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Heirloom Tomatoes – Review of 7 Different Heirloom Tomato Varieties

I have been growing Better Boy hybrid tomatoes for more than 30 years. They are dependable and always produce a good crop. Last year I decided to add some heirloom plants to my tomato patch. I already knew heirlooms don’t have the disease resistance qualities that hybrids do, but in my search for a sweeter tomato, I decided to give them a try anyway. I ordered the seed from a company specializing in heirloom seeds and started the plants in my own greenhouse. After the plants were a good size, I transferred them to my garden.

I planted 7 Mr. Stripey, 7 Djena Lee’s Golden Girl, 7 Striped German, 6 Delicious and 4 First Pick heirloom tomatoes. I also planted 10 Better Boy hybrids, for a total of 41 plants. I only grew indeterminate varieties which are supposed to keep producing until frost. This number of plants should have produced enough tomatoes for all the salsa and sauces I had planned on canning. It didn’t even come close.

Although I didn’t grow Rutgers and Marglobe tomatoes last year, I have grown them many times before. If you are interested in growing heirlooms, you may find their results useful as well. The only reason I didn’t grow them last year was lack of garden space.

Mr. Stripey was something of a disappointment for me. I had read good things about this tomato variety, so I had high hopes. The medium sized fruits tasted very good, but the production was poor. Each plant grew a handful of tomatoes, but after the first picking, they set very few additional fruits.

Djena Lee’s Golden Girl grew the best of all the hybrids. The tomatoes were large, and the plants produced the most tomatoes. The taste was mild and sweet, as a yellow tomato should be. The walls were rather thick, so the seed cavity was smaller than average, which is a bonus. They also continued to set tomatoes longer than any of the other heirlooms. I will be growing Djena Lee’s Gold Girls again.

Striped German plants turned out to be a flop for me. I am suspicious that I was sold seed that was not true to variety. It may have been cross-pollinated. The tomatoes were a medium sized yellow with no stripes whatsoever.

They tasted good, but produced very poorly. I was sorely disappointed. I have eaten delicious Striped German tomatoes grown by a friend in the past, but they were very large pinkish tomatoes with red stripes. Mine were nothing like them.

Delicious produced nice red medium sized tomatoes, but once again, they didn’t continue to produce very well after the first flush. The tomatoes were perfectly round with a good flavor.

First Pick was a waste of garden space. The plants were small and spindly. I didn’t expect then to produce a lot, since they are an early tomato variety, but I certainly expected more than I got. I may have picked a total of 8 tomatoes from all four plants combined. After the first picking, they set no more tomatoes at all.

Rutgers have always grown well and produced good crops for me. They are a round medium sized red tomato with good flavor. They have also produced fairly good crops right up until frost.

Marglobe has always done a fairly good job of producing good sized crops. They are red, flattish tomatoes with thicker than average walls, making them a pretty good substitute for pasta type varieties. They taste good, but aren’t exactly a slicing tomato. They usually continue to produce until frost, although they have failed at doing this a time or two.

Thankfully I had the good sense to plant some Better Boy hybrids, or I wouldn’t have had hardly any tomatoes last year. They are always dependable and produce right up until frost. I will continue my search for the perfect heirloom, but in the meantime, I’ll stick with growing Better Boys for a sure crop. I will be growing Djena Lee’s Golden Girl, Rutgers and Marglobe hybrids again, but will only try a couple of new heirloom varieties next year. I may try growing Brandywines. I’ve heard good things about the Brandywine heirloom tomato.