The Best Tomatoes to Grow in the Southwest

Heat-tolerant varieties lead the pack in the arid Southwest.
By Barbara Pleasant
February/March 2010
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The hot, dry Southwest region favors cherry tomatoes.
ILLUSTRATION: NATE SKOW


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This huge and diverse region often presents tough challenges for tomatoes, with gardeners in arid climates reporting problems finding varieties that can take the heat. Small-fruited cherry tomatoes deliver no matter what, and they are the most popular type of tomato in the region. Particularly in areas with little rain, you will need to water larger slicing tomatoes just right to prevent blossom end rot and cracking. Using plenty of mulch will make this task much easier.


Slicers

1. ‘Early Girl’
2. ‘Brandywine’
3. ‘Beefsteak’

Also: ‘Better Boy,’ ‘Big Beef,’ ‘Paul Robeson,’ ‘Rutgers’

Cherries

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

Also: ‘Yellow Pear,’ ‘Juliet,’ ‘Patio’

Paste/Canning

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

Also: ‘Opalka,’ ‘Teton de Venus’

Really Big Ones

1. ‘Beefsteak’
2. ‘Big Boy’
3. ‘Mortgage Lifter’

Also: ‘Brandywine,’ ‘Dr. Wyche’s Yellow’

Saladette/Pear

1. ‘Yellow Pear’
2. ‘Japanese Black Trifle’
3. ‘Stupice’

Non-reds

1. ‘Green Zebra’
2. ‘Cherokee Purple’
3. ‘Lemon Boy’


Neighborly Advice

“To escape blight, we plant tomatoes in June. Also, keep the growing area clean.” 

Susan Guarino
Half Moon Bay, California

“To prevent disease problems, drip irrigate and cut off the lowest foliage so it doesn’t pick up diseases from the soil. Never let fruit rot on the vine or on the ground.” 

Stella Bloom
San Diego, California

“I live at 6,700 feet altitude, with hot days and very cool nights. Slicing tomatoes usually are not ready until mid-September, but cherry and pear tomatoes come on in August.” 

Diana Calkins
High Rolls, New Mexico

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 .

 








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