What is your favorite home garden tomatoes and crops to plant?

burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

As I start dreaming of my 2021 garden and enjoy looking through my favorite seed catalogs, I’d love to hear what your favorite go-to tomatoes are to plant as well as your other home garden favorites to plant? I’d love to hear about your favorite winner producers in tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, and other home garden favorites. Also, your favorite unique but fun home garden crops. Looking to diversify my garden this year.


  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @burekcrew86 depends on what time of year. This winter, I grew some nice brown onions and Russian garlic. This summer I’m getting lots of cherry and Roma tomatoes. So at the moment I’m making lots of homemade pasta sauce. Soon I’ll be harvesting choko and okra, they are really fuss free and we get heaps of them. We’ve had an incredibly wet summer to date and its playing havoc with my eggplant, zucchini, peppers etc. I also love growing salad greens, lettuce, rocket etc.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    I just grew some black popcorn last year and can't wait to plant more. I also grew some giant Japanese red mustard and I think it would taste delicious in a sandwich!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @burekcrew86 I don't have much luck with regular tomatoes. I am in zone 3b/4a. So they have to be in a greenhouse. Lately, I have had a problem with rodents of some kind eating anything I put into my greenhouse (have to fire the cat or maybe stop feeding her so much). By the time all is said and done, I found it is cheaper to buy from a local market garden. I have more luck with cherry varieties and keep them in pots on my sundeck. I had really good luck with the currant varieties; both red and yellow. They are delicious little pops in a salad.

    I am a sucker for new varietals of plants. Any time I come across a new one, I have to try it.

    I think my favourite hot pepper would be Long Slim Red Cayenne. Very multi purpose (food and medicine) and grows well for me. Jalepenos and Super Chilli have both done well, too. I will usually pick up a couple of plants of other pepper species, as well, just to try them.

    Herbs are one of my addictions. I really like an oregano called "Hot & Spicy", but its not quite as hardy as my other oregano. I like all of the fruit sages; Pineapple, Golden Delicious, Honey Melon, Fruit Basket, Tangerine, etc. I just love the scents and they are a nice addition to fruit salads.

    We don't often grow potatoes due to our garden size and we have several market gardens in our area that sell potatoes. But this year we had a small package each of Russian Blue and Ambrosia. We have grown the Russian Blue before and like it very much. The Ambrosia is a slightly larger potato (but still in the fingerling size range) with a red skin and flesh. Very nice. We have had the Banana and German Fingerlings in the past and like them very much as well.

    @Cornelius If you grew Giant Red Mustard last year you should have it forever. I planted it once, several years ago and some of it went to seed. Now, it is an invasive weed! But what a lovely weed. I have to keep my husband from weeding out all of it.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I planted tomatillos for the first time this year. They are loaded with fruit, but I should have staked them. They're now falling over on other plants, and the stalks are twisting and breaking. I ate the first one a couple of days ago, and it was so good.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a saying, if its weird I have it growing in my gardens. Gardening is more fun if you have a new crop - or two- each season

    @Tave I love tomatillos! Have you grow the sweet gerkin cukes yet? The ones that look like small watermelon

    Love tomatoes. I like the ones you can dry or stuff. They do well here. Our season is short so I go with short season tomatoes or Heirlooms that I grow in a greenhouse (love ther taste of heirloom tomatoes but most are fussy here). Matts wild cherry is probably my favorite small cherry tomato and I overwinter the plants too.

    Delica squash or butternut squash.

    I have just started growing Dent corn - corn for making flour.

    Love any and all herbs. I have about 15 kinds of basil

    Walking stick kale. The animals get the kale and I use the stick to make canes from

    I grow gourds to dry and make into bowls, or instruments.

    And I like rattail radish. I like the look, the flower and the seed pod. I use primarily use them for the seed and making a spicy mustard. The seeds are also great on a salad.

    Any greens

    Veggies with color! It gets kids interested in gardening and I just love kids and gardening

    I also like peas - but its the one crop I really do not so well with

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 651 admin

    I like golden currant and red currant as very vigorous tomatoes for the kids to snack from. Had Chocolat as standard tomato as well as money maker. Both good and easy to grow outside.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant I agree. I love growing weird vegetables. When we were growing up, my Dad would take out the Park Seed catalog in January, and we would pick out what we wanted to grow. We were growing eggplant and zucchini before anyone in our town knew what they were.

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    @burekcrew86 If you're looking to diversify this year, one way that I have found helpful is by adding some flowers. They attract pollinators, and not to mention they make the whole atmosphere more beautiful! Bonus: you can make arrangements with them! These are my most favorite:

    • Zinnia
    • Cosmos
    • Sunflower
  • lewis.mary.e
    lewis.mary.e Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    We've had great luck with Early Girls, Sweet One Millions and Yellow Pear tomatoes here in Minnesota. So much so that one year we could not keep up with how many we got.

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 651 admin

    @COWLOVINGIRL great idea and assortment. I would add calendula for their healing power to the soil as well as edible flowers and healing powers in salves for the skin. Another one would be French marigolds for their healing ability to the soil and if you choose the right variety they are edible too. Both are easy to grow and you can save seeds for an even brighter mixture the next year.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey Have you tried Sub-Arctic and Siberian tomatoes? I've had very good luck with Sub-Arctic outdoors in zone 4b.

    Tomatoes were originally a tropical crop, but varieties have been bred that can handle the short seasons of northern climates. I don't know of any variety that can actually tolerate frost, but Sub-Arctic and similar varieties can handle produce significant in the short season between frost dates.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @VermontCathy Thanks for the suggestions. I have tried both. Its not so much a problem of frost dates but overnight low temps. You need to be above 10°C for fruit to set. Our overnight lows are often less than that early in the year when the flowers are supposed to be developing fruit. So I do get some tomatoes but not enough to justify the time, energy and space.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey I don't have a good solution to the overnight-low problem. Our season here is short, but the time when nights are above 10C (50F) is long enough that we haven't had that problem.

    I would love to see someone breed a truly frost-tolerant tomato that could survive a light frost without losing fruit and without being covered, and one that could set fruit even when it's just above freezing at night. But I think it would be very difficult.

    The only solution that would definitely work for you is some kind of greenhouse or hoop house.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We are zone 3b, have never had much luck with tomatoes outside. Even the Siberian did not do well. Then I got a greenhouse this past year. What a difference. Still not as many as I would have liked but we were late getting plants out into it as my eondwrful husband had to build it first. Lol can't wait to get stuff into it this spring.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My all-time favorite tomato is the Brandywine. It's not as pretty as a lot of them, but tastes like a tomato should!

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Definitely Brandywine for eating. I've just planted some of the other colors as I've only had red. I had one super yummy amazing German Striped tomato before the bugs got it. It was orange though, not striped and possibly the best tomato I've ever eaten. Beefsteak grew well for me up north. Right now I'm just experimenting with different varieties in this climate. Cherry and pear tomatoes are easier than most to grow and kids love picking them so they're a fun introduction to gardening if you have any.

    Always good and easy: Butternut Squash, kale (experiment with varieties), lemon cukes, zucchini, chard, potatoes and sweet potatoes if you don't have rocky soil, beets. Peppers have been really hit and miss anywhere I've gardened. I like the orange ones best. Not sure what variety now but they were really sweet compared to others. Have fun with it 🍀

  • happy-trails
    happy-trails Posts: 170 ✭✭✭

    For tomatoes, I love growing black cherry tomatoes and San Marzano (both heirloom). The San Marzano's especially produce in abundance, but they both produce like cray-zayyy! For peppers, mini-bells and cayenne always produce tons for me. The Oda purple pepper was a unique one for me to grow and also butterfly pea - very fun and beautiful too, as a natural coloring in foods and drinks. I also read that butterfly pea can prevent gray hairs. I'm in my 20's and rapidly graying. =) Not that I mind, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Black cherries did moderately well for me last year, even started from seed. I'm still working to figure out what is needed to get my tomato plants larger before transplant time.

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