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.

| February/March 2010

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’


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

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. 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.

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