Thought I'd be adventurous this year and investigate heirloom tomatoes. Plants bore a few delicious tomatoes, then decided to take early retirement.
They had food, appropriate water, and sunlight. Climate is So. Calif. coastal.
Curious if anyone else had this kind of experience, or did they keep on bearing?
I'm working on one but yet to fruit.
I assume all heirlooms are different in different regions.
I started mine from seeds from a local vendor who used his same seeds
year after year to produce the tomatoes in his road side stand. I
figured they would be ideal for the region but found them very slow to
start and get going and now recall that he was not selling tomatoes
until well after I was getting mine.
The reason "heirlooms" have largely been replaced with modern hybrids is
that the latter seem to bear better and are more tolerant of differing
climates and soils. That does NOT mean modern hybrids taste better; it
merely means they are more productive.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
On Monday, July 7, 2014 5:55:16 PM UTC-7, Brooklyn1 wrote:
So it sounds like, from all replies, that my grand experiment was way behind the times. I've also heard minor & major put-downs of the heirloom cult, but this was my first time, and like many virgins it leaves me somewhat disillusioned...
I have been growing heirloom toms for decades. I prefer then for taste
and trials here in Oz indicate that yield is not lower on heirloom toms.
I've found the season has more to do with whether I get a good crop or
not. If I'm not getting a good crop round here form my heirloom toms,
neither are the people who grow hybrids.
From what I can tell, the heirlooms are harder to ship and that is
why the hybrids are grown on conventional farms so much. I could be
The local full circle organic farm, when they were still in business,
grew both and I loved them all. I think the hybrids are just as
tasty, if they are grown to vine ripe on a full circle farm. I
could tell the heirlooms apart as were really fragile.
Come to think of it, all tomatoes were hybridized at one time. What
we call heirlooms were just the first iteration before the onset
of huge commercial farms. First hybridized for taste, then later
for picking green and shipping without bruising.
And I still contend that the reason people don't eat produce is
that it tastes like crap (commercial farms). Home grown tastes
the best. Can't get enough of it. Local full circle organic
farms, second best.
On Monday, July 7, 2014 9:06:16 PM UTC-7, David Hare-Scott wrote:
You're right; thanks for the heads-up. If I'm still around next season.. <g>
Wonder if it would make any difference if I started on time, for a change, and grew from seed instead of buying plants like last two years...
Depends on many factors.
In a climate totally unlike yours (western Ohio), I've had very
good results with Black Plum. The vines are currently about 3 feet
up the cages, heavy with fruit clusters and just starting to turn
As noted in another thread, they also have a good case of (I think)
Tomato Leaf Spot. I am hoping that I treated it early enough to
get a good recovery.
On the other hand, I didn't get such good results with Amish Paste.
It is currently being given a second chance (2 cages, rather than 4)
in case that was just an off year.
Both of these are being compared with two years ago. Last year was
terrible (mostly my own fault), and I hardly got any fruit despite
17 cages of 5 different varieties.
The main downside on heirlooms is that they (mostly) haven't been
through all the crossing to get the disease resistance that many
current hybrids have. The upside is that there is a much larger
variety of flavors. If your tastes align with Burpee's, they may
not be worth the trouble.
Natural resistance varies. The Tomato Leaf Spot is on all of the
Black Plum plants, but hardly to be found on the others (Amish
Paste, Federle, German Pink, Dr Wyches Yellow).
Drew Lawson Some men's dreams
for others turn to nightmares.
You're casting too wide a net there.
Most of the hybrids that you find in a garden center also are
unsuited to industrial farming. They might work for market gardening.
The produce section in ly local supermarket is at least twice the
size of my house. I worked in Kroger's headquarters long enough
that they are cheap as hell (or focused on optimizing returns, if
you prefer). If people weren't eating produce, that space would
be filled with Cheetos and pork rinds in a heartbeat.
Drew Lawson For it's not the fall, but landing,
That will alter your social standing
You have a point.
You haven't heard the constant barrage of "eat more
fruits and vegetables"? See the idea is that you buy
the stuff out of guilt, stick in the the refrigerator,
then once a week take it out and shake it. If it becomes
rubbery, your can guilt free toss it in the trash.
Can you imagine how much more of the stuff they'd sell
if it tasted good? (One of the things I have learned
out of teaching myself to cook is that you have to start
with good tasting stuff. You can't cover it up.)
Oh by the way, there is a disease associated with
that "cheap as hell" thing you describe. It is
called CABDs (cheap assed bastard disease). I run
into it all the time in my business. (He who spends
the least, spends the most.)
I have a cute little bunny to introduce to the true
meaning of hot food!
You're wrong. Whether hybrid or heirloom commercial tomatoes are
harvested before they ripen so that they can survive shipping. You
are not going to find vine ripened tomatoes at market, not even at
farmers markets. Farm stands typically sell vine ripened because they
are grown on premises so there is no shipping... only other way is to
grow ones own. Heirlooms are not sold at market because they are more
expensive so few people will buy them and there'd be a lot of waste.
Gardeners like to grow heirlooms more for personal interest than as a
food crop... some varieties taste different, I can't say they taste
better... many hybrids are of unique appearence and taste different
too. The main plus of hybrids is that they are more disease and
insect resistant, they are also developed for a growing habit that
makes commercial harvesting easier.
That was the heirloom seed I referred to from a guy a mile away that
grew his tomatoes in the yard next to his house and sold them at a stand
there. He picked red and they tasted as good as home grown. Seeds from
his tomatoes very fertile and figured that him growing there so close by
would be good for me but now am not certain. Tomatoes just coming on
and I won't have an opinion until the end of the year but so far they
are coming on slower.
Our local Raley's supermarket gets Heirlooms from
California (over the hill) every summer. They
do a good job of getting them as ripe as they
can without risking damage. They are very good.
I love them all, except the green varieties.
From what I can tell, Raley's jumps through hoops
to protect the heirloom in shipping (something
they can be a lot more lax on with the hybrids).
And, then again, it is a short trip over the
hill from California.
Raley's does get special buys and manages to get
the cost under $3.00 a pound on special deals.
(Organic tomatoes typically run $4.00 a pound.)
It is once a year for about three months. The
rest of the time it is back to picked too green,
When the heirlooms get a bit too ripe, I make
my own special, home make tomato sauce out of
them. The differences in flavor make for
a killer sauce.
You are correct about the expense. This is truly
a marketing problem.
I think this discussion is oversimplified, as if there is only one
cultivar of heirlooms, and one of hybrids, where there are more likely
hundreds of each. I grow mine from seed, and I plant a row of heirlooms
(brandywine) and a separate row of hybrids (beefsteaks).
My experience is the brandywine is an ugly tomato, invariably misshapen,
but with a superb taste. They also bear only a single crop.
The beefsteaks are a pretty tomato, with good taste, and produce for a
So I'm happy with what I get, but given the opportunity, I would eat a
brandywine rather than a beefsteak.
The seed catalogs I get do a pretty good job of describing the
characteristics of their offerings, so I can look, for example, for a
tomato that has more or less acidity, or will mature faster or slower,
or is more or less juicier.
Taste may be subjective, but it is real, and I can certainly tell the
difference between those I grow, and those plastic ones from Canada and
Californis that the supermarkets sell.
Since you are in California, I wonder if you could plant a second crop?
In cold Ohio, I can still get two crops of beans.
On Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:11:55 AM UTC-7, Not@home wrote:
Plants bore a few delicious tomatoes, then decided to take early retiremen
Yes, I plan to do just that. Our climate (well,everybody's!) is so screwed
up due to global warming, that we just doesn't know how long the tomato gr
owing season will last. So I'm going to throw some tried & true tom seeds
into the ground and see what comes up.
"Global Warming" is junk science at its best. Politics at its
worst. Not a single prediction has happened and they have been
caught falsifying data. Sea level have not risen, yada, yada.
The models are so bad they couldn't predict the sun rising in east.
Here is a much better science based, not politics, explanation
of what is happening. Explains why the oceans have cooled for
the last 11 years too.
Why Should We Be Concerned about the Next Cold Climate Era?
This new era called a 'solar hibernation' or 'grand minimum'
is caused by a repeating 206 year cycle of the Sun. These
hibernations are accompanied by historic reductions in the
energy output of the Sun. SSRC research shows the next solar
hibernation will bring a long period of cold just as it has
done before every time this cycle 'turns over' from its
global warming phase to its global cooling phase.
The 206 year cycle theory has got a lot of honest solid science
Since you say you like science and the Higgs Particle has preliminarily
been located, awaiting reproduction by others, may you could change
your moniker from "Higgs Boson" to "206". Just an idea.
According to the 206 year solar cycle theory, we have had a
smooth ride for a lot of years. Humanity will thrive,
as we always have.
If you want to have a good long term weather prediction, try
the "Farmer's Almanac".
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