Furthering our thoughts on tomato genetics, once you figure out whether you want to grow determinate or indeterminate varieties, you can get into actual genetic selection! If you want to get past those specific “northern variety lists” and get into some interesting tomatoes, this is what you need to know!
The most important variable for tomatoes in the north is the maturity time. We are looking for “early” genetics. This term “early” isn’t always specified, but what we’re looking for are varieties that mature in 80 days or less. Preferably even less, 50 to 65 days! Generally speaking, “early” varieties will also be generally more compatible with cooler climates.
The term “early” is really only indicating your initial tomato maturity, or the amount of time from transplant into your garden to your first, mature tomato. But, it also has major impacts on your total yield! Tomatoes rarely come on all at once, typically producing over time. So, that early trait also impacts all the tomatoes that come on later in the season! More maturity = more harvest!
A secondary “buzz word” you can look for are varieties that are bred in places like Alaska, Canada, Ukraine, Russia and the Czech Republic. (All popular tomato breeding places!) Since these varieties were bred in the north for the north, they are virtually guaranteed to perform well in the north.
When you select tomato varieties based on traits, that’s what enables the northern gardener to select the “right” genetics, even when they don’t show up on the various “northern variety” lists out there. While many tomatoes will technically “work”…this is the way to “excel” in tomato production, both outdoors and in the greenhouse!
We of course have an extensive guide on all this, and a LOT more. Link is below!