Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants grown in home vegetable gardens. Depending on variety, they can be subject to certain pests and diseases. But they do well if given enough water, room to grow and structural support to help plants stay erect when they become laden with heavy fruit. Tomatoes also come in many sizes, colors and flavors, and have widespread culinary appeal all over the world.
Better Boy tomatoes are hybrids that have been cultivated for disease resistance and superior fruit quality. They are resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt diseases, as well as to nematodes. These vigorous, beefsteak-type tomatoes are red, firm and weigh up to 2 pounds when mature. Harvesting can start in about 80 days.
One of the reasons gardeners love tomatoes is because of their bright color. Red is cheery, but other hues are equally interesting, and Pink Girls are no exception. These vigorous hybrids are crack resistant, and resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt. They start bearing 8-ounce fruit in 76 days and produce throughout the summer.
Celebrity tomatoes are mid-season producers of red fruit that weigh from 7 to 8 ounces. They start bearing fruit in about 70 days from planting and are favored by Southern growers for frying while still green.
These newer hybrids feature vibrant lemon-yellow fruit that has a mild, tangy flavor. They are resistant to all typical tomato plant diseases and pests. Mature fruit weighs about 8 ounces and is ready to pick in about 72 days.
Beefsteak tomatoes have been popular with gardeners for years because of their massive fruit size. They are the largest cultivated variety, weighing in at 2 pounds per tomato. Most are dark pink or red, with the flesh containing many seed pockets. Slices of beefsteaks work well in sandwiches and other meals where large tomatoes make assembly more handy.
This heirloom variety was first grown in North America by Thomas Jefferson. Master gardeners at Monticello, his Virginia plantation, continue to grow these tomatoes at the famed vegetable garden on site, and sell the seeds. Brandywines are pinkish-red in color, mature in about 90 days, grow to up to 2 pounds and have a rich taste favored by many.
Romas are smaller, red, oval-shaped tomatoes that are usually used for making paste and sauce because of their lower water content. But they can also be eaten fresh in salads, with cheeses and in other dishes. They mature in about 75 days and weigh about 2 ounces. Tomatoes on each plant usually ripen around the same time, making for a large, intense harvesting period.