Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Growing Garden Experiment ~ Heirloom vs. Hybrid Tomatoes

Science experiment in the garden! This spring and summer, we've decided to experiment with with hybrid and heirloom grafted tomatoes.

The first group of specimens are hybrid tomatoes sown from seed. The feathery young leaves on the top right are the tomatoes. I honestly don't remember which variety they are.

Tomato hybrid seedlings, about $3 per seed packet at Lowe's

Because the kids and I are impatient gardeners, we also bought two (2) young hybrid plants as our second set of specimens. Their common name is Lemon Boy. The fruit are large and yellow, so I am hoping they will be interesting to grow!

Lemon boy plant from Home Depot, about $4 per plant

The third set of specimens are heirloom grafted tomatoes. We've never grown this type of plant and have never had good results or yield with traditional heirloom tomatoes.

However, these plants graft the top of a heirloom variety plant onto the base and roots of a hybrid plant! Supposedly, this increases the yield by 50%. Plus, you get incredibly unique varieties of tomatoes that just can't be found at big box stores.

These heirloom grafted plants cost about three times (3x) the cost of hybrids from the big box stores, but they were also about three times as big. Very healthy with plenty of flowers too. And I can't wait to see all the interesting tomatoes they produce!

Plant with variety of heirloom tomatoes, cost $12/plant at
Calloway's nursery

Heirloom variety with purple tops and yellow bottoms, cost $12/plant at
Calloway's nursery

This heirloom variety is nearly black in color! Cost $12/plant at
Calloway's nursery.

Since my old tomato cages were broken and old, they were replaced with these fun green ones. No more boring gray! Home Depot also had them in a dark raspberry, orange, and aqua. Fun colors!

If you are having a garden experiment, please share ~ I'd love to hear about it and get more ideas for the garden...

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