When planting tomatoes in your home garden, it is important to understand the difference between the seed varieties. There are dozens of different seeds specific for certain regions, climates and uses. Four main categories of tomato seed varieties exist: heirloom, hybrid, determinate and indeterminate.
Heirloom tomatoes are one of the most favored varieties of tomato seeds, for their genetic perfection, taste, texture and variety of colors available. Sometimes the seeds have been passed down for centuries and can be expensive. Heirlooms have adapted to specific climates and regions. They grow small and large (up to two pounds) and can have smooth yet mutated shapes, such as a pumpkin or squash resemblance. Heirloom tomatoes are very aesthetically beautiful in colors ranging from pink, white, dark purple, red, orange, yellow, and many more. Heirlooms are open-pollinated tomatoes.
A hybrid tomato seed is a cross from two different varieties, usually to create a fruit that has select characteristics. For example, it could be tailored to a specific soil or climate. They can be disease or drought resistant. The downside of hybrid seeds is that they are often sterile, producing a less desirable tomato than the ones that created it.
All tomatoes can either be determinate or indeterminate, which is the process of how the tomato grows. Determinate tomato seeds grow more compact and clustered, with the tomatoes ripening all at the same time and height. The most popular determinate types are patio and Roma tomatoes. Indeterminate tomato seeds are constantly growing and being harvested on different cycles on the same plant, until frost hits. Usually indeterminate tomatoes must grow on a trellis in order to mature.