Picking the best tomato to grow in your garden can be a big challenge. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from but that can be a good thing because it gives us so many sizes and flavors to choose from. The hard part is if you only have room for 2 or 3 plants. How do you choose? I can not choose for you but I will tell you how how I group tomatoes and give you some examples of the ones I grow on my farm in Georgia, zone 7b.
The smallest tomatoes are the cherry tomatoes and they might be as small as a small blueberry or as large as a big strawberry. I also group the little pear and grape shaped tomatoes into this group. They may be heirloom or hybrids and some may just call them salad tomatoes because they can be tossed into a salad whole or cut in half. By far this group is the easiest to grow, They have the most disease resistance and even though they are small they produce an abundance of tomatoes. If you are new to gardening these will give you best chance of success. Some of the cherry tomatoes that we grow on our farm are. Matt’s wild (very small), Sweet Million, Sun Gold, Yellow Pear, Red Pear, Black Cherry, Jasper and Juliette.
Hybrids come from crossing different tomatoes to get the best traits like disease resistance and flavor, They can range in size from 6 oz to over 2 pounds. They are typically grown for the abundance of tomatoes they produce and their disease resistance while still having good flavor. Some of the hybrids that we grow on our farm include Big Beef, Celebrity, Rutgers, Defiant, Marglobe and Homestead
Heirloom tomatoes are the antiques of the tomato world. They have been around for at least 50 years or more and passed down from one generation to the next. They come true from seed if isolated from other varieties, meaning you can save the seed and they will reproduce the same type of tomato year after year. They were saved for so long because they have something special about them . It is usually their flavor that is special and often their color and shape. They are not as disease resistant as many of the hybrid varieties and not as productive but they are the most fun to grow because of their diversity in color, shape and flavor and the unique names that they have. Some of the varieties that we grow on our farm are Cherokee Purple, Brandywine , German Johnson, Paul Robeson, Mortgage Lifter and Garden Peach.