Choosing the variety is the first important step to grow great tomatoes. First, consider the climate in your area, this will greatly affect the varieties that you will be able to grow successfully. No one tomato variety will grow well across all regions and planting seasons. You must also consider issues such as fruit firmness, size, shape, flavor and growing habits.
You also need to decide whether or not you want a ?jointed stem? variety of tomato. Put simply, do you want a tomato variety that retains its stalk when harvested or one that comes away cleanly from its stalk when picked. Often gourmet and organic tomato growers choose jointed stem varieties because the tomato with its stalk still attached looks attractive to the consumer. However, most non-organic commercial growers and some home gardeners choose jointless varieties.
Another choice to make is whether to grow a ?determinate? or ?indeterminate? tomato variety. A determinate variety grows to a bush about 3 feet (1 metre) high. At this stage it stops growing and sets a concentrated crop of tomatoes which can be picked over a few weeks. Indeterminate varieties keep growing until they reach a height at maturity of up to 5 metres or 15 or more feet. The fruit from indeterminate varieties can be picked over a period of 12 to 20 weeks. These varieties are frequently grown in a greenhouse. Many varieties of cherry tomato are indeterminate or semi-indeterminate. Semi-indeterminate tomato varieties are often more easily grown by home gardeners. They may require staking and they set their fruit over a longer period.
The easiest way to grow great tomatoes is to start with seedlings from a nursery. Plant your seedlings in a row approximately 18 inches to 3 feet (50-90 cm) apart. If you are planting more than one row of tomatoes the rows should be spaced about 2 feet (60 cm) apart. Leaving adequate space between the plants increases the probability that you will grow great tomatoes that are disease free.