Q. What type of tomatoes are best to grow in this very challenging region?
A. As a master gardener and a coordinator for River Bend Community Organic Garden and Education Center from 2013 - 2017, we discovered there is no easy answer to your question.
One consistently healthy variety from year to year and our overall best producer is Celebrity, a medium size, determinate tomato. We also had good production from Sun Gold, a grape sized tomato that is super sweet and an indeterminate variety, but you may find many grape sized tomato plants do well here. The two years we grew Big Beef, we experienced good production and fairly healthy plants. When selecting your tomato plants, watch for disease resistant varieties.
Consistent watering is essential, but be very careful not to overwater. Planting in pots may require watering on a daily basis, depending on weather conditions, since moisture may transfer more rapidly. You may wish to invest in a hydrometer (affordable) to test your soil for moisture.
RBCOG conducts workshops six times a year to help instruct gardeners with vegetable growing in the area. I am attaching a link (https://vimeo.com/271523366) to the May 15 workshop, Growing Tomatoes Successfully in Eastern North Carolina. The video is just under an hour in length. Hadley Cheris, Tryon Palace garden manager, conveys essential information to help you select, grow and care for your tomatoes.
I hope this response has been helpful. If you have any questions after viewing the video, please feel free to stop in at RBCOG (check Google maps for directions) or contact the Craven County Cooperative Extension Office. The gardeners are always willing to provide the best information available and you can see first hand the demonstration garden. Here is a link to the garden website at www.riverbendnc.org/organic-garden.html
We wishing you successful growing.
The mission of the Craven County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers is to provide research-based information about gardening, environmental stewardship and best horticulture practices to the community. If you have gardening questions, email email@example.com, call 633-1477, stop by at the Saturday Farmers Market booth or attend one of the many lectures, tours or workshops.