Tomatoes for Spring 2014

It’s almost time! I know the risk-takers among you are already preparing to send those baby tomato plants out into the cold, but it’s still just a bit early to set out transplants. If you like to grow tomatoes from seed, on the other hand, it’s almost too late! The goal is to get good, stocky transplants into the garden by late February or early  March, so seeds should be planted now.

The following list of tomatoes are available from local growers, at your local independent garden center. I’ve highlighted in red the varieties that are new to the list this year. It doesn’t mean they’re new on the market, just that the growers didn’t have them last year. If you’re interested in a specific variety, I advise you to contact your garden center or feed store immediately. Some of the more common varieties, such as Celebrity, are typically available for the duration of the tomato season. Some of the heirlooms and more unusual varieties may only be available once. And no retailer will be able to stock every variety, every day. Call first so you aren’t disappointed.

Remember that the longer the “days to maturity” period, the earlier you have to get them planted. Many of the heirlooms will take longer to produce than the modern hybrids. Don’t wait until it feels like spring! By then, it’s too late. If you’re worried about cold weather, set aside some plastic wrap or frost cloth to wrap the tomato cage, with the young plant tucked safely inside. The cloth will act as a windbreak and a row cover, providing a bit of protection against the cold and against predatory insects.

Don’t like to read on the internet? You can download a printable copy of this list in PDF form here.

Disease Resistance Key: (V) Verticillium Wilt, (F) Fusarium Wilt, (N) Nematodes, (T) Tobacco Mosaic Virus, (A) Alternaria fungus, (St) Stemphyllium, (TSWV) Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. The selected tomato resists the disease indicated. Varieties highlighted in red are new to the list this year.

 

Tomato Disease Resistance Indeterminate or Determinate? Days to Maturity
Amish Paste (Heirloom): Very productive heirloom from Wisconsin that produces up to 12 oz, deep-red oxheart-shaped, meaty fruit. (Probably one of the largest paste tomatoes) Lots of sweet, tomatoey flavors from this coreless meaty fruit. A great slicing and sauce tomato. Indeterminate 81
Arkansas Traveler (Heirloom): A 100 year old heirloom tomato that was grown throughout the South from northwest Arkansas to North Carolina. Indeterminate, regular-leaf, 6′, vigorous tomato plants that yield abundant crops of 8-ounce, round rose-pink tomatoes Considered to be one of the best tasting tomato varieties with well-balanced sweet/tart flavors. Arkansas Traveler is much esteemed for its ability to produce flavorful tomatoes under normally adverse conditions high heat, humidity or drought. Resistant to cracking and disease Indeterminate 85
Beef Master: Plant produces enormous yields of large meaty 2 lb beefsteak tomatoes. Tomatoes turn deep red when mature. Excellent for salads or sandwiches. Suitable for home gardens and market growers. VFNASt Indeterminate 80
Beefsteak: Plant produces good yields of big 14 oz red beefsteak tomatoes. Perfect sandwich tomato with old fashion flavor. Crack Resistant. VFFT Indeterminate 76
Beefy Boy: Hybrid with 12-16oz.meaty fruit bred for enhanced flavor. VFFTSt Indeterminate 70
Bella Rosa: High yields of large, 10-12 oz, bright red tomatoes–round, firm, and highly flavorful with the perfect balance of acid and sugar. Lousiana tomato trials ranked it at the top for productivity as well as large fruit size and great flavor. VFFNAS Determinate 75
Better Boy: This Guinness World Record holding plant yields abundant harvests of bright red, one-pound tomatoes. VFN Indeterminate 70-75
Better Bush: Big 4” fruits are tasty and meaty with extra sturdy stems and thick, deep green foliage; good in containers. VFN Determinate 68
BHN444: Plant produces good yields of large red globe shaped tomatoes. This variety is resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus which is common in the southern states. Spotted Wilt Virus can kill normal tomato plants. Growers in these regions will be able to grow healthy crops using this variety. VFF, TSWV Determinate 75
Big Beef: Wonderful flavor & excellent disease resistance; medium large fruits 9-16oz. A Tom LeRoy recommendation! VFFNTASt Indeterminate 73
Big Boy: Plant produces good yields of very flavorful 1 lb meaty tomatoes. Tomatoes turn bright red when mature. One of the most popular varieties grown by home gardeners. Crack Resistant. Indeterminate 78
Big Bunch: Vine-ripened clusters of big, 10-ounce tomatoes, perfect for sandwiches or salads. Great disease resistance, super-big for a clustering tomato. NTWSVFVT Indeterminate 75
Biltmore: Biltmore Hybrid is a terrific large Tomato for canning, juicing, or eating fresh. It arises very heavily on plants that set their entire harvest at once, so you can pick and can your Tomato crop easily and efficiently. VFSt Determinate 70
Black (Heirlooom): Dark mahogany-brown Russian heirloom with green shoulders that average 4 ounces. It is thought that some gardeners grew this variety as Black Prince years ago. Fruit is such a dark red it is considered black. Smooth and slightly elongated fruit with a pointed tip. Thought to be one of the best tasting black tomatoes with sweet balanced and complex flavors.   Indeterminate 80
Black Krim (Heirloom): Plant produces high yields of dark reddish-black beefsteak tomatoes. Tomatoes have a rich tomato flavor and turn to reddish black (black tomato) when mature. Interior is reddish green and very sweet. Excellent for salads and sandwiches. A heirloom from the Black Sea region of Russia. Indeterminate 75
Black Plum (Heirloom): Russian commercial variety. Tons of sweet, elongated, mahogany-hued, fat fruits with the most intense, complex tomato flavor we’ve found; deep, rich, smoky sweetness, with a tangy aftertaste. Great for canning or drying. 3” plum-shaped tomatoes, blacker color when weather gets warmer.   Indeterminate 75-82
Bradley: Plant produces good yields of 10 oz pink tomatoes. The tomatoes have an old fashion flavor and turn pink when mature. They tend to ripen at the same time making it a great variety for canning and freezing. Suitable for Southern regions. FA Semi-determinate 80
Brandywine (Heirloom): 1885 Amish variety with large 1 lb. Pink-red fruit and rich flavor. Potato leaved foliage. Indeterminate 80
Bush Early Girl: Perfect for large patio pots, growing only 18 in. tall, this plant produces tasty red fruits measuring almost 4 in. across. Higher-yielding and earlier than most compact varieties; these large red fruits have excellent flavor. VFFNT Determinate 54
Bush Goliath: Specially developed for patio gardeners and those with limited garden space, and unsurpassed by any other bush variety, including Better Bush and Husky Red. Its attractive, compact plants grow up to 3-1/2 ft. tall and have a “patio” look…the surprise is their huge, red, 3 to 4″ fruits packed with flavorful meat and high sugar content. Bears consistently up to frost and needs little staking. VFN Determinate 68
Carbon (Heirloom): Big, regular-leaf tomato plants yielding prolific amounts of 10-14 oz., beautiful purple-brown, open-pollinated tomatoes. Among of the darkest of the black tomatoes with delicious, rich, complex flavors. This tomato variety won taste test of 10 heirloom tomato varieties at Cornell Research Farm. Because of its productivity and flavor, Carbon is becoming popular to grow for commercial produce markets that are seeking more black tomatoes in their tomato mix.   Indeterminate 76
Carmello: Exceptionally fine flavor; disease resistant hybrid with medium sized, meaty fruit. French variety VFNT Indeterminate 70
Celebrity: Outstanding performer with excellent quality 7-8 oz. fruit. VFFNTA Determinate 70
Champion: Great sandwich tomato; solid and meaty. Medium large fruits are earlier than Better Boy. VFNT Indeterminate 65
Cherokee Purple (Heirloom): A reliable producer of juicy, dark pink fruit with purple shoulders that appear almost brown in color, and average 8 to 12 oz., apiece. Fruits are round to oblate, with no cracking. Exhibits tolerance to mild drought as well as to common diseases. Sweet with just the right amount of acidity. VFNT Indeterminate 80
Early Girl: Plant produces heavy yields of flavorful 6 oz red tomatoes. High in Vitamin A and C. One of the earliest slicing tomatoes on the market. Excellent for salads and sandwiches. VFF Indeterminate 57
Fantastic: Plant produces heavy yields of medium size red tomatoes. Crack resistant and perfect for canning. VF Indeterminate 65
First Lady: Plant produces good yields of 5 oz red tomatoes. Tomatoes are very flavorful and turn red when mture. Excellent for salads and sandwiches. Crack Resistant. Disease Resistant VFNTASt Indeterminate 66
Giant Tree: Plant produces high yields of 1 to 2 lb pinkish-red tomatoes. The tomatoes have few seeds and are meaty. 18 foot vines! Indeterminate 90
Golden Boy: Globe-shaped, 8 ounce tomato, beautiful golden color and juicy, tasty flesh. Few seeds.   Indeterminate 70
Golden Jubilee: Plant produces high yields of golden-yellow tomatoes. Excellent for making tomato juice and canning. Also good in salads and cooking. A low acidity variety. Indeterminate 72
Goliath Hybrid: Beautiful, smooth bright-red, deep oblate fruits averaging 10 to 15 oz., to a sweet luscious flavor that lives up to its virtually blemish-free exterior. Tall vigorous plants produce yield after yield, and modern disease resistance makes Goliath widely adaptable. VFNT Indeterminate 65
Great White (Heirloom): Huge, 1-lb fruits are pale greenish yellow, almost white. Flavor reminiscent of pineapple and melon. Big fruit is very smooth in texture, few seeds and low in acid.   Indeterminate 85
Green Zebra (Heirloom): Four heirlooms bred together produce this beautiful striped tomato. Delicious eaten fresh or canned, small 2” fruits are produced in abundance.   Determinate 78
Health Kick: Saladette-type, 50% more of the antioxidant lycopene, 4-ounce fruits, good for salads or canning TSWV, Bacterial Speck Determinate 75
Hillbilly: Plant produces good yields of large 2 lb orange-yellow beefsteak tomatoes with red and pink streaks. Very flavorful. Excellent for salads and sandwiches. A heirloom from West Virginia, USA. Indeterminate 85
Homestead: Plant produces good yields of 8 oz red tomatoes. Tomatoes are meaty and very flavorful. Does well in hot regions. Excellent for home gardens and market growers. Developed in the 1950’s. FA Determinate 80
Juliette: Elongated red cherry tomatoes in clusters like grapes; sweet fruits. Resistant to late blight and leaf spot. A Tom LeRoy recommendation! Indeterminate 60
Kobe Beefsteak: Kobe Beefsteak has the authentic, solid, meaty interior, generous 3 inch size, and deep red color you want in a beefsteak tomato. More productive than many similar varieties with the beefsteak name, the vigorous, indeterminate plants yield lots of robustly flavorful fruit throughout the season. Indeterminate 80-85
Large Red Cherry: Plant produces high yields of large 1 ¼” diameter red cherry tomatoes. Excellent for salads and snacks. Tomatoes grow in clusters. Very productive. Indeterminate 75
Lemon Boy: Plant produces good yields of large 8 oz bright lemon yellow tomatoes. Tomatoes are very flavorful. Excellent for salads and gourmet dishes. VFN Indeterminate 72
Mamma Mia: Roma or paste-type tomato, 3” long fruits, good for canning, sauces, salads.   Determinate 75
Marglobe: Plant produces high yields of medium size scarlet red tomatoes. Excellent for salads, sandwiches, and canning. Well adapted to most regions. F Determinate 72
Mater Sandwich: Fantastic slicer tomato, up to 1 lb., flattened shape perfect for sandwiches, plants must be staked to support the weight, juicy and meaty.   Indeterminate 75
Matt’s Wild Cherry: Wild variety produces deep red, extremely sweet 5/8” – ¾” fruit on meandering vines rarely bothered by diseases. From Hidalgo, Mex. Indeterminate 60
Moby Grape: The oblong fruit grows 2″ long. The fruit has a sweet, distinctive flavor. Fruit can be eaten right off the vine. Determinate 75
Mortgage Lifter (Heirloom): Plant produces good yields of 1 to 2 lb beefsteak tomatoes. Tomatoes have a sweet rich flavor and turn deep pink when mature. This variety was developed in the 1930’s by Mr. Byles of Logan, WV to help pay off his home mortgage. He was able to pay off his mortgage in 6 years by selling the tomato plants. He crossed a German Johnson, Beefsteak, and Italian & English varieties to come up with this unique variety. Excellent for slicing and salads. A family heirloom variety from West Virginia, USA. VFN Indeterminate 70
Mr. Stripey (Heirloom): Plant produces good yields red tomatoes with yellow orange stripes. Excellent for salads. Low acidity variety. A heirloom from Virginia, USA. Indeterminate 80
Old German (Heirloom): Plant produces good yields of 2 lb golden-yellow tomatoes with red and pink stripes. One of the best slicing tomatoes on the market. A Mennonite heirloom from Virginia, USA. Indeterminate 75
Park’s Whopper: Plant produces good yields of red tomatoes. These are beautiful big tasty red tomatoes that are excellent for salads and sandwiches. Excellent for home garden and market growers. Crack Resistant. VFFNT Indeterminate 65
Patio: Plant produces large yields of 2″ round red tomatoes. Excellent for small gardens or containers. Great for school projects. Kids love them. F Determinate 70
Paul Robeson (Heirloom): This antique Russian variety produces slightly flattened, 4 in., deep maroon, beefsteak-type fruits that are free of most blemishes and cracking. The complex flavor is sweet yet tangy, with the distinctive flavor common to black tomatoes and the perfect acid/sweet balance. Indeterminate 75
Pineapple (Heirloom): Delicious heirloom beefsteak, yellow-gold fruit striped in red, fewer seeds for a better slice, high-yielding with a strong “tomato” taste.   Indeterminate 90
Pink Ping Pong (Heirloom): These tall plants yield amazing quantities of rosy pink fruit the size of ping pong balls. Fruit is delicious, sweet and juicy, bursting with flavor and is very crack resistant. An excellent keeper after harvest. Indeterminate 75
Porter Improved: Plant produces heavy yields of 4 oz red tomatoes. The tomatoes are very flavorful are excellent for making canning and tomato juice. Developed by Porter & Son Seed Company for Southern regions like Texas. Does extremely well in high heat and low humidity. VF Indeterminate 75
Quick Pick: Also known as Early Doll, an early-maturing tomato, heavy yielder, about 8 ounces, globe-shaped and good in salads or salsas. VF1NT Indeterminate 60
Red Cherry (Heirloom): Plant produces high yields of small ½” diameter red cherry tomatoes. Excellent for salads and snacks. Tomatoes grow in clusters. The cherry tomatoes are smaller and sweeter than the Red Large Cherry Tomato. A heirloom variety that has been grown for more than 100 years. Indeterminate 72
Red Pear (Heirloom): One of the oldest American heirlooms, cute little pear-shaped tomatoes in great clusters, full of flavor. Big rangy vines should definitely be staked. Great for snacking or salads.   Indeterminate 70
Roma: Plant produces heavy yields of 3″ long red plum shaped tomatoes. Tomatoes are flavorful and have very few seeds. One of the most popular varieties for paste, sauce, ketchup, and canning. VF Determinate 75
Rutgers: Plant produces good yields of 7 oz size bright red tomatoes. Excellent variety for canning. Developed by the New Jersey Experimental Station, New Brunswick, NJ. VFASt Determinate 75
San Marzano: Gourmet favorite for sauces and salads. VF Semi-Determinate 78
San Marzano tomatoes have thick and meaty flesh that is perfect for sauces or pastes
Sugary: 2005 AAS winner. Tiny red oval fruit have pointed ends. Very sweet. Semi-Determinate 85
Sun Gold: Very sweet orange cherry tomatoes in long clusters on tall, vigorous plants; flavor is sweet and fruity. Indeterminate 57
Super Bush: Plant produces good yields of 5 oz red tomatoes. Plant has thick stems and foliage protecting tomatoes from sunscald. Suitable for home garden. VFN Determinate 70
Super Fantastic: Plant produces heavy yields of large round red tomatoes all season long. Tomatoes are juicy, meaty, and very flavorful. Tall plant does well in most regions. VF Indeterminate 70
Supersweet 100: An improvement on the classic Sweet 100 variety, extra sweetness and better disease resistance, super-high in vitamin C. Big clusters of round cherry-style tomatoes. VF Indeterminate 65
Sweet Chelsea: 15-20 large cherry sized tomatoes per cluster; very sweet. A Tom LeRoy recommendation! VFNT Indeterminate 67
Sweet Million: Extra-long chains of 1” dark red fruit. Improved Sweet 100 with better disease resistance and tolerance to cracking. Same wonderful flavor. FNT Indeterminate 65
Terrific: Plant produces heavy yields of large globe shaped tomatoes. Tomatoes are very flavorful. Excellent for slicing, sauce, and paste. Indeterminate 70
Top Gun: Plant produces high yields of large 8 oz deep red tomatoes. Tomatoes are firm and ripens all at once. This heat tolerant variety is able to set fruit in hot weather when others varieties drop their blossoms. This is a Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Resistant variety that is bred primarily for the Southeast region of the USA. VFFFSt, TWWV Determinate 75
Viva Italia: First, and best, hybrid Italian paste type! Classic pear-shaped fruit with sweet flesh. Exceptionally high yielder. Earlier and more disease resistance than other paste types. A Tom LeRoy recommendation! VFFNASt Determinate 72
Yellow Pear: Miniature pear-shaped tomatoes have a unique, mild sweetness; tall plants bear late but heavily. Indeterminate 78
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2 thoughts on “Tomatoes for Spring 2014

  1. Thanks for your hard work in putting this list together. However, I would like to see which ones are hybrid. I sometime like to save the seeds of a good tasting tomatoe for planting again next year, and I understand that hybrids won’t come true.

    Are there any tomatoes that resist stink bugs? Stink bugs are plentiful where I live on the coast, and they love my tomatoes. The only way that I have found to kill them is to visit the garden several times a day and to manually kill them.

    Thanks, Leon Baldwin

    • Hi Leon, thanks for writing!
      The tomatoes that have “Heirloom” after the name should come true from seed. The rest are hybrids and they generally do not come true from seed but are perhaps more vigorous and productive in our climate than the heirlooms are. And sadly, no tomatoes actually resist stink bugs. Your method of dealing with them is my method too. I have found that planting a few too many helps – some for them and some for me. Also, I prefer to go with “early” types that produce fast, especially in spring. That way I can often get a good harvest before the stink bugs reach critical mass. The early types are usually hybrids too. Generally the old-fashioned varieties were developed in a cooler climate with a longer tomato season than we have, so the ones especially suited for warm, tropical climates tend to be hybrids. Good luck!

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