best tomatoes for Atlanta area?

patricia_ga(z7 GA)February 25, 2007

Hello all,

I've been perusing the various GW forums and seed catalogues, trying to figure out which varieties of tomatoes will do best in our beastly summers here in Decatur. My plants did sooooooo poorly last year. I think maybe I just put them out too late and the heat (and associated maladies ...) worked 'em over before they had a chance to set much fruit. But I'm DETERMINED to get better results this year.

I'm listing below all the varieties (most or all are heirlooms) I've seen mentioned in connection with hot, heat and the South. I'd appreciate (GREATLY!!) any feedback from anyone who has experience with these varieties. Please tell me what has done well for you in the past and what has NOT done well.

Also, if you've got a recommendation that's NOT on this list, please let me know. I prefer heirlooms, but a good hybrid can be a girl's best friend when she's got fresh mozzarella in the fridge and a handful of homegrown basil.

Here goes:

Ailsa Craig

Arkansas Traveler

Aunt GertieÂs Gold

Big Beef

Black Cherry

Black Krim

Brandywine Red

Caspian Pink

Cherokee Chocolate

Cherokee Purple

Costoluto Genovese



Eva Purple Ball

Heatherington Pink

Homestead 24

Jeff Davis

Mama Mia Paste


MariannaÂs Peace

Marion F


Marvel Striped

Mortgage Lifter


Neves Azorean Red

New Big Dwarf


SchellenbergÂs Favorite

Teffen Mennonite


Tropic (VFT)

Let me know what you all think!


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katy_bug(z8a GA)

I am over in Athens and I am wondering where you can buy heirloom tomato plants in the Atlanta area. Do you have to start from seed or are there any good suppliers?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 9:24PM
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pam_3(GA 7b)

I'm sure other folks will chime in with more veg experience. For my part...I grew Brandywine in the ground with no special treatment, and got some really tasty tomatoes. It didn't produce a whole lot, but that may have been my fault. I grew Romas in a container on the deck last year, and had more tomatoes than I needed, and they were quite good. Good luck this year. Fresh tomatoes are worth the effort!

I know you can buy heirloom seeds at a lot of places...Lowes, HD, Target, probably Walmart, as well as your favorite nurseries.
Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 10:48PM
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mcrean1(z8 GA)

Hierloom wise, I have had the greatest success with Cherokee Purple and Ozark Pink.

Non hierloom try Heatwave, Burpee Big Beef, and the hybrids of Big and Better boy. I always try my hand at a few newbies every year as well, but these have been my consistent perfomrers.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 9:57PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Green Zebra.

If you are looking for heirloom toms, you will be able to purchase them from the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter or the Ace Hardware in East Atlanta Village (also our tomatoes). These are grown from organic seed by disabled adults, and we are non-profit so the tomatoes are a very nice price.
If you would like a list and description of all tomatoes (heirloom and hybrid) that we have in production, please feel free to email me.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:15AM
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First, I wish I'd known about the local charity sales of heirlooms before I bought mine for 2007! Second, here's what I did this year to buy heirloom seed and plants. I'm a huge Internet user, so I searched and purchased via the 'net this year. If you want the world's largest selection with great plant photos and descriptions (including indicators for what does well in HOT HOT HOT climates like ours) go to

The owner is Laurel (a very, very nice lady) who grows over 150 types of heirloom tomatos (or you can custom order from her stock of 1,500 types of seed, and she'll grow'em for you!). Her website's pictures and descriptions are fantastic, and she indicates what does well in heat, cold, containers, etc. Although the plants are reasonably priced (to me, anyway), the downside is shipping from the Los Angeles area.

For seed, try a southern company such as Southern Exposure Seed Exchange ( which carries lots of organic heirloom tomato (and other veggie) seeds suited for the South (they're located in VA). For a wider selection (and I mean hundreds if not thousands of heirloom choices), try Personally, I thought their prices were high but the selection fantastic - and great photos, too. I purchased many of my seeds from two Oregon sellers - Victory Seed Company ( and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (

I have started the following seeds:
Brandywine - Red, Pink and Yellow
cherokee chocolate
cherokee purple
Tiger Tom
amish paste
Indian Stripe
Tess's Land Race (Baker Creek - small currant tomato)
Pink Accordion
Brandywine Red
Black Cherry
Orange Heirloom (from Victory Seed)
eva purple ball (plant from Laurel's)
Purple Haze (plant from Laurel's)
Goose Creek (from South Carolina low country, plant from Laurel's)
Dagma's Yellow Perfection (plant from Laurel's)
Black zebra (plant from Laurel's)
Paul Robeson (plant from Laurel's)

This is my first time growing these heirlooms, so don't take this list as gospel for growth in the South's climate. I'll post my results this fall/next spring!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Of those on your list, I've grown Black Krim and Eva's Purple Ball with tremendous success. Eva's is my favorite for this area. I also grew Kellogg's Breakfast and Ponderosa Red last season. Both produced okay in pots, especially KB and it had wonderful flavor. This year I'm growing these varieties which I understand are good for our climate.

Started from seed:
Lime Green Salad
Brandy Boy
Bloody Butcher
Cherokee Chocolate
New Big Dwarf
Aunt Ginny's Purple (Aunt Ginny's is not necessarily good for Georgia, but I hear it has superb flavor)

I agree with LawyerGardner that Laurel's has a wonderful selection of plants and a great website. She is highly recommended on the Heirloom Tomatoe Forum. There is also a really incredible group of folks over in Alabama off Hwy 20 who raise healthy heirlooms that are good for the southeastern climate. They also come highly recommended on the Tomatoe Forum. I tried them last year and will use them again this year. They had the best prices I could find, fast shipping and excellent packaging. The group The Tasteful Garden. Try the link below. They sell about 20 varieties of tomato plants. I'm buying 3 or 4 plants from them this year:
Mortgage Lifter
Stomp of the World
Aunt Gertie's Gold
Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tasteful Garden

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 10:39PM
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Just a note, Tasteful Garden ships plants all over the US and have 50 tomato varieties with most heirlooms as well as other vegetables, peppers and herbs. You can order online too!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Tasteful Garden

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 10:38AM
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Super fast response here - must go play wii bowling!

Cherokee Purple was so very, very delicious! I don't even like tomatoes and I was instantly converted! BLT's to die for!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 6:24PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Holy Comforter also has a wide variety of heirloom and old hybrid tomatoes (all are non-GMO) of all sorts for sale locally, at great prices. They are organically grown and the proceeds go to 100% to non-profit.
When time comes, I can offer you a list and descriptions for the year if you like. We haven't planted yet, of course!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 7:30PM
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Arkansas Traveler has produced well for me in Loganville, GA. Big Beef is reliable and a heavy producer but not among my top favorites for taste. Brandywines are so different, regular leaves, potato leaves, pink, red, etc it is hard to comment. The yields are usually relatively small but the right Brandywine has amazing taste. Aunt Ginnys Purple has done well here. Creole takes the heat and I like the taste. Homestead 24 produces and produces and produces, loads of tomatoes and Sioux does well too. Marianna's Peace did not do well the one year I planted it but it wasn't a good year for tomatoes in general so I am going to try it again. I like German Giant and German Johnson and always plant Rutgers. Italian Sweet has done well for me and is huge. I am trying Mortgage Lifter this year but no ripe ones yet. While the Florida heat varities will set in the hot summer, the taste leaves a lot to be desired for me. I am also trying Bella Rosa this year, it isn't a heirloom but is supposed to have great taste. I have many green tomatoes on this plant but nothing red yet, soon. I keep on trying a few new ones each year and repeating those I like best. My soil is now wonderful after years of composting. Good soil makes all the difference.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:27PM
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woody_ga(7a GA)

Park's Whopper does well for me. I had a more difficult time finding tomato plants this year, but it may have been because I wanted to start too early. I get impatient at times! So I planted Early Girl and Better Boys. They are producing well.

Our local Hardware store (Morgan's in Woodstock) did carry some heirloom varieties a little later, and the gardening lady gave me one (Yoder Yellow) that was broken. It has done fine and has green tomatoes. I also have some Green Zebras but, I started them from seed and they got a late start. I am hopeful about those because of their taste. I'll be glad to report how they do.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:55AM
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