Here is a list of just a few of the many, many tomato varieties available. Depending on your region you’ll be able to find these varieties an well as many others for sale in your local nurseries that are not listed here.
Check each of their growth characteristics individually as you choose them to make sure they’re suitable for your region. They all will have different days to harvest and space requirements.
There are more than 3000 heritage and heirloom tomato varieties actively being grown around the world. There are somewhere around 15,000 known tomato varieties in total. There are so many varieties of seeds that you can grow several different tomato varieties at the same time and have a veritable feast of tomatoes in the summer.
There are two types of tomato that you might grow at home in the backyard. You’ll see the words Determinate and Indeterminate a lot with tomatoes. These are key characteristics:
If you have only a small space to garden, you’ll want to choose a tomato labeled determinate. This means that the plant will grow a finite number of buds and then stop growing new buds to allow the existing tomatoes to mature and ripen. This type of plant gives all of it’s harvest at once, usually within a span of a couple of weeks. The total height of a plant like this is 4′ or so.
If you have space and a larger plant will work, then choose anything labeled indeterminate. This type of plant will grow continuously until it’s killed by frost, sometimes growing to 8′ or 10′. It will make flowers, set fruit and ripen fruit continuously all season long. So you’ll have a consistent harvest for most of the summer.
Once fall is in sight, it’s best to trim off the newest branches that have flowers on them. This stops the plant from continuing to make new flowers and puts the focus back on the fruit that’s already there.
The “Days” column refers to how many days it will take for the the fruit to ripen, which is also how long you’ll have to wait to enjoy your delicious harvest! If you live in a cold climate then choose something with fewer days to harvest.
|Airy Leaf||Deep Red||75||OP||Medium||Heart||Indeterminate|
|Brad’s Black Heart||Purple/Black||75||OP||Med/Lg||Heart||Indeterminate|
|Dr. Wyche’s Yellow||Yellow||78||HL||Large||Beefstake||Indeterminate|
|Early Girl||Red||63||HY||Medium||Better Boy||Indeterminate|
|Neves Azorean Red||Dark red||75||OP||Large||Beefstake||Indeterminate|
|Orange Russian||Orangy Red||78||HL||Large||Heart||Indeterminate|
|Super Sweet 100||Red||55-68||HY||Small||Round||Indeterminate|
|Vintage Wine||Red w/gold||84||HL||Medium||Round||Indeterminate|
OP = Open Pollinated
HL = Heirloom
HY = Hybrid
Open Pollinated generally refers to seeds that will “breed true”. When the plants of an open-pollinated seed variety self-pollinate, or are pollinated by another representative of the same variety, the resulting seeds will produce plants roughly identical to their parents.
Heirloom tomatoes (also called heritage tomato in the UK) are an open-pollinated, non-hybrid, heirloom cultivar of tomato. They are classified as: family heirlooms, commercial heirlooms, mystery heirlooms, or created heirlooms. They usually have a shorter shelf life and less disease resistance than hybrids.
Hybrid seeds (or plants) are a cross between two or more unrelated inbred plants. The two different varieties are cross bred, resulting in a seed that carries one or more favorable traits. Hybrid seeds are commonplace in commercial farming, especially to increase crop yields.
Leave a comment below and let me know about your experiences with growing tomatoes.