How to Decide what Tomatoes to Grow
February 13, 2015
The range of tomato varieties from which to choose is so wide it is easy to fall into the trap of only ever growing what you’ve always grown. This means you are missing out on some new, exciting and disease-resistant varieties. So, for 2020, how about sticking with your tried and tested favourites but adding a couple of new varieties?
When choosing which tomatoes to grow the following tend to be the main considerations:
- Preferred type and intended use
- Ease of growing in available space
- Disease resistance
Popular Tomato Types
These can be tiny enough for children to eat like sweets or cocktail size for snacking and adding to salads. They tend to be sweeter than other types and are suitable for roasting, bottling or simply eating fresh from the plant whilst working in the garden. Available varieties include the prolific Hundreds and Thousands, the sweetest of sweet F1 Honeycomb, Tumbling Tom and many others.
These are what we tend to think of as being “normal” tomatoes. In other words, they are round and about 5cm in diameter. Bred by our own group, Fantasio F1 is blight tolerant, superbly flavoured and a heavy cropper. Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with RHS award winner Alicante, an early fruiter of superb quality and flavour.
Oval shaped and of the type found in Italian Tinned Tomatoes, these are firm fleshed with few seeds so perfect for sauce and soups. If you only have room for one plum variety then Giulietta F1 is the one to go for. Heavy cropping, either under glass or outdoors, with good disease resistance, Giulietta F1 fruits are large, juicy and delicious.
The big daddies of the tomato world! Perfect for grilling, stuffing or simply slicing for sandwiches. Try Belriccio, Country Taste or the golden-orange skinned Orange Wellington F1.
Ease of Growing
Some varieties of tomato will happily grow outside whereas others really prefer a greenhouse if they are to reach their full fruiting potential. So, where you intend growing the tomatoes is a factor in deciding which varieties to choose as is the growth habit and amount of space available:
These grow to about 2 to 3 ft high and then put all their effort into ripening the fruit. This makes them great where space is limited but does mean that they have a limited fruiting period – normally just a few weeks. Good examples include Gardener’s Delight, Red Alert and Tumbling Tom.
Grown as a single stemmed cordon, with side shoots removed, these varieties just don’t when to stop growing and will continue fruiting until the first frosts. Vine varieties include Sweet Million, Sungold and the new Sweet Aperitif.
Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding crops to grow but it can be so disheartening when your well-tended plants are hit by disease and your fruits lost. Some problems can be avoided, for example blossom-end rot is common and is usually a result of erratic watering, but airborne diseases such as blight are harder to deal with.
Many tomatoes come with different levels of disease resistance but if blight tends to be your main problem take a look at the new Crimson Crush family – 3 exclusive blight-resistant tomato varieties!
Crimson Crush has the best tolerance to late blight disease we have ever seen. Bred for outdoor growing Crimson Crush has instigated a revival in tomatoes being successfully grown on allotments and veg patches.
The Crimson Crush family includes:
- F1 Crimson Cherry, early cropping and deliciously flavoured
- F1 Crimson Crush, exceptionally fine tasting, large, round fruits
- F1 Crimson Blush, a big and beautiful beefsteak
Once you’ve decided which tomatoes to grow you can then decide whether you want to grow them from seed or whether you prefer to buy them as young plants.
Grafted plants are an excellent choice giving up to 75% more fruits than standard plants, click here for details.