Re: [tomato] Fruit unripened and plants are withering

Catharine Vinson (
Sat, 19 Jul 1997 14:15:14 +0000

I would like to resoundingly applaud both Margaret and Chuck for their
posts on heirloom tomatoes.

Heirlooms are better, period. They offer better taste, better health and
overall vigor, better variety, better stewardship of the land we all

I don't have nearly the experience growing that Chuck and Margaret have,
but with roughly 80 varieties of heirlooms on the vine right now, I think
I can give all my heirlooms a thumbs up.

I have a few "modren" tomatoes: First Lady, Dona and Carmello (French
hybrids), Sungold, Ruby Cluster. They are also excellent. But the "common"
hybrids that are heavily promoted are at best boring and at worst weak
plants. The only plant I've ripped out of the garden this year is Better
Bush. It produced a few boring tomatoes and then began developing early
blight. Not a single heirloom has shown a single sign of disease.

I use no sprays, no chemical fertilizers. I'd rate my soil as
middling-to-good. I grow in rasied wide beds; some are covered with red
plastic mulch (can't see that it's made a whit of difference in
productivity and days to ripen), some are just mulched with straw and
compost. Some plants are staked, some are allowed to sprawl (don't think
i'll try that's a bit of a mess!), some are caged.

For me, the pleasure of growing a wide variety of tomatoes that exhibit
genuine personality in terms of shape, flavor, color, growing habit is
what gardening is all about.

Tomatoes are not the only edible where heirlooms offer a superior product.
The world is much poorer for the decline in heirloom vegetable varieites
marketed. SSE and Seed Savers . . . . as well as individual gardeners who
carefully collect and pass on seed to others....present excellent examples
of what stewardship is all about.

Ok, I will now get off my soapbox.
Atlanta, zone 7b

p.s. - I could never pick a favorite, but so far this year three varieties
are at the top of the list: Black from Tula, Dinner Plate, Eliza Blake.