Re: [tomato] Floramerica

Margaret Lauterbach (
Thu, 15 Oct 1998 10:17:18 -0600

>Margaret, Catharine, and Chuck...
>Is it possible to have hybrid tomatoes AND good taste? 

Apparently yes.  I grew Rose Quartz cherry tomatoes this year, and my
husband is enchanted.  This means I must buy seeds from time to time, and
the number of the seeds in the packet diminishes with the rising prices,
then one can only hope that the tomato you specified is the one the seeds
will grow.  My dental hygienist bought a packet of seeds at the
supermarket, germinated them, and it wasn't until late summer she
discovered the "beefsteak" tomatoes identified on the packet were really
undistinguished cherry tomatoes.

 What happens to the
>genes that map the development of sugars and acids?  Crossing varieties does
>not eliminate these genes.  I suspect that much of your opposition to any
>mention of 'hybrid' has to do with feelings related to big companies, etc.
>taking away something (?) from you. 

Nope, not even close.  Hybridization is being conducted for the sake of
hybridization.  That is, to force consumers to buy seeds over and over
again, so the seed companies can charge whatever they choose.  In
hybridizing for the sake of hybridizing, they're closing out flavor.
Interesting to me is that some of the companies get into a frenzy and claim
some OP tomatoes are hybrids.  Tomatoes such as Sweet 100.  Chuck can speak
for himself, but I think he grew an OP Dona next to the "hybrid" Dona and
there were no discernible differences.  

In other words, the seed companies are producing hybrids that are not
superior in any way to the OP varieties, just to sell seeds.  If that's a
"hidden agenda" I guess I must be guilty.  I don't like to pay for inferior

 This is not a major issue for many of
>us and your not being up front and clear about it influences any discussion
>of tomatoes other than heirloom.

Is that sufficiently clear now?  If others want to be suckers, that's their

>As heirloom tomatoes weren't 'in the Garden of Eden' they came from
>selection over time.  I would like to know how long it takes (how many
>generations) to stabilize a strain of tomatoes after initial hybridization
>by growing on selected selfed seed.
>Can tomatoes be firm and flavorful?  Is there a mutual exclusiveness that
>doesn't allow these two factors to exist in the same tomato?

I think so.

>Also, I'd like to discuss growing tomatoes.  Last year I mentioned
>micrrohiza.  This year I also tried microbial (compost) tea...also rock
>powders and fish meal fertilizers.   I'd really like some discussion on
>these topics.

I don't worry about microrhiza.  They're right there in the soil.  I don't
use those fertilizers because heirloom or open pollinated tomatoes (I do
grow both) don't require as much fertilizer as hybrids.  I've grown
tomatoes in the same plot of soil for 30 out of 31 years...the one year I
moved them, I lost 50% of my plants to soil-borne disease.  I promptly
moved them back, where tomato roots prepare the way for next year's
tomatoes.  And that's why the microrhiza are in place.  We till in some
compost in that bed if we have it, and if we don't, we till in a layer of
leaves in the fall.  That's it.  
>Louis Mensing
>Eugene, OR
>Zone 7b