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Are Better Boys really better?

Posted by kpev7hard 7 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 22:38

I've been trying to grow Better Boys for a few years now and I have to say I am not impressed at all. They are slow growing and don't put out much fruit. I thought maybe it was my soil or environment, but this year I also planted a Sungold and that plant is growing/producing like a champ. It's right next to my Better Boys so I'm thinking it might just be the variety? I figured also I just wasn't good at growing tomatoes, but maybe not!?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I'll agree but for different reasons. Better Boy fruits always look of poor quality with pale yellow shoulders. I'm not overly impressed with Big Boy fruit quality either. There are many other varieties which but both of them to shame.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

You can't compare them to a cherry variety. That's like comparing apples to oak trees or something and totally unfair to the poor Better Boy. Does that mean they are a great variety? Not at all. But growing conditions aside, most any cherry variety will far out-produce in sheer numbers any standard sized variety be it hybrid or heirloom.

Dave


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

For many folks Big Boy F1 and Better Boy F1 are still standards and why not? They were two of the first hybrids released, they share one parent in common, Teddy Jones, which is a large pink heirloom from the midwest, and I think they aren't bad at all. Along with Ramapo F1 and the earliest of the Harris varieties such as Jet Star F1, Supersonic F1 and Moreton Hybrid, I think they can hold their own.

Yellow shoulders? Never seen that where I grow tomatoes.

I grow very few hybrids, by choice, but am not going to knock either Big Boy F1, bred by Dr. Oved Schifriss when he was at Burpee in the early 40's, nor Better Boy F1, bred by JOhn Peto after he left Burpee , took Teddy Jones with him, formed Petoseed in CA and bred Better Boy F1 a few years later.

If they don't work for you, as they have for many, just move on to other more modern red F1's. ( smile)

Carolyn


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I have been growing 4 or 5 Better Boys a year for last 8 years, I usually get about 45 tomatoes per plant, nice medium sized good tasting tomatoes. I have never had yellow shoulders on mine.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Better Boy will always have a spot in our GH !! The best indeterminate tomato variety we have ever planted - great flavor - huge quantity producer (we had a continual supply of ripening tomatoes from these plants from June - October ! - the frost was the only thing that stopped them) - disease resistant - no yellowing shoulders - nice sized tomato - just look at the photos !! We highly recommend the Better Boy variety !!

Guess that goes to show you that different varieties do better depending on conditions!?

 photo image_zps3dc84fed.jpg


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

How is Best Boy?


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I had to look it up, it's an F1 hybrid from Burpee and I gave up on Burpee many years ago for many reasons.

The hype for many of their varieties is just terrible and they've stolen names for others for some of their varieties, think Brad Gates and his tye dye ones,

maybe someone else here is still dealing with Burpee, but not me, and not many others when I look at grow out lists at various message sites.

Why don't you try it and see how it compares with Better Boy and Big Boy, and there are other "Boy'ones out there as well, ( smile)

Hopefully someone here has grown Best Boy F1 and can give you some feedback.

Almost forgot that Burpee did Brandy Boy F1 and many do like that one.

Carolyn


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I think I grew Big Boy about 10 years ago so it's going to be hard to remember what it was like ;-). I think someone on Market Gardener recommended Best Boy - they grow a lot of hybrids. I figured I'd try a few for those people (like my mom) who don't like heirlooms, though I'm sticking with Sudduth BW, BK, and CP as well.

Burpee really dominates the market here (I order most of my seed from Fedco), I also picked up "Independence Day" (Fourth of July knockoff?) to try for an early one, though I am counting on cherries and Cosmonaut Volkov for "early" (that means mid-July here for field-grown) market.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Why doesn't you mom like heirloom varieties? Just curious. If you put some slices of F1's and OP's on a plate could she tell the difference if both were red varieties and the heirloom variety chosen was also a good one?

Where is here when you say that Burpee has the market? Do you live in Buck's County PA where Burpee is, which still doesn't do it since most of Burpee's sales come from their webpage.

For some earlies please consider the following, all OP's ,and yes I've grown Cosmonaut Volkov.I actually trialed it for SSE when it was first sent to SSE by Marie Danilenko who was then their source in Moscow.

Moravsky Div
Kimberley
Stupice
Matina
Sophie's Choice

......to name a few

And If you go to Tania's website you'll find a link to LOTS of earlies, same for Jeff Casey's site, tomato heirlooms of Airdrie . Both Tania and Jeff are in Canada but ship varieties to the US all the time.

I gave upon earlies quite a few years ago b'c with just a week or two more there are many midseason varieties that can be used. I used to be in competition with others as to the first tomatoes, but with increasing age I gave that up quite quickly. LOL

Carolyn


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

That is sad to hear - that "Burpee dominates the market" - anywhere. I'm amazed their rep hasn't filtered down to the masses.

Maybe it's like political affiliation is for many - my great-granddaddy bought all his seeds from them and my granddaddy bought all his seeds from them and my daddy bought...etc. so I buy all my seeds from them. :)

Dave


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Growing Burpee's Orange Slice and like it better than Pineapple, Hillbilly or Kelloggs Breakfast.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

In this corner of CT about all you see on the seed racks on any store are Burpee - some Ferry Morse. Shame since Comstock Ferre and Hart are both located not that far away (about the middle of the state, in Wethersfield) - though I don't know if their seeds are any better. I have never seen any of their seeds in any big store, have seen Hart in a small Mom & Pop grocery store here, and Ferry-Morse in a very upscale nursery where I buy Neptune's Harvest but at $3/pack it's a bit expensive. Then again, the nursery gives me a 20% discount so it might be worth picking up some seeds...

If those are good companies it may be worth a drive to buy seed in bulk - I'm about 25-30 miles from Wethersfield.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Oh, and I have no idea why my mom doesn't like heirlooms - but she refrigerates her tomatoes "so they don't attract fruit flies", so they all taste like cardboard anyway. I did get my dad to grow BW last year - now he wants more plants this year - he'll eat 1 as he picks, and bring the rest into the basement (not the kitchen), slice another for dinner and eat the whole thing so Mom doesn't complain about fruit flies.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

At one time I was totally against buying hybrids and seeds from Burpee in general. Then I came across a couple Burpee seed packages my grandfather had stored away. Out of sentimental reasons I decided to start the seeds. I have been hooked ever since.

Currently, the Burpee hybrids, including Better Boy, are kicking the butts of my non-hybrid seedlings.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Comstock Ferre

&&&&&

The above company was bought by Baker Creek a few years ago , as well as the builings in addition to the name.

So what's sold there are Baker Creek seeds.

Carolyn


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Does Baker Creek own Hart too? Is that good or bad? I've never heard of Baker Creek.

Most of my pepper seeds are from Burpee, those seem to do better for me than the ones I tried from Fedco (except for the Hinkelhatz). I don't really like the Burpee tomatoes that much, their Black Krim was OK (though a few didn't seem to be really BK but something else), I'm growing that from Fedco seed this year for comparison. My dad likes Sweet 100 family and I had seeds from last year, I wasn't going to plant Gardener's Delight again this year b/c I think it reverted to currant-sized last year but then I didn't want to pin my hopes for cherries on the Burpee seed so started some GD too, I'll just have to make sure not to get them mixed as might have happened last year just to see which one (if any) produces the tiny fruit again this year.

I don't know if I'll plant any Burpee tomatoes at all next year. If peppers don't sell well (I think we've got too short a season) I may drop all peppers next year. Undecided about cukes, squash, etc. - again, I need to see what does best this year. The weather the past 2 years hasn't given anything a fair trial.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

At one time I was totally against buying hybrids and seeds from Burpee in general. Then I came across a couple Burpee seed packages my grandfather had stored away. Out of sentimental reasons I decided to start the seeds. I have been hooked ever since.
Currently, the Burpee hybrids, including Better Boy, are kicking the butts of my non-hybrid seedlings.
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The issue has nothing to do with hybrids vs. heirlooms. The issue is knowing the real name of the variety you are growing. They have a history of just re-naming already existing varieties with a name they made up for it and then charging more for it and convincing buyers they are the only source for it. That is the issue.

No one is saying there is anything wrong with Better Boy but its patent has long since expired. They are available from many seed suppliers, not just Burpee.

And comparing the performance of different varieties, be they hybrids or heirlooms, as seedlings is often very misleading. It only leads to conclusions such as "this horse is brown therefore all horses are brown".

Dave


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Dave,

I could say the same for the term "heirloom". Technically, it is a marketing term. In addition, the majority of seed companies, including Baker Creek, outsource and purchase their seeds from farmers. We never really know what we are getting.

I don't care what the plant is labeled as long as there isn't weird DNA introduced to the seed. If a plant is healthy and a strong producer, then that is my #1 concern.


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I don't care what the plant is labeled

That's fine. It's your choice. And no doubt many share that position.

But I'm sure you can understand why those of us who save seeds, trade seeds, and work to preserve varietal lines, both hybrid and open-pollinated, and insure genetic diversity would care very much what a plant is labeled.

Dave


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

Baker Creek is based in MO, but have a store in CA as well as the Comstock Frere one theynow own..

No, they don't own Hart seeds.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Baker Creek


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I care that the product I am purchasing is labeled correctly. Especially when it's not verifiable for months. Otherwise, how can I make informed decisions?

It's too early to say, but I have access to, in identical 13.5 inch, self-watering plastic pots, with Miracle Grow Potting Mix and Osmocote (at time of planting), Better Boy, Roma, Patio, Better Bush, and Sweet Chelsea.

It's not a super fair test, because only Better Boy and Sweet Chelsea are indeterminates, but so far everything is growing really well. All have flowers, and the Better Boy has a big green tomato on it. The Patio looks like a baby tree.

Our weather has been rainy and cool, for us. Right now, I think the first tomato will be from Celebrity, Better Boy, or Sungold. Will report back later.

Eta, these are technically my MIL's tomatoes. She doesn't refrigerate her tomatoes but also doesn't have a passion for them. We have limited local access to seeds, a little better variety in starts. Thankfully I found some great places online to order from for Fall.

This post was edited by nialialea on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 12:37


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

I transplanted a tomato seedling which was labelled "heirloom Better Boy" by Rocket Farms and it is producing cherry sized tomatoes. I thought better boys were supposed to be around 16oz??


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RE: Are Better Boys really better?

"I don't care what the plant is labeled"

If you get a healthy strong producing plant that year, you've won the lottery. Then it comes time for the planting the year after that. If your mystery plant is a hybrid your saved seed might not give you the plant you want.
I have a limited amount of room so care very much that each plant produces what I want.

Also, you are against weird DNA. If you have an unlabeled or mislabeled plant, you don't know whose DNA you are getting.


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