Tomatoes for All Occasions

Little matches the delights and joy of growing and harvesting your own food, and it’s no surprise that tomatoes take top honours as being a hard to beat crop, in terms of rewards versus effort. Grow a variety of tomatoes this spring which suit your taste buds and cooking preferences.

If you fancy delving into sauces, relishes and soups, choose varieties that have intense flavour and are heavy croppers. For those who enjoy eating tomatoes in salads and sandwiches go for the fleshy ones, which have less juice.

Saucy types

Tomatoes that are ideal for relish, sauces, pickles and preserves.

  • Money Maker – a reliable, heirloom variety, mid-sized flavoursome tomato.
  • Amish Paste – plum shaped sweet heirloom tomato.
  • Russian Red – reliable in cooler climates, with good flavoured round fruits.
  • Early Girl tomato – a prolific cropper that produces early maturing dark red fruit.
  • San Marzano – Italian variety (similar to Roma), prolific producer of bright-red, plum tomatoes.

Salads and sandwiches

Big, fleshy varieties, that are not too juicy.

  • Beefsteak – super large and tasty fleshy tomato.
  • Black paste – a dark skinned plum tomato, revered by chefs and foodies for its slicing ability.
  • Oxheart – this fleshy big beauty is packed with flavour and has very few seeds.
  • Grosse Lisse tomato – a tall growing variety that produces medium to large fruit full of flavour.
  • Taupo tomato – a robust plant that produces a high yield over a long period.

A sweet deal

Sweet tasting tomatoes.

  • Lady Bug – Masses of round, rich red tomatoes appear on trusses, voted the sweetest tomato in the USA, this variety is reputed to have one of the quickest harvest times, in 80 days from transplanting.
  • Gourmet Campari tomato – one of the sweetest and most flavoursome tomatoes.
  • Dew Drop Cluster tomato – produces small to medium sweet fruit.
  • Sweet 100 tomato – a cherry tomato that grows up to 100 flavoursome sweet tasting tomatoes on each truss.
  • Tomaccio – the ‘raisin’ tomato this has an intense, sweet flavour.

Tight spaces:

Crops for smaller spots and pots.

  • Tumbling Tom – also a hanging basket tomato, bang for buck this tomato seems to have it all, producing mountains of sugary sweet fruit.
  • Dynamo – compact plant, produces plenty of round red tomatoes.
  • Megabite - a compact plant that produces unusually large fruit for the size of the knee high plant.

Truss and vine tomatoes

Varieties that all ripen at once in a bunch on a truss.

  • Campari – this is one to look out for if you like roasted vine ripened tomatoes.
  • Grape Jolly Elf – small, grape shaped thumbnail sized fruit.
  • Saxon – produces 6 tomatoes on each truss, which ripen simultaneously .

Heirloom

Rare and unusual varieties for something a bit different.

  • Black Cherry –ebony black super sweet cherry tomatoes.
  • Yellow Pear – an extremely old variety, producing enormous numbers of bright yellow, bite-sized tangy sweet fruit. Perfect for summer party hors d'oeuvres.
  • Green Sausage – the fat finger like fruits are lime green with a very sweet flavour.

By Rachel Vogan.

Click here for our Tomato Growing Guide

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Tomatoes for All Occasions Comments

  • Excellent information

    Russell JARVI

  • And Principe Borghese (Italian Seeds Pronto)! A smallish, eggshaped, tasty tomato that produces well here in the south. I have grown it successfully in a pot under plastic for the last three summers.

    Teresa Cleary

  • Tui's section on 'Tomatoes for all Occasions', is precise, with a few choices and not too overwhelming for the home gardener. It helped me choose tomatoes for my small inner city garden where space is at a premium. 'Good one Tui :) .

    Julie Hirst

  • Hi, with tomatoes I find I have a lot of tomatoes but they have not ripen ( and the summer are sometimes not great ) and its the end of the season and you don't know what to do with lots and lots of green tomatoes, I have a great tip, what I did was put the green tomatoes into a blender and blend into a paste like consistency and put into the freezer and use in soups, casseroles etc.

    Karin

  • love the different varitites of tomatoes, some I have never heard of before. Where in Napier/Hastings do you think I may be able to find then.thanks

    marilyn corbishley

  • The Green Door garden centre on Havelock Road has an excellent selection of tomatoes and all you need to grow them :)

    Hannah

  • Hi Marilyn, we suggest visiting your local garden centre and hardware stores to see what varieties they stock as different stores will stock different varieties. Hannah below has kindly suggested trying The Green Door garden centre :) Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Thank you for your feedback Julie. Enjoy your homegrown tomatoes this season :) Jenna - Tui Team

    jenna

  • Green tomatoes. Google up how to cook green tomatoes. I allways have plenty of green tomatoes at the end of the season. And found the recipe for them in a American cooking site. They are really yummy.

    pthere

  • Am I able to buy Campari tomato seeds from you and can I post them to England?

    Penny mccambridge

    • Hi Penny, thanks for getting in touch. Tui don't sell seeds so we aren't able to help in this instance. We suggest contacting a seed supplier to check if they have Campari seeds. Happy spring gardening from the Tui Team. 

      Tui Team