Best Tomato Varieties For Gulf Coast Gardeners

Updated: Jan 1


Choosing the best tomato varieties can help boost your success rate. I know it is the end of the year, but it is time to start your seeds for spring tomato planting!


I have attending "Tomato School" and learning so much about growing tomatoes in the Gulf Coast Region. I will be sharing what I have learned with you over the coming weeks. So, let's dig in!


Why start tomatoes from seed?

  • Taste!

  • Endless variety selection!

  • Grow heirloom tomato varieties!

  • You can select disease resistance.



Taste

When you see all of those beautiful ripe tomatoes in the produce section of your local grocery store and debate which one to choose, do you know what they have gone through to get there?

  • They were picked green.

  • Then treated with chemicals to turn them red.

  • Refrigerated for shipping.

  • They have been genetically modified to be "prettier" so they are more attractive to you, the consumer.

  • They have also been genetically modified to have "tougher skins" so they are better travelers.

It is not hard to understand the why behind all of this, but is this what we really want? All the while, the processes the store bought tomatoes go through result in tomatoes with little to no taste.


Endless Variety Selection!

When I say endless varieties, I mean endless. According to the USDA there are thousands of tomato varieties! So many choices, Determinate, Indeterminate, Dwarf, Micro Dwarf, Heirloom, Hybrid, Open Pollinated. It's time to pare down the selection, I don't want you to be overwhelmed.


Grow Heirloom Tomato Varieties!

What is an an heirloom variety? An heirloom tomato is any variety:

  • that is at least 50 years old and not a hybrid. (I guess that makes me an heirloom! LOL)

  • are generally self pollinating. Meaning the are pollinated by insects and the wind.

  • that seeds can be saved to produce like tomatoes. They will breed true.

  • are usually late season producers. (Which will need a little extra attention in the gulf coast due to hot summers.) Which translates into low producers. But sometimes quality wins out over quantity!

Selecting Disease Resistant Varieties

Choosing your tomato seeds with regard to disease resistance can be a big help. You can choose varieties that help resist Wilt, Nematodes, Viruses and Leaf Spot.


Best Tomato Varieties For The Gulf Coast Region

When making your choices you have to ask yourself what you want to do with your tomatoes and what characteristics are you looking for? Due to our hot summers you will want an early variety. Generally one that ripens in 70 days or less. Drum roll..


Best Tomatoes for Paste and Sauce

  • Sunrise Sauce

  • Andiamo

  • Super Marzano

Best Cherry Tomatoes

  • Juliet

  • Sweet Million

  • Sweet Chelsea

  • Texas Wild

Now, these are not the "only" tomato varieties, just suggested and proven varieties for the Gulf Coast Area. If you have struggled with tomatoes in past years, I suggest you, try one or more of these varieties. Sweet Million is the only variety on this list, currently growing in my garden. I can report it is my best producer!


If you have never tasted a tomato ripe off the vine, let this be your season! Make a pledge to you and your family to follow along with me and experience what a tomato is really supposed to taste like!


I would love to hear from you about your tomato growing adventures, in the comments. If you haven't already get those seeds!





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