Best in the Midwest: Striped Roman and Jet Star Tomatoes

Open polinated varieties are easy to grow in the Midwest, but crack-resistant Jet Star tomatoes and Illinois native Striped Roman are gaining fans.
By Barbara Pleasant
February/March 2010
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The Central/Midwest gardening region is a good place to grow Striped Roman and Jet Star tomatoes.
ILLUSTRATION: NATE SKOW


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Hot summer weather brings out the best in large-fruited, open-pollinated varieties, which are often described as easy to grow in the Central/Midwest region. Just the same, many gardeners allow space for a few dependable hybrids such as crack-resistant ‘Jet Star’ tomatoes, which are highly respected for their flavor. Bred and refined in Illinois, the ‘Striped Roman’ paste tomato is also developing a following in the Heartland.


Slicer Tomatoes

1. ‘Brandywine’
2. ‘Early Girl’
3. ‘Cherokee Purple’

Also: ‘Big Boy,’ ‘Better Boy,’ ‘Beefsteak’

Cherry Tomatoes

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

Also: ‘Sweet Million,’ ‘Riesenstraube’

Paste/Canning

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

Also: ‘Opalka,’ ‘Striped Roman’

Really Big Ones

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

Also: ‘Big Boy,’ ‘Better Boy’

Saladette/Pear

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

Also: ‘Roma,’ ‘Principe Borghese’

Non-Reds

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

Also: ‘Pineapple,’ ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’


Neighborly Advice

“A sure stopper for tomato hornworms is borage. Plant it right in among your tomato plants and you will not have to worry about tomato hornworms in that bed.”

Valerie Shoopman
Warsaw, Missouri

“Mulch, mulch, mulch to keep soil off plants and preserve moisture.”

Lynn Tschumper
Stoddard, Wisconsin

“When tomatoes are ripe, start eating them for breakfast, lunch and supper and every minute in between. The season will be over before you know it.” 

Pat Kennedy
Bath, Ohio


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


Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .








Post a comment below.

 

KRISTINA HARRISON
4/2/2013 11:02:50 PM
Even with our horrible conditions last year my Cherokee Purples out lasted and out preformed 12 other variety of tomatoes that I planted. I have NEVER been a fan of eating raw tomatoes until I grew this one. I am addicted! I have many friends that have said the same thing. They are now tomato lovers but only Cherokee Purples. This is the only full size tomato that I am growing this year and for many years to come. It makes the best red sauce in the world!

Lark Leibundgut Kulikowski
10/19/2012 12:09:39 PM
I came upon planting BORAGE because of the beautiful blue flower. I started to read more on COMPANION PLANTING. Borage being one of the BEST companion plants. Like all hardy zone 5 herbs, once you plant them and let them go to seed, you will have many plants to SHARE WITH OTHERS. If you do not want more plants, make sure you deadhead before they set seed. Would you like to chat about your gardens? Please visit my garden website/forum where we BACKYARD GARDENERS ON A BUDGET, chat and share pictures & experiences about our gardens. www.larksperennials.com Smiles, Lark

Helen Williams
3/24/2012 10:57:14 PM
As mulch, I use newspaper, 2 sheets thick, weighted with whatever is available: grass cuttings, pulled weeds, clods, straw, etc. Grass cuttings or similar substances allow me to walk on the paper without tearing. This type of mulch controls weeds wonderfully, and limits, or eliminates the need for watering, depending on the weather.

Roxanne_5
3/20/2010 9:07:41 AM
Sorry to remove your hope, but a can slipped over the tomato stem will not help you as far as tomato hornworms. Although this trick seems to protect against cutworms, which live in the soil and emerge after dark to crawl along the ground looking for a nice, tender stem to wrap around and chew down, it will do nothing about the hornworm. This is because the "worm" (actually, of course, a moth caterpillar, as is the cutworm) hatches from eggs laid on the leaves themselves (much later in the season than you could slip a can over a seedling!) by a particular type of sphinx moth. And if you see a hormworm with small, white, rice-like things on it,--leave it alone, for basically already is dead. These cocoons are the larvae of a beneficial parasitic wasp that have devoured the 'worms insides and will hatch out more allies in your fight against the hornworm! For more details on this moth, its life cycle, and photos of the wasp larvae, see http://www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/hornworm.htm

Rick_31
3/12/2010 11:46:12 AM
I had a problem with hornworms on my tomatoes until someone told me about using soup cans (or any can that you can remove the top and bottom lids. Remove the label and slip the can over the plant when you plant it. The worms apparently can't climb over the can to get to the tomato plant. Haven't had the first worm since I started doing this. Hope this helps.

Karen Zimmerman_3
2/15/2010 7:54:48 PM
Thank you for the borage tip for hornworms, I will have to try it this year. I have gardened in the same spot since 1983, never had hornworms until about 3 years ago and I have been fighting them since (though they seem to be lessening each year). I just monitor daily, pick them off and mash them. What fun!








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