Tomato Types and Varieties
There are numerous types and varieties of tomato plants. Choose tomato plants according to your needs and preferences, but also feel free to experiment a little bit. Common tomato types that can be found in home and small gardens are given in the following list:
Beefsteak tomatoes or beef tomatoes are large varieties with some fruits weighing 500g or even more. Most of the varieties are pink or red, often with pronounced ribbing.
Common beefsteak tomato varieties include: Brandywine, Beefmaster, Beefsteak, Big Beef, Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Bucking Bronco, Pink Beefsteak and many others.
Cherry tomatoes are small and rounded tomatoes range in size from a cherry up to the size of a golf ball. Cherry tomatoes are spherical to slightly oblong in shape and mostly red in color, but yellow, green and black varieties also exist. The more oblong cherry tomatoes share some characteristics with plum tomatoes and are commonly known as grape tomatoes.
Most popular cherry tomato varieties are: Super Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, Italian Ice, Bloody Butcher, Black Pearl, Sun Gold, Honeybunch Cherry, Cherries Jubilee, Green Envy, Napa Grape etc.
Grape tomatoes are shaped similarly to the oval plum tomatoes, but having the small size and sweetness of cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes produce rather small and typically oblong fruits - similar to common grapes.
Plum tomatoes are type of tomato bred for sauce and packing purposes. They are generally oval or cylindrical in shape, with significantly fewer seed compartments (locules) than standard round tomatoes and have a generally higher solid content, making them more suitable for processing.
Campari tomatoes are tomatoes noted for their juiciness, low acidity, high sugar level and lack of mealiness. Campari tomatoes are deep red and larger than a cherry tomatoes, but smaller and rounder than a plum tomato. They are often sold on vines. Campari type tomatoes include different varieties, such as 'Magic Mountain', 'Cornell M'.
Patio tomatoes are hybrids excellent for containers and small gardens. They bear tasty tomatoes on strong, compact plants that grow only 2 - 2.5 feet tall. Plants generally don't require support, but weight of the fruits can be too heavy for the plant, especially when exposed to wind. During 7-8 harvesting period, single small plant can produce 50 or even more tomatoes.
Black, purple, yellow etc tomatoes are great decoration plants that yield very tasty tomatoes suitable for every use, just as regular tomatoes. However, such varieties are mostly used for meals and dishes like salads and cocktails.
Sungold: small, orange-red, cherry type tomato, hybrid, nice sweet taste, plenty of fruits.
Stupice: tolerates cooler climate, taste could be better, but it is OK, compact plant with red fruits. Rippen early.
Black Krim: heirloom tomato suitable for containers, has large, purple-redish fruits.
Wapsipinicon Peach: heirloom tomato, yellow orange fruits with fuzzy skin (like a peach). Also, very ornamental plant with tasty fruits.
Brandywine: very popular variety. Strong and rather large plants, require good cage or several stakes per plant. Can be kept 'under control' with regular pruning. One of the best tasting tomato varieties.
Silvery Fir Tree: compact and ornamental plants, round red fruits with gray/silver green leaves.
Riesentraube: grape type tomato, with 20-40 small tomatoes in clusters. Very tasty fruits, too. Early variety.
San Marzano: variety of plum tomato, with thinner and more pointed tomatoes than Roma tomatoes. Taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic - bittersweet. A indeterminate, heirloom plant.
Roma: also variety of plum tomato, egg or pear-shaped, red tomato; open-pollinated variety, but not considered as an heirloom tomato. One meter high plants; high yield.
Better Boy: high yield plants, ripe tomatoes up to 350g (12 ounces), indeterminate plants, very tasty fruits.
Black Cherry: dark red colored, cherry size tomatoes; great flavor; very vigorous decorative plants.
Earl Girl: F1 hybrid, indeterminate variety, very early fruit ripening - 50 to 60 days after transplanting. well-suited for both colder and hot and dry climates.
Homestead: heirloom tomato, suitable for hot and humid climates; firm, tasty, meaty fruits; high yield plants.
There are many other tomato varieties, but these are the most common ones found in small gardens. New varieties are created almost on a daily basis, so feel free to experiment :)