There is nothing like a fresh tomato picked straight from the vine and perfectly placed in your favorite sandwich or tossed salad. It’s time to start planting up these delectable delights for harvest later in the summer here in the Hampton Roads area. But with so many choices when it comes to varieties and flavors, what should you pick? We are here to help with our top 5 tomato choices from Chef Jeff’s for this 2022 spring season as well as some tips to get those tomatoes on your plate as soon as possible.
5. The Early Girl
If you are eager for fresh tomatoes, the ‘Early Girl’ is your gal. With only about 2 months from planting to a ready-to-eat tomato, this variety will have you feeling those summer vibes before the season has arrived! The Early Girl grows to 4-6 oz. in size and is perfect for fresh salads.
4. The Rapunzel Tomato
With this fairytale tomato, you can achieve upwards of 20-30 inches of tomato vine perfection! This variety creates long trusses of bright red cherry tomatoes that mature quickly. Create an edible tablescape with those bountiful trusses, showcasing a beautiful display of living art.
3. The Big Beef
Nothing speaks to the summer growing season like a prolific tomato plant. This 10-12oz beefsteak slicing tomato is one of the best kinds to pair with your favorite burger or BLT, and it just reminds us of those fun summer days grilling with the family.
PRO-TIP: Want to learn even more about tomatoes? Check out Mike, the Garden Guru’s webinar for more information on these beloved veggies.
2. The Super Sweet 100
This classic cherry tomato is bursting with bright flavor! These little fruits are not only sugary sweet, but they are also high in Vitamin C, making them one of the most nutritious and delicious varieties out there! This plant has been proven to produce more than 100 fruits in a season, making your summer even more sweet.
1. The Better Boy
A classic tomato is a beautiful thing and this large 8-16oz beauty is sure to give you not only great color, but delicious flavor. A Better Boy tomato is a great choice for pretty much any culinary creation you have in mind from salads to soups, pickling, and more, making it our #1, and most versatile, tomato!
TIPS ON TOMATOES
If you have never grown tomatoes before, have no fear! In the Hampton Roads area, as well as many areas throughout the United States, tomatoes are intensely successful crops and can provide even more enjoyment to your gardening experience. To be successful with tomatoes, you just need to make sure you are following these suggestions:
- Keep Them in a Sunny Spot
All tomatoes love sunshine. To get the most out of your tomato plant in a season, you’ll need to make sure your plants are getting at least 6+ hours of sunlight per day so they can have enough energy to bear fruit.
- Watering for the Season
When taking care of veggies, especially tomatoes, you need to make sure you are watering frequently enough. For many folks, this would be once per day in the mornings. However, as the season carries on, you may need to water twice daily to beat the heat and keep your tomato plants from scorching. To learn more about watering your tomatoes efficiently, check out Mike, the Garden Guru’s video here:
- Soil for Success
The organic material you plant your tomatoes into determines the overall success of your crops throughout the season. This will change whether you are growing in containers, raised beds, or straight from the ground. For more information, stop by to ask one of our Green Team members (link to locations) what would be best for your tomatoes this season.
- Feeding the Food
To receive the absolute best benefits from your tomato plants, you may want to add in either a granular plant food at the time of planting, or a water-in plant food throughout the season. One of our favorite products for keeping tomatoes happy here at McDonald Garden Center is Tomato Tone by Espoma. This product provides organic nutrients to your tomato plants as they grow.
To stay updated on all things spring gardening, check out the Garden Guru every week with new plants, products, and expert planting advice. To get inspired and grow with us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to dig into the joys of gardening!