Heirloom Versus Hybrid Tomatoes

gardening

There’s nothing better than fresh, home grown tomatoes in the summer.  I grow both heirloom and hybrid varieties, but my preference is heirlooms shown above.  I prefer heirlooms because they have a larger selection, more flavorful and great for seed saving. I save the seed and use them to start new plants the next growing season.  Heirloom tomato seeds have been passed down from generation to generation and from gardener to gardener.  The plants produced are true to their parents, meaning what you produced last season will hold true for the current growing season.   


It’s time to decide what tomatoes you want to grown on your patio or in your home garden, so check out my list, do your homework and choose a few varieties. Some tomatoes are great for slicing, salads, sauces and paste. 

My favorite heirloom tomatoes are:


  • Paul Robeson
  • Brandywine – Pink, Red, Black
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Paul Robeson
  • German Johnson
  • Beefsteak
  • Black Krim
  • Hillbilly
  • Mortgage Lifter
  • Amish Paste – Meaty and great for sauce and salsa. 
  • Boxcar Willie
  • Kellogg’s Breakfast
There are hundred of heirlooms, these are just a few that I grow each year. I try a new variety each season so my list will continue to grow. 

My favorite hybrid tomatoes are:


  • Early Girl
  • Celebrity
  • Better Boy
  • Roma
  • Sweet 100 – My favorite in salads. 
  • Delicious

Hybrids are a cross between two genetically different tomato varieties. If the seed is saved, the plant produced could be from one or the other parent. I personally don’t save hybrid seed. I like to now what I’m producing.  


There are a few disadvantages to growing heirloom tomatoes. They must be heavily staked and/or caged.  The vines are vigorous and will grow wildly if not contained. They are also known to crack easy and they are tender. They are also not the prettiest in shape, but the colors are beautiful. It takes longer to produce fruit. You can see the difference with the heirloom versus the hybrid in the above picture with the Brandywine Pink variety. It is odd in shape and has cracked. 


The disadvantages listed are why you don’t find them on grocery store shelves, but they are highly sought out by home gardeners. The taste can’t be beat. 

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Vegetable Gardens

It’s almost time to get the vegetable garden ready.  That’s my grandson wearing his Lighting McQueen rain boots.  He’s watering the garden last year, and was quite a little helper.  He was actually fascinated to see the blooms develop and turn into luscious veggies.   This was my first vegetable garden and I’ll be doing it again.  It was so relaxing tending to the garden, and it was nice to have fresh vegetables in the house instead of the cardboard sold in grocery stores.  I hope that I will never have to purchase another vegetable from a store again, that is unless it’s from a farmer’s market.   

I canned tomatoes and froze peppers for soup, chili and salsa.  The veggies were as fresh when I used them this winter as they were when I plucked them from the garden.  My peppers were huge as you can see.  I’ll be planting those babies again.  Those are Amish Paste tomatoes shown and are great for sauce and salsa.   I planted a few Hybrid and a few Heirlooms last year.  I’m going with Heirlooms this year.  I’ve decided on a variety for color and taste to include:  Boxcar Willie, German Johnson, Kellogg Breakfast, Cherokee Purple and Aunt Ruby’s Spicy Green.  It’s just about time to get the seedlings started indoors so they can be germinated, harden off, and planted in the garden by June.  I’m in zone 6, so I usually garden from June to October.  I may plant collard greens this fall, we’ll see. 

Here’s a few of my crookneck squash.  They were so yummy.  I froze a few squash and zucchini for baby food for Zarriah and zucchini bread for me, lol.   Did I mention I put away 50 ears of corn and about 6 quarts of fresh peaches for baby food.  Yes, I was quite busy in the kitchen last year. 

I’m going to expand my garden by approximately 5 feet this year.  I’m leaving out the eggplant, and putting in pickling cucumbers for homemade pickles and small, but sweet watermelon.   Below is my dream garden.  I love the arbor and bench in the back.  I would sit and admire the fruits veggies of my labor.  You would be surprised at how many vegetables you can grow in a small amount of space.  My garden was less than 10x 20, and I was able to produce an abundance of fresh veggies and flowers.  I will be expanding it to 10 x 25 this year.  If I ever get this baby built, I would expand to 10 x  40 feet.  This year I’m putting up a 250 feet privacy fence, so this garden fencing will have to wait.  In the meantime, I’ll dream about it.  A girl can dream can’t she?  We’re also building a tree house for my grandson, stay tuned. 

Be sure to follow or subscribe to Mother 2 Mother so you don’t miss my Gardening With My Grandson posts.  You can also connect with me by clicking one of the social media buttons on the right.  Do you garden with your children?  What are you planting this year?  I think it’s important for children to understand the land and how to grow your own food.  With this economy, we need to teach our children how to survive and save when and where we can.  My grandson loves flowers, and has a small area where he is responsible for watering them and pulling weeds.  He takes his job seriously.  We lead by example, would you agree?  Leave a comment and let us know what’s happening in your backyard.