Tomatoes come in all sorts of variations so it’s no surprise you may feel a bit intimidated when making your decision on what type to grow in your garden. Luckily, we are here to guide you and keep it simple!
When searching for your tomato, consider days to maturity which are represented on most plant tags and signify days until harvest after planting.
Difference between INDETERMINATE and DETERMINATE:
Indeterminate types produce fruits until plant is killed by frost, can grow up to 12 feet, and their fruits set and ripen at the same time throughout the season.
Determinate types grow well in cooler conditions, grow into compact bushes, and typically push out ripened fruits 3 weeks after flowering which makes them a great choice for preserving.
Here are some common types of tomatoes and our favorite varieties to help you find the perfect tomato to grow in your garden this season:
Be the first in your neighborhood to have tomatoes fresh from your own garden
Stupice – a ‘potato-leaf’ type with quite good yields of 2.5″ tomatoes, with a nice blend of sweet and acid flavor; heirloom variety from Czechoslovakia that continues to produce through the summer. 60 days. Compact semi-determinate plant.
Glacier – also a ‘potato-leaf’ type, with a solid early crop of sweet 2″ tomatoes and some continued summer production. 55 days. Compact semi-determinate plant.
Fourth of July – 2.5″-3″ fruit are abundantly produced very early, and on through the summer on a tall indeterminate plant. Good flavor and disease resistance, but thin skinned. 49 days.
Heirloom tomato size, shape, color and flavor qualities are known to stand the test of time, as well as be one-of-a-kind. These varieties often grow into irregular shapes, display unique colors, and have exceptional flavor. Once planted, set up a tomato cage and guide the plant through the supports as it grows.
Green Zebra – 1.5″ to 2.5″ chartreuse with green striped fruit, green flesh with a rich taste. Eat fresh or great for canning. 78 days. Indeterminate.
Mortgage Lifter – Rich and sweet taste, up to 1 lb. large pink fruits. Old tale of a farmer selling these beautiful fruits allowed him to pay off his mortgage! 83 days. Indeterminate plant with good disease resistance.
Brandywine – Award-winning flavor, giant fruit size of up to 7 inches across. Not a heavy producer. 85 days. Indeterminate, potato-leaf variety plant.
Moonglow – Great texture and flavor for an orange tomato of 3 to 4 ounce size. Thick skinned and few seeds with good storage life. 85 days. Indeterminate plant.
Cherokee Purple – Deep and dusky purple-pink color, slightly flattened & very large 13-14 ounce fruits with delicious flavor. 80 days. Reliable indeterminate plant.
Cherry and grape tomatoes vary in size, shape, color and flavor. What make these so special are their prolific yields of very small to medium size fruits that are fun to grow in the home garden. Grow on a trellis support for easy picking!
Black Cherry – Produces loads of round 1 inch dark fruits with rich & sweet flavor. Great for salads or fresh off the vine. 64 days. A delicious indeterminate plant.
Sun Gold – Golden-orange, small 1 1/4 inch size fruits with sweet-tart flavor that develops early in the season. 65 days. Vigorous indeterminate plant.
Super Sweet 100 – Bursts of small 1 inch cherry-sized fruits produce in clusters until frost with a classic sweet flavor. Perfect for snacking! 70 days. Tall and indeterminate plant.
Sugar Rush – One of the sweetest varieties, produces elongated 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inch size firm fruits early in the season. 50 to 55 days. A stocky 5-7 foot tall, indeterminate plant.
Beefsteak tomatoes are the juicy and large late summer producing varieties that are perfect for fresh eating or on a BLT sandwich! Once planted, set up a tomato cage and guide the plant through the supports as it grows, which will allow for better air circulation and ease of harvesting.
Better Boy – Smooth skinned, large 16 ounce fruit that are plump and juicy and grow well in a variety of climates. 70 to 75 days. Indeterminate plant.
Big Beef – Excellent disease resistance. Rich flavored very large 12 to 16 ounce globe-shaped fruits. 73 days. Vine growing, indeterminate plant.
Big Boy – Delicious, uniformly large 16 to 32 ounce size fruits. Great productivity and crack resistance. 78 days. Indeterminate plant.
Pork Chop – True yellow tomato that has a slightly flattened shape, thin skinned with sweet flavor & hints of citrus. 75-85 days. Indeterminate plant.
Want to make home-made salsa, sauce and paste? These types are perfect for making sauces because of their high pulp and low water content. They’re also great for sun-drying and adding to your favorite dishes!
Roma – Dependable choice for tomato paste and sauces. Produces large thick-walled, meaty tomatoes. Cooking intensified flavor. 73-80 days. Determinate.
San Marzano – Teardrop-shaped 5 inch long fruits have sweet & complex flavor. Heavy producer, excellent for sauces or chopped into salads. 78 days. Indeterminate plant.
Amish – Large 8 to 12 ounce, irregular shaped fruit with great flavor. Perfect for paste and canning. 74-85 days. Indeterminate, vine plant.
Speckled Roman – Red with yellow streaks, 5 inch long elongated fruit with meaty flesh that has little juice & excellent flavor. 85 days. Indeterminate plant.
Rio Grande – Extra large, pear shaped Heirloom variety with excellent disease resistance. Highly flavorful. Perfect for sauces, pastes and juicing. 60-90 days. Determinate.
Planting a Tomato in Spring Video
Though there is still snow on Mary’s Peak, we are entering the window to get those tomatoes planted! Watch this short video to see what you need for planting tomatoes in spring when it’s still a little cold outside.
In the video, Andrea uses red plastic for a mulch and greenhouse effect which is very helpful for more than tomatoes. Peppers and other warm season crops also appreciate this protection when planted early.