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By mid-July the first cherry tomatoes have begun to ripen in my garden and it feels as though summer has officially arrived. I grow at least a dozen varieties of cherry tomatoes each year, selecting both hybrids and heirlooms and evaluating them for flavor, disease resistance and vigor.
Cherry tomatoes can be grown in garden beds and containers. They produce best in full sun. I support my tomatoes with seven-foot-tall wooden stakes, tying the new growth to the supports weekly. I also feed my plants every two weeks with a liquid organic fertilizer to maximize production.
Looking for new varieties to try in your garden? Here are four of my favorites to grow:
1. If I could grow only one tomato variety, it would be ‘Sungold’. The vigorous hybrid plants yield hundreds of cherry-sized golden fruits that taste extra sweet and intensely fruity. ‘Sungold’ is also early to mature, with the first tomatoes ready to eat just 57 days after transplanting.
2. A couple of years ago my tomato plants were devastated by late blight, yet ‘Jasper’ came through unfazed and continued to pump out fruits until the frost. This All-America Selections winner offers medium resistance to early blight in addition to its high resistance to late blight. It bears a heavy crop of crack-resistant, bright red fruits.
3. The burgundy-purple fruits of ‘Black Cherry’ are a summer treat! They have a rich, sweet flavor and we love to eat them right off the plants as well as in salads, bruschetta and salsa. We save the seeds of Black Cherry, an open-pollinated variety, from year to year.
4. ‘Sunrise Bumblebee’ was a recent discovery for me, but it’s already become a family favorite. Expect prolific plants and delicious golden fruits with eye-catching red streaks.
Image courtesy of All-America Selections.
Niki Jabbour, who gardens year-round in Nova Scotia, is a Horticulture columnist. She also writes at SavvyGardening.com. She's the author of several books on vegetable gardening, including Gardening Under Cover and Niki Jabbour's Veggie Garden Remix.