Thanks to the efforts of diligent seed savers and creative plant breeders, vegetable gardeners can grow a full rainbow of colorful tomatoes.
Here are a few options in each of the rainbow’s vivid colors:
- Red: Sweet Cherry 100, San Marzano, Amish Paste
- Orange: Amana Orange, Nebraska Wedding, Chef’s Choice Orange
- Yellow: Yellow Pear, Garden Peach, Great White
- Green: Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Green Zebra, Kiwi Green
- Blue, Indigo and Violet: Indigo Rose, Purple Cherokee, Purple Calabash
Colors outside the tomato rainbow include pink (Brandywine), bicolored (Berkeley Tie-Dye) and even striped (Tigerella).
Besides offering extra interest in the garden, tomatoes of many colors add a lively touch to summer meals. There’s something especially appealing when ordinary green salads are topped with slices of orange, striped or blue tomatoes.
A rainbow of tomatoes means a bigger variety of delicious tastes. Each tomato offers a tantalizing difference. A ripe and juicy Great White has a sweet and fruity taste compared to the smoky-rich flavor of Purple Cherokee. Those who shy away from tart tomatoes find the low-acid content of Yellow Pear tomatoes to be more appealing.
There are other advantages to growing colorful tomatoes, too. Indigo Rose gets its name from its blue skin color and rosy pink interior. The dark purple color shows up because tomatoes contain high amounts of a naturally occurring antioxidant called anthocyanin—the same antioxidant found in blueberries.
No matter what color tomatoes gardeners plant, the secrets to growing big, bright and perfect tomatoes include fertile soil, proper spacing, plenty of sunshine and adequate amounts of moisture.
To prevent common tomato-growing issues, like blossom end rot, amend the soil with a 10-7-7 natural and organic fertilizer at planting time.
Gardeners who choose to plant a rainbow of tomatoes will surely find a most delectable pot of gold at the end of the summer.
By Jodi Torpey, garden writer and author