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.

| February/March 2010

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

  • Interior South - Better Boy tomatoes, Black Cherry tomatoes

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.

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.



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