Celebrity general questions

drayvenApril 6, 2009

I am sorry for the basic questions here but the search feature is still acting wonky and searching online is giving me dramatically different answers.

I am a new gardener and at my local nursery yesterday I asked what the best/easiest tomato plant to grow in my area was and without skipping a beat he said Celebrity.

I am now the proud owner of four Celebrity Tomato plants that I have no idea what to do with. Below is the information I could find on this Tomato.

It is Determinate. It is Indeterminate.

It is compact. It gets over eight feet tall.

Spacing should be 18". Plants should be spaced at least 4 ft. apart.

Celebrity does not need a cage or a stake. Celebrity should always use a cage.

I hope you see my confusion. The two most basic questions I need answered are

1. How far apart to plant them.

2. Should I stake/cage them.

Any help you provide would be greatly appreciated.

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marymilkweed(z9 Orlando FL)

drayven - I too, will be most interested in seeing what experienced growers of Celebrity have to say in reply. I am currently growing six Celebrity plants in a raised bed with a soil mixture from the Square Foot Gardening forum; 1/3 peat, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 home grown compost/mushroom compost. To this I added gypsum, rock phosphate, and greensand. My plants were planted 18" apart and have been in the ground 1 month. To help you with some of your questions, already they needed staking, next time I will place the stakes at time of planting; the plants at a month old are already easily 18" to 24" in height, the stems are as thick as my thumbs and I believe I would plant further apart next time. I have only fertilized once and getting ready to fertilize again with a mixture of fish emulsion, kelp and epsom salts and the plants are setting fruit. I hope this helps you get them planted.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 9:22AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Celeb is what is called a semi-determinate in that it produces fruit like a determinate does but grows bigger than the usual determinate varieties, more like an indeterminate in size.

I haven't grown them in years but from what I recall it will most definitely need to be staked or caged and planted at least 3 feet apart. Limited pruning on it or you will lose production as you would with other determinates.

There is another discussion here called 4 feet - bah! that is pictures of Celebrity (I think) planted 4 feet apart and already crowded. You might want to look at those pictures.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 9:28AM
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Celebrity is a DETERMINATE hybrid tomato with multiple disease resistances similar to or same as the disease resistances provided by Big Beef, another great hybrid beefsteak adapted generally to the same growing conditions as Celebrity (although Big Beef is indeterminate).

While determinate, Celebrity will easily get 5 to 6 feet tall growing in decent soil conditions under full sun. The easiest way to support Celebrity, and it does require support to produce effectively, is to enclose it in a wire cage that is securely staked to the ground to prevent toppling in a wind ... because Celebrity should get rather bushy and full of tomatoes, which means there will be a good deal of weight to support.

Since you probably should make your wire cages at least 30 inches in diameter, you probably will want to space them so you can walk around the cages without rubbing against them. Therefore, you'd have to center the tomato vines approximately 4.5 to 5 feet apart to allow a 24 to 30 inch space between cages.

Since the most available, large mesh (so you can reach in to pick the tomatoes) fencing wire, or concrete reinforcement wire, is 5 feet tall, your cages will only be 5 feet tall. Don't fret. If the vines grow 6 feet tall, or even more, the tops will simply drape over the outside of the wire. No biggie.

Mulch the area inside the cage with clean straw to hold down the weeds and hold in the soil moisture. Sprinkle some tomato formula fertilizer and a small handful of Epsom salts in and around the planting hole when you stick the plants in the ground. Then side dress the plants with granulated tomato formula fertilizer sprinkled out within the cage when the plants first begin setting and growing tiny green tomatoes.

Good growin' and good eatin'!


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 9:32AM
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Grew it last year in an 18 gallon container. Like the others have said, it will get about 6 feet tall. Mine gave me 3 distinctly separate crops. But what a producer. I got 41 toms that averaged 7.3 ounces. It was still trying to set blooms when frost took it down in late October.

I use mostly stakes as opposed to cages, but am slowly but surely moving to cages as the budget allows. My Celebrity last year was centered 4 feet from its nearest neighboring plant.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:49AM
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Thanks to everyone for the fast info.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of stakes vs. cages with this particular variety?
I am on a pretty strict budget, which probably means I shouldn't have gotten tomatoes :), and am not sure what the most economical solution would be.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:53AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

what are the advantages/disadvantages of stakes vs. cages with this particular variety

Should say up front that I am a devoted cage user and gave up on stakes eons ago. There simply is no comparison IMO. :)

That said, the advantage of cages, especially when built as Bill described above, is that it supports the whole plant and the weight of the fruit on those branches - less loss to rot and much less broken branches from fruit weight. No tying up branches is required.

Stakes require monitoring and tying and can only support the main stem - unless you use multiple stakes on each plant. If you already have stakes you could use 3 to make a tripod/tepee around each and then ring the tripod with some sort of string or wire to work somewhat like a cage would.

You could also do a Florida weave on the 4 plants - a strong stake at each end of the row and one in the middle. Then weave line back and forth between the stakes and the plant branches as the plants grow taller.

But neither will give your plants the support that a good CRW cage will.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 11:50AM
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That makes sense, especially since they are supposed to get so big.
One more question. What is a CRW cage?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 12:06PM
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Sorry, when I posted "concrete reinforcement wire" I should've put (CRW) behind it, because that's what it's commonly called ... CRW.

It's expensive by the roll, but you can get it in individual flat sheets that are used to pour driveway slabs. You can also get hog wire fencing in rolls or cut to length. It's cheaper than CRW because it's lighter weight. But it's galvanized and CRW isn't.

You only have 4 plants, right? Go to Lowe's or to a farm supply store, and take a look at wire fencing. Or maybe you can get some used wire fencing somewhere.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Spacing depends mostly on pruning. No pruning, more space will be taken per plant. More pruning, less space.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 2:57PM
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mojavebob(9/Sunset 11)

I have a Celebrity garden going in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It has ten Celebrity plants. This is the only variety that faithfully delivers heavy yields that I have found for these conditions. In May we already had 10 days over 100 degrees, severe winds, massive grasshopers, thunderstorms and a cold snap to sub 40 degrees. I am growing over 20 types this year, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I discover some winners.

Four of my Celebrities came from a Colorama Home Depot 4 pack labeled determinate. Four I started from seed labeled semi-determinate. The other two are Bonnie plants labeled indeterminate. I added them out of curiosity. What gives? Well, I have three distinctly different plants all called Celebrity going.

The Colorama labeled determinate are growing low and strong, sprawling and taking up ground space. They are covered with set fruit and blooms. A big harvest is coming in the next four weeks. The four from seed labeled Semi-determinate are a little taller, but send out unusually large sprawling branches. They are clearly different plants though it takes a little examination. There is some set fruit, but not as much and they are also in full bloom. The two labeled indeterminate look just like my other indeterminate plants and I am going to string them up to grow vertically. They look nothing like the other two.

Yesterday at Home Depot I saw large tomato plants in one gallon containers and had to check them out. I had a laugh. There's Celebrities with little labels stuck in the dirt that say indeterminate, while the big label attached to the container said determinate. Something is up with these. I will try to get pictures of my garden posted. I have avoided digital cameras, but guess it's time. And a thunderstorm is brewing so I better get off this machine, and cover the wimpy varieties.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:43AM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)


Both Celebrity and Big Beef are "must grows" for me each season. In fact, I paired them up this year. Big Beef on the left, and Celebrity on the right:


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 12:42PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Raybo, I thought you were a strictly heirloom guy. I want to try Big Beef next season.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 8:46PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)


I am a "cross-planter". I like Dona, Carmello, Big Beef, Celebrity, Momotaro, Purple Haze, in addition to the Heirlooms.

You will not be disappointed growing Big Beef!!!


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:41PM
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mojavebob(9/Sunset 11)

Ray, your Celebrity is exactly like the ones I started from seed labeled semi-determinate. Good tough plants for my miserable conditions. I contacted Bonnie about the "indeterminate" Celebrity tag they have on plants all over Southern California, and it took awhile for them to make a decision -- making me think they didn't know what they are doing, but I had them confused.

Two things appear to have convoluted this, and I got in the middle.. My indeterminate Celebrities are in fact true indeterminate plants but they are not Celebrities. Oof. So the label that says indeterminate was wrong twice because it also said Celebrity. My indeterminate plants are probably some beefsteak variety and the error could have been made by Bonnie or Home Depot. The label that was wrong calling Celebrity indeterminate wasn't even stuck into Celebrities, but instead some un-named indeterminate. No worries. I like different plants and these two are doing great growing tall amongst the determinates in a poor man's Florida Weave.

That leaves us with two different Celebrities, which is better than three, and Bonnie says theirs are semi determinate like the seed I grew, while other nurseries might have Bush Celebrity not labeled correctly.

So, my ten Celebrities appear to be two mystery beefsteaks of probable common hybrid variety, four semi-determinates like yours and four Bush Celebrities from Colorama that didn't say Bush Celebrity, but just Celebrity. Isn't this fun?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 2:11PM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

Ummm... 7.3 ounce average fruit size for Celebs? I must be doing something "wrong", because I routinely get 12 to 15 ounce Celebs with lots of one-pounders (especially the first fruits that have little to no competition). My vines get to 8' or more and need strong caging. This year I had to back up the cages with a trellis, they're getting so big.

I'm growing in huge pots with good organic soil. That 8' measurement is from the soil level, so the whole setup is nearly 10' tall. I have to use a ladder to get to the tops, until they start to drape over again. I kid you not-- and yes, these are Celebrity. At least, the tags said so. They looked like Celebs when I bought them at the organic nursery... but all my tomatoes are doing exceptionally well this year so maybe it's just good luck. Or maybe mis-marking at the grower. Heck, I don't know, but they're behaving like viney semi-det's. If it means anything, they were marked 'Celebrity' and not 'Celebrity Bush'. I have had the Bush type and it didn't get anywhere near this tall. Maybe these are just plain 'Celebrity'.

Meh, I'm not going to fret over names or subtypes. I'll just call them all 'Celebrity' and enjoy whatever tomatoes they throw at me. And from the looks of things, it'll be a bunch. :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 9:56AM
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I grow six Celebrity plants each year and plant them in the garden 24"-30" apart. Even though they are determinate plants, I snip the grow tips about the first week of August and remove the smaller tomatoes about the 15th (one month before our average early frost date). I cover them with blankets in the fall unless daytime temps don't hit 50F/10C. I pick them then and put them in layers in boxes under the bed with newspapers and wait for ripeing/tossing any bad ones. I use your basic tomato cages but am thinking of using 4" square concrete mesh about 4' high with a foot in the ground and 3' up. They yield lots of 8-10 ounce fairly smooth beauties. A couple of Early Girls and 4 paste varities and you're set to eat and make salsa/tomato sauce/pasta sauce. An average each year from those 12 plants is about 90-100 pounds. I also make a 12-14" ring of dirt around the plant to water into and add a pinch of 20-20-20 with each watering. two 2.5 gallon pails 3 times a week by the end of august. I use 10-52-10 when planted and once a week for the first three weeks. 3 Sweet Millions in pots too - water daily-pinch 20-20-20. I wish I had found Celebrity sooner than a few years ago. There...I'm done my manuscript

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:34PM
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I've been growing Celebs in roughly the same plot for 5 years,digging in organic compost each spring before planting. i have been getting decreasing yields each year.

Do I need to move to a new part of the yard (6-8 plants) or is there a better way for a basically lazy gardener to enjoy his favorite fruit?


    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 10:53PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I just viewed this thread for the first time.

I am looking at a tag for Celebrity that states it is Indeterminate. It is from Chief Jeff's at:www.chefjeff.com
I purchase the plants locally, and really like the Celebrity, but wonder why mine is different.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:28AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

The nursery where I purchase tomatoes has a colorful listing of tomatoes they are selling this year. In that ad they list Celebrity as "determinate".

I thought they had produced most of the summer, but possibly not.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:47PM
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I grow celebrity and also rutgers. They are pretty close to the same size. As far as taste I would say rutgers is probably better, but the celebrity tends to produce longer. I would stake both of them. I stake mine with that wire mesh they use for concrete reinforcement.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:08AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)


What exactly is the taste of the Celebrity tomato? Is it flat? Acidic? Sweet? Or a good blend of flavor?

I have four plants I just put into pots and am planning to use the CRW to surround them.

I also just got a "Creole" plant, which I'm reading is no specific variety. Don't tell the Cajuns that, though, no.

Tomatoes seem just as confusing as fig names!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:54AM
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