You Can Keep Your "Heirloom" Tomatoes

I live in Florida in U.S.A. In Florida it is summertime and has been since mid-April. Daytime highs (Farenheit) in mid-to-high 80's, overnight lows mid-60's to mid 70's. Leafy cool season crops, save the fall-planted collards that continue to struggle against the near-tropical sun (it's rollin' around Hebbin all day right up there close enough to touch, y'all) are gone, long gone. My late planting of my beloved "Little Marvel" "English" peas is thriving, in full inflorescence and due for its first picking tomorrow, but I know that the peas will be drab and bland simulacrae of their lovingly sweet and flavorful Autumn and Spring brethren. That it is summertime, there is no doubt. The peppers, eggplant, cowpeas, okra, lima beans, summer squash and cukes are thriving. So are my indeterminate tomatoes, including those that had been so brutally retarded by the Garlic Millstone of 2010. The Millstone, btw, is in the fridge en route to the compost. I shall cultivate garlic no more forever. For the semi/il-literate, that's a paraphrase. Google "chief Joseph" or "trail of tears" and all shall be revealed.      This year, influenced partly by the unceasing hyperbole issuing from the multitude of politically correct "Save the World" Luddites and Universal Paranoiacs (who, I suspect do not actually garden but just write about it), as well as, partly by the fact that the damned things were just sitting there at Sherwood's, looking all sweet and pretty at a substantially reduced price, I forewent my trusty tried-and-true utterly reliable friend, the former "Burpee's" Big Boy inderminates, in favor of the highly-pimped and faddish "Brandywine" heirloom variety. Mistake. These sonsofbitches have been sitting there, eating my dirt, ever since overnight lows were reliably above 50 degrees (Farenheit, remember?). I could look in my diary for an exact date but really don't care. Neither do you. How did I know that? Those suckers have been in full inflorescence and eating my high-dollar organic amendments since early April. This is nearly mid-May (I was married to "April" and she did; boy, did she. Read for comprehension and you'll get it.): By now, I should be eating tomato sandwiches, provided that I could persuade my mate to leave some fruit on the vines to ripen instead of frying-stewing-pickling them as greenies. But, no-o-o-o: These suckers surely are pretty but they ain't making no 'maters! What blossoms the grasshoppers don't cut off simply fall off. Which leads to further commentary regarding the efficacy of neem oil against the feeding habits of grasshoppers (NOT!) as reported by delusional gardeners and by purveyors of neem oil. In fact, IME, the primary benefit of neem oil seems to be the lining of the pockets of neem oil merchants; but, I digress... At any rate, as of -->today<--- nutrients and pH in the tomato beds are optimal. I suspect the highly-touted "blossom drop" induced by high temperatures to be the problem, if any.     I have my eye on a few blossoms, of which the coronas wilted today: If those suckers don't have pearl-sized green tomatoes on them by Saturday, into the compost they go. I then shall pay some exhorbitant price for "Big Boy" specimens that are far too mature for my preference just so that I'll have _some_ kind of tomatoes to get me into the summer and autumn. I mean, those chickenshit "Celebrity" one-offs will be gone, long gone, by mid-June and then what: No tomatoes in the garden? Maybe. Wouldn't be the first time. Some years, I don't even mess with them. But still, at US$3.99/# in the stores....     This then is a warning to those who might be gulled by the romance -- not to mention the relentless propaganda of misinformed enthusiasts -- of adopting old and deservedly obsolete, so-called "heirloom" varieties into their gardens: When doing so, you also are adopting that great host of maladies, susceptibilities, deficiencies and defects that provoked the development of those evil hybrids in the first place. BT AR
--
the Balvenieman
running on single malt
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snipped-for-privacy@invalid.net says...

The only problem we've ever had with tomatoes comes with the weather.
We grow several varieties of heirloom tomato including Brandywine and in a good season they are all good producers. (zone 5 Ontario Canada).
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There is a clue in the babbling style of your rant that you are venting your emotions and not likely to make much sense. Another clue is in your complete misunderstanding of the development and origins of hybrids and heirlooms. The clincher is that your standards of logic and testing are really inadequate.
You tell us that you tried one cultivar from one supplier in one location in one season and therefore all heirloom vegetables are obsolete. My kelpie (a type of cattle dog) is smarter than that.
So here is an alternate warning. Gardening requires good observation and judgement and a willingness to try things to see what will succeed in your situation. You are balancing many variables and not all are known or fully understood. If you expect it to be entirely predictable and for every trial to be a success you should try another hobby.
David
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I thought kelpies were sheepdogs.
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wrote:

Not so! In the US they are mostly cattle dogs because all the sheep vote...
--
Mr.E

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snipped-for-privacy@totally.invalid wrote:

Right, but EE's in Oz. (not hees and haws;o)
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
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On Thu, 13 May 2010 14:46:15 -0400, Mr.E wrote:

In what state do sheep vote? It's well known that cattle have the vote in Texas as do dead people in Chicago but I've never heard of sheep voting.
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phorbin wrote:

Both
David
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LOL. I read a bit of the brain fart post and then moved right along.
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I've had good luck with heirlooms . And I'm a mediocre gardener at best.
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I have had much better luck with heirlooms than with hybrids. --S.
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snipped-for-privacy@invalid.net wrote:

All this is semi-true, but many hybrids were developed for specific uses that have little to do with taste. I'm sorry for your experience with garlic, but that has been hashed over before and dropped for lack of useful information. Many of us do not have the problems that you have had, but hey, that's what makes the world interesting.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/4 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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On May 13, 12:03am, snipped-for-privacy@invalid.net wrote:

heirlooms are way overrated in the taste department too, in my opinion
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In article <730c5b0c-00b6-4ee3-a972-0551f4f976e2

How many heritage tomatoes have you tried?
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In article < snipped-for-privacy@news.eternal-

Well said... That's been our experience too.
I'm not saying bungalow steve is generalizing from too small a sample (Who knows how many varieties he's tried?) but many people do.
As ugly as it is by today's standards, I just love the Paul Robeson variety.
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Taste? Hell, I had the smell of a Striped German insinuate itself into my nose and my consciousness from 10 ft. away, while I as trying to read. Store bought tomatoes, I can put my nose on them, and still can't smell them. Doesn't help sales none either ;O)
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
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