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Finding the right tomato variety: From seed to sowing

16.03.2021  /  Reading time: 7 minutes

Tomatoes are one of our favorites for growing in our own garden. There is a wide range of different varieties with different growth and fruit shapes. In this article, you can find out which tomato variety is right for you. We give you tips on varieties for growing tomatoes in the greenhouse, garden or on the balcony. You will also find instructions for sowing tomatoes.

This article contains:

  1. Tomato varieties: how to find the right one
  2. Planting plans for tomatoes in the greenhouse, balcony and open field/raised bed
  3. Order tomato seeds
  4. Grow your own tomatoes: It's that easy
  5. Frequently asked questions: Tomato varieties

Quick Overview

Tomato varieties for the greenhouse, garden or balcony

It mainly depends on the growth habit. A distinction is made between bush and vine tomatoes.

  • Small, bushy tomatoes are suitable for the balcony (e.g. Ida Gold bush tomato)
  • Pole tomatoes are well suited for the greenhouse (e.g. beefsteak tomato Rosa)
  • Outdoor tomatoes are wild varieties (e.g. Red Marble)

Sowing tomatoes

  • Timing: Depends on variety and location; usually from mid-March to early April; with a greenhouse you can start growing as early as mid-February
  • Sowing depth: 0.5 to 1 cm
  • Germination temperature: 24 - 28 °C
  • Germination time: 7 to 14 days

Tomato varieties: how to find the right one

Which tomato variety is suitable for the greenhouse, garden or balcony?

When making your choice, the most important thing is where you want to plant your tomatoes. The growth habit plays a decisive role here. A distinction is made here between bush and vine tomatoes. There is a wide range of varieties and you can choose freely according to your taste and preferences.

In addition to the growth form, there are big differences in the size and aroma of the fruit. Meat tomatoes are characterized by large, ribbed fruits. Whereas cocktail or cherry tomatoes produce small, sweet fruits. Meat and cocktail tomatoes are available as bush or vine tomatoes.

Red beefsteak tomatoes
You can choose from a wide range of varieties.

Planting tomatoes on the balcony

Bush tomatoes are ideal for growing on the balcony in tubs or pots. These are small, bushy varieties that grow to a height of 20 cm.

One variety that is well suited to the balcony is the Ida Gold bush tomato. It is a high-yielding, sweet cocktail tomato with orange-golden fruits. The fruits are ready to harvest very early and are particularly suitable for fresh consumption. This easy-care variety can be grown well on the balcony . It does not need to be pruned or tied up, but should be kept under cover.

Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse

Pole tomatoes are suitable for growing in a greenhouse or a foil tunnel. They have a long main stem and can reach heights of up to 6 meters. In a hobby garden, however, there is usually a lack of space and the necessary growing time to develop to this impressive size.

A tried-and-tested variety for growing in greenhouses or polytunnels is the Rosa beefsteak tomato. It is a very large, round to flat-round beef tomato with an aromatic flavor. Its fruits can weigh up to 900 g. Rosa is a very vigorous, medium-late vine tomato.

Tomatoes for the open field

Wild varieties are suitable for outdoor cultivation. These are more resistant to blight and late blight and require less care. They generally grow rather bushy and tend to branch out.

One variety for outdoor cultivation, for example, is the wild tomato/ outdoor tomato Red Marble. This resistant variety is very high-yielding and produces sweet, small fruits. It grows with multiple shoots and needs enough space to develop. As it does not need to be pruned or tied up, it is very easy to care for.

Other good outdoor varieties are Moneymaker, Cerise, Tschernij Prinz and Sunviva. You can purchase these together with the Red Marble in our store via our outdoor tomato set.

Many tomato varieties
Good seed is the be-all and end-all for healthy young plants. Therefore, buy organic, seed-resistant seeds.

Planting plans for tomatoes in the greenhouse, balcony and open field/raised bed

Depending on the conditions and options available to you, we have created three sample planting plans for growing tomatoes in a greenhouse, on a balcony, and in the field. You can copy the plans into your planting schedule and start growing as soon as it is warm enough.

Order tomato seeds

Once you have found a suitable variety, you should order by February or early March at the latest. This will ensure that you can start growing in good time. It is important to pay attention to the quality of the seed. We recommend organic or Demeter seeds. Good seed is the be-all and end-all for a good harvest.

Grow your own tomatoes: It's that easy

Once you have made a selection of seeds, you can prepare for cultivation. All you need are seed pots (with a diameter of at least 6 x 6 cm) or, for potless cultivation, a soil baler and nutrient-poor, loose potting soil.

Sowing tomatoes - When to sow tomatoes?

As tomato plants originally come from South and Central America, they are used to much longer growing seasons and warmer temperatures. To give them enough time to develop, tomatoes must be sown at home in spring and grown in advance. This gives the plant a head start and it is planted out as a young plant. When you should sow tomatoes depends on the variety and location. However, most varieties are sown between mid-March and early April. If you have a greenhouse and can therefore move the plants into the garden earlier, you can start growing them as early as February. At this time, however, it is important to provide the plant with additional light.

Our tip for growing tomatoes

The tropical plant loves plenty of light and moisture. If the ratio between light and warmth is not right, the plants will shoot up and go to seed. The result is unstable and susceptible young plants. For this reason, we recommend that you do not start sowing too early. As soon as there is enough light, the tomato plant can quickly catch up on growth.

Yellow tomatoes on tomato plant
Tomato plants need a lot of warmth and light to thrive.

How tomato sowing works

You need a bright and warm place for the seeds to germinate well. To increase the germination of the small seeds, place them in lukewarm chamomile tea for 6 hours. The chamomile tea kills germs and pathogens on the seed coat. This makes them more resistant to diseases. Place 2 to 3 seeds per seed pot about 0.5 to 1 cm deep in the soil. Use nutrient-poor, loose potting soil so that your seedlings develop healthily and form stable roots. The seeds contain all the nutrients the seedling needs to form the first leaves. The optimum germination temperature is between 24 - 28 °C. A plastic or glass cover helps to achieve these temperatures. This creates a mini-greenhouse and optimum conditions for the tropical plant. The seeds should now germinate within 7 to 14 days. After germination, the seedlings need a cooler place at around 15 °C. To thrive, the tomato plants always need sufficient light and regular watering.

I wish you every success in growing your own tomato seedlings! If you have any questions, problems or comments, please write to us at [email protected]. Would you like to receive helpful gardening tips all year round and plan your own beds optimally? Then register here or download the Fryd app for Android or iOS.

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Cover image by Dani California on unsplash.

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Marie studied agricultural science at the University of Hohenheim. Her main focus is on ecological agriculture and permaculture. She writes articles for Fryd to educate people about ecological interrelationships and alternatives to current land use. Our current economic systems, especially in agriculture, have numerous negative effects on nature and destabilize our ecosystems. We need a great diversity in our gardens and beds again to counteract the extinction of species. Every gardener can contribute to creating and maintaining habitats and food for a wide variety of creatures. With her articles, she would like to pass on her experience in dealing with natural systems and give people the opportunity to contribute to a stable ecosystem and thus also to securing our livelihood.

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There are many different varieties of tomatoes, and the best variety depends on your personal preferences and requirements. Some popular varieties include Oxheart, San Marzano and the cherry tomatoes such as the Sugar Grape or Sweet Cherry.

Again, it depends on personal preference, but some tomato varieties with a particularly aromatic flavor are, for example, the Black Krim, the Brandywine and the Cherokee Purple.

Outdoor tomatoes also depend on your preferences and the growing conditions. Some good outdoor tomatoes include the varieties Moneymaker (salad & beefsteak tomato), Cerise (cocktail tomato), Rote Murmel (wild tomato), Sunviva (cocktail tomato) and Tschernij Prinz (beefsteak tomato). You can also buy these in our outdoor tomato set.

Varieties such as Rosa, Sungold, Yellow Pearshaped and Marmande are best suited for greenhouse cultivation, as they have a high heat tolerance and respond well to controlled conditions.

Smaller tomato varieties, such as cherry tomatoes or bush tomatoes, are particularly suitable for the balcony. Some good varieties are Ida Gold, Balkonzauber and Ananori.

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