Planting the Right Tomato


What Tomato Variety is Right For You?

Picking the right tomato at the supermarket is not a big deal. But, if you’re planting tomatoes, picking the right tomato IS a big deal. You’ll be growing and harvesting those tomatoes all season. Choosing the right tomato to plant, doesn’t have to be complicated. It all starts with how you’re going to use them, according to IFA Country Store expert, Nick Loveland.

“A lot of people enjoy canning tomatoes. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to grow the standard Roma tomato,” says Loveland. “Romas are thick-walled, meaty, bright red egg-shaped tomatoes. It is also a drier tomato, less juicy. These attributes make Romas a great choice for canning.”

The drier nature of a Roma tomato also makes them a great choice for making tomato paste, sauces and salsas, as they are not too juicy in a frying pan. If you enjoy a good, classic tomato cut up in a salad, you may want to plant an heirloom variety. These tomatoes have been around for many generations and are not hybrids, but not all heirlooms are the same.

What about salads?

If you want nice color in your salad … “Try a Cherokee Purple or a Mr. Stripey tomato. Both are very popular heirloom tomatoes,” says Loveland. “The Cherokee Purple has some gorgeous purple and green in the flesh while Mr. Stripey tomatoes are yellow with red-streaked flesh. Both are very flavorful and look great in a salad or sliced on a burger.”

Loveland says one of his favorite heirloom variety is the Brandywine. He says, “the Brandywine is a popular beefsteak-sized tomato that produces rosy pink fruits loaded with an old-fashioned tomato taste that has been prized for decades.”

Another variety of tomato which you may not have heard of is the DX-5212 tomato. This tomato was developed by Utah State University in conjunction with the Heinz Company. While the name is less than exciting, the tomato is quite tasty and makes for a good salad or slicing tomato.

Then, there are the “Boy” variety of tomatoes, including Big Boy, Better Boy, and Best Boy tomatoes. These are all very similar in looks—smooth, beautifully bright red and delicious. Whichever variety of tomato you plant in your garden, it will have a more robust flavor than anything you’ll find in the supermarket.

Let’s get started

Loveland adds that regardless of the variety you choose for your garden, you’ll want to make sure to plant them after the last frost of the season. You’ll also want to protect your plants at the beginning and the end of the season with Season Starters, which help protect your plants when the temperature falls during the night.

Season Starters, as well as garden fertilizer, are available at your nearby IFA Country Store. If you have any questions about tomatoes (or anything else you may be growing in your garden), just check with the experts at IFA Country Stores. We can help you grow the things you love.