The North Texas tomato growing season divides into a spring or early summer crop and--with luck--a second crop in the fall. The midsummer’s sustained heat makes setting fruit difficult for tomato plants even when protected with shade cloth. For consistent yields, the best varieties are those with small to medium-sized fruit that are resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and root-knot nematodes--designated by the letters "VFN" on the plant’s label. Some varieties are also resistant to tobacco mosaic virus that is shown by a “T” on the label.
An old standby, 'Celebrity' cultivars produce well in North Texas and the variety is an All-American Selections award winner. The hybrid plants are a determinant (bush tomatoes that grow to a set height producing fruit over a short time) variety that grow to 4 to 5 feet tall in full sun. The fruit is medium sized--under one pound--and bright red. Fruit ripens in 70 to 80 days and the plant is FVNT resistant.
'Super Sweet 100 VF'
A cherry-sized hybrid tomato, 'Super Sweet 100' is an indeterminate varietal that requires staking or cages. Each 6 to 8 foot tall plant produces hundreds of tomatoes that can be added to salads or eaten as a sweet, healthy snack. The 'Super Sweet 100 VF' is similar in taste to the traditional 'Sweet 100,' but with more disease resistance. If you cannot find transplants, start 'Super Sweet 100' from seed indoors in February and transplant seedlings, after hardening, the end of March or early April.
The 'Tomato 444' variety yields fruit that is slightly larger than 'Celebrity' and tests conducted by Texas A&M University's horticulture program found the taste superior. The '444' is a 'Texas Superstar' plant designated by the program for its reliability and quality. A determinant, hybrid '444' has natural resistance to tomato spotted wilt that has become a serious problem for home gardeners in southern states. This determinant variety matures is 75 days. Sometimes sold as 'BHN 444 VFF,' transplants are usually available from local nurseries beginning in mid-March.
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