Because tomatoes originated in the coastal highlands of South America, they are not well adapted to extremes of temperature. However, some plants are more suited to some climates than others.
Choosing appropriate tomato plants for your environment will give you a better chance of a successful crop. No tomato plants are able to survive frost, but there are a large number that have been developed to be able to crop successfully in cooler climates. However, if you have your heart set on growing a particular variety, you may be able to adapt the microclimate of your garden to suit it. For example, a variety that prefers warm conditions, such as 'Pink Accordion' (p55), may thrive in cool conditions if set against a sunny wall and sheltered from cold winds.
Strange as it may seem, many cold-tolerant plants are also best for growing in hot climates. That is because they are generally early fruiting plants; if started at the beginning of the year, they produce a good crop before the intense heat of summer.
For cold climates, try standard globe varieties 'Glacier,' 'Polar Baby,' 'Siberian' (p34), and 'Sub-Arctic Plenty' (p34); plum varieties 'Alaskan Fancy' and 'Aviro' (p66); and the cherry tomato 'Black Cherry.' The French 'Carmello' is very productive even in cool weather, as is 'Stupice' (p27). 'Scotland Yellow' (p28) is a good, reliable choice.
The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station has released many heat-tolerant tomato plants, starting with the popular variety 'Marglobe' in 1925. Others worth trying are standard globe varieties 'Mule Team' (p25), 'Stone,' 'Thessaloniki,' and 'Tropic'; the Italian beefsteaks 'Costoluto Genovese' (p56) and 'Costoluto Fiorentino,' as well as 'Great White,' 'Homestead,' and the ribbed beefsteak 'Pink Accordion' (p55); and plum tomatoes 'Amish Paste' and 'Roma.'
The most important consideration in wet climates is choosing plants that resist fungal diseases, particularly the dreaded late blight (pp114-119). This is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans and can wipe out an entire crop in wet summers. Large-fruited plants tend to be more susceptible to the disease. Sadly, no tomato plant can be said to be totally blight-immune, but resistant plants worth trying include 'Early Cascade,' 'Fantasio,' 'Ferline,' and 'Legend.'
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