After 3 years here in the mountains, I have only had success with cherry tomatoes, none of which impressed me enough (for NM mountains) to save their seeds. Save what works well in your garden.
Tomatoes come in determinite and indeterminate varieties. Determinite varies were bred for corporate agriculture and mechanical harvesting. In order to get a tomato variety that does not need staking, bears its fruit in a short time period then dies, it took a lot of inbreeding and is nothing I want in my tomatoes. Most people whose tomato plants myteriously died, bought determinate plants designed to die.
Monsanto is perfecting a “death gene” that makes the plant and its seed die, they must gotten the idea from determinite tomatoes. This is scary for obvious reasons. No wonder Bill Gates and Monsanto are subject to conspiracy theories about genocide plans.
Indeterminate tomatoes have deeper root systems and better drought tolerance in dry climates or during dry spells which is definitely needed here in the dry southwest. They are 6 to 10 foot vines and need a solid trellis, but bear tomatoes until frost.
Tomato plants are a perennial plant, but are not cold hardy. Before my indeterminate tomatoes die of cold, I make cuttings from them for winter tomatoes either indoors or a greenhouse. Once I find a variety that produces well here, I will start saving seeds for a better adapted plant.
Tomatoes will not set fruit above 95°F, not a factor here in the mountains; however in my Texas garden, 95°F was deemed a cold front coming through. No matter, I grew my tomatoes in dappled shade under pecan trees. The nice thing about pecans is they leaf out late, so my tomatoes got full sun in the spring. Keep in mind that pecans have a little juglone, not as much as walnuts, but even so I raked the leaves away from my tomatoes and mulched with pine bark mulch.
I just ordered Coyote tomato seeds. It is a tiny yellow cherry tomato on a indeterminate vine that matures in 50 to 65 days. This variety was found growing wild in Mexico. I like the genetic diversity on this one, and short days to maturity is on my side.
The second tomato is Polin, a golden pear shaped tomato on an indeterminate vine that matures in 65 days. This heirloim variety came from Poland and tolerates cool nights. A good possibility for better production in spite of my cool nights.
I no longer buy from Springhill, Wayside Gardens, Mountain Valley Seed, or American Seed. All have been bought by Monsanto. I don’t buy from Burpee because their main supplier is owned by Monsanto. If you want to see a list, check on planet.infowars.com. They are doing a good job tracking Monsanto’s buy up of heirloom seed companies.
For a paste tomato, I ordered San Marzano, an indeterminate heirloom tomatoes with a 78 day maturity. It comes out of dry Italy, but is irrigated. This is a world famous variety, and if it will produce in my garden, I will be content.
San Marzano is the only indeterminate paste tomato I ordered, but will keep my eyes open. I like Jersey Devil but it needs a longer season. Paste tomatoes are the best canning tomatoes, and if you only have a few ripen at a time, or just don’t have time, pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them until you have enough to can. Freezing makes it easy to peel tomatoes, too.
Here’s where I confess that I am a crazy tomato eater, right behind melons. Last summer I had 5 varieties of cherry tomatoes growing on spec and ate every tomato those plants produced. I did not share with my coworkers, to their indignation. I did share tomatoes with my neighbor who paid for a new gravel road between his/my house and the paved road, a full half mile. I will provide tomatoes ad infinitum, I expect.
I still have seed for last year’s varieties. Push come to shove, I will go with what I have and save the seeds going forward. Maybe this year I will find the right tomato.