The variety of tomatoes available to grow in Melbourne is multiplying by leaps and bounds year after year. While it will take pages and pages to list and describe each and every one, I will use this article to describe 10 of the best tomatoes available to grow in Melbourne. Other tomato types I will give a quick mention.
As mentioned, the types of tomatoes now available around Melbourne has grown to enormous proportions. Names like, Bragger Tomato, Money Maker Tomato, Cherry Ripe, Humpty, Top Dog, Mellow Yellow, Moonshot and Tickled Pink are fast making a name for themselves in the world of tomatoes.
Following is a list of ten fantastic tomato varieties in order of their current popularity:
Grosse Lisse Tomato: An old fashioned tomato and favourite of die-hard tomato growers. The tomato is large, globe shaped and very fleshy. It fruits mid to late in the season and does require staking. The variety has recently been imp[roved to a hybrid which resists Verticillium, Fusarium and Bacterial wilt.
Beefsteak Tomato: Large round, very meaty variety with a sweet and juicy flavour. It is a tall plant that will require staking. Fruits appear early to mid season. Is resistant to some fungal diseases but can require preventative measures.
Bragger Tomato: As the name suggests, a tomato that makes tongues wag. Extra large, very tasty and great to use in soups, sandwiches, salads, barbeques and other hot dishes and for preserving. Is resistant to tomato mosaic virus, nematodes and fusarium and verticillium wilt. Tall plant requires staking. Can fruit early to late season.
Roma & San Marzano: I have placed these two tomato varieties together because of their similarities. They are basically the same tomato named after two different regions of Italy. While these medium, oval shaped tomatoes have great many uses, they are favoured more for their ability to produce tomato sauces and pastes. They may be only a small to medium sized tomato, but they are packed with juice and that wonderful true tomato flavour. Usually resistant to many fungal diseases, they give growers an easy run for their money. Fruits early in the season.
Apollo Tomato: Like the Gosse Lisse tomato, Apollo is a tried and true all time favourite. It’s a large fleshy tomato and is ideal for sandwiches, salads soups and sauces. Its popularity is due to its ability to set fruit in cooler climates and earlier than most other tomato types. It fruits from veru early in the season to late, making it one of the most prolific producers of all. Staking required.
Rouge de Marmande: Along with Allans Early, this tomato is one of the earliest fruiting varieties around. Also known as, Adelaide Tomato, Burkes Backyard Tomato and Italian Tomato, this variety can endure cooler temperatures and is absolutely ideal for Melbourne Spring. It can be planted as early as September. Tomato is rose coloured, large and somewhat ugly, but with a great for taste. Flesh is firm, nearly crisp. Fruits very early in the season. Staking required.
Cherry Tomato: Only tiny but full of taste. Perhaps the sweetest of all tomatoes and a definite favourite with kids of all ages. Melbourne loves this tomato and backyards nearly everywhere have at least one of these sprawling, rather unsightly plants growing. Can fruit up until mid winter and only extreme cold knocks them out. Resistant to most diseases. Fruits early and late in season. Does require staking.
First Prize/Patio Prize: These two tomato varieties are also known as bush tomatoes because they require no staking. They grow to about half a metre on strong stalks and produce great tasting, medium sized tomatoes in several crops. Plant mid to late in the season. No staking needed.
Black Russian Tomato: Purple to black in colour, medium firm tomato. This heirloom variety has a taste all of its own and that taste is fantastic. Fruits mid to late in season and requires staking.
Mellow Yellow: This tomato is a favourite for those with tummy problems caused by acid in every day tomatoes. While rich in taste it is mild on acid. A large, bright yellow tomato, it can be used as any other tomato. Can be planted early in the season and will need staking.
While there are perhaps thousands of more tomato types out there, these are just a popular few. The rest is up to you with a little experimentation, you may even come up with your very own variety!