Tomato Type FAQ & Garden Pictures


We have been asked several times to do a list by plant type. These are the types that we generally plant for their qualities and characteristics other than their flavor. This ultimate pursuit of flavor is a journey...we try to keep the customer favorites each year and sample new ones along the way. When I say that something is “new for 2020,” it just means that it was highly recommended by someone, somewhere.. or maybe I just thought it was pretty or interesting enough to try. It doesn't mean it is necessarily the “latest and greatest.” Our plant list is a “Process of Continuous Improvement.”

Roma/paste types
I often get people asking for a paste tomato.. any old paste tomato, like Wal-Mart’s “Roma” or “Paste” plant.. ever buy a lamp that way? NO! Your paste / roma shape are meaty (makes less watery salsa) with generally fewer or smaller seeds. We are growing 4 paste types this year. The ultimate paste tomato would taste as good as any other tomato AND it would have oodles of fruit AND the seeds would be small and few.

  • Jersey Devil
  • Opalka
  • Pink Fang Roma
  • San Marzano

  • Oxhearts
    Although these don’t seem to be huge producers, flavor-wise you can’t go wrong with any of these, really. Oxhearts are very meaty and typically have few or smaller seeds (in less cavities which are easily removed) making them great for canning, saucing, cooking.. really, they are just like giant (strawberry shaped) versions of a roma/paste type that you grow for cooking, salsa, etc. As these are bigger, you will generally yield less tomatoes than you will get off your small roma type. On the plus side, they are much more often prized for their flavor than any roma/paste type. These are equally flavorful slicing tomatoes. If you like a good oxheart, these 5 we grow will provide you a spectrum of flavor that will let you pick your exact, perfect match.

  • Amish Paste
  • Anna Russian
  • Anna Banana Russian
  • German Red Strawberry
  • Mrs. Houseworth
  • Russian 117
  • Wolford's Wonder

  • Container / Patio Plants
    Looking for ‘patio’ types for container gardening or maybe for a Topsy Turvey container? ‘Patio’ plants are dwarf varieties showing some form of compact habit. (If you have to share space with your plant, you might want it to keep to itself.) Really, any tomato plant can be grown in a container. Any tomato plant can be pruned as well. You do want your container to be at least the size of a 5 gallon bucket. Some people prefer buckets to the good ‘ole ground...just check out the “customer photo” page and see some monster plants in containers. If your plants get that big, they will get top heavy as well, so you will want to stake them or tie them so they can't fall over. These are the ones that we chose for their described, somewhat compact growth:

  • Bundaberg Rumball
  • Red Racer
  • Ruby Crush
  • Steak Sandwich
  • Wherokowhai

  • Heat Tolerant Varieties
    So many tomato types will not set new fruit when the temps get high. (Instead they produce fruit early, then after a break, they set again later.) If you live in the South, not a bad idea to add a heat tolerant type to your list. (Always better to try more than one kind to see which one YOU like best.) Some of these are new.

  • most any cherry variety
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Basrawya
  • Florida 91
  • Florida Pink
  • Genuwine Hybrid
  • Mule Team
  • Phoenix
  • Sioux, Super

  • How should a new customer pick plants? Pick at least one for:

  • taste alone
  • its color (black, white, yellow, orange, green, even striped jobs)
  • production - so there WILL be guaranteed tomatoes
  • disease resistance
  • its size (Big ones, little ones, Huge ones)
  • an early season (60 days is about the earliest)
  • a mid-season variety (approximately 80 days)
  • late season (90-100 days) - probably worth the wait!
  • something that just sounds cool....there is a lot of character in these plant names and their histories
  • cherry tomatoes for the babies and grandbabies

  • Still can’t decide?
    We have a new option this year - "Planter's Pick". All you have to do is enter the quantity that you would like picked for you. Then in the comments section at the bottom of the order form, enter your likes/dislikes and preferences.

    TRUE STORY -- Tomato Girl’s 1st Garden: I planted my first tomato garden on my own because I thought it would make me a better person! Gardening people are just good people! Why do you plant tomatoes?

    Matt's Wild Cherry and White Currant
    Photo courtesy of: Cheryl - Olive Branch, Mississippi

    A visit by Vicki of Blacksburg, VA and her sister of Ripley, TN

    Bob and Cheryl - Metropolis, Illinois

    Bill - Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Photo courtesy of:
    Phil Delany

    Photo courtesy of:
    Don in Oxford, MS

    Photo courtesy of:
    Karen in Abington, MA

    Photo courtesy of:
    Iman in Arlington, VA

    Photo courtesy of:
    Iman in Arlington, VA

    Photo courtesy of:
    Lesa, Collierville, TN

    Photo courtesy of:
    Corinna, Chicago, IL

    By the time we noticed it, it was too big and too close to the concrete slab to move
    Photo courtesy of:
    Janella in Arlington, TN

    Newspaper, mulch, soaker hose method by:
    Tomato Girl, Brighton, Tennessee

    Container Gardening:
    Doug Pillar, Jacksonville, Florida

    Hay Bale Gardening:
    Mac McAtee, Oak Ridge, North Carolina

    Urban Gardening:
    Earthboxes by Mark Fontana, Murphysboro, Illinois

    Tire Garden:
    Dale McPherson, Burlison, Tennessee

    Fence staking:
    Bill McCallum, Newton, Massachusetts