Tomato Varieties

Tomato Varieties

Read an introduction to tomato varieties here.

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About Tomato Varieties

Homegrown tomatoes are bursting full of flavour. I think they taste much better than shop bought tomatoes, with a sweeter and more intense flavour, most likely because the tomatoes are picked when fully ripe and eaten straight away!

What’s more, growing tomatoes at home opens up a world of choice. When buying tomato seeds you can choose from a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from small cherry tomatoes, long plum tomatoes, and large beefsteak varieties, and many shades of colour from traditional red tomatoes to striking shades of green, black, yellow, and orange.

I have found cherry tomatoes and traditional round tomatoes the easiest to grow, and have had less success with plum and beefsteak varieties that have provided smaller harvests overall. My experience is that the additional cost of buying F1 seeds (hybrid varieties) has been worth paying for. Whilst the seed is (much) more expensive, the germination rates have been excellent and the plants have gone on to produce big harvests. This is not to say that traditional varieties cannot be equally as successful, or that plum or beefsteak varieties are not worth growing. With the right care and growing conditions, it should be possible to achieve excellent results.

Tomatoes are a heat loving plant, and even though there are many varieties bred for outdoor cultivation, nearly all varieties will perform at their best protected in a polytunnel, greenhouse, or conservatory. Next best is a sunny and sheltered spot in a garden or allotment. For colder areas with shorter summers, cherry tomatoes are a good choice as they ripen much faster than larger varieties, and they can also be grown on the patio in pots and hanging baskets. Germinating seed indoors on a sunny windowsill in early spring is helpful. Tomatoes take many weeks to mature, and this will allow your plants to take full advantage of sunny summer days to ripen the fruit.

Tomato plants like a rich soil and a consistent watering regime. Depending on the variety, there are cherry and bush tomato varieties (determinate types) that do not require pruning, whilst many types of traditional round, plum, and beafsteak tomatoes will need to be supported as they grow and have their side shoots pruned.