What is the Difference?

In the world of tomatoes, especially heirloom tomatoes, we often see something like “100 days” or “70 days.” This is referring to the Days to Maturity. In the case of tomatoes, it means how long it will be from the day you transplant a seedling to the day you start picking ripe tomatoes. A lot of hybrids tend to fall in the 60-75 day range, while the whole spectrum of tomatoes can go from 50 days to 120+ days. I have to be honest that I glance at that number when I’m picking tomatoes, but I usually don’t really pay much attention. However, the difference becomes quite stark when you have a 60 day tomato planted right next to a 100 day tomato, as is the case in the Demo Garden this year.

Here’s the difference between a 70 day Brandymaster (hybrid Brandywine) and Brandywine itself (100 days).

The Red Brandymaster has several tomatoes that are nearly ripe.

The Brandywine plant is just starting (finally!) to set tomatoes. Actually, I’m impressed that it’s setting tomatoes as hot as it’s been.

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on July 21, 2010, in Around the Garden and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I was unimpressed with my brandywine last year. Major cracking, poor pollination, I think I only ended up getting maybe 15 tomatoes off it. The flavor was pretty good, but it’d take a lot for me to try it again. However, I wondered after reading Amy Goldman’s Tomato book if a different variety of brandywine would be better. Have you read it?

    • I haven’t read the book, but I know of it. I think that Kansas is just a really harsh climate for most heirlooms, especially the big ones. However, I’d say that 15 tomatoes from one heirloom plant is doing pretty good! They often do have a much lower yield.

  2. I had forgotten that excessive temperatures slow fruit set. I’ll have to do some refresher reading, I see. That may well explain why my Philadelphia tomatoes aren’t as prolific as I’d hoped they’d be.

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