What Kind of Tomatoes Should I Grow?

We help you choose the best kind of tomatoes to grow based on for your situation – whether that’s home garden, balcony or farm.

When it comes to growing tomatoes, there are so many varieties to choose from and it can be hard to know where to start. 

Whether you are bottling, value-adding, selling or eating fresh, there are a vast selection of colours, shapes, and flavours to choose from. 

This is our guide to help you choose the best variety of tomato for your home garden, balcony or farm. 

What Kind of Tomatoes Should I Grow?

Choosing the best tomatoes for your situation

If you have a sunny windowsill, a backyard, a front step or a small farm, you can grow tomatoes, and there’s a method and a variety to suit every situation. 

You just need to work out what factors you have to work with and then find a cultivar and a growing method that’s right for you. 

Big or small? 

Big tomatoes are heavy tomatoes. While this might seem obvious, until you’ve held a fully laden tomato vine of beefsteak tomatoes, you may not realise just how heavy they can be. This is fine if your growing space has the infrastructure to deal with such a vine – very sturdy trellises or a strong over-head pole to tie them off. If you don’t, it’s best to consider varieties with smaller fruit. 

Smaller-fruited tomatoes are also great for kid-friendly gardens, as they are easy to pick off the vine, unlike some larger varieties, which must be picked with care to avoid damaging the vine. 

What Kind of Tomatoes Should I Grow?

Bush or climbing? 

Most bush tomatoes will ripen over a short period, which can be excellent or a headache, depending on what else is happening in your house that week. Climbers will give you a smaller but steadier stream of fruit. 

Climbing tomatoes are also great for making the most of limited growing space, as they use the vertical plane to maximum effect, and can climb over two metres if allowed to do so. 

preserving tomatoes

Want to know more about what kind of tomatoes you should grow?

In Issue #12 of Pip Magazine, Milkwood’s Kirsten Bradley provides an in-depth guide to choosing which tomatoes are the best for your needs, including information on: 

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  • The difference between heritage and hybrid.
  • The difference between determinate versus indeterminate tomatoes.
  • How to choose the best tomatoes for your situation when it comes to the space you’re working with, how much heat and light your growing area needs, and whether you should opt for bush tomatoes or climbing.
  • Plus, we also provide an in-depth table which outlines each of the names, types and groupings of key tomato varieties, what they look like, and what they are/are not good for. 

You can access this article online here as part of our digital subscription offering. 

This is an extract from Milkwood’s book, ‘Milkwood: Real Skills For Down to Earth Living’ by Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar (Murdoch Books 2018), RRP $45.00. Photography by Kate Berry and Kirsten Bradley. 

fresh tomatoes

Want more tomato content?!

We’ve got loads of great content all about big red, juicy tomatoes!

In Issue #10 of Pip Magazine, we bring you a complete guide to tomato preservation, including:

  • What preserving equipment you will need.
  • What’s involved in the drying and bottling process.
  • Different passata recipes including classic, rogue, herbed and tomato smash passata recipes.
  • Plus, how to make tomato paste, thick sauce, relishes, pickles and ferments.

You can access this article online here as part of our digital subscription offering. 

tomato

In Issue #22 of Pip Magazine, we reveal everything you need to know about trellising tomatoes, including:

  • How to choose between determinate or indeterminate tomato plants, depending on your needs.
  • How to prune your tomatoes and the different techniques you can use.
  • Different trellising methods including string trellising, wire tomato cages and the Florida weave.
  • Plus, expert advice for home gardeners from seasoned tomato growers, Fraser Bayley and Kirsti Wilkinson who run Old Mill Road, a bio farm on the south coast of New South Wales. And Cheryl McGaffin, owner of Daniel’s Run Heirloom Tomatoes on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

You can access this article online here as part of our digital subscription offering, or subscribe to the print version of Pip Magazine here

Growing tomatoes

And don’t forget we have loads of tomato-related articles online, including these:

Like more articles like this one? Subscribe to Pip Magazine’s print or digital editions here.

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