An easy-to-grow garden vegetable, tomatoes show their versatility for use in sauces, juice or eaten fresh. To help avoid disease-stricken tomatoes, the home gardener can purchase disease-resistant varieties as indicated by a letter or series of letters after the name of the tomato on the nursery plant tag. The letters may be: A (alternaria alternata crown wilt), F (fusarium wilt), L (septoria leafspot), N (nematode), T (tobacco mosaic virus), or V (verticillium wilt).
Early Maturing Tomatoes
Early maturing tomatoes are slightly less flavorful that mid- or late-season tomatoes. The 'Early Girl' variety of tomato, which is resistant to verticillium wilt, can be ready for harvest in about 54 days. 'Early Cascade' is resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt, and produces mature tomatoes in about 55 days. Early maturing tomatoes are typically small and weight 3 to 5 oz.
The flavor of mid-season tomatoes is usually better than early maturing tomatoes. The size of mid-season tomatoes is about 10 oz. and they mature in about 65 days. The champion variety of tomato, which will continue to produce fruit until the first hard frost, is resistant to verticllium and fusarium wilt, nematode and tobacco mosaic virus. 'Mountain Spring' variety of mid-season tomatoes, which is resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt, is bush form and all the tomatoes mature at approximately the same time.
Tomatoes that take 70 to 80 days to mature are late-season tomatoes. The longer mature time provides for better tasting tomatoes weighing nine to 16 oz. Disease-resistant late-season tomatoes that are in bush-form and have tomatoes that mature at about the same time include 'Mountain Pride' and 'Mountain Delight,' each of which is resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt. Disease-resistant plants that continue to produce tomatoes into fall include 'Better Boy,' which is resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt, and nematode, and Burpee's 'Big Girl,' a crack-resistant variety that is also resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt.
Extra large varieties of late maturing disease resistant tomatoes that can weigh over one pound include 'Supersteak' and 'Beefmaster.' Each is resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt as well as nematode; and each can continue to produce tomatoes into fall.