Heirloom or Hybrid Tomatoes?

By Patti King (Patti1957) on March 12, 2010

Some swear by the heirloom while others love their hybrids. Me, I like to grow them both and for different reasons.

The debate between the heirloom and the hybrid tomato is really about personal preference. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. There are many varieties of tomatoes out there and finding one that will fit into your garden shouldn't be too difficult. They come in all the colors of the rainbow. Pink, red, yellow, purple, orange, green and blue. Yes... I said blue!

I have to say that I plant more heirlooms in my garden than hybrids. One reason for this might be because I think that heirloom sounds much better than hybrid and I like the fact that you can save seeds from the heirloom tomato. I guess you could save seeds from the hybrids also. You could even plant them and grow a tomato of some kind, but I personally wouldn't advise it unless you plan to spend a few years (5-7) de-hybridizing it. In this day and age when more and more are growing their own vegetables for financial and health reasons, it just makes more since to grow something that you can save the seeds from and grow again year after year and know exactly what you will get each time. I personally haven't grown a hybrid yet that can beat the flavor of any heirloom but that's not to say that there aren't some decent tasting hybrids out there. But they just can't stand up to one of  my favorite heirlooms, the Brandywine Sudduth's Strain. It has that old fashioned tomato flavor that takes me back to when I was a kid in my grandpa's garden eating tomatoes right there without a utensil in site with juice just ruining down my chin. Another favorite is Black Krim. It is a sweet, juicy  beefsteak with a dark smoky taste that I can't get enough of. Recently added to my list of favorites is Limbaugh's Potato Top. This is a really good producer of some beautiful, fantastic flavored tomatoes that produce well right up until frost.

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I do grow a few hybrids every year. I like the hybrids because they are usually earlier producing so you can have that first tomato way before your Brandywine even sets fruit. Hybrids are sometimes more disease tolerant and therefore, may be the only plant standing in your garden after a terrible tomato virus hits.  One of my favorite hybrids is Jetsetter which is an early producer of nice size tomatoes. This is a classic as far as what you would think a tomato should look like. They have a good flavor and keep well after picking. I also like Better Boy because of its great disease resistance to Fusarium Wilt (F), Vierticillium Wilt (V), Root Nematodes (N) and Tobacco Mosaic (T). I like Early Girl because it produces a lot of tomatoes that are good-sized for an early tomato. On a sentimental note, it is one we have grown from the beginning, back when we thought all tomatoes were created equal.

I think that you can have the best of both worlds and grow some of each. I will continue to grow  both heirlooms and hybrids because I don't want to miss that next great find. You never know if the next tomato you try will become a new favorite to be added to your ever growing list!

Related articles:
heirlooms, hybrids, tomatoes

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
thank you Onewish1 Sep 13, 2010 6:49 PM 3
seeds for the future reddancingseeds Mar 30, 2010 10:09 AM 1

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