Tomato is the king of the vegetable garden. There are hundreds of varieties available, and no matter how many you grow, there's always the temptation to try one more. Here are some of the latest tomato varieties available for this year's garden.
The 2005 All-America Selections-winning 'Sugary' is a semi-indeterminate cherry tomato that touts a very sweet taste. Reddish pink fruits are produced in grapelike clusters 60 days after transplanting.
For a tamer cherry tomato vine, try 'Marcellino'. This determinate plant produces 20 to 25 fruits per cluster 75 days after transplanting. You don't have to rush to eat them because they maintain their freshness up to one month after picking. 'Sugary' and 'Marcellino' are available from Park Seed Company (www.parkseed.com).
Recently breeders have been crossing heirlooms with modern varieties to produce hybrids with heirloom tomato traits. A new variety in this vein is 'Tomande', which looks like an old-fashioned beefsteak type. It has a flattened shape and ribbed shoulders that ripen after the rest of the fruit. Tomato breeders say a tomato with green shoulders that ripen last has a sweeter taste than one that ripens uniformly red all at once. Disease-resistant 'Tomande' has a sweet flavor and uniformly large size, and the indeterminate vines produce fruits 68 days after transplanting. It's available from Tomato Grower Supply Company (www.tomatogrowers.com)
Finally a Japanese heirloom tomato is making it to the United States. 'Momotaro' is Japan's most popular tomato variety. The indeterminate plants produce 6- to 8-ounce, crack-tolerant pink fruits that hold their quality well after picking. 'Momotaro' is available from Nichols Garden Nursery (www.nicholsgardennursery.com)