Choosing a variety with strong disease resistance characteristics is a good start. Other considerations are timing of maturity and yield. Fruiting slows down during the peak of our summer heat. If that coincides with peak fruiting dates, you may be disappointed with the harvest. Some varieties produce more fruit than others. If you have a plan to use a large number of tomatoes, then choose a variety that will meet your need.
Determinate Tomatoes: Sometimes known as “bush” or “compact”, these plants typically stay below three feet tall. The fruiting period is more concentrated which is beneficial for gardeners who plan to do canning. Determinate tomato plants are better suited for container gardening.
Indeterminate Tomatoes: These varieties grow very large, over five feet, with vine-like growth. It will be necessary to stake the plants to keep them off the ground. The fruit will ripen throughout the growing season with smaller harvests at a single time.
School Garden Note: Indeterminate varieties are a better option for school gardens due to the timing of the harvest. Additionally, determinate varieties are at a greater risk of succumbing to pests/diseases during the summer when there are typically fewer people available to maintain the garden. Indeterminate varieties continue sending out new growth making them more likely to recover from this type of damage. Cherry tomatoes produce a large yield of bite-sized fruit making them appealing for this audience as well.