Growing tomato varieties

7 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Determine Which Tomato Varieties to Grow

With over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes known worldwide, it can be a daunting task of figuring out which tomato seed varieties to purchase and to grow in your garden. Home grown tomatoes provide superior flavor over supermarket varieties, and is one of the most popular garden vegetable to grow. There is nothing more enjoyable than a summer harvest of home grown tomatoes!

How to grow tomatoes

Your choice will be to: spend the time and grow your plants from seed, purchase ready to plant “starts” (aka, small plants usually sold in packs of 4 to 6), or even purchase full grown plants. Relying on purchasing partially or fully grown containerized tomato plants, you may be stuck with whatever is available your local garden center. Many times, particularly at the big box centers, the tomato varieties available may not even be suitable to your area. So starting plants from seeds gives you the most options. The biggest dilemma is, with the sheer number of choices, which variety should you grow?

To help you figure that out, let’s go through a series of informative questions, that will help you narrow down your choices. Then choose which varieties of tomatoes are best suited for you, based upon garden space and growing conditions.
Here we go!

Jump to Sections:

Q1 Enough Space & Sun?

Q2 Tomatoes all at once or at a Time?

Q3 What Want to Use For?

Q4 When do you want to eat them?

Q5 Can You Keep up?

Q6 Climate Hot or Cold?

Q7 Got Diseases?

You also might find this companion article helpful:

Question #1 Your Space: Do you have enough sun and space?

Tomatoes require full sun – that is a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight. So if you don’t have a space that gives you that much sun, you might be discourage and, sorry to say, you will have a really tough time growing tomatoes.

6 Hours of Sun Needed!

Consider Planting in Containers

One possibility is you don’t have sufficient sunlight in your garden is to consider planting in containers which you can put in a really sunny space instead of planting in the ground. Some tomatoes types do well in small spaces and in containers.

My garden only gets about 4 hours of sun, so I put them in pots and put them out on a space in the front of the house. They need a bit more watering than if in the ground, and are not quite as vigorous, but I do get tomatoes!


I’ve seen people put tomato pots in upcycled strollers so they are easily wheeled around.

Moveable plants
Strollers are a great way to move plants to follow the sun.

Grow Indoors

Tomato varieties selection

If you have really deep rooted desire to grow your own tomatoes and really have no space outside, then consider growing them under artificial grow lights inside. The cost per tomato will go up since the initial cost of the indoor growing set up can be a bit hefty, but it does solve the problem.

I grew tomatoes indoors one season. I spent about $100 in lights, made a stand to string the lights for about $15 and the electric bill went up $20 a month. They were expensive tomatoes, but it was well worth the outcome!

Solutions to Lack of Direct Sunshine:

Limited Sun? Containerized Plants with Wheels.

Very Limited Sun? Grow Indoors with Grow Lights and Grow Stand.

Planting In Containers Vs Garden Space

When Would You Want to Use Container or Pots to Plant Tomatoes?

Use Containers or Pots When:

Crappy Soil

Sometimes challenged soils takes a long time to amend, so if you know that is the case, using containers will get your good results right now (while you are working on improving your soil).

Vole/Mole Activity

Underground burrowers can wreak havoc on root systems, so if you haven't found a good solution to any burrowing critters in your garden, they generally can't get into pots!

Limited Space

Small spaces are often best utilized with container gardens. You can pack a lot of plants on patios, driveways, and balconies.

< 6 Hours of Direct Sunlight

With tomatoes in containers (and on wheels!) you can follow the sun throughout the day.

You also might find this article helpful:

Question: How Big Should the Pots Be for My Tomato Plant?

Answer: The Bigger the Better

tomato varieties that do well in pots

However, there are certain varieties of tomatoes that do very well in pots.

Tomato Varieties that Do Well in Pots:

Red Varieties: “Juliet”, “Super Sweet”, “Branywine” and “Roma”

Yellow/orange Variety: “Taxi”

Purple Varieties: “Black Plum” and “Black Krim”

Green Variety: “Green Zebra”

Varieties of tomato plants not adapted to small spaces will either out-grow their containers or not perform well due to the limited soil, so select the seed type that is adapted for small soil space. The tomato seed package may or may not give you this information, unfortunately, and you will have to dig on forums to find this out.

The different forms of tomato (determinate vs indeterminate, see below for explanation) also require different spacing between the rows when planting directly into the soil.

A bush style (determinate) plant needs 12 to 24 inches spacing between tomatoes whereas an indeterminate plant (one that typically grows very tall) needs between 14 to 20 inches between plants.

The tomato seed package of the variety you choose will provide guidance on plant spacing.
So if you have a small garden space, pay attention to the recommended space needed and plan accordingly, since with the right variety you may be able to grow more plants per square foot with the right seed stock.

Medium Vs Tall Height Tomato Plants

An often forgotten consideration when it comes to space is the vertical space needed to grow. Some tomatoes get really tall, with the world record being 65 feet in stature! Typically tomatoes are characterized as either being medium sized in height – reaching between 4 and 6 feet in height, or tall sized reaching between 6-8 feet in height.

The bush (determinate) style tomatoes tend to be shorter. When planting a medium- height tomato, commercially available tomato cages typically do the trick.

However, when planting tall tomatoes, trellising or other support mechanism will be necessary, and sometime even a ladder to reach the upper fruit!

With either type of tomato, it is possible to not support the tomatoes at all and allow them to sprawl on the ground. The disadvantages of this approach is they take up a lot of space and may become fair game for competing critters, which might to get to the fruit before you do.

Medium Height Tomatoes:

Red Varieties: “Juliet”, “New Girl”, “Roma”, “San Marzano”, “Stupice”, “Mortgage Lifter”

Yellow/orange Varieties: “Dr. Wyche’s Yellow”, “Taxi”

Purple Varieties: “Black from Tula”, “Black Krim”, “Black Plum”, “Cherokee Purple”

Tall Height Tomatoes:

Red Tomato: “Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “Super Sweet 100”

Purple Tomato: “Black Cherry”

Yellow/orange Tomato: “German Orange Strawberry”, “Lemon Boy”, “Sun Gold”, “Yellow Pear”

Green Tomato: “Aunt Ruby’ German Green”, “Green Giant”, “Green Zebra”

Q #2 Seasonality: Do you Want Tomatoes All Season Or All at Once?

The Plant Form will dictate the answer to this question.

Plant Forms: Determinate vs Indeterminate

Tomatoes growth physiology comes in two forms: determinate and indeterminate.

Determinate Tomatoes:

Produce Fruit All At Once

Determinate tomato varieties typically are bush form, and produce fruit all at once. All of the blossoms set fruit at the same time.

Grow to Between 4-6 Feet

Be prepared to support plants due to abundance of fruit. Unlike indeterminate plants, they top out and stop growing.

Harvest all within 2 weeks

Once fruit is ripe, you will harvest them all within 2 weeks or so, then you are done.

Great for Canning

Common in commercial varieties for this reason, it's perfect if you want to enjoy those flavors in the middle of winter by canning or need lots of tomatoes all at once.

Many say that determinate tomatoes are not as flavorful, since the majority of them are bred for commercial use and have tough skins for machine harvesting and hard flesh to survive shipping and storage. One of the favorite tasting yellow tomato that is determinate is the ‘Taxi’ variety.

Indeterminate Tomatoes:

Produce Fruit All Season

Unlike determinate varieties, the plant will keep producing fruit all season.

Can Exceed Feet

These plants can get tall! Trellis and staking are recommended to keep the plants supported and off the ground.

Keep Growing

As the blossoms on the lower part of the plant set fruit, new flowers farther up on the plant start to bloom.

Known for Exceptional Flavor

Many of the heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate and are known for their exceptional flavor.

Determinate Tomatoes:

Red Variety: “Roma”

Yellow/orange Variety:  “Taxi”

Indeterminate Tomatoes:

Red: “Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “Juliet”, “New Girl”, “San Marzano”, “Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”, “Brandywine”, “Anna’s Russian”, “Mortgage Lifter”

Purple: “Black Cherry”, “Black from Tula”, “Black Krim”, “Black Plum”, “Cherokee Purple””

Yellow/orange: “Dr Wyche’s Yellow”, “German Orange Strawberry”, “Lemon Boy”, “Sun Gold”, “Yellow Pear”

Green Tomato: “Aunt Ruby’s German Green”, “Green Giant”, “Green Zebra”

Q #3 Characteristics: What do you want to use the tomatoes for?

Tomatoes come in different sizes, and have different flavor profiles, textures, juice contents.

Hybrid vs Open Pollinated vs Heirloom

Tomato seeds fall into three categories: (1) Hybrid, (2) Open pollinated and (3) Heirloom tomatoes. If you are looking for the best flavor, then open pollinated and heirloom are they type to choose. The seed distributors and greenhouses usually posts this information on their webpage or on the seed package directly.

Hybrid Tomatoes

Hybrid tomatoes have been cross pollinated either in a laboratory or sometime accidentally in the field to create a desired trait. The typical commercially available tomato is a hybrid.

Due to the hybridization, the genes become unstable and thus if you save the seeds and replanted them they would not have the same characteristics of the original plant. The second generation is also typically less vigorous. Thus most hybrid seeds are purchased new each year, and are not saved.

Pros of Hybrid Tomatoes

The advantage of hybrid tomatoes is if tomato-borne diseases are particularly rampant in your area these are bred to be resistant to some of those diseases. The packaging will be labelled with what disease they are resistant to.

Cons of Hybrid Tomatoes

The disadvantages are they are not as flavorful and you have to purchase new seeds each year. So no saving seeds with hybrid varieties.

Common Hybrid Tomatoes:

“Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “Juliet”, “New Girl”, “Roma”, “Super Sweet 100”

“Lemon Boy”, “Sun Gold”, “Black Cherry”, “Green Zebra”

Open Pollinated & Heirloom

The terms “Heirloom” and “Open Pollinated” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. An heirloom variety is open-pollinated, however not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms. The difference being that the true heirloom variety has not been modified or cross bred with any other variety of tomato and thus are the same as they were 50 to 100 years ago.

An open pollinated variety may naturally have crossed with other tomatoes if planted near each other, and thus may not be the exact same tomato as the previous generation or from generations past.

If you want to have fruit that is identical to the fruit you are seeding, you need to do so from an open-pollinated or heirloom tomato.

Pros of Heirloom & OP

Heirloom and open pollinated seeds can be saved. These types of tomatoes are known for their better flavors.

Cons of Heirloom & OP

These varieties may be more susceptible to diseases.

Common Open Pollinated Tomatoes:

“San Marzano”, “Dr. Wyche’s Yellow”, “Cherokee Purple”

“Aunt Ruby’s Green Giant”, “Green Giant”

Common Heirloom Tomatoes:

“Amish Paste”, “Stupice”, “Brandywine”, “Anna’s Russian”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“German Orange Strawberry”, “Taxi”, “Yellow Pear”, “Black from Tula”, “Black Krim”, “Black Plum”

Fruit Size and Shape

Tomatoes can range from tiny bite sized morsels to whopper sized, weighing well over 1 pound each. Most of commercial hybrids are red in color. Heirloom tomatoes, however can provide us a rainbow of options from pink, red, orange, yellow, green, and purple/black.

Tiny: Currant Tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes - gold rush

The currant tomato is not common and is quite hard to find. The tiny red or yellow currant tomato is actually a difference species than most of the other tomatoes that we grow (Lycospericon pimpinfolium) and is native to the West coasts of Peru and Ecuador.

This flavor-packed tomato bears pea-sized fruit and are sweet and juicy, but tend to be tough-skinned. You can purchase currant tomato seeds from companies known for their heirloom seeds such as Seed Savers Exchange.

Small: Cherry & Grape Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are sweet and prolific growers

Cherry and grape shaped tomatoes are a big favorite among gardeners and are known for their sweetness and prolific fruit production. They are either round or oblong shaped and are bite sized, usually smaller than a golf ball.

Common Cherry & Grape Tomatoes:

“Jelly Bean”, “Juliet”, “Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”

“Sun Gold”, “Yellow Pear”, “Black Cherry”, “Black Plum”

Medium: Plum & Oxheart Tomatoes:

Heart shaped tomato types

Fruit that usually is less than 1 pound in weight, but larger than a cherry or grape variety are classified as medium sized. They can be round, cylindrical in shape (plum) or in the case of several heirlooms, heart shaped.

Common Plum & Oxheart Tomatoes:

“Amish Paste”, “Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “New Girl”, “Roma”, “San Marzano”

“Anna’s Russian”, “German Orange Strawberry”, “Lemon Boy”, “Taxi”, “Black from Tula”, “Green Zebra”

Large & Beefsteak Tomatoes:

Heirloom tomato - brandywine

Beefsteak are the largest of the fruit and usually exceed one pound or more in weight. Large fall in between the medium and the beefsteak.

Common Large Tomatoes:

“Black Krim”, “Cherokee Purple”

“Green Giant”

Common Beefsteak Tomatoes:

“Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“Dr. Wyche’s Yellow”, “Aunt Ruby’s German Green”

Best Uses

Different sized tomatoes have different textures and juice contents, thus are used for different purposes.  Categories include tomatoes that are best for (1) Salads & Eating, (2) Pastes & Sauces, (3) Slicing (think: on a hamberger), and (4) Canning.

Salads & Eating

Cherry, grape and current tomatoes are best for eating right off the vine since they are so sweet, and for salads.

Best Salad & Eating Tomatoes:

“Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “New Girl”, “Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”

“Anna’s Russian”, “Sun Gold”, “Taxi”, “Yellow Pear”, “Black Cherry”, “Black Plum”, “Green Giant”, “Green Zebra”

Sauces & Pastes

Plum tomatoes are thick-walled, and have fewer seed compartments and are best known for tomato sauces and pastes. ‘Roma’ and ‘San Marzano’ varieties bear exceptional flavor for plum tomatoes.

Best Sauces & Paste Tomatoes:

“Amish Paste”, “Juliet”

 “San Marzano”, “Roma”

Slicing Tomatoes

The large beefsteak tomatoes are popular seed varieties for making sandwiches. The beefsteak tomatoes can be found in groceries stores in the organic section, if you want to try them out first.

Best Slicing Tomatoes:

“Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “New Girl”, “Stupice”, “Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“Dr. Wyche’s Yellow”, “German Orange Strawberry”, “Lemon Boy”, “Taxi”, “Black from Tula”, “Black Krim”, “Cherokee Purple”, “Aunt Ruby’s German Green”, “Green Zebra”

Canning Tomatoes

More than a flavor, tomatoes for canning are typically determinate forms, since they bear fruit all at once. The ‘Juliet’ and ‘Amish Paste’ varieties are known for their exceptional flavor as good canners.

Best Canning Tomatoes:

“Amish Paste”, “Juliet”

“Roma”, “Black from Tula”

Best Flavor Profiles

Flavor profiles of tomatoes can vary widely! They can vary from (1) sweet, (2) tangy, (3) mild (4) balanced, and (5) rich.

Sweet Tomatoes

The currant, cherry and grape tomatoes are known for their exceptional sweetness. Maybe that is why sometimes they never even make it in the house!

Best Sweet Flavored Tomatoes:

“Jelly Bean”, “Juliet”, “Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”, “German Orange Strawberry”

“Sun Gold”, “Taxi”, “Black Cherry”, “Black Krim”, “Black Plum”

Tangy Tomatoes

Some heirloom varieties, particularly the green tomatoes, are known for their tanginess. Think tomatillos, but only in tomatoes. The ‘Green Zebra’ heirloom tomato has exceptional tanginess.

Best Tangy Flavored Tomatoes:

“Anna’s Russian”, “German Orange Strawberry”, “Yellow Pear”

“Aunt Ruby’s German Green”, “Green Giant”, “Green Zebra”

Mild Tomatoes

While most tomatoes may fall into this category, it does not negate that amazing tomato-liscous flavor that home grown varieties give us. Many of the canning variety tomatoes fall within this category. Forget the bland store bought Romas, and embrace your back yard garden harvests!

Best Mild Tomatoes:

“Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Early Girl”

“New Girl”, “Roma”, “San Marzano”

Balanced Tomatoes

Not too sweet, not too tangy, not too acidic, not too anything. The balanced varieties fall somewhere in between and tend to be large/beefsteak in size.

Best Balanced Flavored Tomatoes:

“Better Boy”, “Big Beef”

“Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

Rich Tomatoes

The black tomato varieties are often described as ‘rich’ in flavor. You have to bite into one to understand the depth of flavor profile. Yum!

Best Rich Flavored Tomatoes:

“Black from Tula”

“Cherokee Purple”

Q #4 Days to Harvest: Do you want to eat your tomatoes early in the season, in the summer, or in the early fall?

The number of days to harvest will dictate when you get your ripe tomatoes. If you want tomatoes all season, then select tomato varieties that have different days to harvest/maturity.

The tomato seed package label typically identifies the number of days to maturity or days to harvest. It is simply the number of days from transplanting the seedlings in the garden until the tomatoes are ready to be picked.

Days to Harvest

We’ve divided up the tomato varieties based upon Days to Harvest into 3 categories: (1) early producers, (2) mid-season (summer) producers, and (3) late harvest producers. 

Early Producers

Early producers will give you tomatoes early in the season. There is often a race to see who has the earliest ripe tomato. If started inside or in a cold frame, early producers can get you your first delicious bite by late May to early June! Early producers have Days to Harvest (DTH) usually less than 70 days.

The heirloom variety ‘Stupice’ identifies the DTH as being only 50 days, making it one of the fastest producing heirloom tomato seed available. A hybrid variety named Early Girl also produces mature fruit in about 50 days. Most early producers have DTH ranging between 60 and 70 days.

Early Producer Varieties:

“Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “Juliet”, “Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”

“Anna’s Russian”, “Sun Gold”, “Taxi”, “Black Cherry”, “Green Giant”

Mid-Season Producers

Mid-season tomatoes include many delicious heirloom as well as hybrid varieties. Days to maturity ranges from 70 to 80 days.

Mid-Season Varieties:

“Better Boy”, “Roma”, “San Marzano”, “German Orange Strawberry”

“Lemon Boy”, “Yellow Pear”, “Cherokee Purple”, “Green Zebra”

Heirloom tomatoes
Plant early, mid and late season tomatoes for all summer enjoyment

Late Harvest Tomatoes

Late harvest tomatoes are classified as Days to Maturity exceeding 80 days. Yes, you have to wait forever to get these delicious morsels, but it can offer you fruit well into the fall.

Late harvest varieties are often picked green right before a plant-killing frost and are matured slowly indoors. If you pick a ‘Beefsteak’ or ‘Brandywine’ it’ll be worth the wait.

Late Harvest Varieties:

“Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“Dr. Wyche’s Yellow”, “Black from Tula”, “Black Krim”, “Black Plum”, “Aunt Ruby’s German Green”

Q #5 Production: Can you keep up with the harvest?

Some tomatoes provide a strong, prolific yield that is sometimes hard to keep up with.

Determinate tomatoes produce all at once so if you are not prepared to do something with them, best keep the number of determinate plants you grow to a minimum.

Some indeterminate tomatoes are known for their prolific yield, also making it sometimes difficult to eat all that you grow.

In this section we’ll cover which tomatos are “moderate” yielding, and which are “prolific”.  Be prepared to share with friends and family if you decide to plant a large number of the prolific varieties.

Moderate Yielding Tomatoes:

“Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”

“Juliet”, “New Girl”, “Roma”, “San Marzano”, “Stupice”, “Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“Dr. Wyche’s Yellow”, “German Orange Strawberry”, “Lemon Boy”, “Taxi”

“Black from Tula”, “Black Krim”, “Black Plum”, “Cherokee Purple”, “Aunt Ruby’s German Green”, “Green Giant”, “Green Zebra”

High Yielding Tomatoes:

“Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “Super Sweet 100”

“Anna’s Russian”, “Sun Gold”, Yellow Pear”, “Black Cherry”

Q #6 Climate: What is the climate where you live?

Tomatoes love moderate to warm conditions. One of the chief complaints of tomato growers is that the climate is not right. The season is either too short, climate too cold, or the climate is too hot, and thus problems arise. Luckily out of the 10,000 varieties available, there are plenty that are either cold-adapted or hot-adapted seeds that can be purchased.

If you live in a cool, damp climate like in the Pacific Northwest, then choose a variety that can handle the cool weather.

Alternatively tomatoes don’t like it too hot. If you live in an area that gets really warm, then choose a variety that can handle the heat. Cherry tomatoes and those that have dense foliage do well under intense heat.

Cool Climate Tomato Varieties:

“Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Early Girl”, “Big Beef”, “Juliet”, “New Girl”

“Roma”, “San Marzano”, “Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”, “Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“Sun Gold”, “Yellow Pear”, “Black Cherry”

“Black Krim”, “Cherokee Purple”, “Green Zebra”

Hot Climate Tomato Varieties:

“Amish Paste”, “Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “Juliet”, “Roma”

“Stupice”, “Super Sweet 100”, “Brandywine”, “Mortgage Lifter”

“Lemon Boy”, “Sun Gold”, “Yellow Pear”

“Black Cherry”, “Cherokee Purple”, “Green Zebra”

Q #7 Disease: Is there a lot of tomato disease in your area?

Some regions are susceptible to tomato diseases. Check with your local agricultural extension agency if you don’t know. Unfortunately the best tasting tomatoes are often those that are least resistant to diseases.

Heirloom or open pollinated tomatoes provide superior flavor but may not be as adapted to poor soil conditions that cause diseases as the hybrid varieties that have been engineered to defend against disease. The choice is usually flavor vs disease resistance.

Grafting Solution

However, do not be dismayed there are very viable solutions if you have a lot of disease in your soil but don’t want to grow a hybrid. The first choice is to learn how to graft tomatoes. You can grow from seed a disease resistant variety and the type of tomato you really want to eat – and graft the base (stem to roots) of the hybrid onto the top of the desired variety.

Already Grafted Plants

Some seed catalogues such as the Territorial Seed Company offer containerized plants already grafted. With a few inexpensive grafting tools, however you can do it yourself and select the type of tomato that you want to grow and be disease resistant!

Disease Resistance & Managing Your Soils

When it comes to disease, the big elephant in the room is that is comes down to how you manage your soils. If you are using synthetic fertilizer, you are more likely to have tomato killing disease, since these salt-based nutrient inputs actually kill the beneficial microbes that can defend your plant against the disease. Consider substituting the crystalized pelleted forms of fertilizer that is frankly bad for your plant to a more sustainable, slow release nutrient input such as high quality compost. You will have better tasting fruit and healthier soils as a result.

Damping Disease - the Real Issue:

If damping off disease is a problem for you, the truth is you really have a water problem that causes the disease. If you overwater a container or have soils that don’t drain properly (such as heavy clays), you can lose the oxygen in the soil and under these anaerobic conditions the microbes that cause damping off and eventually kills your plant thrive.

Disease can be managed as long as you know what causes that disease to flourish. So adjust your watering schedule, let the soil dry out before you water again. Tomatoes actually prefer the wet-dry cycle over a continuous wetted environment.

Verticillium Wilt Resistant Tomatoes:

“Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “New Girl”, “Roma”

“Super Sweet 100”, “Lemon Boy”, “Sun Gold”

Fusarium Wilt Resistant Tomatoes:

“Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “Early Girl”, “Jelly Bean”, “New Girl”, “Roma”

“Super Sweet 100”, “Lemon Boy”, “Sun Gold”

Nematode Resistant Tomatoes:

“Beefsteak”, “Better Boy”, “Big Beef”, “Jelly Bean”

“Super Sweet 100”, “Lemon Boy”

Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) Resistant Tomatoes:

“Big Beef”

“Sun Gold”

Alternaria Stem Canker Resistant Tomatoes:

“Big Beef”

“Lemon Boy”

Gray Leaf Spot Resistant Tomato:

“Lemon Boy”


Once you have thumbed through the thousands of seed choices on the market, asking yourself these 7 questions then it’s time to decide what has the best taste that fits your needs.  Seed companies provide some of this information, others do not.

Other Helpful Articles to Grow Great Tomatoes

Summary of Question to Ask for Determining Tomato Varieties:

Question #1:  Do you have enough sun and space?

  • 6 hours of sun a must
  • Containerized plant varieties or in garden

Question #2: Do you want tomatoes all season or all at once?  

  • Determinate or indeterminate

Question #3: What do you want to use the tomatoes for?

  • Hybrid, open pollinated, heirloom tomato varieties
  • Fruit size and shape
  • Best uses
  • Flavor profile

Question #4: Do you want to be eating your tomatoes early in the season, in the summer, or in the early fall? 

  • Early, mid or late season harvest tomato varieties

Question #5:  Can you keep up with the harvest?

  • Indeterminate vs determinate
  • Prolific varieties

Question #6: What is the climate where you live?

  • Climate adapted tomato varieties

Question #7:  Is there a lot of tomato disease known in your area?

  • Disease resistance vs heirloom tomato varieties
  • Learn composting 101 basics to solve disease problems.


Quick Tips for Growing Tomatoes

Soil and air circulation are super important when growing tomatoes.  Start with a robust organic potting soil that is inoculated with mycorrihzal fungi and organic fertilizers (or make your own). These two components are also essential if you are growing potatoes. Starting with a great compost is a fundamental, and should be applied in the fall, after you have pulled up all your plants.

To minimize fungal pathogens on leaf tissue, be sure to have enough space between your plants and remove any diseased leaves immediately. Compost tea is a great way to prevent fungal diseases, as well as using only drip irrigation. Tomatoes don’t like to get wet.


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At Positively Sustainable, we are committed to providing information that will help you to make confident choices about the products you buy. We believe in the power of ethical consumerism to hold businesses accountable and make sure that they are manufacturing products in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Join us on our journey towards a positively sustainable future.

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