Basement Growing Varieties 2024


photo: red tomato with greenish-brown shoulders

Bear Creek

This stabilized cross between Brandywine and Cherokee Purple is said to produce high yields of 6-12-ounce slicing tomatoes, as sweet as Cherokee Purple but more crack-resistant. This is our first year growing them and we’re excited to try them. Indeterminate. 85 days to harvest

Photo: long roma-style tomatoes on cutting board

Blue Beech

This heirloom paste tomato produces very large (8 -10 ounces), dense fruits that are great for sauce but also juicy enough to serve as a slicing tomato. More resistant to disease and blossom-end rot than many other sauce tomatoes. We love this variety! Indeterminate, but with a tendency to produce fruit during a concentrated period. 90 days to maturity.

photo: hands full of colorful grape tomatoes

Produces large, striking-looking grape tomatoes (usually between a grape and a plum in size) that start with purple stripes and ripen to green, red and brownish stripes. Interior is green with a reddish blush when fully ripe – if it tastes sour, let it ripen further. Foliage tends to be wispy, but plant will continue to produce despite having few leaves. Indeterminate. 75 days to harvest.

Brandy Boy

This beloved hybrid produces huge (14 ounces, up to 5 ½” in diameter) pinkish fruit that looks and tastes like a Brandywine – pinkish color, delicate texture, thin skin, balance of sweetness and acidity – with improved disease resistance and a tidier growth habit. A favorite of many Hansberry gardeners! Indeterminate. 80 days to harvest.

photo of hands holding large, dark tomatoes

Cherokee Purple

This heirloom beefsteak variety from Tennessee produces very large, sweet fruits with greenish shoulders and a deep, dusky purple-pink color. Its low acidity makes it a favorite for tomato salads. Indeterminate. 80 days to harvest. 

photo: hand with three plum tomatoes

Fiaschetto di Manduria

A new variety for us this year, fiaschetto is a sauce tomato native to the Puglia region of Italy, where it is preferred over all other varieties, even the famous San Marzano. Compact, bushy plants are said to produce substantial quantities of 2 ½” fruit 65 to 77 days after transplanting. Determinate – be ready to harvest a bunch of tomatoes at one time.

tomatoes on vine

This early-ripening salad tomato is new to us this year. Potato-leafed plants are said to produce large clusters of deep red, smallish (2 to 4 ounces) round fruit up to a month before beefsteak varieties are ripe. Continues to bear until the end of the season. Indeterminate. 58 days to harvest!

photo:basket of dark red tomatoes

Paul Robeson

This perennial favorite produces large, deep red tomatoes with brownish shoulders and a sweet-smoky flavor that has inspired an almost cultish devotion among gardeners. Bred in the Soviet Union, it is named for the famous African-American actor, singer and activist.