Selecting Tomato Plants for Your Garden

Whether you're new to the joys of growing tomatoes or a long-term tomato aficionado, choosing from among the thousands of varieties is tough. Here's how to make sense of all the options.

Beefsteak tomato

Vining or climbing types produce relatively slender vines reaching 3 feet or more. You could let them sprawl, but harvesting is much easier (and the fruit stays cleaner) if you give them support, such as a sturdy stake, cage or trellis. Most tomatoes are vining types. Examples: 'Beefsteak', 'Brandywine', 'Climbing Triple Crop'. By contrast, bush tomatoes have shorter stems (to about 3 feet), so you can use a light stake or trellis to prop them up or leave them unsupported. Examples: 'Bush Champion', 'Super Bush', 'White Bush'.

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