Tomato Recommendations

Our adventurous tomato cage gardenerd writes in:

“Can you recommend particular tomatoes that you have had success with. I am building your cool tomato cage and am inundated with the choices available in tomatoes.”

I can recommend a slew of heirloom tomatoes that have worked for me, because honestly – that’s all I’ve grown before.  Depending on where you live, your hardiness zone or the topography of your landscape, you can find tomatoes for all climates.

As for my recommendations: We are very near the coast in Southern California where I garden.  We get a marine layer for a few months that can turn all those tomato hopefuls black in no time.  I have found that tomatoes developed in the old eastern block countries – Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, etc. – tend to work well in coastal areas, don’t ask me why – it’s a completely different latitude!  I like to grow at least one paste tomato, one salad tomato, one pear tomato, and a slicing tomato.  Then the rest are just for colorful interest.  Some of my favorite heirlooms that have consistently done well for me are as follows:

Jaunne Flamme – a beautiful orange medium sized tomato with tremendous flavor

Black Plum – the plum tomato for your goth friends.  black streaks on top, red on the bottom.

Green Zebra – it’s green – you have to grow it!  I like them best when they just start to tinge with yellow

Stupice – an early, terrific producer of salad-sized tomatoes. This is called a potato leaf variety because the leaves are not the typical tomato leaves.  These leaves resemble potato foliage.  I can count on Stupice year after year.  Some catalogues will list them as heirlooms while others do not.  I’m still trying to solve that mystery, but it hasn’t kept me from growing it every single year.

Yellow Pear – irresistibly sweet.  You’ll be lucky if they make it out of the garden and into your kitchen – they’re my “in the garden snack”.

Here are some other tomatoes that did well the one year I grew them (I try to alternate):

Old German  – big as your head
Orange Oxheart – shaped like a heart but orange
Ispolin – a multi-colored and multi-faceted tomato that I wish I could find again – it was a great performer
Cherokee Purple – dark, brooding red/purple on top, pinkish red on the bottom
Great White – it’s actually white, and really big too.

That should get you started! Be sure to let us know what you decide on.

Here are more articles on tomatoes:


I want Those “Heirloom” Tomatoes

Hey out there!  What tomatoes are you growing this year?  Let us know where you are and what you’re growing.

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