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May 10, 2007


Is there an "official" definition of an heirloom? You mention that they've been around 50 years and haven't been crossed. Where does that definition come from? Is there a book that gives a decent explanation of what heirlooms are, how heirloom culture got started etc?

Arthur Allen, freelance writer, Washington, DC, beginning work on a history of the tomato

Heirloom can be a loose term. To me the definition is a known open pollinated variety that has not been crossed. The reason that I said 50 years is because hybrids began being created by growers around 1960 so true heirlooms would have to be from before that date.

Many people use the term heirloom to mean anything that is open-pollinated where the daughter plants will grow true to the parent.

A lot of growers do "create" new heirlooms. These new "heirloom varieties" are interseting too, but I try to find the varieties known to have been in existance for many many years.

Garden Desk is becoming the Wikipedia of Tomatoes. Another great tomato post.

Black Krim are delicious but I think I only got about 5 tomatoes from my plant last year. Very low production. I'm growing them again but I'm trying some different things like even more compost & manure and I'm going to use a foliar spray made from seaweed.

Maybe I'll get six this year. :)

Anthony - I'm glad to see that Black Krim is worth growing again a second year. The fact that you had a low yeild validates the third "con" on my list.

Let us know how your Black Krims do this year. I think you already know that I will be writing about how my heirlooms do.

The only one of these I've grown is, of course, Brandywine. Can't wait to read the results!

Good luck! I've grown Caspian Pink for a couple years and love it! I like the pink tomatoes! I don't remember it having a low yield, but maybe I just don't know any better! I got seeds from TT this year, too! Either Black Krim or Pruden's Purple reseeded for several years, too...(but I still like the pinks best...and big beefsteak tomatoes...and Sungold cherry tomatoes...you know how it is!)

low yields is an understatement. last year was the first year i grew brandywines, and i got TWO tomatoes from the plant. TWO. they were, however, ridiculously tasty, and they made very special sandwiches, let me tell you. i'm thinking i'll probably grow them again this year, but i haven't made up my mind.

oh, who am i kidding, that's a yes.

Great post. :) I only got one 'Black Krim' the year I planted them (which was admittedly not a great year for tomatoes) but it was absolutely delicious!

I have not had any serious problems with heirlooms and pests (ask me about squash however - cucumber beetles prefer pontimarron squash in my garden though they did fend them off).

Ethan and Blackswamp_girl - I hope you have better luck with getting more tomatoes this year if you try heirlooms again (and I think you should!)

Ottawa Gardener - I hope you have
success again with your tomatoes. Good luck fighting those cucumber beetles!

Gotta Garden - I am a beginner with heirloom tomatoes. You sound like the experienced expert! I am looking forward to the Caspian Pinks. Thanks for the update on you Eva's Purple Ball tomato plant. I'm glad it's doing better. Keep us posted on it's progress.

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