Homegrown Tomatoes in the Garden

Growing great homegrown tomatoes in the garden, including types of tomatoes to grow, tomato hybrids, type of soil and tomato planting advice.

| February/March 1996

  • 154-050-01-pix2
    The Early girl hybrid.
    PHOTO: W. ATLEE BURPEE & CO.
  • 154-050-01-pix3
    Sun Gold hybrids.
    THOMPSON & MORGAN
  • 154-050-01-pix6
    The Brandywine heirloom.
    W. ATLEE BURPEE & CO.
  • 154-050-01-pix4
    The amazing Sweet 100 hybrid.
    W. ATLEE BURPEE & CO.

  • 154-050-01-pix2
  • 154-050-01-pix3
  • 154-050-01-pix6
  • 154-050-01-pix4

The Garden Planner Mini Manual: The last word on growing first-rate homegrown tomatoes in your garden. (See the tomato photos in the image gallery.)

Homegrown Tomatoes in the Garden

As anyone who has ever bitten into a summer morning's glistening tomato right off the vine can testify, "love apples" are the royalty of the vegetable kingdom. Rulers of all they survey. There are no other crops as magnificent and diverse, none available in such a kaleidoscope of different colors, shapes, sizes, and tastes. At last count, there were about 3,000 different varieties to choose from, and some experts place the figure higher still. A yellow tomato with the shape of a banana named Banana Legs; a green one that is almost identical to a green bell pepper and, not surprisingly, called Green Bell Pepper; the Great White, a sweet tasting white beefsteak; and Old Flame, a very flavorful, medium-size orange tomato with a red interior are just four examples of the amazing variation within the same species. Black tomatoes (well, they're almost black) are in vogue, and some of the best tasting tomatoes on planet Earth ripen green (yes, green!).

You no doubt have your favorite, that perfect fruit you stick with through every growing season, but restricting yourself to that one, however enticing, is ignoring a world of possibilities. I'd humbly like to encourage you to expand your horizons, just a bit. After years (and years) of growing hundreds of varieties, I have whittled down my list of favorites to the precious five that follow. Three are hybrid varieties, (forced crossing of two or more varieties to produce a different "hybrid"), and two are open-pollinated heirlooms (i.e., the ovary and the pollen that fertilized it are from the same plant).

By the way, try to ignore the shills of tomato growing who endlessly sell their miracle ripening techniques; the tomato is basically a very simple crop to grow. Unlike celery or corn, to name two, tomatoes can be harvested with minimal attention and little horticultural know-how. The only part of the equation that gets complicated is the particular climate of your garden. What has worked for me may not necessarily work wonders in your backyard, but I've tried to exclude from my short list those varieties that are prone to anxiety attacks in less-than-perfect growing conditions.



Before we get into the specific favorites, however, let's briefly create the "perfect tomato." Let's call it Mother Earth, a solid red, a nice size (10-14 ounces), symmetrically round, exceptionally tasty, impeccably shaped, and represents an artist's rendition of what a perfect tomato should look like. It is disease-free (not just disease-resistant), and it is not subject to disorders (e.g., cracking, uneven ripening, blemishes, etc.). No insect bothers this plant except beneficial ones, and it continues to grow vigorously and produce more fruit than anything imaginable. This description is not a fantasy, but a fairly accurate description of one of the most recent and amazing hybrids to grace my garden.

Big Beef Tomato 






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}