So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)August 8, 2014

If you live in Southern California, and you could plant only three tomato varieties, which would they be?
I've seen a similar post on other forums, but the answers were dominated by folks from zones 5 and 6. I bet the "essentials" are different here.

If you like, you can offer three for summer crop and 3 for fall/winter crop if you grow them, cuz they may (or may not) be different.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

San Diego
San Marzano

And, have to actually mention Early Girl. I know it's really popular out there, you'll see it everywhere, at big box stores, garden centers, etc., but there's a reason - it does really well in S. California and is very tasty.

Patty S.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

Wow. I'm glad I asked! I've heard Early Girl makes a good fall-planted tomato. Have you tried growing it that way? I have NEVER grown it.

The only must-plant for us is Sweet 100, for the snacking factor. We like sungold and may rotate in different varieties but Sweet 100 is always there. Same with the regular tomatoes. I think I will probably always plant Mortgage Lifter for the volume. But I might forgo my favorite tasting tomatoes to try something new for a season.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 1:04AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I have not, just regular season, and it is very good. Very sweet.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:10AM
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Consider doing a trial with about 10 different varieties. Try a mix of reds, pinks and blacks, cherries, slicers, hybrids, heirlooms, dwarfs and indeterminates. Then you can decide for yourself which you like best.

I always grow a larger mix than three types so that I have some variety and better chances of bringing in a nice crop. The winning variety will differ from year to year. This year I was hit very hard by spider mites, and 'Ace 55' gave me a very nice and tasty crop when all others faltered. 'Early Girl' grows and produces well for me over winter, so it's a winner for planting in the Fall. 'Sungold' is incredible, so I grow it every year.

That's three that you may want to trial. :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 9:30PM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

I do grow a dozen or two every season, so I'm really asking what the ones are that stand out, that blow your mind, or that you will always grow no matter how many new ones you try. And I want that info from my fellow z10-ers like you, not from the whole country. I guess I'm asking more in the spirit of a roll call but with some analysis required.

I don't necessarily have varieties that I MUST grow every year. Though I will say I've grown very few hybrids and I should probably give them a try. I keep hearing about Early Girl and Rutgers -- maybe as a fall short season tomato here. And I'll likely add Ace 55, San Diego and Marzano on your suggestions in this thread.

I grew sungold this year - and loved them, though not as much as the hype suggested I would. They were equally good as and a bit less prolific than sweet 100, which is the only hybrid (and the only standard) I really grow. I want to try black cherry, sweet baby girl and peacevine cherry too. Two really popular ones I have not yet tried are Kellog's Breakfast and Cherokee Stripes.

I'm likely to have more repeats though, because I'm saving seeds now. Gonna have to build more boxes.

If I had three ALWAYS grows it would be sweet 100, and mortgage lifter and mayyyybe black krim or marianna's peace. But I like to keep trying new ones.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:39AM
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Got it babyg, you're doing it right!

My favorite dwarf potato leafed varieties (New Big Dwarf (a pink slicer) and Husky Cherry Red (intensely flavored red cherry)) got clobbered by spider mites. 'Black Krim' is a winner for me as well, it's hanging in there battling spider mites in an Earthbox. 'Momotaro' is a great hybrid that I highly recommend.

'Sungold' are the best --bring them in early and there is a nice acid bite, let them hold and they are super sweet. 'Ace 55' and 'Early Girl' are reliable goto toms for me.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 7:01PM
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CA Kate

I was going to never grow tomatoes again, but then I found two new ones that were bred to take the heat. So far SummerSet and Heat Meister have produced really good tasting, medium-sized tomatoes all summer.

This post was edited by westelle on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 22:28

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

MRCLINT- What is momotaro like?

And oooooh Westelle, I am so so very glad you found two that work for you. I would be so sad to give up home-grown tomatoes. If you haven't yet, try Mortgage Lifter. It's an heirloom that does really well in heat. You have to go to an independent nursery to get it (no big box stores), but there are lots out there. Or I'll send you some seeds if you like. :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:48PM
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'Momotaro' is a Japanese hybrid, it's a 4 ounce pink slicer with a nice balanced flavor that leans toward sweet. In Japanese, 'Momotaro' means "Peach Boy."

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:23AM
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Sungold, Big Beef and 4th of July. (small medium and large). All super reliable in the hot interior southern california valleys
Heirlooms are great too, but I get much more in volume from my hybrids, so this enables me to can and preserve tomatoes for the rest of the year, from my limited space in my front yard where I garden in the summer.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:15PM
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I like sweet million for cherry tomatoes and viva italia for sauce tomatoes. I go to this great website for vegetarian recipes and have hundreds of great recipes that I can use the vegetables right out of my garden for.

Here is a link that might be useful: vegetarian recipes

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 5:13PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I'm in No Cal, but still pretty good growing area! (No of SF in the wine country, Sonoma Co) I always grow a sungold, love the taste of Cheroke Purple, and do an Early girl just cause we aren't patient!
Maters have NOT been too great this year! I don't know if my daughter didn't water correctly for the 2 weeks we were in Hawaii late May, early June or what?!?!? Nancy

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Cherokee Purple
Black Cherry
Constoluto Genovese

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 10:12PM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

I have O.P. heirloom seeds that were fermented during collection, to prevent any disease-carryove.:

Hi tomato-lovers in Los Angeles. I have seeds to trade, if you live near Mt Washington.

  • big red heat-lover - Mortgage Lifter
  • big red heat-lover - Cuolstrolee
  • medium red heat-lover - Carmello
  • small red, early/cool season - Stupice
  • big pink, sparse but delicious - Marianna's Peace
  • black sparse but delicious - Paul Robeson
  • yellow, sparse but delicious - Hillbilly
  • black - Black Krim
  • green - Aunt Ruby's German Green
  • random tomatillos - parentage is between green & purple or either of those self-pollinated.

I'm fairly sure that I didn't save any of my cherry tomato seeds or, obviously, the hybrid seeds.

-BabyG (aka Porchlight)

1 Like    Bookmark   March 8, 2015 at 1:53PM
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Any ideas for really nematode resistant varieties? I have very sandy soil, I'm next to a flood control wash that used to be a seasonal stream. I have never had success with tomatoes, I've tried heirlooms and got only one or two per plant. I've tried modern disease resistant cultivars. Everything grows great early in the season, getting my hopes up. But then by late June or July they all give up and when I pull them out they all have nematode roots.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2015 at 4:37PM
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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

Celebrity is fairly resistant. I've also had good luck with beneficial nematodes - I use Lawn and Garden ScanMask - it has worked better for me than the spray. What works best for me is resistant varieties PLUS ScanMask.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2015 at 5:49PM
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I've never heard of ScanMask, I'll look into that. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2015 at 9:07PM
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Wild Haired Mavens(Zone 10)

I've been struggling trying to find heirloom tomatoes to grow. I have grown 7 tomatoes and only got fruit from a few.

if I had to pick one it would be indigo rose, she bore fruit with nematodes.

Unknown cherry tomato sown by birds

indigo rose provides delicious small to medium purple striped tomato

black krim

Now that I read this list I am going to try mortgage lifter and Paul robeson. Maybe I'll try German green, last year I didn't get one tomato from mr stripey

    Bookmark   March 15, 2015 at 9:50PM
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Sabine Halfhill

Early Girl are the most prolific, heavy producing and really delicious and sweet. Also very disease resistant. The first and last to bear fruit. They are the best!
I also love Green Zebra, Hawaiian pineapple, black Krim.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 2:05PM
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Wild Haired Mavens, I am very much into the heirloom tomatoes and that is all I plant. I love the Black Krim (you will find the Paul Robeson to be very similar). I planted some Indigo Rose this year and look forward to seeing how they do. I would recommend Cherokee Purple - they were one of my favorites and produced great for me last year. Another variety that I was really impressed with last year was the Chocolate Stripe. They are a larger beef steak variety. I also bought some Chocolate Cherry tomato seeds for this year. The other varieties I planted were: Purple Russian, Ananas Noire, Violet Jasper, Pink Boar & Big Rainbow. Good Luck!

1 Like    Bookmark   March 23, 2015 at 1:22PM
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laura_al (zone 10; sunset 24) Santa Barb

Early Girls always produce for me, as do Romas. A very reliable, tasty and long producing grape tomato is Juliet. I'm trying Better Bush again this year. last year's weren't great, but none of my tomatoes were much good. Try Principe Borghese if you like to dry tomatoes.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 2:18PM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)
wild haired maidens...My feedback on heirlooms that are good producers is based on my full sun back yard. black Krim was a lot more prolific for me than Paul Robeson. Mortgage Lifter was an amazing producer. Costruolee was also abundant. You might try some cherry varieties too.
    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 4:58PM
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