Bobberman
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How can a heirloom tomato originate? I guess each one has a born date so where do they come from? Isn't it really off spring from another variety? For instance if I have a odd sunflower that has two stems coming from one and I save the seeds a new variety is started which is a heirloom right? I have had a sunflower like that! The double stem came after it was ony several inches high!
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gardenbean
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Aren't heirloom tomatoes come from seeds that have been saved thru the generations? However, I think your question is a good one Bob-with so many varities out there it's hard to think they may have come from one type of tomato. Right now I am in the process of growing a Green Zebra and Snow White (both considered heirlooms) they are so completely different from each other.....Be interesting to get other's pov. :)
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Bobberman
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About 30 years ago i ha myown seed pack called Moff's Big 10 Seed Company. It said on the package which was a white envelope with green and red printing and some tomato pictures on the envelope! It read 8 packets 3 dozn seeds per packet all in one large sed pack. Over 280 seeds in all! Further down it had a salesman face with the word look over his face like glassed with the two 0 over his eyes. Then below that it said. Only $2.00 money back guarantee! I had 8 standard heirloom vaities--- in this order
+++
New Yorker+++Campbells 1327+++ heinze 1350+++ Roma VF pear+++Rutgers+++Golden Sunray+++Pink Pondersa +++ Snoball White and beside each varity I had the days to harvest. I did sell some but did not really know muh about advertising at that time! I mentioned this because of the snoball whie tomato which had very little taste. New Yorker was the early one at 64 days but I never seem to see it aymore! I still have the envelope in front of me which should be a collecors item now! Whn I learn to post pictures I will post it!
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TZ -OH6
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Many/most are commercial varieties bred by seed companies long ago. Nearly all of the Russian varieties sold as heirlooms are that way since private gardening was discouraged with extreme prejudice during communism. Others started out as mixed populations/hybrids in gardens and then were selectivley stabilized by the gardener. Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter tomato is an example of that type.

https://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=06-P13-00027&segmentID=6


I'm not sure what you are talking about with your sunflower, but it would not be an heirloom until it has been stabilized into a true breeding form over serveral generations of selection and then grown for a number of years (they like to say 40 years). Green Zebra tomato is not an heirloom yet even though it is one of the most popular heirloom varieties. Tom Wagner bred it and released it to the public in 1983 so it has a few more years to go.

OP = open pollinated, meaning pollinated by nature...Usually means a genetically stable-true breeding-pure form. A landrace is an OP variety that has not been stabilized.
Hybrid = first generation with parents of two differnt varieties. each seed is the result of hand pollination by a person, or in the case of corn etc, by removing the pollen bearing structures of the mother plants.
Unstable= genetic segregation from a hybrid in the past. Sibling plants will be differnt from each other. Statistically, it takes about 7 generations of selection-weeding out undesirable traits to purify a new variety, but most of the major visible recessive characters can be found and locked in by the third generation.

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farmerlon
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There seems to be two general opinions on the age qualification for heirloom status. Some folks say varieties that originated prior to 1950 qualify for heirloom status, while others say that the variety should be at least 100 years old.
It doesn't really matter to me, but I suppose some folks like to argue about stuff like that. :D

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digitS'
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One would think that an "heirloom" would stay within a family. I think I'd prefer just "open pollinated" for these widely circulating tomato varieties. But, like Farmerlon, I'm not willing to argue about it :wink: .

Heirloom has more of a romantic sound to it and I'm sure, is appreciated by the catalog outfits. I have seen the Legend variety sold as an heirloom. It is open pollinated and certainly has the name but Legend is a Dr. James Baggett introduction and I think it came out about the time he retired in the late 1990's. Dr. Baggett has a lot of history but that tomato, not so much.

Some of the "heirloom" varieties that come to us from other countries were commercial varieties there. A tourist thought they were just wonderful and caught a flight home with some seed stuck to the front of his shirt. Nothing wrong with that.

An "heirloom" that grows well in my garden, Thessaloniki, seems to have been a Greek commercial variety brought here during the 1950's to be grown on American farms, if I got the information on it right. I was around during those days and don't remember anything about people trying to grow something special from grandma. We all seemed to be interested in the new and modern. And, I suppose that there were good reasons to allow some things just to fall by the wayside.

Now, what was new and modern 50 years ago, might be considered an antique or an heirloom. One thing, I think no one would want to lose what is truly good!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Bobberman
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Basically I think that hybrids are better because the best traits of two or more tomatoes are brought together. Especially how they react to disease. The sweet 100 or other similar small hybrids are hard to beat in taste and production! The regular cherry tomato is bland with little taste similar to store tomatoes! There are great heirloom tomatoes too! Better boy early girl are good examples of great tasting hybrids! Is there such a thing as a hybrid heirloom like maybe Big Boy which I think is a hybrid from the 50's. I realize that a hybrid seeds cannot be used the following year most of the time!
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TZ -OH6
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Burpee is calling hybrids between two OP varieties "heirloom hybrids", And I'm sure that they would gladly twist the English language to help sell more of their older hybrids as well.

I like the term Heritage variety for those with a family origin and history. Heirloom is so over used that it pretty much means OP now.

I don't have any of the soil diseases that hybrids are developed for so the disease resistance is a mute point with me. I like a few hybrids, but they tend not to have the acidity and generic red tomato flavor of the popular varieties. I also don't place the flavor of most of the heirlooms I grow above the popular hybrids (especially red heirlooms), but there is a much wider range of flavors to choose from and the good ones are spectacular.


Now hybrid Brussels sprouts are a differnt matter. I'm a big fan. They are about the only way to get a harvest around here.

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digitS'
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Brussels Sprouts!!

If we were to say that hybrids can't be heirlooms that would be simpler but some hybrids go quite a ways back in time. Big Boy would have to be one of them.

Corn has been hybridized for 100 years. Stowell's Evergreen is a hybrid and won as [url=https://www.all-americaselections.org/AAS_Winners.asp?Sort1=Year_Won&Sort2=DESC]an All-America Selections in 1934.[/url] Crossing is fairly simple and the parent lines are likely to fit an heirloom classification or they soon will.

I hope that my daughter will take an interest in gardening and maybe even, my son. He is going to have to hurry up, tho'. In his 40's now and I'd already been gardening quite a few years, by then. I'd like to share some of the varieties that I've grown with the kids.

. . . family heirlooms.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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farmerlon
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digitS' wrote: If we were to say that hybrids can't be heirlooms that would be simpler...
We can :D ... It's pretty much a rule that heirloom varieties must be open pollinated.

Tony02905
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i was under the impression that the hybrid tomatoes and vegetables in general are less nutritious compared to the heirloom varieties.. any thoughts?
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TZ -OH6
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Just because it is a hybrid does not make it automatically less nutritious, and a home gardener would not grow any of those types anyway. They would tend to be processing types bred for shipping, storage, high solids for making tomato paste etc.

Hybrid sweet corn has been bred for increased sugar content, so that would shift the sugar to protein ratio from the heirlooms. But it tastes better so you would eat more and gain back the nutrients in volume. :lol:

The nutrition arguement does not hold for organic vs inorganic gardening either because you can easily screw up the nutritional quality of organic produce or keep high quality nutrition using inorganic fertilizers. It depends on your soil mineral balance and organic matter content.

IMO, Most people in developed countries don't have to worry about nutritional content of their food because they are not limited by quantity and have access to multivitamins. We over eat, so if we want more nutritious food it makes more sense to cut back on eating twinkies, potato chips, white rice, etc that have little nutritional value than to worry if one variety of garden tomato has slightly more lycopene than another. It is good enough that you are eating fresh vegetables.

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