Let’s Talk Tomatoes

As I was going through the seed racks here to pick out a few favorites to start indoors in a couple of weeks, I decided to do a blog on my favorite varieties.

Two words you need to know first—determinate and indeterminate. A determinate tomato is a BUSH—it produces a large crop in a shorter period of time, then it’s pretty much done. If you’re canning or making salsa and need a lot of tomatoes at once, determinate tomatoes are for you. They max out at about five feet tall. An indeterminate tomato is a vine—it will produce all the way to frost. They need to be staked however.

My favorite tomatoes all happen to be indeterminate varieties—I want good fresh tomatoes all the way to frost!

My Favorite Tomato Varieties—and Why

7. Better Boy

Smooth-skinned, flavorful tomatoes that are resistant to both Verticillium and Fusarium—both common tomato diseases. Fruits can grow as large as a pound. They are a strong, reliable tomato.

6. Green Zebra

Fairly disease resistant, Green Zebra is a beautiful bright green striped heirloom with a zesty sweet/tart flavor.

5. German Johnson

An Heirloom with pinkish/orange fruits. They are productive, flavorful, and crack-resistant.

4. Mortgage Lifter

This heirloom was developed by a man named M.C. Byles who was a radiator repairman—hence the other name for this plant—Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter. He created it from crossing four different tomatoes and the resulting seedlings sold so well he paid off his mortgage in six years. Rich, sweet, one pound fruits are pinkish/red.

3. Matt’s Wild Cherry

Originally found growing in the wild in Hidalgo, Mexico, this variety creates vigorous, disease-resistant, sweet/tart, half-inch, bite-sized fruits on crazy sprawling vines.

2. Cherokee Purple

A pretty purple tomato, more disease-resistant than some heirlooms, the flavor is sweet/tart with a rich almost smoky back note. Originally hybridized by the Cherokees.

1. Sun Gold/sister seedling Sun Sugar

Very productive cherry-type tomato. The fruits are bright orange with a delicious fruity back note.

Other Tomatoes I’ve Grown and Liked

There are other tomatoes I’ve grown and liked—Brandywine, Big Boy, Celebrity, Sweet 100, etc.—but these seven are just my favorites. Except for the Better Boys, the rest are heirlooms because that seems to be where the best flavor is in my opinion. And, of course, we all know that the best tasting tomatoes are always FRESH and LOCAL!

Most of these varieties are disease resistant because I’ve got enough to do staying on top of the squash bugs….

Some of these we’ll sell in plants in spring, however some you’ll need to start from seed. I’ll talk about seed-starting next week.

Tell me about your favorite tomatoes…

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