8 Must-try tomato varieties to grow from seed

There is such a wide variety of tomatoes available that it is tempting to go wild and grow as many as you can. But before you start growing your tomato seeds, check carefully what sort you are buying: 

Vine (cordon) or bush (spreading); greenhouse or outdoor; cherry, plum, round or beefsteak. And, although some of the more unusual cultivars are tempting, not all of them will ripen outdoors in cool climates.

1. Vine Tomatoes

Cordon or vine tomatoes grow on trusses from a single upright stem. Sometimes called "indeterminate" they need supporting as the fruits swell and ripen. Traditionally a greenhouse plant, there are now numerous varieties that will grow happily outdoors.

Vine Tomatoes

2. Plum (Roma)Tomatoes

With their distinctive oval or elongated shape, plum tomatoes were once the classic, mid-sized Italian cooking tomato. These days they are much more varied. They are available in either vine or bush forms and can be grown indoors or out. Plum tomatoes are also known as Roma or paste tomatoes.

Roma Plum Tomatoes

3. Cherry Vine Tomatoes

Most cherry tomatoes are bred to be very sweet and conveniently bite-sized. Cordon or vine varieties are often borne on long trussen laden with fruit.

- For a compact and short cherry tomato try 'Tiny Tommy'

Cherry Vine Tomatoes

4. Beefsteak Tomatoes

These giants can grow to enormous sizes so, whether bush or vine, they usually need some form of support. Modern hybrids such as 'Big League' or 'Bloody Butcher' can easily weigh in at over 400-600g (14-21oz) each! 

Beefsteak Tomato Seeds

5. Striped Tomatoes

There are plenty of tomatoes with distinctive patterning, many of them unusual heritage or heirloom varieties that are worth tracking down. 'Striped Stuffer' (image shown below) looks and tasteds good; it starts off green and orange, and then displays red and yellow stripes.

Tomato Striped Stuffer

6. Orange and Yellow Tomatoes

Bred and grown largely for their unusual colouring, these Orange and Yellow tomatoes can nevertheless be extremely tasty. 

Yellow tomatoes

7. Bush Tomatoes

Bush or "determinate tomatoes" tend to spread or trail and grow from multiple stems rather than a single one. They do not need pinching out. Smaller or dwarf cherry varieties can be grown in hanging baskets. If you don't have a lot of space for a tomato vine to climb, growing bush tomatoes might be your best bet. These foliage-heavy plants grow to varying heights: dwarf varieties remain below 0.5-1 meter (2-3 feet,) while others are 1.5 meter (5 feet) or less. 

Bush Tomatoes Seeds

8. Black Tomatoes

In the world of fashionable tomato growing, black is the new red. Black tomatoes, which originated in the Ukraine over 150 years ago, have a unique depth of flavour. Nearly all black tomatoes come from the Crimean peninsula in the Ukraine, where they’ve been favourites of the locals for more than a century.  Hot summers there built pigment and fruit sugars that turn flesh and skin dark shades of mahogany, chestnut, bronze and deep purple. Consumers are often put off by the green and black interior and this is the reason why you do not come often across this colour tomato in your local super market.

Try 'Brown Berry', a highly sought after cherry-sized, lovely dark maroon tomato with great flavour and sweetness. 

black tomato



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