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My Fav Tomato Varieties For Zone 3 (2023 Edition)

by on September 24, 2023
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As most gardeners do, I’ve experimented with growing a wide variety of tomato varieties over the years. It’s probably nearing 50+ at this point! Tomatoes are that one crop every home gardener seems to have in their garden. But while there’s some tomatoes that sound and look amazing, they’re not necessarily suitable to a Zone 3 climate. So here’s the tomato varieties I’ve found do best here in my Zone 3b garden that I think you’ll love too!

The below list includes my winning Zone 3 tomato varieties for the following categories:

  • Slicer
  • Cherry
  • Sauce/Paste
  • Heirloom
  • Tomatillo
  • Greenhouse

*Note: This list is my 2023 edition, but since I’m experimenting with new tomato varieties every year it is most likely subject to change.

The Best Slicer Tomato Variety For Zone 3

Winning Tomato: Manitoba Tomato

  • Slicer but also can be used for preserving
  • Determinate, bushy
  • Matures in 60-65 days

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve likely already seen me sing this tomato’s praises on stories. It’s just SO reliable! Every season, I’m guaranteed to get a massive harvest from just a few plants. I’ll harvest anywhere from 15-30+ tomatoes per plant!

The Manitoba Tomato is bred to thrive in short growing seasons and can withstand a range of temperatures, which is perfect for the fluctuations that happen throughout the growing season here in Zone 3.

The fruits are medium sized and almost always perfectly uniform. While I mostly grow Manitoba Tomatoes in my garden, I’ve also planted a few in grow bags in the greenhouse and they’ve done just as well!

The Best Cherry Tomato Variety For Zone 3

Winning Tomato: Sweet Million Cherry Tomatoes

  • True to their name, each plant will be dripping with fruits
  • Hybrid variety
  • Indeterminate, vining
  • Matures in 60-65 days

Sweet Millions are another tomato I’ve loved for years and make sure to grow each season. They’re the perfect tomato for small space growers because one plant is all you need to have an abundant harvest.

Think of Sweet Millions as your classic cherry tomato — sweet, plump and perfect for snacking.

The plants are extremely hardy and grow well both in the field or in my greenhouse. Just be sure to support the plants with either stakes or netting like I choose to do as they will get extremely tall (easily +8ft) and vine wildly.

The Best Sauce/Paste Tomato Variety For Zone 3

Winning Tomato: San Marzano Lampadina

  • Perfect for canning, sauces, etc..
  • Italian heirloom
  • Indeterminate, vining
  • Matures in 75-85 days

I discovered San Marzano Lampadinas a few years ago after being close to giving up on paste tomatoes. I was always disappointed in the harvests and found many varieties susceptible to blossom end rot. But not with this tomato!

San Marzano Lampadinas are disease resistant and very productive in Zone 3. The vines produce tons of fruit and I’ve found they do best grown in-ground in our garden rather than in a container or greenhouse.

To avoid blossom end rot, I’ve always made sure to run a soaker hose along the base of each plant to keep watering consistent.

Special Mention: Prairie Sky Organic

Not necessarily a paste/sauce tomato but I’ve used them for pasta sauce and have loved the flavour. The fruits are much sweeter than traditional paste tomatoes and the plants are more reliable than other paste tomatoes.

The Best Heirloom Tomato Variety For Zone 3

Winning Tomato: Old German

  • Ideal for slicing and enjoying fresh
  • Mennonite heirloom
  • Huge fruit, up to 2lbs/tomato
  • Indeterminate, vining
  • Matures in 85-90 days

This tomato came as a huge surprise to me! It was one of those “I have the seeds anyway so I guess I’ll start them…” type of plants. I didn’t think much about them until the fruit started to develop and wow! Old Germans are the tomatoes you bring as a hostess gift and your friends love you for it.

Both their size and bright, orange colour are striking. Old Germans have more of a mildly sweet flavour which pairs great with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a geneours sprinkling of my favourite Maldon Sea Salt.

I only have experience growing Old Germans in the garden planted in the ground and have found they do great like this. In fact, I didn’t even get around to supporting my plants the first year and they kinda just flopped to the side but still did great.

Definitely recommend growing Old Germans in Zone 3 if you’re looking for an heirloom variety that will produce large, uniform and tasty fruit.

The Best Tomatillo Variety For Zone 3

Winning Tomato: Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry

  • Not necessarily a “true” tomatillo but the most reliable tomato that grows in a husk for Zone 3
  • Compact, bushy plants of 2-3ft tall
  • Sweet, berry-like fruit with a flavour I’ve described as “vanilla mixed with pineapple”
  • Matures in 65-70 days

If you’ve grown ground cherries (also known as gooseberries) before then you likely have also fallen in love with them. The fruits are wildly delicious and great for desserts or jam preserves.

Ground cherries will also reseed easily in Zone 3, meaning you’ll likely find volunteer plants come the following Spring. This can be both good and bad depending on whether you’re wanting surprise plants or not. I’ve also welcomed them though!

Ground cherries are easy to grow and disease-resistant. We typically enjoy a ground cherry harvest by late August here in Zone 3.

The Best Greenhouse Tomato Variety For Zone 3

Winning Tomato: Caiman

  • Beefsteak tomato that thrives in hot, greenhouse conditions
  • Hybrid variety
  • Indeterminate, vining
  • Matures in 80 days

I’ve experimented with my fair share of greenhouse tomato varieties and have found few as reliable as the Caiman. In our greenhouse this season, each Caiman plant produced at least 15 beautiful fruits!

The plants work well in our greenhouse because though they are indeterminate, they didn’t get taller than about 5ft, making them easy to prune and get around. I’ve also found they’re quite disease resistant if you are keeping the soil consistently watered. Using straw mulch helps with this immensely!

And there you have it!

Those are the best tomatoes to grow in Zone 3….2023 edition!

I’m sure next season I’ll have a brand new list with new recommendations for you. There’s just way too many amazing tomato varieties available not to keep experimenting and trying new ones.

As always, if you have any unanswered questions regarding planting trees, be sure to comment below. I love hearing from you and answer all comments.

You can follow @fromsoiltosoul on Instagram, Tik Tok and Pinterest for more gardening content too.

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