Better Boy Tomatoes

tedln(7 Texas)March 9, 2009

I would appreciate feedback on how well "better Boy" tomatoes have worked for you. I like a non determinate tomato which has a long growing season, produces lots of large fruit, tastes great, pretty resistant to most tomato diseases. I found better boy does that for me and a lot more.

The only problem the better boy seems to have for me is blossom end rot and I solved that by pulverizing gypsum wall board into a powder and applying it liberally to my soil.

I have grown tomatoes for well over forty years and have tried every "heat tolerant" variety I could find. I always go back to better boy. In zone 7 where I live, I plant in early march. I have tomatoes early in the season. The plants become dormant when the summer heat arrives and then when it starts cooling in late august, the plants start putting out new growth and new blooms. I do continue to pick fruit which set prior to the dormant period as they ripen. The second round of tomatoes are also bountiful, slightly smaller than spring fruit, and actually have a better taste. The spring fruit are large round and smooth. The fall fruit are slightly smaller and seem to have ribs. They are not totally round. The tomato flavor is much stronger in the fall tomatoes. We typically have tomatoes on the vine until Christmas or the first frost. We then eat the green tomatoes as they ripen which I picked before the first frost.

I'm just curious if other people have settled on a variety that seems to work best in their climate zone and soil conditions as well as the better boy has worked for me.


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Better Boy has performed very well for me as well - vigorous, productive, beautiful, and very tasty. For now I am experimenting with a new set of heirlooms each year, searching for my perfect tomato varieties. When I get enough land to grow 100+ plants, Better Boys will be among my annual staples.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 10:05AM
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Better boy has always been one of my tomatoes i can count on.I do plant other varieties to see how they do but i always plant some better boys so i know i will have tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:48PM
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johnpeter(10b LongBeachCA)

Tedln, Please give us a hint as to your geographical location. Zone 7 with two growing seasons... I am envious! I haven't been able to do as well in sunny SoCal.

I grow Better Boys as a backup to my riskier heirloom crop. But last year's Better Boys in my garden were lousy... like Early Girls. I won't bother with them this year.

As Better Boy is a hybrid, with a closely guarded parentage to boot, we are dependent on the seed vendors for the trueness of the strain. Since last year's fruit was small (and tasteless) I place some blame on the quality of the seeds. I'm steering clear this year. Once burned, twice shy.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 2:32AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

As Better Boy is a hybrid, with a closely guarded parentage to boot, we are dependent on the seed vendors for the trueness of the strain. Since last year's fruit was small (and tasteless) I place some blame on the quality of the seeds. I'm steering clear this year. Once burned, twice shy.


One of the parents is Teddy Jones, a large pink fruited heirloom variety from the midwest.

Big Boy F1 was bred by Dr. Oved Schifriss when he was at Burpee in the early 40's and it was he who used Teddy Jones as one parent of Big Boy.

Also at Burpee at that time was John Peto and he left and went to CA and took seeds for Teddy Jones with him and formed Petoseed, now a subsidiary of Seminis Seeds, where Better Boy was bred, and as far as I know Petoseed still produces all Big Boy ( Burpee no longer produces their own F1 tomato seed) and Better Boy hybrid seed.

Better Boy F1 also has Teddy Jones as one parent and no, seeds of Teddy Jones are not available. All rights for Teddy Jones were initially given to Burpee for $24.

I'm more inclined to think that it may well have been environmental conditions that resulted in the small fruits you got last year Johnpeter, rather than any problem with the F1 Better Boy seed.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 5:10AM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

I grew some last year. The notes that I have are:

1. Round
2. Very good taste
3. Extremely prolific
4. Disease tolerant (kept going after some others had disease problems)
5. Produced until frost
6. Grow again

I am growing a couple again this year. The only better producers for me were Jet Star and Brandy Boy. I'm also trying Big Beef this year to compare to Better Boy.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 6:59AM
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rwk_nova(7, Northern VA)

I agree with macheske's points above. I grow a mix of heirlooms and hybrids with a few Better Boy every year as a back up and it has been very reliable/good tasting for me in Northern VA.
This year I'm doing my own Red productivity/taste-off experiment with hybrids Better Boy, Big Beef, and Crimson Carmello compared to Abe Lincoln (from TGS), Mule Team, and Ramapo F6. There are many more hybrids and heirlooms I've read about in this forum I'd like to try but that will have to be future years.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 8:56AM
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tedln(7 Texas)


We currently live about 60 miles north of Dallas, Texas and I am able to get a spring crop and a fall crop of tomatoes from the Better Boy plants which I plant in March. I think I am in Zone 7. At least I am in one of the zone maps I looked at. I originally planted Better Boy when we lived in Amarillo, Texas. I think that was zone 5. In Amarillo, you couldn't plant until late April due to late frosts. The Better Boy plants would live and produce all summer. They would usually die before the first frost in the fall. We then spent fifteen years in Louisiana right on the gulf coast. I would normally plant Better Boy in February and we would have ripe tomatoes in April. By the middle of June to late June, the plants would be totally dead from the heat. We would typically plant a fall crop after the heat let up a little and we would have our second crop of tomatoes.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:28PM
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I'm planting Better Boy F1 and F2 this year. This year most of my tomatoes are F3. I think they are doing better than the F1 tomatoes.

I think Better Boy is better than Delicious tomatoes. This year I am planting mostly Better Boy. Also Roma, and Burpee Super Beefsteak, says bigger yields. Not a hybrid.

See my Flicker F2 tomato.


Here is a link that might be useful: Better Boy F2 Tomato

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 7:31PM
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Better boy is always the only tomato plant I plant every year. The flesh is very nice, the skin is perfect. Amzing juicy tomato. My grandmom cans them and gets ton of juice for canned juice, and tons of meat for her stewed tomatoes. They are great full vines and the fruit just keeps coming. It is a great red too, I love that plant!!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 6:48AM
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