CHARLOTTE – Nobody loves fresh home-grown tomatoes more than folks in North Carolina. Whether it be a good ol’ “mater” and mayonnaise sandwich or a thick, juicy, ripe tomato slice on top of a thick burger, growing and enjoying fresh tomatoes is a big deal in North Carolina.
We look forward to fresh, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes in the summertime. The warm climate of North Carolina suits many tomato varieties quite well, but the high humidity can lead to disease, wilt, fungal infection and nematodes. Gardeners in North Carolina should seek out disease-resistant tomato varieties. Tomatoes need rich, fertile soil. Soil that is heavy in clay or sand should be amended with compost, composted manure or peat moss. Use a layer of mulch, such as dried leaves or shredded bark around your tomato plants to keep down weeds. A few types of tomatoes ideal for our climate include:
The disease resistance and huge bumper crops of Better Boy tomatoes make them among the most popular tomatoes in Southern gardens. Better Boy tomatoes are vigorous and rugged, and should be trained up a stake, cage or trellis.
Celebrity tomatoes are disease resistant and produce a large cluster of beautiful red tomatoes in the early or mid-season. The fruit is about the size of your fist and has a rich, classic tomato flavor.
Italian tomatoes known as Romas have dense flesh with few seeds, making them ideal for preserving into sauce, paste, ketchup and more. The plum-shaped fruit is about 2 to 3 inches long.
Super Sweet 100
This early-season cherry tomato produces large clusters of fruit. Super Sweet 100 tomatoes are tiny, about the size of a gum ball. The plants are vigorous and reliable in North Carolina gardens. Tomatoes with smaller fruit, such as Super Sweet 100, are good for growing in containers.
The dirty-looking, brownish-purple fruit of Cherokee Purple tomatoes probably won’t win any beauty contests, but what they lack in aesthetics they make up for in taste. This heirloom variety is one of the sweetest tomatoes you will ever taste.