New here, and have a question

maureenpm00March 9, 2005

Hi. I am new to gardening and need some help please.

I am growing a few varieties of tomatoes this year, and have a couple of questions.

What exactly is an heirloom tomatoe? And would heirloom varieties be better than the newer tomatoes?

What are the pros of growing heirloom tomatoes, over lets say something like better boy or big boy tomatoes?

Also, any heirloom disease resistant varieties good for a long island ny zone 7 garden?

I'm growing better boy, big boy , roma, and bucks county hybrid.

I would like to add an heirloom variety to what I'm growing this year.

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grungy(5b/6a BC)

I'll try to answer questions in order.
A heirloom tomato - general term for an open pollinated (non hybrid-which means it will breed true to parent) type of tomato that was in production before 1950. Most people find that they like the taste better. Most of the newer tomatoes are bred for commercial growing and shipping, which means the taste is not as important as the ability to ship without spoilage, and yet have a bright red tomato. Taste. Someone else had better answer your disease resistance question. hope this helps and that you have a great garden. Val

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 10:25PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

The word heirloom is bandied about a lot. Most people just take it mean old-time as per grungy's description. They can be true family heirlooms, or just old-time commercial releases like the tomatoes that A.W. Livingston introduced from 1870 onwards. Some people only mean family heirlooms when they use the word.

In terms of growing, there's absolutely no difference between growing a tomato that was developed and released yesterday, and one that's been around for a couple of hundred years.

As grungy pointed out, many modern hybrids are developed for storage and transport, taste kinda gets lost one the way. Since you're growing for your own consumption and don't really need to ship your tomatoes anywhere or cool store them for weeks on end, then I'd explore the heirlooms more. Many have superb flavour, and they variety of shape, size and colour is just astounding.

As far as disease resistance is concerned, I haven't noticed, nor have I seen anyone report an appreciable difference between modern hybrids and the old-timers.

For good choices for your zone, post your question on the tomato forum, where there are many very knowledgeable people only too willing to share their knowledge.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 5:42AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I'm growing better boy, big boy , roma, and bucks county hybrid.

I would like to add an heirloom variety to what I'm growing this year.

Actually you probably don't know it but Buck's County Red is a hybrid of Red Brandywine and who knows what.

I grew it, when it was just offered as Red Brandywine Hybr id at Burpees and compared it with my own Red Brandywine and saw absolutley no difference at all.

I don't like to see authentic heirlooms made into hybrids, and that goes for Burpee's Brandy Boy as well. Just my personal opinion.

I'd move the supposed date for an heirloom back to about 1940 b/c that's when hybrids first started being offered to farmers and to the public, as were both Big Boy and Better Boy.

And when you grow Big Boy you're also enjoyiung a bit of heirloom taste since its one parent is Teddy Jones, a pink heirloom from the midwest.

But do come over to the Tomato Forum, link at the top of this first page, where all that's talked about IS tomatoes. LOL

Carolyn

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 8:32AM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

Grungy, Raymondo and Carolyn -- thank you all for answering my questions. I'm going to head over to the tomatoe forum.

Irish rose grower
(formerly Maureenpm00)

Thanks

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 5:36PM
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