Many have asked what tomatoes are best for Florida? The list is long but I can tell you what I am growing and why. My list is long too and most are well-tested plantings in my yard. Some we like for flavor and others just
Champion is a good slicer type tomato
their vigor. At least one is a favorite of friends so I just have to grow that one and it is not that easiest to grow.
It is interesting to note that even gardeners who don’t like to eat tomatoes like to grow them. It gives them bragging rights. I like to grow and eat them all, that is why I plant so many each year. Plus, I often trial varieties for companies and friends. Usually I only grow the indeterminate types which means they keep growing and fruiting throughout the season. Every so often I will plant a determinate type that quickly sets fruits and ripens them. They do not continue to grow or set many more fruits. If a tomato is nematode resistant, I put an ‘N’ next to the name. Many are resistant to other pests too.
All my studies show the most reliable tomatoes are the cherry or small fruited types. They are vigorous and the caterpillars do not seem to like them that much. They also seem to be the first to start ripening. Below are the ones I am planting.
Sweet Treat – large fruited of the smaller types
Sweet Chelsea – N
Sweet Million – N
Most gardeners like the slicers or big fruited types too. They are always a challenge as they seem to take longer to ripen their fruits and the caterpillars love them. You will likely need a natural spray of Thuricide or a spinosad containing product to keep them under control. The German Giant is the challenge. It fruits later and grows extra tall but my friends love this heirloom variety
Big Beef – N
Champion – N
Bella Rosa – N – determinate
Over the last few years I have been testing the new grafted varieties. They are new to us but have been used by especially the greenhouse growers for a while. They are vigorous and all I have tested have good nematode resistance. As a nematologist once told me, ‘they seem to out grow the pests.’ I look at the roots of all I plant when removed from the garden and these have been pretty nematode free. Below are the ones I am testing this spring. The plants should arrive at the end of February.