What are some good tomato varieties for the home garden?
Tomato varieties are classified as determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are small, compact plants. They grow to a certain height, then flower and set all their fruit within a short period of time. The harvest period for determinate tomatoes is generally short, making them good choices for canning. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, flower, and set fruit until killed by the first frost in fall. Accordingly, the harvest from indeterminate varieties often extends over a 2 or 3 month period. Indeterminate tomatoes generally produce heavier crops than determinate types, but are usually later to mature. Indeterminate tomatoes are tall, sprawling plants which often perform best when supported by stakes or grown in wire cages.
Suggested tomato varieties for Iowa include ‘Jet Star’ (indeterminate plant; red, oblate, medium to large fruit), ‘Better Boy’ (indeterminate; red, round, medium-sized fruit), ‘Celebrity’ (determinate; red, oblate, medium to large fruit), ‘Big Beef’ (indeterminate; red, oblate, large fruit), ‘Red Sun’ (determinate; red, globe-shaped, large fruit), ‘Carolina Gold’ (determinate; golden orange, oblate, large fruit), ‘Pony Express’ (determinate; red, plum-shaped fruit), ‘Sweet Olive’ (determinate; red, oval, grape-type fruit), and ‘Golden Sweet’ (indeterminate; yellow, oval, grape-type fruit).