All the Best Tomato Varieties and What to Do with Them
There are so many types of tomato plants out there—it can be tricky to decide which varieties to include in your garden! Here’s a breakdown of all the tomatoes you’ll find at the greenhouse and the best ways to enjoy your harvest.
Indeterminate vs. Determinate Tomato Plants
Tomato plants fall into two main categories: determinate and indeterminate.
Determinate plants, also known as bush tomatoes, will produce all of their fruit at once for one massive harvest. They’re bushier and compact, so they may not need structural support, but larger plants may still need some staking.
Indeterminate plants will continue to grow, bloom, and produce fruit until the frost. Also known as vine tomatoes, these plants will typically need structural support for their long, trailing stems. They’re great if you want a steady harvest throughout the gardening season instead of one big harvest that you may need to preserve for storage.
Heirloom vs. Hybrid Tomatoes
There’s another set of two categories that tomato plants fall under: heirlooms and hybrids.
Heirlooms have been cultivated for hundreds of years—they’re tender and flavourful, with plenty of different colours and fascinating shapes from which you can choose. They’re less firm, so they don’t ship very well. The best way to enjoy them is fresh from the garden or at your local farmer’s market.
Hybrids have been created more recently by botanists in pursuit of firmer, resilient tomatoes that can be shipped easily. These are the varieties you’ll see in the grocery store. Some hybrid varieties are disease-resistant, so if you’ve had trouble with pathogens like Verticillium or Fusarium wilt, planting disease-resistant hybrids will help prevent you from losing your plants to these hard-to-tackle viruses.
Types of Tomatoes
There is a seemingly endless list of types of tomato plants you can grow in your garden, with different textures, shapes, and flavours that make them suitable for different dishes.
Beefsteaks are large heirloom tomato varieties with an interesting ribbed shape, a meaty texture, and a mild yet satisfying taste. Slice them up for BLTs and burgers, dice them up for fresh salsa or bruschetta, or blend them into sauces.
Slicers are often in the grocery store, but there are plenty more slicer varieties available at the greenhouse for you to grow at home. They strike a perfect balance between soft and firm for a versatile tomato that’s great for topping burgers and sandwiches or slicing into wedges for salads.
Roma and Plum Tomatoes have a low water content, dense flesh, and fewer seeds, making them perfect for blending into smooth, mega-flavourful purees. Romas and plums make incredible homemade pasta sauce, pastes, ketchup, soups, and salsas.
Grape or Cherry Tomatoes are bite-sized beauties bursting with tangy flavour! They’re great for popping onto a skewer with veggies and cheese for party appetizers. Slice them in half to toss them into a salad or stir fry, or pop them in your mouth for an easy, healthy snack.
What is the Tastiest Tomato Variety?
Smaller tomatoes tend to be the most flavourful, and of all the different types of tomato fruits we’ve sampled, we really love the sweet yellow varieties like Sunsugar and Sungold. They’re tangy, sugary, and full of flavour but never bitter. Sweet yellow cherry tomatoes are perfect for snacking on raw or slicing into a salad with plenty of fresh basil, cucumber, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic dressing.
If you’re on the hunt for tomato plants for sale or seeds you can sprout yourself, visit Windsor Greenhouse to see all the incredible tomato varieties you can grow here in Abbotsford!