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Publication: Sunset
Author: Brenzel, Kathleen N
Date published: April 1, 2012
Language: English
PMID: 10396
ISSN: 00395404
Journal code: GSUN

IF YOU'VE NEVER grown tomatoes, how on earth do you choose the best varieties from the thousands of seedlings crowding the shelves at nurseries? You could choose the plants by photos on the labels, follow recommendations from friends, or simply close your eyes, pick up a seedling or two, and hope for the best. Or you could make a beeline for one of these six delicious varieties that we've grown and love. Most are vining types (indeterminate) that generally bear fruit over a longer period; one is a bush that tends to bear its crop all at once (determinate).

'Sweet 100'

A sweet cherry type - nature's candy. Pop the ripe, sun-warmed fruits into your mouth fresh off the vine or toss into salads or pasta. Indeterminate

'Sun Gold'

The tomatoes, which ripen in long clusters, have a sweet, fruity flavor; they're delicious for snacking. Indeterminate


An all-purpose slicer, ideal for sandwiches and salads; diseaseresistant, it grows well throughout the West. Determinate

'Green Zebra'

A striking, tasty heirloom; eat it fresh to enjoy its tangy flavor. Indeterminate

'San Marzano'

A classic Italian paste tomato, it makes rich sauces but is also good in salads. Skin is deep red when ripe. Indeterminate


A big meaty heirloom beefsteak with rich, intense tomato flavor. Indeterminate

Care tips

Plant After all danger of frost has passed, set out seedlings in a sunny open garden or raised bed with fastdraining soil. Make planting holes extra deep, then pinch off the lowest two sets of leaves and plant so the lowest remaining leaves are just above soil level. Support with a stake or cage - see our how-to on page 8.

Tend If your soil is fairly rich, you won't need to fertilize at all. Otherwise, mix in a controlledrelease fertilizer at planting time. Water regularly and deeply during the growing season; reduce watering as fruit ripens.

Harvest For best flavor, harvest fruit when fully colored.

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