Home & Garden

Select the Best Tomatoes for Your Garden and Table

Credits: Bonnie Plants

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Sliced, sauced, or cooked in your favorite recipe; tomatoes are a favorite and versatile vegetable. What’s more, they taste best when grown and harvested from your own garden or container.

Ensure the best flavor and greatest results by selecting the most disease-resistant varieties and growing your tomatoes in full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

Select plants with the growth habit that works best with your garden space and gardening style. Determinate tomatoes are perfect for small-space gardens and containers. They grow to a certain height, stop growing, and produce their fruit over a relatively short timeframe. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow throughout the season, producing flowers and fruit until frost kills the plant or you prune off the growing tip found at the end of the main stem(s).  Stake or tower the plants to save space, reduce disease and insect problems, and make harvesting more convenient.

Sign Up for E-News

Further narrow down your selection and grow varieties best suited to the intended use.  Plant tags often provide recommendations. Or, save time and do a bit of research before visiting the garden center.  The Bonnie Plant Tomato Chooser (bonnieplants.com/tomatoes/choose-your-tomato) can help you select the best tomato for your growing conditions and the intended use.

Bite-sized tomatoes are great for salads, relish trays, and snacking. Red Robin and Sweet ‘n Neat produce clusters of red cherry tomatoes on compact plants. Grow them in containers or even a window box.

Tumbling Tom Red and Tumbling Tom Yellow cherry tomatoes are compact, cascading plants that create an attractive edible display in tall containers, hanging baskets, or window boxes.

Grow the explosively sweet Sun Gold and Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes. They’re the candy of the garden and will get even your most reluctant family members, young and old, to eat their tomatoes. Stake or cage these tall plants and, if space is limited, grow them in a 24-inch-diameter pot.

Paste and sauce tomatoes have meatier fruit, making them perfect for sauces, soups, and preserving. Roma is the traditional favorite. The egg-shaped fruit has thick walls and few seeds. Use them during the growing season for sauces, chop and add them to an omelet, or can and freeze them for future use.

Expand your options with San Marzano heirloom paste tomato.  Popular with gourmet and home chefs, the sweet, complex flavor makes a fabulous sauce.  Chop a few and add them to salads, or slice and top your favorite sandwich. You’ll enjoy the flavor and versatility of this tomato.

Grow a few slicing tomatoes. Most gardeners look for large, juicy tomatoes to enjoy on their sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, and salads. Look for varieties that are suited to the growing conditions. Solar Flare and Creole are heat-tolerant and keep producing despite high summer temperatures. Start picking tomatoes as soon as 65 days after planting by growing short-season varieties like Early Girl and New Girl tomatoes.

An All-America Selections winner, Celebrity, has great disease resistance and is an excellent all-around tomato. Grow this determinate tomato in a cage, or stake the plant to save space.

Heirloom varieties have been grown for more than 50 years and have maintained their original traits and popularity. Cherokee Purple’s rich flavor rates high in taste tests. The dusky pink fruit with deep red interior looks as beautiful as it tastes.  Add some fun and sweet flavor with Mr. Stripey.  The irregular striping of the red and yellow beefsteak-type fruit make this a popular choice.

So, gather your favorite recipes and create a list of both longtime favorites and new tomato varieties to include in this year’s garden.

Melinda Myers has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Bonnie Plants for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


East Brunswick: I Don't Wanna Close Up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

March 16, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick used to be the home of Meyer's toy store, an almost idyllic wonderland of all sorts of Barbies, parts for swimming pools, and clanging model trains until it closed in 2002.  Kay-Bee toy store was a popular stop at the Brunswick Square Mall until 2009, with a salesperson often displaying the newest gadget outside its door, causing eager kids ...


Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

Celebrate National Ag Day at the Middlesex County EARTH Center

March 13, 2018

EARTH CENTER, NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from agriculture. That is why America’s farmers and their crops are celebrated each year on National Ag Day, which falls this year on March 20.

To honor this day, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County has planned a new seminar entitled The State of Agriculture and ...

Darby Road to Host Fifth Annual St. Patrick's Day Festival

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Darby Road Public House (450 Park Ave., Scotch Plains) has announced the dates and times of its hugely popular St. Patrick’s Day Festival, which will be set up in the municipal parking lot.

The festival features Irish bands, Irish step dancers, bagpipers, great Irish fare and enough Guinness to go around! The event also will have a bounce house, ...

Piscataway Libraries Host Annual NJ Makers Day Program

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Piscataway Public Libraries were once again hosts to dozens of “makers” for the 4th Annual NJ Makers Day celebration.

The Saturday events at the Kennedy and Westergard Libraries featured activities and demonstrations by members of the maker culture with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) initiatives.

Among other ...

NCAA Tournament: Heilmann and DelVecchio Both Secure All-American Honors; Suriano Becomes Rutgers' First-Ever Finalist

CLEVELAND, OH -The senior class of South Plainfield High School’s “Murderer’s Row”, the 2013 team that earned a group title, two individual state titles, and produced five state placewinners, knows a thing or two about making wrestling history. The 2018 NCAA wrestling tournament marks the last time two standouts from 2013 team, Troy Heilmann and Scott DelVecchio, will ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


The Basics of Starting a Business

Business & Finance

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

Palm Sunday

Religions And Spirituality

New Jersey Hoops Player Isaiah Rogers Part of College Basketball History

March 17, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - You all saw what happened. You all witnessed history.

But did you know a former Jonathan Dayton basketball player, who helped lead the Bulldogs to an NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 state title in 2012-13, is on the University of Maryland-Baltimore County men’s basketball roster?

Junior guard Isaiah Rogers, who served as UMBC’s team’s manager in ...

Get Smart

I don’t want to be on a first name basis with my refrigerator.


Oh don’t get me wrong, I am all for cool technology—when it works—but I draw the line at talking to appliances.  I have enough trouble carrying on conversations with humans.  


But in what must be one of the truly great technological oxymorons of our time, the dawn of the ...