Not too impressed with the heirloom tomatoes

They’re pretty, but not too productive. This is the bulk of the heirloom tomatoes we harvested this year. It was the first time trying heirlooms. Not so sure I’d do it again. When I was kvetching to our local garden guru, Sally Cunningham, about the poor turnout this year, she told me that it was a bad year overall for tomatoes, and as far as heirlooms go, there’s a reason why most people plant disease-resistant, consistently-productive, hardy, hybridized tomatoes.

The best looking of the bunch were the Green Zebras. The quality of taste wasn’t significantly different from the normal tomatoes we plant.

The tomatoes seen in the top photo are Garden Peach (small yellow salad tomatoes with a peach-like skin), Green Zebra (pretty, small green & yellow), Dr. Wyche’s Yellow (the large yellow one). They all tasted good, but we had to buy tomatoes from a local green grocer to get some decent BLTs and caprese salad. The Kentucky Beefsteak tomatoes planted (not shown) were nice and velvety in texture, but didn’t taste any better than other ‘maters we’ve grown in the past. The Copia and Williams Striped never produced any tomatoes. Next year less heirlooms and more of the regular tomato plants!

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Not too impressed with the heirloom tomatoes

  1. They are tomatoes alright. I will more than happy to come up with such harvest.. My last experience with tomatoes wasn't a good one… will try again soon. Cheers~bangchik


  2. One thing I've realized about this bunch, is that they ripen pretty well on the window sill. I'm picking some of the partially ripe ones and letting then ripen off the vine. That keeps then safe from the Urban Commando Squirrels that our neighborhood stray (“Nemesis”) fails to chase off. You might not like stray cats, but this guy's a good squirrel cop.These heirlooms have less water in them, so they don't rot while the ripen on the counter.


  3. We didn't have great production this year with our heirlooms, either, but two types we are gladly going to try again are Earl of Edgecomb and Stump of the World (and maybe Nicky Crain). E of E was an incredible tomato that made the absolute best tomato sandwiches. So fruity and juicy. We also really enjoyed our Sungold cherry tomatoes.


  4. Oh well – I failed to get even one miserable tomatoe even from the ordinary types. I reckon you can be quite proud actually …


  5. Anonymous

    Jim, you might try Brandywine. That's an heirloom that my family consistently grows and we've been very happy with it. I think the flavor is excellent and productivity seems fine too. Of course, this is speaking about it in my Mom's Iowa garden. I don't have sun enough for a tomato crop in my NJ yard, but luckily a great farm stand is just a couple miles away. In fact, I think there is a BLT on today's agenda…


  6. Anonymous,We did try BRandywine and were happy with them. Every year we try different ones. We've had more luck when we started planting the 'maters in pots, rather than in the ground!


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