Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point All Rights Reserved
Due to their long growing season and temperature requirements, tomatoes are set out as transplants in Utah. Our last spring frost date is about May 10 and tomatoes may be planted after that date. It takes about six weeks to grow a good tomato transplant so get them started soon if you plan to grow your own.
A good transplant is as wide as it is high with a stem the size of a pencil. It is slightly purple at the base with dark green, thick foliage. Plants should have 4 to 6 true leaves with a good root system and no blossoms or fruit.
Plants in cell packs experience little or no transplant shock. Tomato plants develop roots along the stem so plant overgrown transplants with the first set of leaves near the soil surface.
If transplants are in peat pots, remove the rim of the pot or be sure the rim is below the soil surface, so that the soil ball will not dry out. Tomatoes are warm-season plants so plant them after frost danger is past.
There are more tomato cultivars available to the home gardener than any other garden vegetable. Talk to local gardeners to find cultivars for your area or trying one or two new cultivars each year.
When choosing cultivars, keep in mind the different types and ripening times. Another consideration is whether the plant has a determinate or indeterminate growth habit.
Determinate (D) tomato plants grow to a certain height and then stop. They flower and set all the fruit at once This is an advantage if the tomatoes are grown for canning.
Indeterminate tomato plants grow, flower, and set fruit over the entire growing season.
Another characteristic to look for when choosing tomato cultivars is disease resistance. Many cultivar names are followed by one or more letters indicating resistance to Verticillium wilt (V), Fusarium wilt (F), Tobacco Mosaic Virus (T) or nematodes (N)
Disease resistance is an important consideration, especially if your tomatoes previously had diseases
Early: Moreton Hybrid (V) Jet Star (VF) Pik-Red (VF)(D)
Mid-season: Heinz 1350 (VF)(D) Better Boy (VFN) Burpee (VF) Roma (VF)(D)(paste type) Floramerica (VF) Celebrity (VFN)(D)
Late: Supersonic B (VF) Ramapo (VF) Supersteak (VFN)(D), Beefmaster (VFN)
Yellow and Orange: Jubilee Sunray (F) Lemon Boy (VFN)
Large vines with small fruit (not suited to cage or container culture): Small Red Cherry Large Red Cherry Red Pear Yellow Pear Sweet 100 Sun Gold Sweet Million
Dwarf vine with medium fruit: Patio Pixie
Dwarf vine with small fruit: Tiny Tim Presto