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heirloom tomatoes

Posted by borderokie 7 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 23:42

Think I have definitely decided to grow more hybrids next year. I have 96 or so tomato plants and lots of them are heirlooms.. my boss planted his after mine and they are hybrids..they are loaded with tomatoes. Mine not so much. Have about 20 on the floor out of all those plants. Liked the large barred boar very much. May do it but not much more. Want to make salsa and can.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: heirloom tomatoes

my big beef are out producing my Purple Cherokee 10 to 1. and most of my other heirlooms are not very productive maybe only 6 t0 10 per vine. The purple cherokee are sure good to eat. This my first year to plant heirlooms. Next year i will plant the purple cherokee to eat and the big beef to can and give away to the widows at church. Also the big beef produced 15 days earlier than any of the heirlooms.


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

I grow both types and always will. Usually, the first big flush of fruit is from mostly hybrids (although this year I did have Red Beefsteak and Brandywine in that early planting so they produced early too) and I can salsa like crazy from them. We'll eat the hybrids when they are all we are getting, but when the main crop of heirlooms are producing, that's what we prefer for fresh eating. So, normally, after the heirlooms are producing well, all the hybrids get canned as do the surplus heirloom fruit we cannot eat fresh.

Big Beef is my favorite hybrid and has been for many years. To me, it has flavor almost as good as that of the great heirloom varieties.

Some heirloom types can produce pretty decent loads of fruit, but often it is not as much as you'd get from hybrids. This year, my Cherokee Purple plants that went into the ground at the very end of March, under row covers on cold nights, produced about 25-30 fruit per plant. I cut them back after I harvested the last of their spring fruit last week, and with a little luck and some good rainfall, they should produce well again for a fall harvest. In our climate, the heirlooms seem to shut down earlier in the heat too, and then to be slower to bounce back from extreme heat at the end of the summer. The trade-off is great flavor though, as well as a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

If I was space-challenged and needed for each plant to produce as many fruit as possible, I'd likely plant fewer heirlooms, but I'd never be entirely without them. One advantage of having a nice, big garden spot is that you have room for some of the lower-producing heirlooms. Some years, my heirlooms do produce as heavily as my hybrids (they did in 2012) but it takes absolutely perfect tomato-growing conditions for that to happen. I only get that very heavy heirloom production when our last freeze is very early (in 2012 it was around March 8th or 9th) and I take advantage of it by planting really early, and we get adequate rainfall, and we don't get too hot too early in May or June, which shuts down production.

I think everyone should grow whatever makes them happy---open-pollinated or hybrid, heirloom or not. We all have different garden goals, and heirlooms fill the bill for me by producing an amazing diversity of flavors, shapes and sizes while hybrids produce loads of fruit for canning. There's always going to be room for both in my garden. I'm not happy if I don't have at least 100 tomato plants and around 40-50 different varieties. You never know which ones will be the biggest producer in any given year (this year, among the heirlooms, Cherokee Purple, Brad's Black Heart, Carol Chyko Paste Black, Brandywine, Dolly Parton and Dr. Wyche's Red have been the biggest producers). Among the hybrids, the biggest producers in terms of the number of fruit per plant, have been Early Girl and Better Boy. One year I planted a ton of Rutgers plants, both for fresh eating and canning, and had far more fruit than I even could pick. Another year, it didn't produce well at all. Tomato plants seem full of surprises that way---good surprises and bad surprises too.


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

I started gardening for the first time this year. I planted 3 Big Beef tomato plants in my raised bed. I keep track of my daily harvest and so far those 3 plants have produced 186 nice, extremely tasty tomatoes. I have no less than 30 green ones on the plants as of today. My father tells me that at some point it will be too hot for continued production but that when it starts cooling down again, the plants will resume production. For those of you that mentioned Big Beef....is there a better tasting tomato than BB? If there is, I want to know the name because these BB are delicious.

Dana


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

That's fabulous, Dana!


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

If one just wants lots of bulk for canning, then I've found Roma VF to be pretty hard to beat. I don't care for them for flavor. But when canned I can't tell the difference between them and others.

This is only my second year to grow Heidi, and a friend who helped in my garden weeded out all but one of my Heidi. But it, too, is a huge producer and good for canning. I like the flavor of Heidi better than that of Roma VF. After this, I'll probably just grow Heidi in place of Roma.

I skipped growing Sioux this year. But I won't do that again. I really miss Sioux. It's weakness is its thin skin and tendency to crack when ripe. But I pick it at the breaking point and let it finish ripening on the counter. Last year Sioux produced hugely for me. I also think that Sioux is my favorite for flavor.

Baker Family Heirloom is one tomato that I have to grow every year. My wife would be upset if I didn't. It produces a great crop of red beefsteaks, whose size and flavor is about like Rutgers. The plants grow huge BUSHY plants. Leaf cover is such that I have never managed to take a picture which can capture the great productivity of the variety.

I have a fair planting of Rio Grande this year. It seems like a very good canner. This is only my second year to grow it. Plants are determinate, but larger than Roma. The fruit is quite solid and large.

Black Cherry is the other tomato my wife won't be without. The flavor is just too good to be without.

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

If one just wants lots of bulk for canning, then I've found Roma VF to be pretty hard to beat. I don't care for them for flavor. But when canned I can't tell the difference between them and others.

This is only my second year to grow Heidi, and a friend who helped in my garden weeded out all but one of my Heidi. But it, too, is a huge producer and good for canning. I like the flavor of Heidi better than that of Roma VF. After this, I'll probably just grow Heidi in place of Roma.

I skipped growing Sioux this year. But I won't do that again. I really miss Sioux. It's weakness is its thin skin and tendency to crack when ripe. But I pick it at the breaking point and let it finish ripening on the counter. Last year Sioux produced hugely for me. I also think that Sioux is my favorite for flavor.

Baker Family Heirloom is one tomato that I have to grow every year. My wife would be upset if I didn't. It produces a great crop of red beefsteaks, whose size and flavor is about like Rutgers. The plants grow huge BUSHY plants. Leaf cover is such that I have never managed to take a picture which can capture the great productivity of the variety.

I have a fair planting of Rio Grande this year. It seems like a very good canner. This is only my second year to grow it. Plants are determinate, but larger than Roma. The fruit is quite solid and large.

Black Cherry is the other tomato my wife won't be without. The flavor is just too good to be without.

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

I want to try the black cherry next year it sounds good I tried three different cherry types. Jelly Bean , Red Cherry and Sweet Little Girl the last one SLG is amazing you know you always have so many fruits on these types you can't deal with them well on SLG between me and my grandson we keep it cleaned off as fast as they get ripe they are so sweet I gave some to a neighbor same thing sweetest she's ever had that and I gave her a Cherokee Purple I took her some tomatoes today and she asked if there were any (she couldn't remember the name ) Black Indians in my bucket lol now she's hooked . I'm saving some seed on the CP but the SLG are a hybrid got them from Jungs hope the black cherries are as sweet


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

George,

Thank you for the info. Since I have a glass top stove (drat) I understand that I can't really can in the house. I've yet to figure out exactly what to get for an outdoor canning setup. I'll continue to research that for next summer. (Advice from anyone on this issue is welcome).

So do I understand correctly that Big Beef doesn't can very well? If that is the case, then I will in the future continue to grow at least one Big Beef for fresh summer eating and then try Heidi for canning.

I'm so new to this so pardon my ignorance - but, where do I go about getting seeds (or seedlings) for Heidi?

Since I don't have unlimited garden space, maybe I'll plant some of the different varieties you mentioned (Sioux, Baker Family Heirloom, Black Cherry) in subsequent years until I find my absolute favorite. I honestly can't imagine any tomato tasting better than the Big Beef I've had this summer but that may be that I simply haven't had homegrown tomatoes in abundance since I was a kid (from my parent's and grandparent's gardens).

Dana


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RE: heirloom tomatoes

Dana,

I've never grown Big Beef. But I suspect it would can up just fine. There are companies like Sandhill Preservation Center, which generally have huge variety in tomato seeds. Starting from seed is a good skill to acquire as it opens the door to many more varieties and gives one great flexibility in when to plant. I will post a link to a direction sheet I did, which includes info on starting from seed. Also, if you contact me privately, I can probably send you a packet of almost any tomato variety I grow for about $2, to cover my materials and postage.

This year I actually direct seeded a short row of Heidi right into the garden where I wanted them to grow. Then, a friend accidentally weeded all but one out. But the one is growing beautifully and will produce a good many tomatoes.

Why can't you can on a glass topped stove? Won't it bring a pot to boiling?

Here is a link that might be useful: saving your own tomato seed


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