Tomatoes are the glory plant of the gardening world. Everyone want to grow the best tasting tomatoes or the largest varieties. But open any seed catalogue, and you’ll quickly be overwhelmed. I’ve rounded up the best tomato varieties for your situation. From cherry tomatoes, to the best container varieties, to the best for sauces, there’s something here to suit whatever you’re looking for.
P.S.–I’ve even rounded up the best varieties for those of us who don’t like raw tomatoes!!
P.P.S–No, we’re not crazy, there’s just something about the high acidity that weird raw-tomato-hating people like me don’t like.
Best Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are wonderful for eating by the handful on a hot Summer’s day. Though they’re best use fresh, I’ve been known to throw a few in with my sauces for a little hit of sweet. You’ll love the Super Sweet 100, Sungold, Sweet Millions, Amethyst Cream, and Sunsugar varieties.
Last summer I planted the heirloom Yellow Pear. They look exactly like their name suggests and are very easy to seed start. They’re my pick for those of us who like both cherry tomatoes and low acid tomatoes.
When it comes to taste, Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Ferris Wheel, and Sicilian Saucer are some of the best varieties around. They’re also all very large varieties that look impressive. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to grow as big of a tomato as possible?So many tomatoes, so little time? I'm sharing my top picks so that you can pick the perfect tomato variety to grow for your situation.Click To Tweet
Low Acid or Yellow Tomatoes
If you’re a person who doesn’t like raw tomatoes, you might like (or at least tolerate) yellow tomatoes. Try Lemon Boy, Oxheart Yellow, Amana Orange or Yellow Pear.
I have a had great success growing Lemon Boy tomatoes. They always grow quite large, are one of the earliest to ripen, and taste delicious in my tomato sauce.
Last Summer Amana Orange replaced Lemon Boy as my new favourite. They grow even larger, and are an heirloom variety–meaning I can save the seeds and plant some for free next spring.
Black (Purple) Tomatoes
The black (or purple) varieties of tomatoes are more complex tasting and are often compared to a fine wine. I personally like them for their looks and how they make the colour of my tomato sauce a little more vibrant. Try the Black Zebra, Black Krim, Black Russian, or Purple Cherokee varieties.
Easy to Grow for Beginners
While you can grow any tomato as a beginner, it’s nice to grow a variety that’s large, great tasting, and produces a large harvest. Beefsteak, Italian Heirloom, Celebrity, and Primo Red all make the cut.
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Good for Tomato Sauce
Pasta lovers in your family? Save yourself a bit of money and make your own pasta sauce this year. Roma, Amish Paste, San Mariano, and Supremo are all good varieties for sauce.
This year I’ll be trying Sunrise Sauce–an orange, low acid paste tomato.
Make yours with just tomatoes, or try my roasted tomato sauce with lots of different vegetables snuck in.
Short Growing Season
The Canadian Prairies are blessed with a short growing season, so we need varieties that have a shorter maturity window. Thankfully, there are lots of quick growing tomato varieties to choose from. Try Sub Arctic Max, Prairie Pride, Centennial Rocket, Bison, Russian Saskatchewan, Early Girl, or Manitoba. 4th of July also lives up to its name–your first ripe-on-the-vine-tomato should appear around that date.
So You Want Fresh Tomatoes in Winter?
Think fresh tomatoes from your garden are an impossible dream? Grow Longkeeper tomatoes this year and you could be eating fresh tomatoes in February or even March. Harvest them when they are pink or green, store in a cool, dry, place, and eat them as they ripen.
Best in Containers
Growing a patio garden this year? You’ll want to choose bush (determinate) varieties such as Roma, Bush 506, 4th of July, Brandywine, Juliet, or any variety that has dwarf, mini, or tiny in it’s name. Any variety of cherry tomato will also do very well.
Need more help growing tomatoes?
If you want more help with all your gardening this year, you need to check out my online beginner gardening course. Everything you need to know all in one place that you can return to at any time. Because we’ve all lost our favourite book at some point, right?
I’ll also be adding video content and additional content to the course throughout the growing season. (Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to make gardening videos with a foot of snow on the ground. . .)
The Growing Roots Beginner Gardening Course is like your virtual hand hold through the gardening season. Because wouldn’t it be nice if you knew exactly what to do to have the garden you wanted, without wasting hundreds of dollars on plants that are just going to die anyway?
Any varieties you think belong on this list? Let me know in the comments!
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Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.