So, I was discussing tomato types with a colleague of mine the other day and she suggested that we throw together a bit of a list for our readers on the many different varieties of toms now available at the local nursery. “Sure”, I said, “I can do that in no time!”. How wrong I was! There are that many types of toms out there, I didn’t know where to start… so I enlisted the help of a couple of great tomato growing websites to assist. Below is an amazing list of Australia’s best tomato types, thanks to Malcolm Campbell’s website “Greenfingers” (www.greenfingers.com.au), and the fantastic www.tomato.com.au. These two websites are fantastic for tomato info and I would encourage you all to have a look.
An aphabetical list of top tomato types
Amish Paste is an open pollinated indeterminate mid season variety which needs staking and grows 1 metre to 1.5 m, with quite variable egg-shaped fruits 4-5cm wide and in the range 5-12cm long. It has solid very tasty flesh, ideal for making preserves, stews and for drying.
Apollo is an F1 hybrid and an indeterminate early variety which needs staking or else the strong bushes will collapse. They usually make 2 to 2.5 metres in height, with globular fruit about 5-6cm in diameter. The best fruit set is early season, which is just as well because it doesn’t have much disease resistance.
Apollo Improved, an F1 on an indeterminate bush, is an early variety. It needs staking and has the mild flavoured low acid taste of the old Apollo but with improved disease resistance to bacterial Wilt and Root Knot Nematode. It also has firmer fruit and sets fruit at temperatures as low as 10oC.
Ballerina is an open pollinated determinate bush to 1.3 metres in height, with Roma-style egg shaped fruits, from 5-6cm in diameter by 8-10cm long, mid season with very solid fruit, well suited to drying and cooking.
Beefsteak is an open pollinated mid season indeterminate of 1-1.5 metres in height, with 10-12cm solid deep oblate fruits on very sturdy bushes.
Bite Size is an F1 hybrid indeterminate that grows from 2.2 to 2.7 metres in height, so that it needs a sturdy stake and is best trained to three leaders to capitalise on maximum fruit set. The cherry type fruits are up to 3cm in diameter and mature in 77-84 days from seed. Has disease resistance from Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, Bacterial Speck and Late Blight.
Black Russian is an open pollinated variety with an almost black exterior to its deep oblate 4-6cm diameter fruits. The inner flesh is a deep chocolate colour.
Burnley Bounty is an open pollinated indeterminate on a 1.5 to 2 metre bush with a good crop of 8-10cm deep oblate fruits that set very late in Victoria. Seed has been known to retain some viability for 15 years! Probably not as popular as it has been in the past, due to its susceptibility to disease, but grows well hydroponically
Burnley Gem is an open pollinated determinate with a bush to 1 metre that produces early globular fruit 4-7cm in diameter and sets well in hot dry areas. Burnley Metro is an open pollinated determinate on a 1 metre bush that produced 8-10cm deep oblate fruits in the mid to late season. Available as punnet seedlings.
Burnley Surecrop is an open pollinated semi-determinate cultivar with a robust 2 to 2.5 metre bush that yields 5-6cm globular fruits in early to mid season and reputedly sets fruit two weeks earlier than Grosse Lisse. Has disease resistance to Verticillium Wilt, unlike Grosse Lisse.
Cherry Cocktail is an F1 hybrid collection of three cherry type fruits that set red, orange and yellow 2-3cm fruits with a tasty mild flavour. They are indeterminate cultivars, each climbing vine needing a strong 2 metre stake or a weld mesh ring to contain the huge trusses of fruit set all summer and autumn. Resistant to Verticillium and Fusarium Wilts.
Cherry Gold is an indeterminate to 2 metres with 1.5cm cherry type golden fruits that set a hundred or more per truss. The trusses are often over half a metre long and set in mid to late season. Available as seedlings in punnets.
Cocktail Supreme is an F1 hybrid indeterminate that’s synonymous with S900 and grows to a vigorous 2 metre climbing vine. A very tasty thick skinned 2-3cm cherry type fruit for mid to late season that sets 20-50 fruits per truss, which are best picked as they ripen. Available as seedlings in punnets or for production nurseries from Sandoz Seeds.
Dynamo is an F1 hybrid, known as the popular commercial variety Riverdale Red in WA. It is an indeterminate that grows to 2.5 metres, so you’ll need to trellis them and it produces masses of 8-10cm globular fruit with a good shelf life. An a mid to late season variety with resistance to the Verticillium and Fusarium Wilts. Noted for its uniform set of fruit from the bottom all the way to the top.
First Prize is an F1 hybrid determinate, recently marketed as Patio Prize, that makes a 0.5 metre bush and grows into a sturdy container specimen that sets prolific trusses of globular 2-4cm fruits in the mid to late season. In a well watered garden they are prone to fungal diseases.
Green Zebra is an open pollinated indeterminate that grows to 1m and is also known as Green Streaked. The globular 5-7cm green striped fruits have a creamy texture to their flesh, with an outstanding flavour and yields of 13 kgs per bush are common. They take 96 days to mature from seed available from Digger’s.
Grosse Lisse is an open pollinated indeterminate that will grow to 2 metres. I’ve even seen it over 3.5 metres high up a trellis! It has been the standard by which most Australian home gardeners in southern states have measured their tomato growing prowess for the past 50 years. It sets fruit in very hot conditions for mid to late season, after 100 days from seed or 80 days from seedlings. The fruits are tasty 6-10cm oblate and smooth, best picked with a hint of pink and ripened indoors or the acid levels rise, however if you like the wild taste, then you leave them to sun ripen. While the original Grosse Lisse had little disease resistance there are recently developed improved selections, being passed off as ‘old’ Grosse Lisse, which have considerable resistance to some fungal diseases.
Jubilee is an indeterminate 1.7 to 2 metres with 6-8cm golden orange deep oblate fruits, with a mild flavour for mid season crops. Sets fruit in 72 days from seed.
KY1 is a determinate cultivar with a bush to 1 metre for early to mid season fruit which has excellent flavour in the 6-8cm oblate fruits, noted for making great sauce.
Mighty Red is an F1 hybrid also known as Carmelo in California. It is a very strong indeterminate bush that will easily make 3.5 metres, but is best pruned hard when it is young to induce a more manageable habit. The tasty globular 8-10cm fruits literally push each other off the massive trusses. Well suited to a wide range of soil types. Resistant to Root-Knot Nematode, Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, Tobacco Leaf Mosaic Virus and yet it sets fruit in the heat and tastes just like Grosse Lisse!
Mini Red Pear is an indeterminate that will grow 1.2 to 2.2 metres in height and set a prolific crop of tasty 2 x 3cm red pear shaped fruits in mid season. Mostly available as seedlings.
Mini Yellow Pear is also known as Yellow Baby and it’s an indeterminate vine that will grow 1.2 to 2.2 metres in height and set trusses of 5-15 tasty yellow pear shaped fruits with low acid of about 2 x 3cm in size in the hot mid season.
Mortgage Lifter is also known as McGarity, an open pollinated indeterminate that will grow to 3 metres and sets huge trusses of pale pink mid season fruits, 12-15cm in diameter with a mild flavour. Bushes recently averaged some 17kgs of fruit in trials at Seymour Vic.
Oxheart is an open pollinated indeterminate that will reach 2 metres and produce solid deep oblate or heart-shaped 10-15cm fruit of a pale pink colour with very few seeds in them and low acid. A single fruit can exceed 500 grams. They grow well in cool climates and yield best in the mid to late season.
Patio Prize is an F1 hybrid also known as First Prize, a compact determinate to 0.5 metres, it produces 2-4cm globular fruits in the mid to late season. Available as seed in the Attunga range.
Patriot is an F1 hybrid of semi determinate habit, which will grow to 0.5 metres on a trellis or be left to trail on the ground. It sets 10-12cm deep oblate fruit in mid season and is suited to humid areas such as northern NSW and SE Queensland. Resistant to Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt.
Pot Prize grows well in a pot – and you don’t need a huge tub. It will grow no taller than waist height and does not need any shoots pinched out. Do use a short thick stake however as the fruit is very heavy and left unstaked will strain the plant and result in a yield reduction.
Red Cherry is an indeterminate to 1 metre in height with a high yield of mid season cherry style fruits of 2cm diameter, that mature in 65 days from seed.
Red Peach is an indeterminate bush from 1.6 to 2.0 metres in height with an early set of globular 4-5cm fruits with very soft skin. Definitely a fruit a nibble in the garden. Seed from Digger’s.
Regency is an F1 hybrid determinate to 0.5 metres with a very early season set of 6-8cm oblate fruits. Planted as the earliest spring crop in Florida USA. Disease resistance to Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt. Seed from South Pacific Seeds for commercial growers.
Roma is an open pollinated determinate with a bushy habit to 1 metre and mid season egg shaped fruits of 4cm by 6 cm long, that are used for bottling and cooking as well as drying. The modern Roma VF Plum as it is called in USA, is disease resistant to Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt and is the cultivar widely sold in Australia as Roma.
Rouge de Marmande is an open pollinated indeterminate bush to 2.5 metres. An old favourite for the early to mid season crop with excellent flavour and an exceptional fruit set in cool areas such as Tasmania. The almost flat deep oblate fruits are usually 6-8cm in diameter, but show considerable variation in size when compared to some of the modern cultivars. They are very versatile in the kitchen. Seed readily available from Yates, Kings, New Gippsland and Grower’s Pride.
San Marzano can be grown in a small pot (minimum 25cm diameter). It is a thick skinned fleshy roma, perfect in salads, or cut in half long ways and fried up on. Because it is a bush type, there is no need to stake it. It is very popular for the 1 or 2 person household, and doesn’t grow out of control.
Super Beefsteak is an open pollinated robust indeterminate that grows in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 metres tall. A mid to late season variety with massive 10-12cm globular fruits. It matures in 85 days from seed and is resistant to Root-Knot Nematode, Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt. Seed is available in the Erica Vale, New Gippsland and Kings selections.
Super Marmande is an open pollinated indeterminate, synonymous with Marmande VF, Marmalade Super and Supermarmande, which differ from Rouge de Marmande in that they have resistance to Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt, while retaining the superb Rouge de Marmande flavour and ability to set fruit in cool regions. Super Marmande matures in 62 days from seedlings with an early set of delicious deep oblate fruit 7-10cm across
Super Prize is an F1 hybrid of determinate parents that grows to 0.5 metres. It is an improved version of First Prize, showing disease resistance to Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt. It’s a mid to late crop with 2-5cm globular fruits. An ideal balcony crop for container vegetable gardening.
Super Roma is an open pollinated determinate that grows to 1 metre and in the mid to late season sets a bumper crop of almost seedless egg shaped fruits, 6cm long by about 4cm thick, that are perfect for bottling, juicing or fresh. They mature in 76 days from seedlings and are resistant to Verticillium Wilt and Fusarium Wilt.
Sweet 100 is an F1 hybrid indeterminate that grows to 2 metres and is also known as Sweet Bite. A vigorous mid to late season variety it produces copious tasty fruits on long trusses of a 2.5cm red cherry type of fruit, that set in the most symmetrical order. Because the fruits can split with over watering, they are best picked regularly.
Tiny Tim is an open pollinated determinate that makes a bush 1.5 high. An early season variety it sets huge trusses of 2-3cm cherry type red fruits. Matures in 80 days from seed and makes a sturdy container plant given support.
Tommy Toe is an open pollinated indeterminate that creates a bush 2.2 to 2.7 metres tall when given support. A mid to late season variety the 2-3cm cherry type fruits are one of the tastiest Tomatoes I’ve eaten. They have a very heavy fruit set of at least 10kgs per bush.
Pics 1, 3 and 4 by Mary Trigger
Pic 2 by Helen Tuton