Big Boy vs Better Boy

EcopalDecember 19, 2011

What is the difference between the Big Boy and Better Boy tomato? My Better Boy got blight and died so I cant compare it to my Big Boy. One thing I did notice was that the Big Boy grew faster than the Better Boy. Is it as simple as the Big Boy is good but the Better Boy is better?

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Big Boy was bred by Dr. Oved Schifriss when he was at Burpee many years ago. One parent is Teddy Jones, a pink heirloom from the midwest and I promised Dr. Schifriss I wouldn't name the other parent.

John Peto was at Burpee at the same time. He left and went to CA and took seeds for Teddy Jones with him and formed Petoseed. Better Boy was bred by Petoseed with Teddy Jones as one parent and I don't know the other parent.

I don't see that much difference between the two.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 5:50AM
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I have seen a difference in production between the 2. I have grown both of there for 3 springs now, and Better Boy has consistently outran Big Boy. This is just one observation from Southeast Texas.

Take care,

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:12PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

actual diff is better boy is supposed to be more disease resistant

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 1:50AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The degree to which a variety has disease tolerances ( not resistances for the most part) and is thus useful to a grower depends on whether or not the disease tolerances bred in are ones that are found where a particular grower lives and gardens.

Tomato diseases are regionalized, which means that different diseases are more common in certain parts of the country.

You can look at the chart from Cornell that I linked to below and if any of the Better Boy diseases are known to be a problem in your area then growing BB, which has those tolerances,can often lead to several weeks more growth and fruit maturation than if the variety had no tolerances at all.

Most bred in disease tolerances, which are for mainly systemic soilborne diseases are of greatest use to the large scale farmer who harvests fruit when the Brix level ( soluble sugars) are what they should be and sometimes the extra week or two allows the fruits to get to those Brix levels.

THE most common diseases of tomatoes are the foliage diseases, not the systemic ones, and with very few exceptions there are no varieties with good tolerances to those common diseases and the most common are:

Early Blight ( A. solani)
Septoria Leaf Spot
Bacterial Spot
Bacterial Speck.

Summary? Tomato disease tolerances bred into a variety are only of use if those diseases are found in the area where you live and garden. Knowing WHICH specific diseases are found in your area and being able to identify them is very important.

Hope that helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Disease Tolerances

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 3:20AM
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Carolyn said: "Knowing WHICH specific diseases are found in your area and being able to identify them is very important."
A fact that also applies to gardening in general but it's just plain-out ignored by many folks. Having a good garden is not just luck and hard work, it's knowledge and skill too.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 7:12AM
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There is something to be said for fruit appearance and when it comes to Better Boy I give it a thumbs-down. Fruits usually have yellow shoulders which look sickly when compared to many other varieties. I would even prefer the European green-shouldered varieties to this one.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:30AM
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