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All About the Siletz Tomato

A favorite slicing tomato, the Siletz tomato is an early producer yielding well even in cooler climates.  This versatile tomato has been a favorite in backyard gardens for many years.  

Continue reading to learn more about why this tomato should be at the top of your “to grow” list this season. 

Looking for Siletz tomato seeds? Check availability.

Red tomatoes on the vine resembling Siletz tomatoes.


The Siletz tomato plant produces relatively large tomatoes, ranging in weight from 10-12oz.  They are uniformly round and have dark red shades. 

They give a strong tomato flavor with hints of the acidic taste we have come to know and love in tomatoes.

History of the Siletz Tomato

In 1994, Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University developed the Siletz tomato.  While this hardy variety can be grown anywhere, it was specifically bred for the cooler temperatures of the Pacific Northwest Region.  

The Siletz tomato can thrive in cooler temperatures because it is parthenocarpic, which means it doesn’t require pollination to produce fruits.

Eating Siletz Tomatoes

Because the Siletz tomato is a slicing tomato, a favorite way to eat it is simply slicing a big piece and sprinkling it with salt and pepper.  

A plate of chopped tomato.

Chances are, your plants will produce more tomatoes than you’ll know what to do with.  Here are some other ideas to use up this prolific harvest.

Tomato Salsa Recipe

Delicious and Easy Tomato Salsa is a delicious way to use your Siletz tomatoes.  This recipe is fast, easy, and doesn’t require any fancy tools.  Ready in minutes, you’ll look for any excuse to whip up this salsa again.

Tomato Soup

This culinary classic tastes even better when made with tomatoes fresh from your garden.  This Best Tomato Soup Recipe is easy to make and full of flavor.

Tomato Sauce

A bowl of home made tomato sauce.

As you’ll learn below, Siletz tomatoes can be used in preservation.  If you have an abundance of tomatoes, making tomato sauce is a great option! 

Once made, you can freeze or can your sauce to enjoy during the winter when delicious, fresh tomatoes out of your garden are no longer an option!

Growing at Home

Few things are more rewarding than enjoying a slicing tomato picked off the vine from your garden.  If you want Siletz tomatoes in your garden, consider starting them from seed. 

Closeup of round, red tomatoes.

Starting Seeds

You’ll want to start your tomato seed indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outdoors.  Seed starting is simple and doesn’t require many tools.  

Check out our How to Plant Tomato Seeds blog post to learn tips and tricks to transplant healthy seedlings into your garden!

Transplanting Outside

When the threat of frost has passed, and your soil is a constant 60+ degrees, you’re ready to transplant your tomato seedlings into your garden.

The Siletz tomato is a determinate tomato plant.  This means it’s bushy and will stop growing once it reaches about 4.5 feet tall.  Because of this, be sure to plant your tomato plants 18-24 inches apart to make harvesting later in the season easier.


While not everyone uses stakes, trellises, or cages for their tomato plants, it’s something to consider.  Not only will this support your plant later on when it’s full of fruit, but it will create a cleaner, more organized-looking garden.

Not sure what tomato cage would be best for your growing needs?  Read our blog post about the Best Tomato Cages to help your buying decision.

Tomato Plant Care

Tomatoes on the vine.

Tending & Fertilizing

Generally, tomato plants are easy to care for. Early in the season, you’ll need to water them daily to help establish root systems.  As the weather continues to warm up, it may be wise to water twice daily.  

Tomato plants typically require 1-2 inches of water a week.  If you start to see wilting or bumps on the leaves, you may be watering your plants too often. 

It’s important to keep an eye on growth, leaf color, and whether your tomatoes are ripening on the vine or rotting before they ripen.  If you see any of these, consult our guide on Common Tomato Plant Diseases to see what might be going on.


A short 52-ish days after you initially sow your seeds, you’ll be ready to harvest!  Tomatoes taste best when harvested at peak ripeness.  You’ll know they are ready by the sweet aroma and bright red color. When you go to pick them, they’ll fall right off the vine into your hands.  

If you accidentally pick a tomato that isn’t quite ripe, there’s no need to worry. Set it on your counter, and it’ll continue ripening right there!   

Where to Buy Seeds

Person planting tomato seeds in peat pots.

If you live outside the Pacific Northwest, Siletz seeds might be tricky to come by at your local nurseries and garden centers. 

But don’t worry – we found Siletz tomato seeds sold online through Amazon. Order yours in time for spring planting!

Tomato FAQs

Red tomatoes.

Maybe you have more questions about growing the Siletz tomato (or tomatoes in general).  We’ve got the answers to a few FAQs regarding Siletz tomatoes.

Can Siletz tomatoes be preserved?

Yes! Slicing tomatoes, like the Siletz tomato, generally produce larger fruits and small seeds, making them perfect for preservation.  

What should I plant close to my tomato plant to deter pests?

Marigolds are a great option if you’re looking for a natural and beautiful way to deter pests.  Their aroma attracts aphids and hornworms, keeping them from feasting on your tomato plants.  

A favorite companion plant for tomatoes among home gardeners is basil.  Basil deters aphids, spider mites, and mosquitoes (a bonus for you when working in the garden!).  Some gardeners claim the basil also gives the tomatoes a more vibrant flavor.  

Since many recipes call for tomatoes and basil together, you won’t have to go far to gather your freshest ingredients!

What makes the Siletz tomato a “slicing” tomato?

The Siletz tomato is classified as a slicing tomato thanks to its size and shape.  Because it’s round and slightly flat on one side, it’s perfect for slicing into “meatier” portions without becoming mushy.

Give the Siletz a Try!

Red tomatoes on a plant.

Now that you know where the Siletz tomato originated, that it’s a great producer, and how versatile it is to create delicious food with…what do you say? Will you make the Siletz part of your garden this year?  

If you want more information on other tomato varieties or growing tomatoes, visit our Tomato Plants page.  It’s an excellent resource to help plan your planting calendar this year or refer back to later when your garden is flourishing!