Top 10 Best Tomatoes to Grow
Go beyond the ordinary in your tomato garden with our picks for the best tomatoes to grow (psst, these tomatoes also boast terrific flavor).
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I’ve grown tomatoes for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I even had my own stand at the local farmers market, selling cucumbers, peppers and lots of tomatoes. For the most part, we grew traditional red tomatoes. Every once in a while, we’d throw in a yellow or plum-shaped variety, but we didn’t go off track too much. Now I see tomatoes in a whole new light. You can find hundreds of different varieties out there in almost every hue imaginable. To help you navigate the sea of tomatoes, we put together this list of the top 10 best tomatoes to grow. Of course you’ll have your own favorites, but the list is a good starting point for those who are a little overwhelmed by all the choices.
Check out top tomato growing tips for the ultimate crop. Plus, here’s how to prevent the tomato hornworm from damaging your harvest.
You wouldn’t think a Roma tomato would pack such a punch, but the name really says it all. Burpee claims a single 2-pound tomato will fill an entire sauce jar. So if you like to can your own sauce, SuperSauce could be your new favorite. Just imagine what an entire plant in your tomato garden could yield in one season.
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You can now find a brand-new series of Vernissage tomatoes, developed by a young Ukrainian plant breeder. The pink variety with pale yellow stripes is one of the most popular, but you can grow a green, black or yellow version as well. The plants are prolific producers, and the fruit is colorful and delicious. The tomatoes average a petite 2 ounces. Just pluck them off the vine and enjoy!
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Have a weakness for plum tomatoes? Check out breeder Tom Wagner’s creation. Outside, each gorgeous 4-inch fruit has attractive light red and orange stripes; the interior is deep red. When you bite in, you may notice a little bit of fruitiness. Casady’s Folly will please people who like their produce in fun colors and shapes.
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It’s a fairly recent tomato trend: grafting so the plants will produce two or three times more fruit. You can find several grafted varieties, but we like the looks of the heirloom cultivar Brandywine, which has been a trusted product for decades. If you have a small space but want lots of fruit in your tomato garden, grafted tomatoes could be the solution. Ask about them at the garden center.
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Via All-America Selections
We pay attention to the All-America Selections each year because it’s a good way to know which new flowers and veggies to watch for. These small fruits, sized between a currant and cherry, have attracted attention for their sweet flavor. Fire Fly is also said to be extremely resistant to disease, which will help extend the harvest season. This is another one of the best tomatoes to eat right off the vine or toss into a salad.
Stacy’s Tip: Following the All-America Selections each year is bound to give you inspiration for your own choices.
Chances are you’ve seen them at your garden center. Celebrity tomatoes were an All-America Selections veggie in 1984, and we think they still deserve top honors. They’re bright red, reliable and scrumptious—everything you love about tomatoes in summer. Since they’ve become a staple, they’re readily available, making them the perfect option for just about any backyard tomato garden.
Stacy’s Tip: Many Home Depot stores carry Celebrity tomatoes and you can also buy seeds online.
Do you know someone who doesn’t like tomatoes? If so, this variety just might convert him or her. As the name suggests, Sugary is one of the sweetest and best tomatoes you can grow. Plus, it has a fun shape, pointed on both ends. A 2005 All-America Selections winner, it’s been popular ever since. It grows vigorously and will bear fruit all season, so you need only a plant or two for a good supply of fruit.
What it lacks in size (only around 3 ounces), it makes up for in flavor—lots and lots of flavor. These small tomatoes fit in the palm of your hand and have lovely lime green stripes. The fruits turn yellow and soften a bit as they ripen, so you know when they’re ready to pick. Chefs love having these little tomatoes on hand.
Stacy’s Tip: Green Zebra is an heirloom. Learn the difference between heirloom and hybrid tomatoes.
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Yes, you can do more with green tomatoes than just fry them up. While most tomatoes start green and then redden as they ripen, these are ripe when they’re a vibrant lime green. Aunt Ruby’s German Green is one of the most talked-about heirlooms of recent years. It won the Heirloom Garden Show taste test back in 2003, and many gardeners say it has better flavor than most red tomatoes.
These look a lot like the popular Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, except the fruits turn from green to a deep cherry, almost black, as they ripen. And they taste great, too. Black Cherry, a hybrid tomato, produces dozens of fruits on a single vine, so don’t worry about sharing. You should have plenty to go around.