Smallest Plants for Tomato Paste

Tomatoes are one of the most popular grown vegetables in the home garden. Of these, some varieties are grown for eating; and some are grown for their thicker core, which makes for a good paste. For gardeners who need to grow in a small space, determinate tomato varieties are better because they only get so big before they stop growing. Generally, the shortest ripening time is a good indication of smallest relative plant size.

Important Facts

Tomato plants come in two basic growing categories: "determinate" and "indeterminate." Determinate tomato plants grow to a certain size and then they stop and concentrate more on setting fruit, but they have a finite season. Indeterminate tomato plants, in contrast, will keep growing until frost kills them. Along the way, they will set fruit, but usually more slowly because some of the plant's energy is still devoted to plant growth. However, the fruit will continue to blossom as long as the plant is alive. Their season is only shortened by the weather. Gardeners who need to grow in small spaces or containers should consider determinate varieties, since the plant is "programmed" not to get beyond a certain size. In cases where even that size may be too much, you can pinch off the main stem to encourage the plant to branch out more and set fruit. Tomatoes grow productive size branches, and "suckers" between those productive branches and the main stem. To further reduce overall plant volume and encourage fruiting, remove the suckers where they sprout at the junctions where the useful branch grows from the main stem. Even if space is very limited, do what you can to allow room for roots. When transplanting a tomato plant, remove some of the lower branches and plant it deeply. Roots will form along the stem set into the ground. Alternatively, you can lay the plant on its side and bury more stem shallowly. The uncovered stem will soon bend upward, and the buried part will sprout roots. The more root a tomato plant has, the greater its ability to find nutrients to put into fruit production.

Paste Tomatoes that Ripen by 70 Days

The following paste tomato varieties are determinate and set fruit early in the season (within 65-70 days), so they won't grow as large as later-fruiting types: El Dorado Hybrid, Bellstar, Incas Hybrid and Victoria Supreme.

Longer-Term Paste Tomatoes

These paste tomatoes take longer to ripen fruit (72-85 days), but they are still determinate, which means they will only get so big before they stop. A gardener with limited space might still be able to grow these: Margherita Hybrid, Viva Italia Hybrid, Cream Sausage, Green Sausage, Martino's Roma, Roma, Halley Hybrid, La Roma Hybrid, Principe Borghese, Ethiopia Roi Humbort.

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