How tall is that tomato variety?

Tomato plants with string-weaving. Photo Wren Vile

Tomato plants with string-weaving.
Photo Wren Vile

If you grow lots of different tomato varieties, and you use a string-weaving method to train them, you might like to plant the varieties in order of increased height, so that when you string weave the row you can do partial rows of weaving to take care of the tall ones, and not waste time string-weaving between stakes with only small plants. Or perhaps, like us, your rows run from east to west and you’d like to put the shortest on the east, so that they all get he best morning light, and the short ones aren’t shaded by tall ones. But how do you find out the relative heights of the tomato varieties you have?

Seed catalogs and websites can help, with notes like “compact” or “relatively short”, but one catalog’s “fairly tall’ might be another’s  “moderate height”. We keep a “Tomato Rampancy Rating List” and each year we take notes, updating the list in light of how the varieties grew that year. We have noticed that results vary. Some years a variety ends up taller than the year before. So – no promises – here’s our list, starting with compact ones and ending with very tall ones. The names in bold are the ones we really like. The others are ones we tried and decided not to repeat.

Tomato Rampancy Rating List

Compact/Short

A                             Taxi

B                             Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom. Photo Johnnys Slected Seeds

Orange Blossom.
Photo Johnny’s Selected Seeds

C                             Barnes Mountain Orange, Indigo Rose

D                             Illini Star, Polbig, Sweet Tangerine, Washington Cherry

E                              Yellow Bell

Abraham Lincoln. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Abraham Lincoln.
Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

F                              Abe Lincoln

G                             BHN 968 Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Glacier, Green Zebra, Jubilee, Nepal, Ozark Pink, Tropic

H                             New Girl, Rutgers Improved, Striped German, Stupice, TC Jones, Valencia

 I                               Amy’s Sugar Gem, Aunt Ruby, Garden Peach, German Johnson, Heather, Mountain Magic, Riesentraube

J                              Honeydrop, Striped Roman

Yellow Oxheart. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Yellow Oxheart.
Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

 

K                             Black Cherry, Favorita cherry, Sun Gold, Wow, Yellow Oxheart

L                              Amy’s Apricot, Five Star Grape

 

 

Hoophouse tomatoes and trellised gherkins. Photo Nina Gentle

Hoophouse tomatoes and trellised gherkins.
Photo Nina Gentle

2 thoughts on “How tall is that tomato variety?

  1. Pingback: Reviewing tomatoes, checking garlic, Growing for Market magazine | Sustainable Market Farming

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