Celebrity-Good Variety for Beginner?

groovy1(New Jersey)May 13, 2007

The last few years I had a lot of problems with indeterminate heirloom tomatoes, most likely in part because of the high humidity and very high heat that we experienced in the recent NJ summers. I admit, I am an amateur and know very little about growing tomatoes except basic pruning, so many mistakes were probably made on my part too.

This year I resolved to grow hybrid determinate varieties that would be a little easier to manage. I plan on either staking or caging them, the Bush Early Girl that I had a few years ago almost grew out of the cages, but not quite, same with the Roma, so I was pretty confident with the caging idea.

I was planning on doing the Roma again and today someone recommended the Celebrity hybrid. Can anyone give me a thumbs up or down on the Celebrity for my goals and could you give me a recommendation on how to best manage them as far as staking, caging, etc, to keep them healthy and productive?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Sincerely,

Mark in NJ

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kubotabx2200(Zone 5b NH)

You don't have to prune Celebrity and I would advise against it. Just let them grow. They are not too large so if you grow them in a good size cage and let them alone you will do fine. Celebrity are an easy variety to grow, they are productive but they are not the most flavorful variety out there.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 11:14PM
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calichef

We grew Celebrities last year and they were amazingly successful! They are INdeterminates, though. Don't worry about what all the heirloom growers say about them, they taste great. Bonus: they are easy to grow and don't need to be babied along.

I don't know how big they will get in New Jersey, but here in the central valley of California they grow HUGE. Ours were easily ten feet tall. They were over the top of those large, purchased tomato cages by mid-July. If you have room for them to sprawl, you could just let them sprawl. If you have chainlink fencing, they kind of like being tied up. You might consider a Florida weave with ten-foot long t-posts.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 2:06AM
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seeker11(z6)

Hello Mark,

Celebrities really are determinate, not indeterminate, (see the link below) and will satisfy your need for a more "well-behaved" tomato. They are also very productive. However (and I am NOT an heirlooms-only person), I think they are seriously lacking in flavor. That said, many people do like them, so they may be worth trying. A good store-bought cage should be enough. It helps to drive a stake or 2 through the cage to anchor it. Definitely do not prune Celebrity. Personally, I don't prune any tomatoes.
Mark, you should be able to grow any tomato, hybrid or heirloom. If you had foliage disease problems, most likely you can control them with regular applications of Daconil (Ortho Garden Disease Control, or something like that---I can't remember the exact name).
I'd recommend some other varieties to try, but don't know what you have available. There are many indeterminates that have a somewhat compact growth habit, and are easy to grow.
In any event, best of luck with whatever you grow!

Paula

Here is a link that might be useful: Celebrity

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 5:22AM
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groovy1(New Jersey)

Thanks for the advice everyone, much appreciated!

Seeker11, please go ahead and recommend some more. I have a passion for growing tomatoes but am way 'behind the times' when it comes to technique. I would like to improve my skill at growing them and deepen my knowledge. I have access to a good number of tomatoes, and if I cannot find what you recommend, I can save the recommendation for next year and purchase seed for the suggested variety. Fire away!

Thanks,
Mark

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 3:44PM
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seeker11(z6)

Mark,

I grow all of my tomatoes in containers, so I'm always looking for those that remain relatively compact. My first piece of advice would be to avoid cherry tomatoes...with a few exceptions, they get HUGE and sprawly (anti-intuitive, huh?).

New Big Dwarf is a great tomato. It gets 3'-4' high, relatively narrow, and has a very strong central stem that doesn't require a lot of support. Best of all, the tomatoes are really delicious. Azoychka gets a bit bigger than that, but is still well-behaved...and really yummy. For a large beefsteak, Aker's West Virginia is a reasonably compact plant, and, again, the fruit is excellent. Some very small plants that I really like are: Silvery Fir Tree (warning: many people do not like this one; it's not very sweet), Early Wonder (another one that a lot of people don't like, but it's very good for me), Lime Green Salad, Citron Compact, and Bush Big Boy. Quarter Century has the same type of growth habit as New Big Dwarf. Cherokee Purple always stays somewhat compact for me...and the fruit is superb. I'm sure I'm forgetting many good ones.

Please keep us posted on what you grow and how it turns out for you.

Paula

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 6:15PM
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nctom(8 nc)

I grew Celebity and Better Boys for years before discovering heirlooms or OP's and loved them.

In my humble opinion I'd say that if you have sucess growing Celebrity you could have been just as sucessful with many many heirlooms. My OP's don't get any special treatment.

A soil ph of around 6.5

A mix of black kow compost and native soil.(mostly native soil)

A few tablespoons of 5-10-10 (side dressed) once the plant has been in the ground for a few weeks and then again a month later.

Water as needed

8 hrs or so of sunshine.

There are other fertilizers such as MG or Tomato Tone and there is stuff that you can spray for fugal disease (daconil). The basics well grow Celebs or anything else. Poor soil and or not enough sun will give few tomatoes of any kind.

Tim

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 11:52PM
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tomatomike(z7NC)

When I saw the various comments about Celebrity being determinate or indeterminate, I looked around at various suppliers and found that Totally Tomatoes calls it "semi" determinate. Most every other source calls it determinate. I have never considered it determinate by its growth pattern. It produces up to frost for me.It is one of my favorites for reliability and production with average flavor and good for canning.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 9:34AM
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