There are so many plant varieties on the market. Sure, you may know that you want to plant tomatoes, but have you thought about what type of tomato? A beef steak tomato, a roma tomato, variegated, yellow or red are all different plant varieties. And that doesn’t even put a dent in your choices. Each type of plant, whether it’s corn, green beans, squash, etc., all have different plant varieties to choose from.
How do you know which plant varieties you need for your garden?
Like most of our advice on other topics, let’s start with asking a few questions. The first question we ask, is how are you going to use the fruit? For instance, you can do a lot of things with tomatoes. You can eat them raw, slice them for a burger or dice them for tacos. You can add them to soups and stews or you can even make your own ketchup!
Knowing how you are going to use them is essential to what plant varieties you choose.
Roma tomatoes are known for making sauces. They are a typically a meatier tomato and have less seeds. So if ketchup or barbecue sauce is your groove, then these are the tomatoes for you!
Beef Steak tomatoes are known for burgers. These guys grow to be the size of a man’s fist! They are large and in charge when it comes to tomato plant varieties. If burgers are your groove, go with these big guys.
Small yellow or red cherry tomatoes are perfect for salads. When it comes to almost any fruit you’ll find there are different plant varieties for different purposes. The next question we like to ask has more to do with your climate and plant environment.
What pests and diseases are common in your area?
Since we’ve been talking about tomatoes, let’s stick with them as our example. As you look through your seed catalogs, you’ll find certain plant varieties have been bred to resist certain pests and diseases. For instance, a hybrid tomato is often resistant to blossom end rot. Other plant varieties might have been bred to resist a certain worm or caterpillar that stalks tomato plants. These qualities built into the DNA of the plant are great for farmers. It means less maintenance and no pesticides (natural or otherwise) are needed.
Just be careful as you look through your seed catalogs. Make sure you know the difference between genetically modified organisms (GMO) and non-genetically modified organisms (NON-GMO). GMO seeds are not necessarily bad, you need to know how they’ve been modified. Being modified to resist pests and disease isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but being modified in other ways is no good. Heirloom seeds are generally best. Know what you are looking for and know what you are getting.
Plant varieties can drive you batty, so take your time.
Think about how you will use the fruit and what your plant’s environment looks like. As long as you remember these two things, you’ll be well on your way to picking the perfect plant for your family. If you’ve got questions about plant varieties we didn’t cover, hit us up in the comments and we will do our best to answer them!
~Until Next Time,
Question: What plant varieties have you chosen for your spring garden?