Rutgers - original indet strain - some questions

dancinglemons(7B VA)June 17, 2012

Hello all,

I am growing Rutgers this year - started from seed - the seed is from Southern Exposure Seeds in Virginia. The catalog listing: 75 days. (Indeterminate) The original strain of this famous New Jersey tomato. When Rutgers University refined the variety in 1943, they took out some of the vininess, but also some of the flavor. This original strain tastes better.

My question is this - does Rutgers grow a heavy duty strong stemmed plant which almost stands on its own without benefit of trellis/supports? I've got 3 of these plants and the stems/branches are so thick and strong that they don't need much help from me to stand up. I've got them staked with EMT supports because I thought they would be 'viney' in growth habit. -OR- is it possible the the seeds I grew out reverted back to the determinate plant??

I grew Rutgers in the 1980's but do not remember the plants being so "strong" ?? Anyone?? Would photos help? BTW all plants are in 20gallon containers.



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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Rutgers was originally released in 1928 and it's that one that is indet and the only place, last I knew, that the indet was available, was from Fedco seeds and I don't know if they still have it.

It was rereleased in 1933 and that's the det one and the one we have today.

Perhaps it was a typo that SASE said 1943 instead of 1933 and I know nothing about the 1933 one losing taste since plant habit is controlled by different genes than are taste genes.

We grew it at the farm when I was a kid and I was born in 1939 and it was det in the 40's when I was out there in the tomato fields helping my dad.

In any one SSE YEarbook there are at least 5-7 different versions of Rutgers.

I decided to see what history Tania has at her page and she has essentially what I wrote above including the several versions post 1933.

No, I don't think what you grew reverted, I think what you grew was det in the first place.

SASE is not perfect, no place is, but they did change the name of a pepper variety that I'd sent to Jeff McCormack when he owed it, and that changed name got spread around. It's the one I named Joe's Round and my source, Joe Sestito, said it resenbled a bouquet of flowers which in Italian is called Ammazzo, but that's not the name that Joe Sestito and I gave to it. When I found out about the changed name I called and got it back to what it was when I sent it.

Being fair I sent Joe's Long to Rob Johnston at Johnny's at the same time and they, I think, still list it, and I think the current PUBLIC SSE catalog lists both. I just checked that, they do, and it reminded me that Johnny's found it was a cayenne so I think called it Joe's Long Cayenne.

In addition to the many tomato vareities I sent to SASE I also sent some great hot pepper varieties as well, which are still there all these many years ago.

But I quit trying to grow peppers b'c the crossing rate was too high for me to deal with. LOL

Hope that answers your question about Rutgers, and just a side note here. I contacted someone at Rutgers about something many years ago, I forget his name now, and he told me that when _____________ died and they cleaned out his office they found the original papers from the 1928 release.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rutgers and friends.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 6:50PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Actually Carolyn many suppliers are now selling the indeterminate strain and true determinate seed is getting much more difficult to find IME. I track the variety regularly as it has been one of my regulars for 40+ years. Some distributors are tacking on "Select" or "Improved" or even a number to differentiate the two but most aren't.

Unfortunately some suppliers I have used over the past few years in an effort to get true determinate seed are substituting indeterminate seeds without advising the customers and every one of the 30+ plants I have grown over the past 3 or 4 years have turned out to be indeterminate.

tomatogrowers. com,, Burpee, Harris Seeds, and several others all supply the variety labeled indeterminate.

So DL if you were lucky enough to get a real determinate, even though that isn't what you expected, I envy you.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:20PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Carolyn and Dave -- THANKS!!!!! I really love history and now I have more thanks to both of you. I did look at the link to Tatiana and will compare photos tomorrow. My plants have larger leaves. Now -- if I post some photos could you folks tell me what you think this is - kinda??

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 1:26AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Dave, I do trust you as to what you described as your growing what was indet, but it's not just what I've seen reported at many message sites and online.

Maybe the following is happening.

Tom Wagner's original Green Grape was indet. I was growing it here at my new place and the plants were not indet they were det and had much less fruits than I was accustomed to.

At the time I was posting here at GW and Earl was as well, not One of the Earl's, but another Earl. I got from him seeds for what he said was indet, and when I planted them out they were det.

At the same time Tom was in the Netherlands at Sahin Seeds where Kees had kind of a gathering of European folks for a taste testing. Tom found even there that his GG was det, not the original indet.

Then I was invited to give a dog and pony show at Hortus Nursery in Pasadena and Tom drove down from Bakersfield where he was at the time and brought me two plants that he said were indet. I carried them back on the plane and they turned out to be det as well.

What I'm saying is that the plant habit was flip flopping back and forth between indet and det, and I wonder if the same might be true with Rutgers, going the other way, that is, from det to indet.

DL, one good way to determine if what you have is det or indet is that det varieties have terminal blossom clusters and now I forget the other major difference which is the distance between blossom clusters as well.

No, I don't think I could tell what you have by pictures, I really don't.,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=e3778fbac2bbeb19&biw=757&bih=403

Above is a general Google search about Rutgers and det vs indet and lots of good reading on that.

And below I'm linking to one of those links that describes the difference between indet and det. Look for the post by Hoosier who is quoting from Keith Mueller and the internode difference between the two that I couldn't remember.


Here is a link that might be useful: GW link, det vs indet

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 2:05AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What I'm saying is that the plant habit was flip flopping back and forth between indet and det, and I wonder if the same might be true with Rutgers, going the other way, that is, from det to indet.

That's exactly what I have suspected as well for the past several years as it would explain much of the performance issues.

I always prefer to give benefit-of-a-doubt to seed suppliers and something like genetic instability let's me do that. :)


    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:39AM
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