Tomato Seed Brochure - Choosing Tomato Varieties

At this time of the season, browsing the seed brochures and choosing which tomato varieties to grow is one of the great pleasures for me, and I guess most of us tomato growers.

With lessons learned from last season, avoiding blight and other problems is the key to success this season. However, is that variety really blight tolerant? and is that tomato really crack resistant?

Well, there’s only one way to find out … ask someone who has already grown that particular variety, or grow it yourself and find out first hand!

If you had problems last season with any of the following, here are my suggestions.

Blight Free!

Crimson Crush F1, Mountain Magic F1 and Lizzano F1.

Blight Tolerant…

  • Losetto F1 – cherry/bush
  • Legend – large/bush
  • Ferline – medium/tall
  • Old Brooks – medium/tall

The best way to help avoid Blight is to shelter tomato plants from rain and try not to let condensation build up in the greenhouse.

Blossom End Rot Resistant…

  • New Yorker – medium/bush
  • Old Brooks – medium/tall
  • Most Cherry Varieties – they don’t need so much calcium

BER is caused by a calcium deficiency so I recommend a spray with Chempak Calcium – it works wonders on my plants!

Crack Resistant…

  • Golden Cherry F1 – cherry/tall
  • Chocolate Cherry – cherry/tall
  • Halladay’s Mortgage Lifter – large/tall

Some varieties are more prone to this than others, but keeping plants out of the rain and regular watering helps avoid this problem.

Early Varieties
I think one of the slightly misleading claims that is used often in seed brochures is the term “early”. I’ve bought seeds on the basis that I’m buying an early variety and I’m still waiting for the first fruit to ripen in October!

What I do know is, whatever I may read, it is really my own personal experience of growing tomatoes that I can truly rely on, and to be fair, a tomato plant will perform differently in different conditions and in different areas, so it’s how each variety performs in my greenhouse and garden that counts.

Nevertheless, here is a list of my top varieties for this season based on last season’s results.

Red Alert – cherry/bush
Tumbling Tom – cherry/bush
Maskotka – cherry/bush
Tumbler – cherry/bush

Sungold – cherry/tall
Black Cherry – cherry/tall
Gardener’s Delight – cherry/tall
Stupice – medium/tall

Having grown Alicante, Golden Sunrise and Moneymaker for many seasons, I didn’t grow them last year but would recommend them, along with Ailsa Craig and Shirley F1.

Growing large varieties requires some experience in order to obtain a good harvest that matures before the end of the season. If you are a beginner, by all means have a go at a large variety, but to get the best results I suggest you grow a few cherry varieties that mature early like Tumbling Tom (red and yellow), Red Alert, Maskotka and Garden Pearl.

Some cherry varieties are almost cocktail cherry size – like 100’s and 1000’s. Although these are fun to grow and you will get hundreds from a well grown plant, their size makes them more of a garnish to pretty-up a dish rather than the golf ball size of a larger cherry variety that is more versatile.

There are many considerations to make when choosing tomato varieties – not least the taste. There are also many different ways to grow tomatoes that will produce the same results.

See Also: Choosing Tomato Seeds




9 Responses

  1. David Dadswell
    | Reply

    As I am disabled, I use a mini, unheated greenhouse. Last year I found that “Mega Bite” were ideal but as this variety has been discontinued, this year I am growing “Losetto”. What variety would you recommend?

    David Dadswell

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi David,
      Losetto is a good cherry variety but Maskotka, Red Alert and Tumbler probably have the edge.
      The thing to do is to try them all and compare them … over a few seasons if you haven’t the space.

    | Reply

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this content together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant
    amount of time both reading and commenting. But
    so what, it was still worth it!

  3. Dave B
    | Reply

    Last year we grew Alicante and Moneymaker from plants we bought from a reputable garden centre. We grew them in grow bags in a good spot but the results were poor. They did not crop very well and we thought we would be making green tomato chutney as they took some time to ripen. In the end the few that did make ripened in the end.
    We also grew Tumbling Tom for the first time based on your recommendation and what a surprise. We only planted a couple of bushes but we struggled to keep up with the prolific cropping, ending up with RED tomato chutney to use them up. We are thinking this year of growing only Tumbling Tom and one another bush variety.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Dave, I highly recommend bush varieties and especially the cherry varieties – very reliable!
      Garden Pearl, Maskotka and Red Alert are also very good.

  4. David
    | Reply

    Great to see the newsletter back again for this year!

    I got some seeds of ‘F1 Losetto’ a couple of weeks ago & I want to grow them in the cold greenhouse on the allotment. As there is no heating in the GH (nor electricity, being on an allotment), I have to start the off in seedtrays on the bench. When do you think is the best time to sow them? When are you going to sow yours? Do you have a heated propagator?

    I’ve already sown some seeds of ‘Gardener’s Delight’ in the GH on the allotment but they haven’t germinated yet. Two years ago we grew a few plants of this tomato outside on the allotment. Some seeds managed to survive the winter & germinated “in situ” – much to my surprise! I later got a few tomatoes from the plants.

    I’ m looking forward to getting your newsletter in my inbox whenever you send it out.


    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi David, I think the best time to sow in a cold greenhouse would be the end of March during a mild period if possible. I sow all my seeds indoors, either in an electric propagator or the aering cupboard and they are usually through in 5 to 7 days. However, when temperatures are low, or have wide variations, germination takes longer and if the soil is too wet, sometimes the seeds will rot.
      I’ve sown a few Red Alert and Siberian seeds already this season but I have a grow light to stop them from becoming too leggy. I’m trying out an LED grow light – doesn’t use much electricity and doesn’t seem very bright so I hope it will do the job – my wife says if I keep looking at it I’ll get a sun tan!
      Hope you received the link to the newsletter.

  5. Janet Longley
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    Glad to see the newsletter has started up again for 2012.

    Out of the blight resistant vartieties you list, which in your opinion has the best flavour / sweetness?


    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Janet, I would grow Legend and Losetto if you are looking for sweetness. I forgot to put Red Alert on the list – not because it is blight tolerant/resistant but because it matures very early. The quicker to mature, the less chance of getting blight (in theory anyway!). I haven’t yet grown Losetto, it’s a new variety, but I trust the information I’ve received as having a sweet yet balanced flavour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *