Try new varieties of red, green and yellow tomatoes
Tomatoes – the most popular vegetable among home gardeners in America. In part, their popularity is due to how easy they are to grow. Tomatoes are a great addition to any garden, from beginners to those with years of experience. With our Tomato Ring and Veggie Cage, growing them is easier than ever before!
Tips for trying new varieties
- There are almost too many varieties of tomatoes to count, so just pick two or three new ones every year. Eventually you will find favorites that you want to plant year after year.
- Don’t try too many varieties at once. If you are new to tomato varieties, it is harder to take good care of lots of different varieties than just two or three.
- It can be difficult to find unique varieties at garden stores where most tomato plants are sold. The easiest way to explore new varieties is to start from seed.
- The varieties mentioned below are heirlooms, which means that you can save the seeds to use next year. Heirloom varieties are a great way to try unique and delicious tomatoes, but there are lots of hybrid varieties available at garden stores, which tend to be more disease resistant, be better for storage, and appear more uniform.
Some of our favorites
- A purple favorite
Cherokee Purple tomatoes are our favorite! They have the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, are great for slicing, and are easy to grow. They have reddish skin with hints of purple and green, and they look incredibly juicy and appealing when you slice them open – like something you’d really want to eat. Cherokee Purples are very popular all over the country, so if you only try one new variety this year, make this the one!
- Green when ripe
Everyone needs to try a ripe, green tomato and Aunt Ruby’s German Green is a popular one. They are large beefsteak tomatoes, delicious and surprisingly sweet. When ripe, they are green with a hint of yellow. We like to plant them closest to the house or entrance to the garden where we can keep a close eye on them, because it’s so easy to get tricked by the green color and pick them when they are over-ripe. Test for ripeness by gently pressing the shoulders (the top rounded part near the stem) – they are ripe when soft, just like a red variety. (By the way, fried green tomatoes are made with unripe tomatoes. If you are going to make this delicious Southern treat with Aunt Ruby’s German Green, just pick them unripe.)
- Delicious yellow tomato
Lillian’s Yellow is also a beefsteak type tomato but it is yellow with a hint of orange when ripe. It is also generally smaller and rounder than Aunt Ruby’s German Green. It has thin skin that breaks easily, so it can be hard to transport and store, but we prefer thin skin when eating fresh tomatoes. Another popular yellow is Brandywine Yellow – it is larger and maybe even more delicious than Lillian’s.
- Cherries for the kids
Cherry tomatoes are great for getting kids into the garden. They are small enough to eat in one bite. We like to choose sweet varieties (these often have “Sugar” in the name) to keep the kids coming back for more! They come in yellow, red and even black.
- Tomatoes for tomato sauce
Paste tomatoes are good for making tomato sauce because they have denser flesh and fewer seeds (with less water that would have to be cooked down). We have always liked Amish Paste and have stuck with it year after year. But there are so many intriguing varieties to try – maybe this is the year we branch out!
Let us know if you have a favorite that we should try!
If you’ve enjoyed reading about tomato varieties, visit our Tips & Tricks section to learn more!