Best in the Interior South: Better Boy Tomatoes and Black Cherry Tomatoes

In the interior South, Better Boy tomatoes are valued for heat tolerance and productivity, while Black Cherry tomatoes earn props for disease resistance.
By Barbara Pleasant
February/March 2010
Add to My MSN

Better Boy tomatoes and Black Cherry tomatoes are two varieties that grow well in the Interior South gardening region.

Content Tools

Related Content

Girl out of Water - Blackberry Picking

Blackberry picking only happens at the height of summer, but is well worth the thorn wounds!

A New York Dairy Farm is the First to Use New Pasteurizer From Bob White Systems

With its recent FDA approval, the first LiLi pasteurizer was purchased for use at a New York micro d...

A New Year’s Revolution

In this blog, I challenge readers to abandon the typically new year's resolution and embarking on a ...

The Wedding

A break from usual blogs to share the celebration of my daughter's wedding.

Released in 1971, ‘Better Boy’ tomatoes are a Southern classic because of their flavor, vigor, and tendency to produce bumper crops, no matter what the season brings. Warm, humid summers make disease resistance crucial for Southern-grown tomatoes. It can be found in vigorous hybrids as well as many smaller-fruited heirlooms, such as ‘Amish Paste,’ ‘Stupice,’ and ‘Black Cherry' tomatoes. 'Stupice' has earned high ratings for flavor and productivity in organic field trials conducted by North Carolina State University.

Slicer Tomatoes

1. ‘Better Boy’
2. ‘Brandywine’
3. ‘Big Boy’

Also: ‘Celebrity,’ ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘Early Girl’

Cherry Tomatoes

1. ‘Super Sweet 100’
2. ‘Sungold’
3. ‘Black Cherry’

Also: ‘Sweet Million’


1. ‘Roma’
2. ‘Amish Paste’
3. ‘San Marzano’

Also: ‘Opalka’

Really Big Ones

1. ‘Beefsteak’
2. ‘Mortgage Lifter’
3. ‘Brandywine’

Also: ‘Park’s Whopper,’ ‘Better Boy’


1. ‘Yellow Pear’
2. ‘Roma’
3. ‘Juliet’

Also: ‘Red Pear,’ ‘Red Fig’


1. ‘Cherokee Purple’
2. ‘Black Krim’
3. ‘Green Zebra’

Also: ‘Lemon Boy,’ ‘Persimmon’

Neighborly Advice

“Move your veggies each year, especially tomatoes. They will tell you where they like to be in the garden.”

Michael Rock
Spartanburg, South Carolina

“I start seeds inside in February. In early March, when I’m sure I’ll have enough seedlings to transplant, I scatter some extra seeds outside in the garden bed. The germination rate is low, but any of those seeds that sprout and grow seem to be the best producers.”

K. Hulen
Collierville, Tennessee

“My tomatoes grow great in raised beds. My old-timer neighbors admire my tomatoes and have built their own raised beds.”

Kimberley Garrison
York, South Carolina

Read The Best Tomatoes to Grow Where You Live to find the best varieties for other U.S. gardening regions.

Post a comment below.


Shirley Ludwig
2/22/2011 11:46:38 AM
On the topic of Jet-Star tomatoes. Yes I grow them and have excellent results. This is the type my Mother and Grandmother grow along with Celebrity and Early Girls. Last year I planted a combination of these about 40 plants total and I canned tomatoes, made tomatoe juice, ate them all summer and supplied all the family and friends. Very happy with the ease of these plants. Only problem is the Japanese Beatles but I just use seven dust to try to stay ahead of them.

Old Mayfly_2
4/26/2010 9:20:23 PM
Debbie, don't be discouraged by last year's difficulties. Here in Georgia (and I expect, Alabama, too) we had an unusually cool and wet spring. Everybody had trouble. I planted late and didn't get tomatoes until August. Plant basil among the tomatoes for hearty growth and to discourage bugs. Regarding squash--plant nasturtiums and squash close together. Works for me.

Debbie _5
3/17/2010 4:03:51 PM
Hey everybody I'm new to southern Al. and tried planting a garden last year. Pitiful. My tomatoes were attacked by some pest I had never seen before and my squash didnt do very good either. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

3/13/2010 7:58:16 AM
Last year I started over 50 tomato plants from seed of many various types. I had not started any cherry tomatoes, so I purchased only 4 from the local feed store only to discover too late that these were infested with thrips. I battled the thrips with pyrethrin and neem to no avail since the spotted wilt virus (TSWV) that thrips carry had spread very quickly to all the rest of the over 50 plants! This devastated my whole tomato crop & I had to destroy every plant immediately. This year I am starting only those seeds that are resistant to TSWV and will be growing these in a new garden plot. In the course of my research I found that TSWV can affect a multitude of other plant species, not only tomatoes. Very frustrating experience!

2/13/2010 4:29:21 PM
oklahoma...anyone grow jet star? one grower said that is all he grows and has for years. i wanted to try jetsetter because of disease resistance...anyone grow them...would like to get more reports on how they do in red man territory. thanks ...roy

1/21/2010 10:15:12 AM
I cannot agree stronger... Kept seeds are a great investment. I kept several packets of seeds stored in airtight ziplocks for up to 8 years (blackeyes, and beans) and 6 yrs (corn) and they did great! On a small garden plot, you can guarantee having extra seeds... As far as good eating tomatoes, German Johnson, Better Boy, are two of my favs..... Dang, it IS getting close to garden time!!! not enough hours in the day!

Drew Goetzke_2
1/20/2010 7:05:51 PM
instead of scattering your extra seeds, why not save them for next year. seeds keep up to 3 years. that would cut down on seed costs year to year or share them with a neighbor. If you are buying tomatoe seeds, have your neighbor buy cucumber seeds!!!!! Juat a thought

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.