Choosing Tomato Varieties for 2018

Thank you to all those who commented about their best and worst varieties of 2017.

This week I’ve put together a list, from your experience and mine, of the best performing varieties of 2017. It should help us when Choosing Tomato Varieties for 2018. They have been chosen for earliness, reliability and taste.


Best Cherry Varieties

Tall, Cordon, Indeterminate

Gardener’s Delight – Old and reliable with a true old fashioned taste of acid/sugar balance.

Sungold – Modern type and very sweet

Sweet Million – Good cropper as its name suggests with good cherry taste

Suncherry Premium – Modern sweet variety

Black Cherry – A favourite of everyone who grows it – lovely taste.

Choosing Tomato Varieties for 2018
Black Cherry has a large calyx and plenty of character in its taste.


Black Opal – Similar to Black Cherry

Mountain Magic – Not quite Gardener’s Delight but good taste with resistance to Blight!

Rosella – A modern variety highly rated for its taste

Sakura – Long vines of tasty cherry tomatoes and reliable

Bush, Determinate

Maskotka – Reliable with excellent taste and very early

Red Alert – Very similar to Maskotka especially for earliness and taste


Best Medium Varieties

Shirley – Traditionally, this is a show variety for its consistant size toms and great taste

Alicante – Better than Moneymaker for taste and just as reliable and a great cropper


Best Large Varieties

Super Marmande – A beefsteak that will grow well in a reasonable summer, very reliable

Black Russian – A large, juicy, deep purple tomato with a great taste

Brandy Boy – A modern big juicy hybrid

Oregon Spring – Old bush variety bred for outside

Crimson Crush – Give this one a try if you suffer from blight – good taste too!


A few lesser known varieties of various sizes include:


Japanese Black Trifele

Berner Rose (aka Rose de Berne)



These are all recommended by Newsletter readers and will grow in the UK – given half a chance!


Best Growing Method/System

The Quadgrow Planter

There are two growing systems that I use and highly recommend – the Autopot system and the Quadgrow Planter.

The Quadgrow is probably the best value for money and produces just as good results as the Autopot system in my experience.

If you grow tomatoes to save money, the Quadgrow is possibly not an option. If you grow tomatoes as a hobby and want the best crop possible (notwithstanding the weather!), you should consider a Quadgrow for next season.

It will double your crop season after season!

The Quadgrow Planter
Quadgrow Planter


The Best Seeds

The best seeds for next season are the ones you are eating right now – in a manner of speaking!

Save seeds from your open pollinated varieties (non hybrid) and you will have vigorous seeds for next season.

Although some seeds remain viable for up to ten years, they do lose their vigour. You’ll get the best results from the freshest seeds.

Keep them cool and dry.


Tasteless Tomatoes

Tasteless toms can be cooked to increase their flavour – it is amazing the amount of dishes tomatoes can be added to when cooking.

My favourite way is to cut them in half and fry them with egg and bacon – better for my eyes and taste buds than my tummy – but you have to live a little!


Choosing Next Season’s Tomatoes

A good tip when choosing tomato varieties for 2018 is … don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

In other words …

  • Choose a blight resistant variety just in case we get a wet summer.
  • Choose a good beefsteak variety – if we get a good summer in 2018, it will show off its flavour.
  • An early cherry tomato such as Maskotka will be first in the kitchen.
  • Grow a traditional and a modern tasting cherry variety such as Gardener’s Delight and Rosella and get the best of both worlds.
  • Alicante outdoors, Shirley best in greenhouse.

All of the varieties above have been recommended by Newsletter readers – choose from this list and next season should be a great success!


It’s the last Newsletter of the season next week – doesn’t time fly!

I hope that your kitchen is jam packed with tomatoes.




Quadrow Planter – Get 10% Off by entering WGNEW at checkout!

Crimson Crush Seeds – be blight resistant next season!






14 Responses

  1. Rhys Jaggar
    | Reply

    The heat in late June and early July here in NW London means that most of my plants are now winding down after a good season.

    All the beefsteaks are pretty much harvested and ironically it is one Alicante plant which still has several green tomatoes on it. Tigerella matured very rapidly and has been very reliable for me the past 3 years.

    Black Cherries are still going and the April sowings are now harvesting well. The Zeniths in the quadgrow are the best I have ever grown but have matured 10-15 days early for the shows – the vagaries of outdoor growing! I harvested 19 today – 4.5lbs of cracking fruit. Sungold is also really vigorous and I am still harvesting regularly.

    This year my real stars have been Super Marmande and Black Russian – really big fruit, ripening well on the vine and finished by the end of August.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Rhys, I’m pleased that you’ve had such good results this season – especially with the large varieties!

  2. Conor
    | Reply

    Thanks for the newsletter again Nick!

    • Nick
      | Reply

      You are welcome!

  3. Ethel Craig
    | Reply

    Hi Nick,

    I purchased some quad grow planters on your recommendation and initially they seemed to be working much better than the traditional pots on the other side of the greenhouse. Here in West Central Scotland we had a wonderful start in May and then the rest of the summer just disappeared into mostly grey and damp. The quad grow , which were mostly beef varieties just stopped growing although the fruit they did produce has slowly ripened. The traditional pots which contained cherry and standard size have fared much better. Perhaps my choice of compost for the quad grow was to blame. I have been using a sheep wool/bracken mix for a few years now but as it is water retentive I bought some standard garden compost for the quad grow plants. Would very much welcome your comments.

    Glad to see the blog back by the way…much missed last year

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Ethel, The large varieties may struggle with or without a Quadgrow if the season isn’t very good.
      Try one or two cherry varieties next season and compare them to the ones grown outside the Quadgrow.
      Regards, Nick

  4. William
    | Reply

    I have followed your advice carefully, this year is best crop of tomatoes I have had for a good number of years, Example very little loss. Very good crop of good size and taste, Tried the yellow variety before with little success. This year good results size, very tasty, virtually no rot. Also I tried a hanging basket fantastic results. Also other red varieties 11 plants altogether in my greenhouse in all a very good crop of tomatoes. Regards.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi William, I’m pleased that you’ve had such a successful season!

  5. Alan Box
    | Reply

    Hi Nick Had great results with Trailing Tumbler in a hanging basket on a hook close by the kitchen door.
    Easy to water and feed. Great tasting toms , just reach out and pick.
    Despite a difficult start to plants due to poor light levels my plants at NT Scotney Castle have performed well. Many different varieties. Getting good donations from Visitors to punnets of
    mixed fruits keenly priced to be attractive good value. A sprigg of pungent purple basil on top
    of the punnnett adds to the attraction. Presentation is everything. Caring for the plants is hard
    work as I am now somewhat disabled. Perhaps it will be the hanging basket method in future.
    I also have some Balcony Yellow in raised beds in our Walled Kitchen Garden. These require
    little care apart from crossing fingers in the hope that we don’t get blight. At home tried
    Sweet Apperitif which came as mini plug plants. Never thought they would prosper, but I was wrong.
    The fruit is very sweet if very small.
    Many thanks for all the valued advice in the Newsletters. I frequently recommend joining the
    tomato club to NT Visitors

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Alan, It’s good to hear that you are still growing tomatoes at NT Scotney Castle and getting the donations for your excellent efforts. Sorry to hear that your health isn’t as good as it was but you are not letting it stop you!
      Sweet Aperitif has an amazing taste and is a very good cropper, as you say. It’s a pitty that the toms aren’t slightly larger.
      All the best,

  6. John Ferrier
    | Reply

    Hi Nick,
    Had a great year with a crop of 27 kgs not including cherry tomatoes. Most go into Kilner jars as a heavy sauce. Tried a new cherry tomato called, “Agio”. These are heart shaped with the best taste I have experienced. My main large to medium tomato was, “Hamish Paste”. Purchased the seeds some years ago from a UK company called Real Seeds. The tomato is a plum variety full of flesh with few seeds, love them fried in olive oil and served on toast.
    Trust you are keeping well,
    All the best,
    John Ferrier

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi John,
      Thanks for all your recommendations … tomatoes in olive oil on toast sounds great!

  7. Anthony Noblet
    | Reply

    Growing Black Russian for first time slow to ripen need a bit of sun!

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Anthony, We could do with a week or two of constant sunshine to ripen the large varieties!

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