Skip to comments.Heirloom tomatoes
Posted on 04/03/2012 6:58:11 PM PDT by Former MSM Viewer
Are heirlooms really as good and tasty as good old hybrids like Better Boy or BeefMaster?
I am growing Old German, Cherokee Purple, Boxcar Willie and several yellows...
I've dedicated the majority of my small garden to heirlooms.
Hope they are all they are cracked up to be.
Each type of tomato is useful for different types of things. Some for juice, some for salsa, some for sauce, some for salads.
If I can only have one... for me, it's the Roma.
People in NC say Cherokee Purple are excellent.
We grew several varieties of heirloom tomatoes last year. Some were good, others didn’t get any tomatoes. I’ll have to check my notes to see which were the failures, before we plant for this year!
Love them all! Brandywine are my all time favorite. They are much better tasting then hybrids in every way.
I also have Sunny Boy, Pineapple & Golden Boy (Yellows).
Been watering exclusively with captured rainwater since I planted, too.
Grown Better Boys, they make great sandwiches.
I have Brandywine from seeds....coming on strong now. I’m excited.
Using this year as a test plot to a possible 1 acre tomato farm in coming year or two...
How much did they pay per pound for the heirlooms?
Please see the Weekly Gardening Thread:
Wonderful information for many questions and answers too!
See if you can find some big ol’ Burpee Marglobes. Oh, my gosh, what a tomato!
Most are ugly as heck but the flavors are beyond describing.
Yes, they ARE that good.
I have liked Cherokee Purple that I have grown better than any other variety.
I work part time in a fruit & veggy stand in Port Townsend and we get a lot of exotic stuff in. I think Heirlooms were an oddity when they first came in and sure, they tasted good and looked fascinating, but it was hit and miss. Some of them were actually on the tasteless side to me if anything. Also I noticed that they would sometimes be “pithy” on one entire side, while fine on the other.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the large purple or multicolored Beefsteak type Heirlooms were actually outstanding. But nothing can beat any of the West coast farms which produce the large, red, in-season Beefsteak tomato. They are like a meal in themselves, no need for even salt. So dang incredible. Organic or otherwise, major farms or family. I used to grow the Better Boys and Early Girls myself that turned out excellent but was never able to grow a nice Beefsteak for some reason. I just had to respond to this post. I hope YOUR tomatoes turn out great!
As I said, different tomato varieties are good for different things. We used them in salads, and wanted salad tomatoes. Juicers or saucers wouldn't have worked well.
Don't be shy about talking to the chefs, they want good local stuff, if they can plan for it a week or six in advance.
Best of luck with it. I've seen small growers and high-end restaurants have great relationships with everyone making money.
This would be a good question to post on the Weekly Gardening Thread.
Heirlooms rock! You can save the seeds and get the same tomato from them the next year. They usually have better old time flavor - may be a little more acidic which is good for canning purposes. Good luck with your tomatoes.
Saw one called Mortgage Lifter. Can only imagine the resourcefulness of previous generations.
So many of my neighbors are just amazed I grow a garden...they are clueless
A few yrs ago, I shared a garden and we had 52 plants. I would bring home 20-30 ripe tomatoes a week.
I made the best spaghetti sauce using fresh homegrown tomatoes...better than the $7/qt sauce from Whole Foods...
Thanks for the good wishes...
If you can find it, use turkey manure to make them pop.
Chicken sh!t is what the libs use.
Besides buying into commodities, such as guns, ammo, long term food storage, extra durable clothes, etc., growing a garden is an excellent idea. All seeds should be heirloom as they can produce seeds that can be replanted. Neighbors have laughed at my garden, but it gets a little bigger each year. Have had some failures but that is part of the learning experience for the area and skills building.
I bought some Cherokee Purples last season and was disappointed. They are supposed to be low acid, which would be easier on a lot of people’s stomachs, but the ones I had seemed low on taste also... It was late in the season, and I may have just gotten some poor ones, though. The market guy said his customers are crazy about them (and they were pricey).
“Celebrity” tomatoes seem to grow real well around here (East TN). I usually grow a variety of hybrids. German Queen is my old favorite for eating plain, and Celebrity or Better Boy for sandwiches and canning.
I’ve had great success with Celebrity & Better Boy. Just thought I would try the heirlooms. Hoping for something special...
Where do you guys get your hybrid seeds?
I like Pruden’s Purple - it tastes like Cherokee Purple but it’s 10-12 days earlier.
Aunt Ruby’s German Green - rich and spicy, sweet slicer, gets a golden blush when ripe.
Kellogg’s Orange Breakfast - creamy, smooth, loads of tomato flavor without any harshness
Black Krim - complex, spicy, but not the same as Aunt Ruby. Seems disease prone.
Yellow Pear - feh. Most prolific tomato I have ever grown, nasty, waxy, tasteless things.
Principe Borghese - for sun-dried tomatoes.
This year, it’s Kellogg’s, Black Krim (one more chance - if it’s sickly, I’m done with it), and Polbig - very early, sets fruit in cool weather.
There is a whole world of tomatoes out there, but I believe I’d be happy with Pruden’s, Aunt Ruby, Kellogg’s, Pr. Borg., and Sungold. And a disease-resistant black.
I have Mortgage Lifter seeds. My growing season is too short for them it seems. Here at 8,500 ft in the Colorado Rockies we only have about 90 days between frosts. I have to start indoors several months early for many things. Potatoes do very well however.
Mr. Stripeys are the best for sandwiches and salads- huge, beautiful with orange, red, pink and salmon coloring throughout and they taste heavenly.
Also, don’t try to can the yellow tomatoes. They have too much water to turn out right.
I love Cherokee Purples, but haven’t had much luck with getting a high yield of them.
One of the best ever is Black Cherry (cherry size). They just keep coming and coming and have the richest, smokiest flavor you’ll ever find. I ate bowls and bowls of them. Trickle a little Italian dressing on them and you have heaven.
As far as I’m concerned, Brandywine tomatoes are hard to beat in the flavor department.
IMO a heirloom tomato is essential to the making of a good BLT, they just seem to be so much juicier and full of flavor than the others. I loves my BLTs.
My wife and I grow only heirloom tomatoes, mortgage lifters are one of our favorites, excellent taste and one slice hangs over the edge of a sandwich
I love heirlooms. They offer such a wide variety of flavor and texture. Hope yours are as satisfying as the ones I grow and eat
Try Black Krim. Once you’ve grown it, you’ll never stop.
Yes they are and they have a wide variety of taste. Do a wide variety of indeterminate tomatoes. Only grow determinate tomatoes if youre caning them or making sauce. Determinate tomatoes come ripe about the same time where indeterminate tomatoes come ripe over a long period of time. Pick several different types and then plant at same time, then in about 3-4 weeks plant more of the same varieties. Youll have a longer period where you have ripe tomatoes that way. The days on the tags tell you how long from planting until first fruit. I usually pick some 60 day 70-80 day and 90 day varieties to plant at same time.
The varieties you can use depend on where you live. Im in the San Fernando Valley which is very hot and dry. The varieties for Dallas/Houston or New England are very different from what grow really well here. Contact Tomato Mania.
One tomato that I always grow isnt a heirloom is Sun Gold which is a hybrid cherry. They are just delicious. Considering its just my wife and I we usually have 3 plants and they dont go to waste. I think they have a very wide growing range and they grow great here. The Yellow Pears are good too (cherry pear) Im not fond of the various black tomatoes. Mortgage Lifter, Green Zebra, German Johnson, Arkansas Traveler (doesnt grow that well here but they are tasty), and Stupice, are good varieties and taste great. I didnt like the Juane Flamme was highly recommended but I didnt like it (lack of flavor), but I think it wasnt right for the area and I might have made a mistake with watering and fertilizer.
One tip I learned about planting tomatoes. Remove all leaves except the top 2 and all stems other than the main one. Then plant the plant deep enough that only the two leaves are above the ground. The entire stem will sprout roots. That will give you a stronger plant earlier and really accelerate the growth.
If you decide you don’t like them, send them my way. They make the best sauces and are fantastic on sandwiches and in salads. Yummy!
Try some of the siberian, Alaskan and russian varieties. They were designed for colder seasons. I grow them in the late fall and winter here. No freezes in the San Fernando Valley. They grow well, quickly and are very hardy. Do a google search on Tomatoes for Cooler weather.
I went to OSH and g0t a 6 pack of heirloom tomatoes.
I did just what you suggested and have many varieties for colder climates. Many are the cherry varieties though. Last year I only got Cherokee Purple (not a cold variety) that I dug up and put in a container inside. The others all got frozen on an early fall night when it was supposed to get down to 38F, but actually got down to 25F. I have started indoors a month earlier to try to get a harvest on some things like tomatoes, squash and peppers.
Brandywine Pink, a taste you’ll never forget.
Have built a cold weather box? I’m not in a cold area so I don’t know how effective they are. http://www.savvygardener.com/Features/cold_frames-hotbeds.html As a boy when I lived in Michgan our neigbors used something like them (not as sophisticated) to get a start on their veggies. It worked.
Burpee apparently sells them. I did a search for “yellow pear tomato” and came up with a lot. I should have done “yellow pear tomato seeds”
Lots of places sell Yellow Pear tomato seeds, but I am looking for a strain that has some flavor. Somewhere along the line, flavor seems to have been bred out.
Oh!!! those black Russians are incredible!
A few years back I saw some starters and tried them, didn’t get much yield that year but they were excellent!
I remember when I was a kid and a tomato really tasted like a tomato. Most these days taste like cardboard.
I’m prepping my garden now with alot of lime and compost.
Went out and turned over some of my compost pile, man, I must have A BILLION of the little red worms. Pile is mostly coffee grounds, eggshells, various salad greens that went funky on me, orange peels, all that kinda stuff...
Save your own seeds. Get one of the biggest tomatoes and take the seeds for the following year. Eventually you will have tomatoes that are acclimated to your specific area.
There are various ways to save seeds. Some people put the seeds and fruit around them into water in jelly jars and let them ferment. Eventually the seeds will fall to the bottom.
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