Making sense of Days to Maturity malarky

12 years ago

Most of us know that the DTM listed on tomato varieties is touted to be maturity time from "setting out transplants" but can actually only be used as a general guide for days to maturity. IOW, whether the tomato is an early-, mid-, or late-season variety.

Last year someone posted a really neat link to the growth progress of a Big Beef tomato, and it's below.

Big Beef has a DTM listed as 73 days "from time of transplant" in at least one catalog. It's likely to be different in other catalogs.

You might be interested to know that for the website grower, it took 53 days from the appearance of the first Big Beef blossom bud to full ripe tomato and 42 days from the tiny tomato that appeared. I'd be interested to know if either of these measures (blossom bud or baby tomato to mature fruit) would be more reliable to anticipate fruit maturity, rather than days from setting out transplants.

It usually takes several weeks for a transplanted tomato plant to settle in and begin growing and producing blossoms depending on a number of factors. Fruit maturity "from the time of transplant" can only be guesswork.

These other milestones of first bud and/or tiny tomato appearance might provide more reliable maturity dates to anticipate, though they might not -- they could fluctuate, not be genetically-determined, and otherwise not be reliable because of other factors. Of course different varieties will have different time schedules.

But, just for curiosity, as the tomato season progresses, if anyone notes these milestones, it might be helpful if you'd let the rest of us know what they are in case we're growing the same variety and can compare notes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Big Beef - pictorial record of days to maturity

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