know and I won't grow it again.

Also agree with Jay about high tunnels - really looking into building one for next year (though I'm collecting 15x25 plastic, lumber, got a storm/screen door last week and 2 windows today, thinking more of a 10x15 or so unheated greenhouse or propagation house, whatever you would call it for starting plants, instead/first?). Someone here in town had sweet corn at market today! I asked her if she started it in March when we had 70's, she said April 1st under plastic, made it through last week of April freezes fine.

Oh, and there was a typo - you need NTEP Class III scale, not NTSP.

90's heading back to New England this weekend.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Thanks for the correction, mine says 'legal for trade' and that's what I type in when I check on Ebay.

103 today so far. Another day tomorrow about the same. Picked our first green beans (planted late), got a handful first thing this morning. stayed inside the rest of day.

I'm not sure your 15x25 will cover a 10x15 house, unless you have the bottom sides with another piece of plastic. congrats on collecting. Don't forget, you'll need lots of staples. We also used wooden slats, 1/2" thick to staple onto.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:24PM
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I've got some exterior plywood but maybe not enough for ends (I can piece in around door and windows), have to see how tall/wide/long I can make it to use this plastic (pretty thick, opaque but light color, used for home skating rink). I can get another piece from the same people every year, was thinking cold frame or low tunnel but after the plywood and the windows/door starting thinking greenhouse.

Sorry I haven't returned your email - crazy here, had 6-yr old niece plus my DD all day, DH's aunt died and I have to take him to airport tomorrow, no market for me.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Ours have studs with plastic over them. You'll never as much light as you can get, up there.

It's ok, I'll see if I can get some pics of ours to you.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:40PM
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Country Sunflower

This year we have lots of tomatos... but alas... hubster has them all mixed up... Beefmasters, Rutgers, Celebrity, Early Girl...etc.. We hired the kids next door to plant for us, and he never set them in seperate rows .. just willy nilly... but that's okay.. some of them I can tell by looking at them what kind they are... but we aren't really trying hard to sell this year. Everything is burning up out there in this heat... 104 degrees today and dry as dust.. The corn it toast !! I was hoping for a few ears to eat at home, but unless God pours down some of that life giving water, we won't have a single ear..

Y'all are giving us some great info here.. thank you so much... Personally, I would rather not grow that much ... but this has been his dream since he was a kid.. and neither of his ex's would go for it.. both being city gals.. So, I just said "Honey, if that is what you want to do.. go for it !!".. He is lots healthier now that when I met him.. so being out here in the country and growing stuff is good for him..Even his doctor said he looked 15 years younger than his last visit...

We sure appreciage your sharing with us..


    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Carolyn, we're seeing 103-106 temps today, and all the corn (field/sweet) are much shorter than usual. Our corn (planted late) is still OK, for how long who knows. Our weatherman is expecting the drought to last until late July if not longer. Lots of our area is now under a Extreme Drought conditions.

country living is much better for your health, IMHO.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 11:03PM
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