Determinate tomato plants grow only to a certain size, stop, and set all the fruit at once, excellent when canning.
Indeterminate tomatoes just keep growing and growing and the fruit also keeps coming. Some varieties are semi-determinate and have traits of both.
ThermometerHang one of these kind of indoor-outdoor thermometers on the north (shady) side of a post in your garden area. Protect the outdoor sensor and wire by running it through a piece of hose or pipe, fastened down the post, and bury the bottom end so that the sensor will be at a depth of six inches.
Digital meters seldom survive the year because of the outside humidity.

The Best Tricks in Planting Tomatoes in Your Coastal Northern California Garden

Tomatoes are tropical in origin and need both warmth and light. The winter months will require supplemental lighting. From a practical standpoint it is better to purchase tomatoes at the grocery store during this period rather than trying to grow a crop in a greenhouse. But they are one of the easiest crops to grow during the rest of the year. Here are some tips to assist North Coast growers in enjoying their homegrown tomatoes.

Picking the Right Spot for Your Tomato Plants

Most of the North Coast grows wonderful and flavorful tomatoes, but gardens near the ocean lack the summertime heat. The simplest way to determine the ideal location of your tomato plants in the fog belt is to place them where people go when they sit outside to enjoy the weather. Remember, tomatoes need as much sun and warmth (especially at night) as possible.

Tomatoes aren't terribly fussy about the type of soil they're in, and they'll be happy as long as you put the roots below the ground and the leafy part above.

Root temperature is more important than leaf temperature

Many North Coast gardeners hurriedly put their tomatoes in the ground as early as they can in the spring, assuming it will pay off with earlier fruit. But the magic is not associated with them being in the ground versus being in a planter; the magic is in the soil temperature. Tomato roots will not grow or provide nutrients to the plant at soil temperatures of 50°F or below, they will just sulk until the soil warms to a more hospitable temperature. When roots are not actively growing they are more susceptible to disease and predators. Researchers have found that the ideal root temperature for tomatoes is 70°F, so do all you can to increase this important number.

Techniques to Help You Grow Excellent Tomatoes

NEXT: Frames, Houses and other Growing Helpers