All You Need to Know About Growing Tomatoes
Tomatoes are by far one of the most important prized and valued vegetable crops on the market these days. A number of varieties, types and growth techniques are heading spinning. From heirloom to hybrid, beefsteak to paste, very hot-houses to dry-farmed, and the ever more popular grafted tomatoes, that is very hard to keep up with what’s what these days. That is the first in a series of articles that will try to alleviate the ails of getting tomato culture and describe the most important growth techniques as well as get to the bottom level of what all the hype is about.
Heirloom vs Hybrid
Heirloom - A plant has more variety that is open-pollinated (meaning it is pollinated naturally by wind, insect, human or other natural mechanisms) and has been passed down through a legal and new generations.
Hybrid - A plant has more variety that has been naturally or artificially cross pollinated using controlled pollination methods. That can occur naturally through cross pollination, but hybrid varieties are typically created in all controlled field or labs setting.
There are many types of pros and cons to both types of tomato. Many farmers choose between the 2 based on their marketing structures, growing techniques and all seasons. Also, if farmers are interested in saving seed from their tomato crops that is extremely important to understand the many difference and plan accordingly. Saving seeds from hybrid many types will not produce the same tomato the following year as given bellow.
Low Productivity - Many heirloom varieties take quite a long time duration according to the given process to mature and produce fewer fruits. Your climate and growing conditions also play a very big role in heirlooms with all productivity.
Inconsistent fruits - Heirloom tomatoes are known for their unique shapes, sizes and colors. This uniqueness translates through to each tomato produced by each plant. So if you to want consistent perfect red tomatoes, heirlooms aren’t for you.
Climate - Because of the generational nature of heirlooms, often times growing zone information are unavailable. You may not be able to grow a certain varieties in your climate, though that is rare.
Taste - Most people would claim that the #1 reason to grow heirlooms is tasted by the users. Typically heirlooms have exceptional taste and texture. It is why they have been saved and passed down for so many years it’s depend of the atmosfiere!
Open-pollinated - Heirlooms are easy to save seeds from. They also produce prolific amounts of number of seeds and have stable genetics, so year after year you will get the same tomato as same time.
Looks - Heirlooms are gorgeous. Walking up with a farmer’s market table covered in countless types of heirloom number of tomatoes is wonderful site. And their individuality and unique colors and shapes are often very eye-catching and intriguing.
Marketability - Customers love the idea of heirlooms. Telling the main story of an heirloom can be fun and interesting as well. Also, typically heirloom varieties can be priced higher than their hybrid friends because of their low quality productivity and uniqueness.
Flavor - Typically hybrid varieties are less flavorful than heirlooms since they are often bred for good productivity and disease resistance than for flavor. That isn’t always true though, some and more seed companies try to develop hybrids that are more flavorful as well, like the Early Girl or the Sun gold, and more and more are being developed by hybrid.
Seed Instability - Since Hybrids are cross pollinated, saving seed is not recommended and will most important and likely not produce plants similar to the mother plants. There are many types of people who have been trying to de-hybridize some varieties, by selecting from saved hybrid seeds but that are a lengthy process.
Bio-tech Industry - Many hybrid seeds are owned and produced by the large number of Biotech companies like Monsanto and Syngenta. If you are very highly opposed to their practices and philosophies, make sure you research varieties before buying one of them. Many of the common hybrids are owned by these large companies and a quick Rise foundation can help you understand this.
Productivity – A number of hybrids are developed specifically for productivity. So if you want to ship out with large number of quantities of beefsteak or cherry tomatoes from a small area.
Disease Resistance - Hybrids are very great and powerful if you have disease issues. Many varieties are bred with specific blight and fusarium wilt resistance, 2 of the major diseases associated with growing for tomatoes.
Uniformity - Hybrids are incredibly uniform. They are bred to produces consistently shaped and colored fruits. That is very rare that they stray from their most specific qualities.
Storability and Transportability - Hybrids typically have a longer shelf life validity and have stronger cell walls and thicker skin than their heirloom relatives, making that very easy to store and transport them one place to another place.
Culture Specific – Many types of hybrids are bred for specific growth cultures. And look for varieties that are specific to your needs - hoop-house, geoponics, home garden or field production any where.