tomato growing secrets

tomato growing secrets

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Question by yahooey: Are Heirloom tomatoes much more difficult to grow than a hybrid?
I have never had a vegetable garden until this year. My husband built a raised bed for me and I want to plant tomatoes among a few other vegetables. I will be buying plants…not seeds. Should I stick to a hybrid tomato since I am so novice in gardening? What are the advantages to both a hybrid and heirloom tomato? I am in zone 7 if it matters. (about 10 minutes from Hanover County, VA…famous for their tomatoes)

Best answer:

Answer by Saint Omega
I’ve never found heirloom tomatoes to be any more difficult to grow than hybrid varieties. I have noticed, however, that the heirlooms often don’t produce quite as much fruit as their hybrid companions. But since I’m just growing for my own use, and am not trying to mass produce for market, the lower yield is negligible. Another possible “con” is that some say the heirlooms are sometimes more susceptible to diseases, such as blossom end rot, but I’ve personally not had that problem.

Two things in particular I love about heirlooms over hybrids is that they taste so much better; there’s really no comparison. The fruit is often odd shaped and strangely colored and looking nothing at all like the classic supermarket tomato one tends to envision when thinking “tomato”, but the hybrids taste like cardboard in contrast. The second plus is being able to keep the seeds and growing your own tomatoes from season to season without having to buy new plants over and over “and” knowing that the seeds produce plants true to form. As well, you can save the seeds from the plants which produce fruit you like the most and also from particular plants which seemed the most robust and/or produced the most fruit and then start anew the following season with the best of the best instead of taking chances over and over.

Since this will be your first garden, my advice would be to grow both heirlooms and hybrids to start with so you can experience the differences first hand. My bet is that once you compare the fruit between the two you’ll never want to bother with hybrids again.

The following site has some interesting information on heirlooms:

Good luck with your garden and your tomatoes! =)


Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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