The Best Tomatoes to Grow Where You Live

Enjoy bumper tomato harvests. Organic gardeners with broad experience of multiple varieties recommend the best tomatoes to grow in your region.

| February/March 2010

regional gardening map

In some regions, tomatoes must cope with high heat and humidity. In other areas, short growing seasons and cold temperatures are the biggest challenges.


The surest way to have a successful tomato crop is to grow varieties with a proven track record in organic gardens in your area. Last fall, we conducted an online survey asking readers about the best tomato varieties for their regions, and we got even more great information than we expected!

In addition to naming names, our 2,000 respondents offered up a treasure-trove of useful tips. Some of the best of these appear in the regional lists of top tomato varieties below. Additional regional tomato-growing tips appear on our regional gardening pages.

Tomato Lover’s Profile

Our survey was open to anyone. Many members of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Gardening Advisory Board weighed in on what they view as the best tomatoes, as did folks from Seed Savers Exchange and various online gardening forums. Many gardeners with only a few years of experience didn’t suggest varieties, but instead begged for help! Gardeners with more experience shared many variety recommendations.

Many gardeners had common purposes, with more than 44 percent of respondents saying they hoped to grow enough tomatoes “to eat fresh, preserve and share.” More than 66 percent use only organic methods, with compost and aged manure the top choices for fertilizers. About half of the survey-takers reported that tomatoes are easy or moderately easy for them to grow, with more difficulty noted in extreme climates.

Tomato Varieties and Types

It was easy to tally up scores for well-known varieties such as ‘Amish Paste’ or ‘Early Girl,’ but several variety groups presented identification problems. As I combed through the lists, “beefsteak” and “roma” formed large generic categories, so they are treated that way for ranking purposes. ‘Brandywine’ should be considered a generic category as well, because it was impossible to identify strains that vary in color from pink to yellow to black.

For organizational purposes, the survey sorted tomatoes into the following types:

southren livin
3/1/2013 6:29:48 PM

amazing you left off the tastiest: marglobes and rutgers........

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!