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.


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’

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

todd reece
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

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