Question: Mike M. of Sweetwater, Texas wrote in an asked - "Are there any varieties of tomato you can recommend I grow? I do not have much space for my garden and can't grow many plants but I definitely want to grow tomatoes so I would like to know which 2 varieties would be the best choice for my Texas Garden."
You know, tomato varieties come and go but the ones with great flavor, a juicy, melting flesh and healthy, easy-to-grow vines are the ones we treasure. If those same tomatoes can continue to set fruit into some of our hottest months you have to love them even more! Finding just two varieties to recommend is almost impossible for a true tomato lover, but I’ll give it a go.
To find the two tomatoes that every Texas garden should include, I went straight to the highest authority - the Texas A&M University and the A&M Agrilife Extension Service. In my part of Texas we don’t much care for the Aggie football team, but when it comes to knowing the best veggies to grow in a Texas Garden, well, Texas A&M University just can’t be beat.
Before we talk a bit about these two tomatoes we should understand what it means for them to be considered Texas Superstars®. What it boils down to is that Texas Superstar® Plants are tested and selected for superstar performance in the Texas landscape. Texas Superstar® is a registered trademark owned by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, a state agency that is part of the Texas A&M University System. More information about the Texas Superstar® program can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/. Not every tomato variety can be called a Texas Superstar® but these two varieties earned that right.
The “Texas Tycoon” is an exceptional large round tomato variety. The plant is determinate (which simply means it is more a ‘bush type’ than a vine-type tomato) and is known for its heat setting ability as well as its resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus. This particular virus has become a major problem in the fall the past few years as the virus is transmitted by white flies which have become worse due to the serious drought conditions across most of the state. In addition, the plant is resistant to Verticillium, Fursarium races one and two, tomato spotted wilt virus as well as nematodes. The fruit is firm and actually more oblate than round. It is simply delicious!
The “BHN 968 – Dwarf Cherry Surprise” is a determinate plant which produces an abundant yield of cherry tomatoes. The fruits are one half to three quarter inches in diameter and are four times sweeter than regular cherry tomatoes. The plant is resistant to Verticillium, Fusarium, Tobacco Mossaic Virus, and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus as well as nematodes. These are so good that often times less than half of what I harvest make it into the house!
If you’ve never grown your own tomatoes, well, as my old granddad used to say, “you’re the kinda fella I just plain feel sorry for.”
He was right, until you’ve bitten into a fragrant, vine-ripened, sun-warmed tomato harvested fresh from your own garden, you haven't tasted a real tomato. And once you do, you'll never again be satisfied with the mealy supermarket imposters. Fortunately, tomato plants are easy to grow and remarkably productive. Tomatoes are long-season, heat-loving plants that won't tolerate frost, so it's best to set them into the garden as transplants (young plants) after the weather has warmed up in spring. You can purchase tomato transplants, like the Tycoon and BHN 968, but there's something especially rewarding about starting your own plants indoors. Plus, by growing your own transplants you can choose from among hundreds of tomato varieties that are available as seed but rarely sold as transplants.