Nothing says summer like a homegrown tomato, or perhaps your own homemade salsa! If you’re getting ready to plant your spring garden, you might be wondering which tomato and pepper varieties are best suited for home use.

For container gardens. If space is an issue, you’ll be pleased to know that you can grow tomatoes and peppers in containers. All you need is a sunny spot on a porch or patio! Look for smaller, compact varieties, such as cherry or grape tomatoes. You can grow some larger varieties as well, but you will need a much larger pot. The early-producing types (like Early Girls) often yield more fruit throughout the season.

As for peppers, most smaller types will do just fine in pots. Hint: The word “dwarf” in the name will indicate a miniature, pot-friendly variety.

For standard gardens. For those of you with a larger garden space, you’re in luck: Just about any tomato or pepper variety can be grown right in your own backyard. With regard to climate, though, some types will certainly be better suited to Southern California than others. Since we have a long growing season, how about a variety that is bred to withstand sustained high temperatures? Granadero, brandywine, German Johnson, Caiman, and merlot tomatoes all fit the bill.

As for peppers, try lively Italian yellow, lively Italian orange, shishito, bastan poblano, ring-o-fire, sprinter, or olympus varieties. And of course, there’s always the standard Bell pepper.

And if you want to can or jar your own sauces… Keep in mind that the “meatier” varieties (with lower water content) work best. Roma tomatoes are known as the classic canning tomato, and we can also suggest bellstar, san marzano, rutgers, amish paste, or granadero.

As for peppers, you might prefer those with fewer seeds. We recommend California wonder, ancho poblano, or early jalapenos.

For more tips on getting your summer garden started, please give us a call or stop by. We can also discuss the different flowers you can plant nearby, to draw more pollinators to your garden and ensure a healthy harvest.

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