Hybrid vs. Heirloom Varieties
In the South, due to our high pest and disease pressure environment growing heirloom tomatoes can be difficult to grow in the vegetable garden. When discussing between hybrid and heirloom varieties there are major differences to take into account when thinking about planting one or the other variety. Heirloom or open-pollinated varieties contain seeds that will be passed down from one generation to another. While open-pollinated means those seeds can be saved and replanted the following years to come. Some heirloom varieties we carry are Amish Paste, Brandywine, and Mortgage Lifter. These heirloom varieties usually contain an exceptional flavor profile but they are not as susceptible to pest and disease pressures and are not as productive as hybrid varieties. Hybrid seeds are produced by cross-pollinating two different plants of the same species together. Through hybridization, the pollination is controlled to obtain the correct cross of plants to achieve the desired traits or characteristics such as disease resistance, certain flavor profile, better yield, or early maturity dates. The hybrid varieties are more productive than heirlooms and more resistant to pest and disease pressures in the garden. However, these seeds cannot be saved or replanted the next year and may cost a little more due to the amount of productivity in the garden.
Three Hybrid Tomato Varieties
On this week’s episode, Travis talks about hybrid tomato varieties that have the flavor profile of heirloom varieties but will work great in controlling pest and disease pressure areas. Some diseases like the tomato spotted wilt virus and tobacco mosaic virus will demolish our tomato plants quickly in the garden area. However, three hybrid tomato varieties that we recommend growing due to there high disease resistance, increasing yield, and great flavor profile is the Bella Rosa, Brickyard, and Mountain Glory. The Bella Rosa is a seed that produces large and firm fruits with exceptional flavor. Travis has grown this variety for several years and with our southern climates, we have had no trouble and always get maximum production and a great flavor profile from this Bella Rosa. The Mountain Glory is another hybrid variety that has exceptional heirloom flavor profile and excellent disease resistance in the vegetable garden. The last hybrid tomato variety that Travis talks about is the Brickyard. If there is any type of tomato disease out there it’s more than likely the Brickyard is highly resistant to it. These three hybrid tomato varieties all come in pelleted seed form meaning the seed has been coated with clay to make it larger and round so it is easier to singulate for planting in seed starting trays. When transplanting in the seed starting trays you are able to get a jumpstart on the growing season and better overall transplants that will produce higher quality plants to go in the vegetable garden. We recommend planting in the seed starting trays because you can place them directly into the ground instead of having to place them in larger pots. Travis explains that the only time he will place them into large pots, is if the transplants are ready for the ground but the weather temperatures are still too cold outside to plant tomatoes. Once planted in the ground we prefer using the Florida Weave technique to ensure enough support for the heavy producing tomato plants to grow upright in the garden. So when looking to grow tomatoes in your high humidity and pest/disease pressure area, try out these three hybrid tomato varieties that can withstand those high pressures and leave you with great flavor profiles and maximum production in the vegetable garden.