An heirloom tomato (also known as a heritage tomato in the United Kingdom) is a non-hybrid, open-pollinated variety of tomato. Family heirlooms, commercial heirlooms, mystery heirlooms, and produced heirlooms are all types of heirlooms.
They are frequently less disease resistant and have a limited shelf life than hybrids. They’re grown for a variety of reasons, including food, historical interest, access to more kinds, and by those who want to store seeds year after year, as well as for their flavor.
Many heirloom tomatoes are tastier, and they don’t have a genetic mutation that causes tomatoes to turn a uniformly red hue at the expense of flavor.
Fruits with lower quantities of carotenoids and a reduced ability to generate sugar within the fruit are found in varieties carrying this mutation, which have been promoted by industry since the 1940s.
Heirloom tomatoes, like other “heirloom” fruits, vegetables, and flowers, are open-pollinated, which means that the next generation is produced by the wind, insects, or the plants themselves.
When there is no cross-pollination or genetic mutation, the result is children that appear and taste exactly like their parents (in the instance of tomatoes).
Are Heirloom Tomatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate?
The majority of heirloom types are indeterminate tomatoes, which means they have long vines that yield fruit all season long until cold kills them. Indeterminate cultivars are typically the best-tasting.
A few heirloom plants will not take over the entire garden. Determinate varieties are what they’re called.
Determinate cultivars reach a particular size and then set their fruit almost simultaneously. If you’re growing tomatoes in a limited space or a container, then determinates tomatoes can be a better option.
Fruit that is sweet and juicy is produced by the combination of full sun, plenty of water, and warm weather.
Heirloom tomato seeds and transplants are readily available online, at farmers’ markets, and through mail-order sources, thanks to the hard work of generations of tomato enthusiasts.
Heirloom Tomatoes Varieties
There are many different colors, shapes, flavors, and sizes of heirloom tomato varieties. Some heirloom varieties are susceptible to cracking and disease.
Cultivars, like most garden plants, can be adapted to grow in a certain geographical region over many gardening seasons by proper selection and seed saving.
The following are a few well-known examples:
- Aunt Ruby’s German Green
- Banana Legs
- Big Rainbow
- Black Krim
- Cherokee Purple
- Chocolate Cherry
- Costoluto Genovese
- Garden Peach
- Gardener’s Delight
- Green Zebra
- Hawaiian Pineapple
- Matt’s Wild Cherry
- Mortgage Lifter
- Mr. Stripey
- Neville Tomatoes
- Paul Robeson
- Pruden’s Purple
- Red Currant
- San Marzano
- Silvery Fir Tree
- Three Sisters
- Yellow Pear
How To Plant Heirloom Tomato Plants
Your heirloom tomatoes should be spaced between 2 and 3 feet apart, based on if they are early or main-season cultivars.
The soil should reach the first set of leaves; by doing so, the foundation for these tall-growing plants will be strengthened.
Basil is commonly cultivated with tomatoes because it is a natural fly repellent, and chives and mint are supposed to enhance flavor.
Potatoes, on the other hand, are susceptible to blight, so don’t plant them in the same spot.
Heirloom Tomato Plant Care
Heirloom tomatoes, like sunflowers and corn, are among the famished plants when it comes to sunlight.
These are plants that require constant, unfiltered sunlight throughout the day. When planning your tomato patch, keep in mind any shadows cast by nearby trees or buildings.
Healthy soil is essential for heirloom tomato plants to thrive. Rich, loamy soil that permits roots to reach deeply will yield the best harvest.
Employ raised beds or container culture if your soil is heavy clay. To integrate with the native garden soil, add up to 50% compost, leaf mold, or manure.
It’s critical to keep heirloom tomatoes well-watered, particularly once they’ve set fruit. Deep watering encourages deep root systems.
Drainage should be great if you succeeded in preparing the soil, so pay attention to the moisture level and never allow plants to dry up.
Letting the soil fluctuate between damp and dry causes fruit breaking and blossom end rot, among other issues. To further reduce airborne illnesses like blight, consider drip irrigation.
Temperature and Humidity
Warm temperatures are required for the growth of heirloom tomatoes. Planting them outside too soon will not result in earlier fruits; wait until night temperatures are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit before planting. Heirloom tomatoes are unaffected by humidity.
Heirloom tomatoes are strong feeders and require fertilization regularly to bloom and ripen. All-purpose fertilizers that are organic or chemically balanced are both suitable and a question of personal taste.
What Is The Difference Between An Heirloom Tomato And A Regular Tomato?
Heirloom tomatoes, on the other hand, are produced for flavor rather than looks (regular tomatoes) and are graded into precise sizes.
Round or plum tomatoes are ideal for most tomato-related tasks, such as chopping, slicing, or cooking.