Choosing Garden Varieties Wisely
The leading question coming into my greenhouse this season is, what kind of tomato plant do you recommend? Answering that question is like telling you the what make of car to choose. Each tomato variety, like a car, has several options. Tomato plants like our heirloom or old fashioned varieties like Pink Brandywine and Old German are known for their big ugly appearance and juicy flavor. A variety that has been a gardeners’ favorite sold in our greenhouse is the celebrity and Mountain Pride. Both of these varieties have certain disease resistant factors associated with their kind. They are more resistant to blights and mildews than some of the traditional varieties such as a Better Boy and Rutgers. Both the Better Boy and Rutgers tomatoes are known in our area for being good canning tomatoes, and have been a traditional favorite for many gardeners. And you can’t forget about the varieties of the snacker’s choice Roma and Tommy-Toe. Roma is a pear shaped variety that will produce until frost during most seasons, while the ever favored cherry tomato goes good in salads or just to eat by the bowl full.
So what kind of tomato plant do I recommend? I recommend you choose plants that are disease and pest free when you buy them. If you notice white flies or orange eggs, rusts, or molds; find another source. You definitely do not want to transfer those plants into your home garden. I also recommend you try a few different varieties until you find the tomato that suits both your intentions, eating, canning, salsa, etc., and that suits the growing conditions in the your area. Some varieties of plants react differently to different soil pH, soil type, water and nutrient availability. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Most local greenhouses will be happy to give you a sample plant for you to try. Just remember the basics of getting a soil test, buying local, and buying disease resistant plants and you will always be started in the right direction