Planting

Top tomatoes

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

Now is the time that your windowsill starts to burst with seed trays and seedlings so to add to the options this is a count down of some top tomatoes to grow this year!

There are approximately 10,000 varieties worldwide and not all are red in colour, tomatoes have come a long way. When buying seeds you can be overwhelmed with the choice available and most of us stick to the tried and tested. Red tomatoes = got to be right but some of the other varieties are just as tasty. Then comes whether to choose heirloom or hybrid, so this might help.

Heirloom tomatoes are a variety that has been passed down from gardener to gardener and come from true seed and have a wide range of flavour. Perhaps the most famous heirloom tomato is Brandywine, that many experts rank as the best tasting.This variety dates back to the 1800s and produces large red fruits.

As heirloom tomatoes come in a wide variety of shapes,colours and sizes, there is a plant for every space.

Modern hybrids are specially bred for home gardens and the colour variation is simply incredible; red, yellow pink, orange, chocolate and even white. Cordon or Indeterminate are the type most grown, tied to a string or cane with the side shoots removed to ensure energy goes into the fruit not the foliage. Bush or determinate varieties do not need their side shoots removing but take up more room and are not suitable for pot growing. Dwarf tomatoes can be grown in hanging baskets or containers.

Modern hybrids are specially bred for home gardens and the colour variation is simply incredible; red, yellow pink, orange, chocolate and even white.
Paul Hervey-Brookes

So, if you can’t decide here are a few to help you out:

HEIRLOOM

  • Bonny Best: very popular, flat globe shape fruits with good flavour.
  • Eva Purple Ball: pink juicy, sweet fruit.
  • Fireworks: early red fruit with terrific taste.
  • Green Zebra: amber green fruit with dark green stripes. Sweet and zingy.
  • Paul Robeson: deep maroon fruits with full flavour.
  • Black Ethiopian: Plum shaped, tangy full flavour with a deep mahogany red colours.

CHERRY AND CONTAINER

  • Tumbling Tom: red, high yield with sweet flavour.
  • Tiny Tim: popular early red cherry tomato.
  • Snow White: beautiful ivory coloured fruit. pleasant mild flavour.
  • Sprite: sweet red grape tomato with a thin skin.
  • Sun Sugar: golden cherry tomato with three times more vitamin A than a red.

Whichever you choose there are almost as many varieties as there are recipes to use them in!

Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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