Tomatoes make up a large agricultural crop in Florida and are also very popular in home gardens throughout the state. Whether it’s a large-fruited variety such as Better Boy, or a small-fruited type such as red cherry, many tomatoes are appropriate for Florida. The tomato is a carefree, vigorous vegetable that Florida gardeners can brag about and share with friends and family in the summer months.
Bonnie Best for North Florida
Bonnie Best heirloom tomatoes produce medium-sized fruit with firm flesh and few seeds. It’s an excellent slicing tomato and has proven itself to be well suited to northern areas of Florida. In taste tests, Bonnie Best was judged a “top 5 all time best tasting tomato.” Because it’s an heirloom, its seeds will grow into the same type of plant they came from, unlike hybrids. It’s an early tomato, meaning it will produce fruit before some other later-developing types. Grow Bonnie Best in full sun and fertile soil that you have amended with compost. Stake your plants to keep fruit from rotting on the ground and provide plenty of air circulation to ward off fungal diseases.
Sweet 100 for All of Florida
Sweet 100 is a prolific cherry tomato that grows well throughout Florida. It develops “hands” of 1-inch tomatoes all summer long. The Super Sweet 100 VF Hybrid variety of Sweet 100 is more resistant to disease than Sweet 100. It produces 1-oz. cherry tomatoes that grow in long clusters on indeterminate vines. In areas that don’t receive frost, the Sweet 100 types of tomatoes will produce well into winter.
Solar Set for Hot Areas
The farther south you travel in Florida, the hotter the weather. The University of Florida has developed a good tomato for these hot regions called “Solar Set.” It produces large red tomatoes and thrives in hotter climates than some other tomatoes. Solar Set is an f-1 hybrid, meaning its seeds will not reproduce “true to type,” but it’s a good choice for gardens in southern Florida because it will continue to set fruit even when the mercury hits 92 degrees F. Expect flavorful, 9-oz. tomatoes 70 days after you plant your Solar Set plant. This tomato has also been bred to resist fungal diseases such as verticillium wilt.
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