(Solanum lycopersicum) This crop, native to the Americas, has become the most popular garden crop over the last 200 years. We offer an amazing selection of many of the finest old varieties in lots of delicious colors! A few heirloom varieties have plants that don't get quite so large. Called "determinate" varieties, these grow to a certain size and then set all their fruit more or less at once. Determinates may be a better choice where tomatoes are grown in a very small garden, or in containers. All varieties are believed to be 'indeterminate' (long vines), unless specified 'determinate' (short vines). The best-tasting varieties tend to be indeterminate, and most of ours are unless otherwise noted. For many reasons, it is highly recommended to start your seeds indoors and transplant out. First, the tomato is a long season crop and northern growers will want a jump start, but also tomatoes greatly benefit from transplanting as it helps them to grow into a more sturdy plant. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days. Ideal germination temperature is 70-80 F. Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep. Transplant outdoors after all chance of frost have passed. Tomatoes have a unique ability to grow extra roots along their stems, which helps the plant to become better established and take up nutrients, so it is wise to dig a deep hole and plant the tomato so that the bottom few inches of stem are below the soil line. (Note: this ability is unique to tomatoes and planting deep in this manner will kill or harm other plants.) Plant in full sun. Plants prefer rich, well-drained soil and regular watering. Space plants 24-36 inches apart (determinate tomatoes can be planted 18-24 inches apart).