by Patsy Bell Hobson
Determinate tomato varieties require less support than indeterminate varieties that can continue growing right up until frost. Simple staking or tomato pens are usually adequate for determinate tomatoes. Paste tomatoes are determinate or semi-determinate. Their tomatoes ripen in one flush, a short but heavy production period.
Most heirloom tomatoes grow on huge, indeterminate vines with fast-growing, often unwieldy branches. These are the plants that can produce 1 and 2 pound tomatoes. Long, heavy vines with super-sized fruits require sturdy support.
One way to prevent vines from snapping off is by reducing the load. Thinning or removing some of the green tomatoes will lighten the stress on the vines. Those thinned green tomatoes are the original source of fried green tomatoes.