Few people will argue that the queen of the vegetable garden is the tomato. Hundreds of varieties exist, from heirlooms that have been revived and redeveloped over time, to standby hybrids that are perennial favorites in the garden year after year. Agricultural researchers work each year to develop new varieties for improved flavor, size, color, overall plant size and disease resistance; at least half a dozen new varieties are released to the commercial market each year.
Big Pink, a Burpee Seed Company introduction, produces medium-sized tomatoes with smooth, light red skin. Though Big Pink is an indeterminate variety, plants rarely grow excessively tall. Fruits are produced 75 days from transplant.
Another Burpee introduction, Orange Wellington produces fleshy, 12-ounce tomatoes with few or no seeds. This indeterminate variety matures in 75 days.
Red Pearl is one of Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ newest tomato introductions. As the name suggests, this indeterminate-type tomato produces large, grape-shaped fruits with soft skins and few seeds. Plants are prized for their good resistance to bacterial attacks by fusarium wilt and moderate resistance to late blight. They will reach maturity in 58 days.
Solar Fire is a recent introduction from the University of Florida series of so-called heat-set tomatoes, which were developed to continue to produce fruit even during the hottest months of the blistering southern summers. Plants produce firm and glossy red 6-oz. tomatoes and are resistant to several strains of fusarium and verticillium wilt.
Like their namesake, the tomatoberry bears tomatoes the size, shape and color of strawberries. Introduced by Park Seed Company, these sweet and juicy cherry-type tomatoes grow to about an inch long on indeterminate-type plants. Fruits resist cracking. Plants mature in 65 days.
Named for its intermingled red and gold coloration, this new Burpee indeterminate-type hybrid produces tomatoes with an old-fashioned heirloom flavor. Tye-Dye was bred to deliver large yields of roughly 7-oz. fruits. Plants mature in 78 days.