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What are the best tomato varierties?

Posted by zmt84 10b (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 7, 11 at 1:55

Hi I am new here but trying to catch up on the reading. I was wondering what variety of tomatoes do you all grow, particularly in south Florida. I tried some from home depot in my first garden in the spring.

Better Boy
BHN 602
Husky Cherry
Celebrity
Talladega
Big Boy

But they didn't do well, I suspect I planted them too late in the spring and the heat killed them.
Right now home depot only has a few variety like Bush Early Girl, Better Bush, and Jet Star. This time I want to try growing from seeds since HD has such a few seedling selection. I know I am a couple weeks late in planting seeds (again) but I was thinking of buying seeds any recommendations for which variety of tomatoes grow well in south Florida?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

First, in 10b, you don't plant anything but cherry tomatoes in the spring. Our seasons are reversed from the rest of the country. We plant our 'spring' veggie gardens in the fall. This is the best resource you can have for when to plant things in FL. Big Boy doesn't do as well as Better Boy, and Homestead would do really well as far south as you are. Early Girl is pretty good as well. Is there a local garden center nearby? They would likely have a better selection, or try Wal-Mart. They carry Bonnie's plants, and there is usually a better selection there as well, but even better in September, which is not too late to plant where you are.

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida Vegetable Growing Guide


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

My neighbor grows Better Boys in containers and they do well here. He germinates seeds about now but if you want to buy the plants, you can wait until September.

There is lots of info on the Growing Tomatoes forum, even for those of us in 10b. Try searching that forum for info.

I would not grow in the ground here unless you create a raised bed and use potting mix and amend it. We have worm-filled sand down here that is not hospitable to tomatoes. At least not tomatoes that have any taste to them. You can try growing some of the awful tasting hybrids that UF develops for the commercial growers down here, but they are not worth growing if you ask me since they have no taste.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

I seriously agree with yum about the hybrids. They are bred for shipability, not taste. They are truly horrid. A grower gave me some leftover plants of one with a number, no name, once and said to try it. It had no taste at all.

Also agree about growing in containers. 5-gallon buckets are perfect. I grew all my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in buckets or large pots. My neighbor, on the other hand, as so much manure in her soil that she can grow them right in the ground with no problem.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 7, 11 at 18:14

I seriously agree with yum about the hybrids....

The UF hybrids designed for summer (high night-heat) bloom set only!!! Most hybrids in Zone 10 will outproduce OP plants due to the extra disease resistance and selection for better production. Beefmaster, Big Beef and Jetsetter are good examples.

Tom


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Tasty hybrids

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 7, 11 at 18:40

Forgot to mention the EXCELLENT taste of the above hybrids....


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

Grow a few varieties, hybrid and OP, and decide which you like best. No one can agree on subjective things like that.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

Tom - I was specifically talking about the hybrids that UF develops for the commercial growers to grow in the sand/heat/humidity down here. Examples are Floradel, Flora-Dade and Floramerica - all of which are tasteless but grow well in worm-filled sand and set fruit in high heat/humidity. They were developed at UF's Florida Agricultural Experimental Station.

I don't think UF developed Big Beef, Jet Setter or Beef Master. The tomatoes developed by UF are listed here in this document:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/AG/AG21300.pdf

They grow great here, they just don't taste great.

Some tasty hybrids do well here - just not growing in unamended soil in the ground. For instance, my neighbor grows Better Boys in containers here and they are great. I just don't think he would be able to grow them in the ground here without using a raised bed and filling it with good quality soil. And they won't set fruit in south Florida past March most years.

I don't think Better Boy was developed by UF. UF's FAES is geared toward developing hybrids that meet the needs of commercial growers and that means shipability as was mentioned above, not taste.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 8, 11 at 7:35

Agree, I was just talking about UF hybrids developed to set in the heat, for the most part they don't taste any better the store-bought, although I actually started some Solar Fire seeds 7/15 just so I can hopefully have some home grown maters by mid-September, usually I don't get maters from my main crop before November....

Tom


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

I've had terrible luck w/ my mostly heirloom & OP tomatoes for the past few seasons (only exception was grape tomatoes) & was waiting to see what others had to say. This year I went through the VFFNTA+ hybrid offerings @ Tomato Growers Supply Co. & selected those that emphasised taste/flavour in their descriptions. Fingers crossed for some success this Fall/Winter...

Here is a link that might be useful: TGS Co.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

I have yet to grow a tomato in Florida, but I bought Heat Wave II seeds. It was recommended by my growing guide thingy. Anyone tried it? Thoughts? I could buy another plant or two of another variety, but don't have a lot of room to try too many types.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by annafl z9b/10a Sarasota (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 8, 11 at 16:39

Hi zmt84, did you plant your tomatoes in containers? Wondering if you know about the nematodes in our soil. Most of us have much better luck planting tomatoes in pots.
Also, you might search the forum for Silvia's preventive organic spraying regimen. It has helped me so much with keeping tomatoes healthy and pest free. She uses spinosad and serenade. Completely organic. Better sprayed early in the morning before bees become active. Works great. Stick around and soon you will see lots of tomato pictures from the experts here.

My favorites are beefmaster, beefsteak (op) and black cherries. The latter are actually starting to set fruit already! Just a few, but I was really surprised to put my glasses on this morning and see a few. They are a family favorite too.

Anna


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by saldut 9-10 st pete, fl (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 8, 11 at 16:41

Well, I did get some starts from seed I saved, of Yellow Pear, Black Cherry and another good little red, that Tom brought last season, they were very tasty.... but my heart really isn't in it, I got so fed up with the constant spray spray spray, to save some from the whitefly it was a constant battle every morning and again later in the day, for just me I think I am prob. better off just picking up whatever is on sale at Publix and the good taste being just a distant memory.... after all, how many 'maters can a gal scarf down in one day ?? sally


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 8, 11 at 17:52

Hi zmt84

I don't give advice on varieties of tomatoes because I really like a lot of them, each season I grow about 45 different varieties and is hard to choose. I grow hybrids and heirlooms:)
But, I do ask questions sometimes, usually to people who are in the business of growing tomatoes for taste, if they don't taste good they won't sell it.

Thank you Anna for your nice comments, and it is a very important point to be successful in growing tomatoes.

Here is a recent discussion on tomato varieties.

Silvia

Here is a link that might be useful: tomato varieties


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 8, 11 at 18:56

...I am prob. better off just picking up whatever is on sale at Publix and the good taste being just a distant memory....

Sally, you're spraying too much! Having said that, if you've really decided to just buy them from the store then pay the price for the Florida Ugly from Publix, it's Beefmaster F1, which in my opinion is hands down the tastiest Beefsteak we can grow here.

Tom


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

I am going to try ideas from everyone and see what happens. You don't know which tomatoes are going to be the best tasting ones unless you try trial and error. My mom loves tomatoes and I always wanted to grow her some.

Thanks for all the info and links. I am such a newbie but what does OP mean in several of your posts.


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 9, 11 at 19:27

...what does OP mean in several of your posts....

OP - Open pollinated, after many generations, say 7 or 8 (F7 or F8), you can collect the seeds and they will produce the tomatoes you grew from the seeds you received or purchased, thus Open Pollinated = stable genetic seed = saved seed will produce the same fruit that you collected the seeds from. The problem here in Zone 10 is that with the high humidity and heat the hybrids, genetically designed for disease and pest resistance, when combined with superior production and excellent taste frequently outperform OP varieties.... I grow 80% hybrids, but have found comparable OP varieties, which comprise 20% of my mater crops.

Hybrids - usually first generation of two different varieties cross-pollinated (F1) and selected for superior disease resistance, production or other highly desirable traits. If you save the seeds from these hybrid fruit there's no guarantee what you'll get. It will be a variation of one of the parenteral lines but rarely the same fruit you grew...remember your days of High School biology? So, this means you have to buy new F1 hybrid seed from reputable suppliers from time to time, but you get what you pay for ;-)

For me here as a 4th generation Floridian hybrids are far superior to OP tomatoes, just my opinion....

Tom


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?

OP=open pollinated

Tomatoes are self fertile so if some of the pollen falls onto the stigma and ovary in the flower then it will make seeds that will grow into a plant that is identical to the original plant. The original plant is both the mother and the father of the new baby plant and it has the same genes. This is an open pollinated tomato. Heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated. There are also newer kinds of tomatoes that are open pollinated.

Tomatoes can also cross with other tomatoes. Maybe the pollen from a cherry tomato gets onto the stigma from a large tomato. The seeds from that plant would have a different mother and father and may look like either parent or neither parent. The genes are a mixture of both parent plants. This is a hybrid. Seed companies purposefully cross certain tomatoes in order to get the best traits of both parents. Tomatoes like Better Boy, Solar Set, etc... are hybrids. The genes of a hybrid are not identical to the parent plants and are unstable if crossed with themselves or other plants.

If you save a seed from an open pollinated variety then you know what kind of plant you will get. The seed of a Brandywine tomato makes a Brandywine plant. You don't have to buy new Brandywine seeds every year.

If you save a seed from a hybrid tomato, you have no idea what kind of tomato you will get. It could taste good or bad. If could be red or yellow. Therefore you would have to buy new seeds of the hybrid every season.

That was probably more than you wanted to know :)


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RE: What are the best tomato varierties?,

Oh, Tom you beat me to it!


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Tomato forum

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/tomato/

The link above is to the tomato forum here. There is a lot of info on that forum to help you. Trust me when I tell you that it is heartbreaking to invest a ton of time and effort into growing tomatoes only to have the plant killed by blight before you can harvest or to have your ready to be picked fruit ruined by blossom end rot.

It is not easy to grow tomatoes in South Florida in the ground or in containers unless you know what you are doing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Tomatoes Forum


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