Selecting Tomato Plants for Your Garden
Whether you're new to the joys of growing tomatoes or a long-term tomato aficionado, choosing from among the thousands of varieties is tough. Here's how to make sense of all the options.
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Lots of Choices
Vining or Climbing Tomatoes
So-called patio: tomatoes such as 'Patio' and 'Patio Princess' are bushy and compact, usually good for container growing. Instead of growing up, basket tomatoes tend to branch out and produce trailing side stems, so they're perfect for growing in hanging baskets. Examples: 'Tumbler', 'Tumbling Tom Yellow' and 'Hundreds and Thousands' (pictured).
Heirlooms are varieties that people have saved from year to year and passed down from generation to generation. Heirlooms may not be as productive or uniform as hybrids, but they have other traits that gardeners prize, such as outstanding flavor or exceptional adaptability to regional growing conditions. Examples: 'Aunt Ruby's German Green', 'Cherokee Purple', 'Mortgage Lifter'.
Colorful Heirloom Tomatoes
Tomato varieties range from black to white, and include pink, orange, red, yellow and green.
'Yellow Pear' Tomato
'Early Girl' Tomato
Red Oxheart Tomatoes
Oxheart tomatoes have a globe form on the growing end but taper to a point at the stem end. Examples: 'Giant Oxheart', 'Orange Oxheart', 'Pink Oxheart'.
Black Krim Sungold Yellow Zebra Tomato
Tomato varieties range from black to white, and include pink, orange, red, yellow and green. Shown here: 'Black Krim', a Russian beefsteak heirloom; 'Sungold', an orange hybrid cherry; and 'Yellow Zebra', a beefsteak heirloom.