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Best Tomatoes to Grow in Cool and Cold Weather

The best tomatoes to grow in cool or cold climates are short- to mid-season tomatoes—that is tomatoes that mature in the shortest number of days, 55 to about 75 days from transplanting.

Short- and mid-season tomato varieties commonly require fewer days of heat to ripen fruit and are naturally adapted or have been developed for cool temperatures.

Cool and cold climate regions commonly have short growing seasons; a growing season is the frost-free days between the last frost in spring and the first frost in autumn. Where the growing season is short you want to grow tomatoes that have fewer days to maturity and those that can tolerate chilly temperatures–meaning temperatures in the mid to high 50°sF and 60°sF (15-16°sC). (Tolerate does not mean thrive; tomatoes wherever they are grown demand mostly days in the 70°sF (20°sC to thrive and ripen.)

Tomatoes well adapted to cooler summer regions are also the best choice to grow early in the season and to plant again in mid-summer in warm-  or long-growing season regions. Plant these varieties early in spring when temperatures are cool before you plant long-season (80-plus days to maturity) and plant them later to ripen when temperatures are cool.

Wherever tomatoes are grown, they must be protected from frost. When growing tomatoes in cool regions, feed them compost tea weekly for the vigor needed to withstand cool weather.

Here are both hybrid and open-pollinated tomato varieties for cool or cold summer regions:

Black Prince:  open-pollinated, indeterminate, 70 days, red with black shoulders, rich-fruity flavor, from Siberia.

Bush Beefsteak: open-pollinated, determinate, 62 days, deep red, beefsteak, 8 ounces, compact and prolific.

Celebrity: hybrid, determinate, 70 days, red, globe, 8-12 ounces, rich tomato flavor, disease and crack resistant.

Cold Set: open-pollinated, determinate, 65 days, red, 4 inches across, flavorful, from Canada.

Floramerica: hybrid, determinate, 70 days, red, 7 ounces, does well in cold and hot regions, All-America Selections performance winner.

Galina’s (Galina): open-pollinated, indeterminate, 75 days, yellow-orange, cherry, 1 inch, from Siberia.

Glacier: open-pollinated, determinate, 55 days, red, small globe, 2-3 ounces, sweet, juicy; sets fruit well in cold weather.

Golden Nugget: hybrid, determinate, 60 days, yellow, cherry, 1 inch, very flavorful, disease-resistant, developed by Oregon State University.

Gregori’s Altai: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 67 days, pink-red, beefsteak, 8-12 ounces, sweet, juicy, from Siberia.

Grushovka: open-pollinated, determinate, 65 days, pink, egg-shaped, 3 inches long, delicious, from Siberia.

Husky Gold: hybrid, indeterminate, 70 days, golden, globe, 7 ounces, sweet, flavorful, disease-resistant,
1993 All-America Selections Award Winner.

Kimberly: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 54 to 58 days, red, cherry, golf ball-sized, 1-2 ounces, full flavor balanced acid and sugar, from Canada.

Legend: open-pollinated, determinate, 68 days, red, beefsteak, 14-16 ounces, sweet, few seeds, late blight resistant, developed by Oregon State University, parthenocarpic tomato (sets fruit without fertilization).

Manitoba: open-pollinated, determinate, 58 days, red, globe, 6 ounces, tangy flavor, disease-resistant,
developed in Manitoba, Canada.

Moskvitch: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 60 days, deep red, 4-6 ounces, developed in Russia.

New Yorker: open-pollinated, determinate, 66 days, scarlet, beefsteak, 6 ounces, sweet, meaty, disease-resistant; sets fruit in cool temperatures.

Northern Delight: open-pollinated, determinate, 65 days, red, 1-2 ounces, cold tolerant, disease resistant, developed by North Dakota State University.

Northern Exposure: hybrid, determinate, 67 days, red, 8 ounces, flavorful, cold tolerant, compact plant.

Novia: hybrid, determinate, 60 days, red-orange, 7-9 ounces, disease, crack resistant.

Orange Pixie: hybrid, determinate, 52 days, yellow-orange, large cherry, 1¾ inches, sweet, juicy, meaty, disease resistant.

Oregon Spring: hybrid, determinate, 58-60 days, red, globe 5 ounces, flavorful, meaty; developed by Oregon State University; parthenocarpic tomato (set fruit without fertilization).

Polar Baby:  open-pollinated, determinate, 60 days, red, globe, 2-4 ounces, rich flavor, developed in Alaska.

Polar Beauty: open-pollinated, determinate, 63 days, red, globe, 2-4 ounces, very sweet, flavorful, developed in Alaska.

Polar Star: open-pollinated, determinate, 65 days, red, globe, 3-4 ounces, sweet and tangy, developed in Alaska.

Prairie Fire: open-pollinated, determinate, 55 days, deep red, 3-4 ounces, rich flavor, cold tolerant, compact plant.

Pruden’s Purple: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 72 days, dark pink beefsteak, 12-16 ounces, very sweet, meaty, juicy, heat, and cold tolerant.

Russian Red: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 78 days, red, 2-5 ounces, sweet, juicy, tolerates cold nights, developed in New Zealand.

San Francisco Fog: open-pollinated, indeterminate. 70 days, red globe 2-3 inches, sweet, flavorful, prolific in cool, wet weather.

Sasha’s Alti: open-pollinated, 60 days, bright red, globe, 4-6 ounces, sweet, meaty, juicy, from Siberia.

Scotia: open-pollinated, determinate, 60 days, red, globe, 4 ounces, sweet, flavorful, developed in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Siberian: open-pollinated, determinate, 50 days, bright red, small-fruited, up to 5 ounces, sweet, flavorful; set fruit at low temperatures, from Russia.

Siletz: hybrid, determinate, 52 days, red, globe, 10-12 ounces, sweet, flavorful; developed by Oregon State University for short-season; parthenocarpic tomato (sets fruit without fertilization).

Silvery Fir Tree: open-pollinated, determinate, 55-60 days, orange-red, small-fruit to 3” across, very flavorful, ferny leaves, from Russia.

Sophie’s Choice: open-pollinated, determinate, 54 days, orange-red, 8-10 ounces, sweet, flavorful, developed in Edmonton, Canada.

St. Pierre: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 75 days, red, 4-6 ounces, very sweet, flavorful, cold, and drought-tolerant, from St. Pierre Island, France.

Stupice: open-pollinated, indeterminate, 55 days, red, small slicing tomatoes, 2-3 inches, very flavorful early season; very cold-tolerant variety from Czechoslovakia.

Sub-Arctic: open-pollinated, determinate, 42 days, red, about 4 ounces, sweet, flavorful.

Sugar Baby: open-pollinated, determinate, 54 days, orange, large cherry, 1-2 ounces, very sweet, flavorful.

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6 Comments

  1. I live deep in San Francisco’s famous fog belt. S.F. Master Gardeners and others recommended “Stupice” — we planted a lot and they did well, produced well — but not much flavor and a mealy texture we didn’t like. I do not see JAUNE FLAMME here but we loved these! An orange cherry tomato that had GREAT flavor! I have not planted S.F. Fog variety for years — did it once many years ago in Noe Valley, which not in “the fog belt” being further inland in S.F. But even so, we got the very cold strong “breeze” off the Pacific every day and the poor plants set fruit — and then it never ripened. Just became green, pithy growths — eeesh. That was about 30 years ago, so am assuming horticulturists have probably been working on it and I think I’ll give it another try this year.

    • Be sure to try Celebrity if you haven’t already. It is an AAS winner and should do well if you plant it to come to harvest in late summer, early autumn–in San Francisco.

    • Visit a nearby garden center; ask for a bush or determinate tomato that grows well in your region. Determinate and bush tomatoes grow to about 3 feet tall and a bit less wide. There are many varieties adapted to cooler northern regions: ‘Oregon Spring’, ‘Stupice’, ‘Bush Beefsteak’, ‘Sugar Baby.’

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