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Tomato Varieties

Vegetable Gardening

Oklahoma Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables to grow and one of the trickiest in Oklahoma. Understanding them a little better may be the key to the best harvest yet.

Tomato Categories

Tomato varieties are roughly divided into several categories, based on shape and size.

  • Slicing or globes are the most commonly grown, used for a wide variety of processing and fresh eating.
  • Beefsteaks are large tomatoes often used for sandwiches and similar applications.
  • Plum or pear or pastes are bred with higher solids content for use in tomato sauce, usually oblong.
  • Cherry are small and round, often sweet, generally eaten whole in salads.
  • Grape are smaller and oblong, a variation on plum tomatoes, used in salads.
  • Campari are sweet, noted for their juiciness and low acidity, bigger than cherry but smaller than plum.
  • Early tomatoes bear fruit even where nights are cool.

Tomato Classifications

Determinate or bush types bear a full crop all at once and top off at a specific height. They are often good choices for container growing. Determinate types are preferred by commercial growers who wish to harvest a whole field at one time, or home growers interested in canning. Determinate varieties require little or no staking of the plant.

Indeterminate varieties develop into vines that never top off and continue producing until killed by frost. They are preferred by home growers and local-market farmers who want ripe fruit throughout the season. Many, if not all, heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate.

Days to Harvest

The average number of days from the time transplants are set out until the first ripe fruit may be picked.

Heirloom Tomatoes

A tomato is considered to be an heirloom when the seed has been saved and grown at least 50 years or more and has been passed down from generation to generation. An heirloom is also open-pollinated, which simply means the plant is capable of producing seeds that will grow a new plant identical to the parent plant the seed came from. Heirloom tomatoes are often grown for their taste, which is widely perceived to be better than modern tomatoes. They do, however, have a shorter shelf life and are less disease resistant than most hybrid tomatoes.

Heirloom Varieties                      Classification                                  Type                                   Days to Harvest

Brandywine Pink                           Large Beefsteak                            Indeterminate                 80 days

Black Krim                                     Medium/large slicing                     Indeterminate                 70 days

Amish Paste                                  Small slicing                                  Indeterminate                 80 days

Rutgers                                         Medium slicing                              Indeterminate                 74 days

Arkansas Traveler                        Small yellow                                   Indeterminate                 75 day


Hybrid Tomatoes

Hybrid tomato plants remain common, since they tend to be heavier producers, and sometimes combine unusual characteristics of heirloom tomatoes with the ruggedness of conventional commercial tomatoes. Hybrid tomato varieties are generally produced by plant breeders, which select two compatible tomato varieties and cross-breed them to create a new tomato variety that features traits from the two parent plants. Unlike heirlooms, seeds collected from a hybrid will not grow identical to the parent. It will grow with the traits of one of the parent plants, but not both.

Designations for common disease resistance or tolerant hybrid tomato varieties:

V = Verticillium Wilt                                                  T = Tobacco Mosaic Virus

F = Fusarium Race 1                                              B = Bacterial Speck

F2 = Fusarium Race 1                                            A = Alternaria Stem Canker

N = Root Knot Nematodes                                      St = Stemphyllium Leaf Spot


Hybrid Varieties             Classification                   Type                               Resistance         Days to Harvest

Better Boy                       Large slicing variety            Indeterminate                 VFNASt               70 days

Better Bush                     Medium-sized slicing          Determinate                    VFN                     68 days

Big Beef                          Large beefsteak                  Indeterminate                 VFFNTASt           73 days

Big Boy                           Large slicing                        Indeterminate                                             78 days

Celebrity                         Medium sized slicing           Semi-determinate           VFFNTASt           70 days

Champion II                    Medium sized slicing           Indeterminate                 VFNT                   62 days

Early Girl                         Medium sized slicing          Determinate                    VFF                      62 days

4th of July                        Small slicing                       Indeterminate                 VFT                       49 days

Health Kick                     Plum type tomato               Determinate                                                  72 days

Jetstar                            Medium slicing                   Indeterminate                  VF                         72 days

La Roma III                      Small tomato                    Determinate                     VF1&2N                69 days

Lemon Boy                      Medium-sized yellow        Indeterminate                   VFNASt                 72 days

Patio                                  Medium slicing               Determinate                      VASt                      70 days

Super Fantastic              Medium slicing                  Indeterminate                   VFN                       70 days

Tomatillo                         Produces 2-3 oz fruit        Indeterminate                                                  65 days


Cherry Varieties            Classification                   Type                               Resistance          Days to Harvest

Cherry Falls                    Large cherry                      Indeterminate                                               72 days

Gardener’s Delight         Cherry                                Indeterminate                                               65 days

Juliet                              Cherry plum                        Indeterminate                                               60 days

Red Grape                     Red grape                          Indeterminate                                               75 days

Sun Sugar                      Yellow cherry                      Indeterminate                 FT                          62 days

Supersweet 100             Cherry                                Indeterminate                 VFN                       65 days

Sweet Chelsea               Large cherry                      Indeterminate                 VFFNT                   65 days

Tumbler                          Cherry                               Determinate                                                  49 days

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