Here are my babies with a brief description of each variety. Determinate means that the plant sets all of its fruit at once. Indeterminate means that the plant keeps producing fruit and it ripens on the vine as long as the plant is alive. The fruit comes in throughout the season. I’m partial to indeterminate types. (#) = how many of this plant I have in stock. Slicing Tomato
Abraham Lincoln: Beautiful tomato. 6-10oz round red fruit. It’s the tomato that you think of when you think of a tomato. Introduced in 1923. Used for slicing, juicing, or making catsup, not used as much for making ketchup. Indeterminate. (21)
Beefsteak A staple in gardens for half a century, Beefsteak is one of my favorite tomatoes. Plants yield 1-2 pound fruit. Being an older variety, the fruit is not perfect. It can be heavily ribbed, but I like that. I read somewhere that this tomato used to be know as
Believe It Or Not: Very large up to 2 lb fruit. I’m now into my second year of growing this tomato. I’m using seed from my initial purchase last year. Like last year, these seeds are struggling to get going. I’ve been really babying the seeds that did join life, and hopefully, I’ll be able to extract a few solid plants. Last year, the plants that did survive produced some excellent tomatoes.
Better Boy: Standard 1 lb red fruit. Guinness record-holder for yields: 342 lbs. of fruit from a single plant! This is the most popular tomato in my garden. It’s easy to grow, disease resistant, and lovely to look at.
Big Boy: Standard 10-16oz fruit This is a variety that was introduced by Burpee in the 1930’s and is regarded as one of the five best of all time according to some experts. Read more about hybridization of the Big Boy here. http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/plantoftheweek/articles/Big_Boy_Tomato.htm
Brandywine (Red) New This Year! These are technically not a true red, red tomato, but dark enough. It's really a deep pinkish red color when fully ripe. These are the favorites of a lot of folks for a long time now. One of the best known tomatoes. Just the other day, my neighbor slipped over to my garage and gave me a beautiful
Early Girl: New This Year! The old standard for early tomatoes. Round 6-8 ounce tomatoes early and the plants produce well over the long season, nice red color. I believe that this tomato is an excellent choice, a nice well-rounded tomato. It grows well in just about any conditions and the plant is quite prolific. Some people poo-poo this variety claiming that it doesn’t have the rich tomato taste that connoisseurs desire. Well, I don’t like poo-poo to start, and I think this tomato tastes just fine by me.
Jet Star: 7 to 8 oz red fruit. Low acid. Compact plant
“ ‘Uncle’ Dick raised hogs, greens and Jet Star tomatoes. Sold them at the public Market. We weeded and later picked these tomatoes; they were and still are the one tomato I can count on come harvest time. I can them and we eat them off the vine. I try several varieties every year for fun, but depend on Jet Star for canning. I put in 100 plants and feed give away a lot of tomatoes.”
Park's Whopper: New this year! 4 inch diameter fruit. I remember well when Park’s Seed first came out with this variety. I was very excited to grow some since they took the time to send me a free pack. Park’s Seeds seemed to stake their future on this variety. They hyped it like no other tomato since the Better Boy. I suppose to a large degree their campaign worked, because Park’s Whopper is still a recognizable name.
Persimmon: 3-5 inch yellow fruit. An old heirloom variety that dates to the mid- 1800’s. I really enjoyed this tomato last season. My plants bore several beautiful round yellow fruits that were extremely meaty and deliciously sweet. This is the one tomato that I most wanted to grow again.
Raad Red Deep globed, blocky shaped fruits average 4 ounces and are firm with uniform green shoulders. Plants are medium compact with good foliage cover. Supposedly Raad Red provides excellent yields under high temperatures. I received these seeds in a free packet from one of my suppliers. We shall see if they produce. So far of all my tomato plants, they actually look like plants and not runts.
Stupice: New this year! A great early tomato, they are a medium sized to small tomato, good for salads, etc, but you can still slice them up if that's all you have. I have a friend who swears by this tomato so much he just can’t seem to stop talking about it. Here’s what I mean:
Me: “Well I’m about to order my seeds…”
Him(Interrupting): “Aw Man! You’ve got to get some Stupice…that’s ‘stew-peach-ka.’ It’s the best tomato I’ve ever grown.”
Me: “Well my tomatoes are looking a bit puny this year…”
Him: “Aw man, are you growing any of those Stupice…that’s ‘stew-peach-ka’ this year? They are easily the best tomatoes I’ve ever grown.
We’ve had many conversations just like those two. Each conversation ends with praise being sung for the mighty Czechoslovakian heirloom.
Large 1-lb. fruit with characteristic beefsteak wrinkles. This variety is much more disease resistant than traditional beefsteaks. I view growing this variety as a challenge in timing and luck. Invariably, I get the largest green tomatoes of all my varieties from this baby, but since the tomato is severely lobed, each section seems to ripen at different times. This year, I’m going to experiment with it by placing a bag over the whole tomato when it’s the appropriate size and greenness. Then I’ll see what effect the total darkness has on the overall ripening. Just a little science experiment. What the heck.
Super Marmande: Large red fruit grows on a tomato bush. Excellent for slicing. I’ve read that the marmande strain originated in
Supersonic: New this year! Large, globe-shaped fruit. Last year I wrote this touching story about gardening and my youth.. “When I think of this tomato I think about growing up. My father would always plant this variety; sometimes with my help. I think I love tomato gardening so much because of the wonderful hours I used to spend trailing my father in the garden tending his Super Steaks.” The only problem with that memory was that it was wrong. Later, I figured out that Supersonic was the tomato we planted a lot of in the garden. So I searched and searched this winter for seeds and finally found them after much anxious catalog flipping.
Supersteak: A huge red slicing variety up to 2- lb fruit. Even though I never really shared good times planting this one with my father, I’ve always been intrigued by it’s irregular shape and ripening habits. I plan to experiment on this variety this summer, too. Just like the Super Beefsteak.
Large Red Cherry New this year! I decided to go out and find a new cherry tomato. What I found was this simply named plant. From what I’ve read, this plant will knock your socks off. Prolific. Big. Red. Cherry. Really, there’s not much else you need to know about it.
Sugary: I grew this plant for the first time last year, and I was amazed by it. The clusters of grape like fruit were slightly pink in color and a perfect combination of sweet and tart. I wasn’t able to purchase more this year, but I plan to bring them back next year.
Sun Gold: I love this little yellow cherry tomato. It’s without question, the best tasting tomato in the garden. Day after day, I sneak out to my garden and pick a few of these little bursts of flavor. It may also end up being your first tomato to produce. There is nothing quite like them.
Indeterminate (14) Sweet Million: Sweet, tasty, red. One of best tomatoes you’ll ever eat. Small cherry- sized fruits. You’ll have billions of these little buggers. While they are extremely tasty, the fruit tends to swell and crack after a rainy period. .
Sweet Million: Sweet, tasty, red. One of best tomatoes you’ll ever eat. Small cherry- sized fruits. You’ll have billions of these little buggers. While they are extremely tasty, the fruit tends to swell and crack after a rainy period. .
Yellow Pear: Tasty old heirloom variety with little disease resistance. Fruit is yellow and pear shaped. Fruit tends to spoil on the vine and vines tend to die from disease. Other than withering, dying vines and spoiled fruit, this is a most tasty cherry tomato if you can get past the tough exterior skin.
4th of July: Indeterminate and early 4 ½ oz fruits. This was my favorite tomato last year. It produces early and keeps producing throughout the season and late into the fall. I’ve never seen a tomato with that kind of production. The fruit is tasty, but not over-powering with tomatoey-ness.
Ping Pong: What a surprise this variety was to me last year. Huge plant that produces pink ping pong ball sized fruit all season and then some. You’ll most likely have to stake or find some way to contain the plant. It was the second tomato in my garden to produce, and it far outlasted every other plant. I picked my last one in late November. They look cool, like a small pink ping pong ball, and they tasted great in salads. (Scan the linked article to near the bottom to read about this tomato)
Riesentraube: New this year! Great bunches of grapes is what the name means. They do hang in large clusters. Pointed ends on small grape to cherry size tomatoes. I’m frustrated by this tomato. I paid a large price to purchase 20 seeds. Out of the twenty, only two plants germinated. All my other varieties germinated at close to 100%. So I really don’t have any to sell, and I plan to never use that supplier again (Pine Tree Garden Seeds- lettuce gotten from them didn’t germinate either). However, I am really looking forward to seeing these grape-like clusters of tomatoes! (Some would include this in the cherry tomato category)
Opalka: From my Polish garden to yours. This is one of the best paste tomatoes. Very few seeds make it great for sauce. Fruit is about 6” x 3” and prolific. This is an heirloom variety, so it can get hit by tobacco mosaic virus. So, don’t smoke a cigarette then tend these plants…seriously!
Super Marzano: Excellent Paste tomato. It’s supposed to be a more disease resistant Marzano. Fruit is elongated and about 5 inches. I’ve read accounts of this variety surviving scorching heat of a 100 degree summer. Thus, this variety could be your ticket to surviving global warming.
Anaheim College 64 New this year! Anaheims are a lot of fun to grow and pick. This plant should give about 8 fat 6-8 inch peppers. They’ll start off green and slowly turn red as they mature. Supposedly the heat is mildly hot.
Black Hungarian New this year! The 3-4 inch fruit ripens black then turns red. It’s mildly hot. I’m excited to add this to my hot/ornamental pepper collection. Hot peppers are so beautiful in my flower beds. In fact, I really can’t eat them in any quantity at all; I just love looking at them.
Cayenne Long New this year! This plant goes by many names, but they all end up the same way. Long, thin, green peppers ripen to a shiny red. The red is fire engine hot. I think they may be nice to cut and dry on the stem.
Habanero: So innocent looking. Cute little yellow to orange-ish fruit when mature. Vibrantly, nose-meltingly, esophagus-burning hot. A great pepper for playing eating tricks on your friends*. These plants come from seed I saved, so your variety will be open-pollinated which means your fruit may vary in look and intensity. Who knows, you might create a new ornamental Habanero. (23)
*A couple of years ago, I had a bumper crop of Habaneros, and I went out to pick a bag full. After picking I left them sitting on our kitchen stove. A little while later, my son’s friend stopped by and he saw the habbas and commented on how much he really liked to eat hot peppers raw. Realizing that he was performing a form of macho male hot pepper bluffing game, I called him on it.
I said, “Well, I dare you to eat just one of those.”
[slight hesitation] “Man, no problem.”
“All right then…go ahead and eat one…all the way down.”
In a corner with no discernable way out, he squirmed a bit. “Okay then, here goes.”
He gingerly picked up a cute little innocent Habanero. Likely his inner-most self-preservation warning systems were flashing code red. With a singular motion, he popped the whole pepper in his mouth and began chewing. After a few brief chews, he swallowed the whole thing. I looked on in amazement. The pepper seemed to have no affect on him at all. He really wasn’t bluffing after all…
Then I noticed his face turn ashen followed by intense bright red. The next thing I knew, he was screaming and running to the kitchen faucet. No amount of cold water could quell his inner fire. He then ran to the refrigerator and chugged some milk. Still no comfort. Gasping as if dying, his penance went on and on and on.
Days later, we chatted about the event in some detail. He just hadn’t expected the Habanero to be that hot, and to this day he is wary of my peppers.
Purple Cayenne: Extremely hot. Extremely beautiful, skinny purple fruit on dark green foliage. These plants come from seed I saved, so your variety will be open-pollinated which means your fruit may vary in look and intensity. I had excellent luck with mine last year. Who knows, you might create a new ornamental
Senorita: Hot pepper with green fruit ripening to red when mature. 3x1.5” fruit. Stunningly beautiful and full plants. I grew these for the first time last year and found them to be every bit as beautiful as advertised.
Hot Ornamental Pepper
Candlelight: Fruit is red and points upward in clusters. It’s also very hot. Early on, you’ll barely notice that this plant is alive. Then sometime in July, It will jump up and grab you with its vibrant color display. Plant it as low, front tier growth in a height rationed flower bed.
Largo Purple: Amazing 2 ½ to 3’ purple variegated (white, green, purple)shrub with conical yellow fruit that turn red as they mature. Very Hot. This hot ornamental pepper is great for main flower garden planting and the fruit is great for eating.
Trifetti New this year! I like to believe that I own this plant. I bought one packet of seeds about ten years ago and from that initial purchase, my seed stock keeps growing and growing. The plants are completely unique. Trifoliated leaves of white, yellow, and green. Intensely purple fruit sets. Tall spreading growth makes it more of a small bush than a stand alone plant. I like to just let them go and produce then drop their seeds. Every year I have hundreds of new plants come back.
Cubanelle: New this year! You might expect that with this name the Cubanelle would sear the tissue inside your mouth. On the contrary, this pepper is a sweet frying pepper. Plants produce large 2x6 inch elongated peppers that lend themselves for frying. Time will tell how well it produces here in
Sweet Banana: Looks hot, but it’s not. Yellow banana shaped fruit. I love to slice these babies up, blanche them, then freeze them for later use on pizzas from Domino’s.
California Wonder New this year! I’m happy to be growing this variety again after several years away from it. This pepper is an excellent thick-walled green bell pepper. It’s great for stuffing or slicing up in to salads. It can be a bit temperamental early on, but if you baby it a bit, it should reward you with many nice peppers.
Many thanks to
Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners, Cornell Cooperative Extension http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/index.php
To Order: Contact Thom Ryder (Newt9(at)cox(dot)com) to order or place your order on the comment section below the catalog entry in my blog, Swimming Upstream. I can either bring the plants to you here at school or you can drop by my house in North Lake Subdivision next to Northside High most evenings other than school board meeting nights. Call 555-5555 any time I’m at home.