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tomatoes- heirloom or f1?

Can anyone tell me of their experience with growing both types here in the UK? I'm in the north west, last year I had a really beautiful crop of Shirley and Gardeners delight, both F1, grown outside, they stayed healthy and we picked last ripe tomatoes in the beginning of November! Being new to the whole thing and encouraged by last year's success I thought I'd try heirloom tomatoes (I love the idea of being completely self-sufficient), but I'm worried about their resistance to diseases? Do you have any recommendations for both outdoors and greenhouse?


  • stenatstenat Posts: 6

    ah, I guess I confused heirloom with open pollinated varieties, you can tell I'm a newbie ;) Perhaps seed saving is something to think about in a couple of years, I need to get the basics right first lol

  • Very good advice from PS2. I tried some Heritage toms  a few years ago, one was harbinger & though  it had very good flavour it was not very productive in crop terms. They produced masses of top growth & side shoots & were difficult to keep in check. Don't misunderstand I am not against heritage crops at all they are an important part of our biodiversity. Some "old" varieties keep going and stay in the mainstream catalogues because they continue to perform well ( I grow Shirley most years it is the de facto cold greenhouse tom in my and many other peoples view), but sometimes there is a reason for old varieties to fall out of favour usually because breeders have made an improvement in some area. As Philippa says it depends on what you want to achieve. If you have space by all means try some heritage varieties not just Toms but other veg too, The Organic catalogue among others has a special (on line) section dedicated to heritage crops, but don't expect to rely on them to be self sufficient  or you will struggle.

    I used a lot of heritage veg for a special schools garden project, in conjunction with the RAF museum in Hendon. This was  2 years ago, it was to celebrate a first world war pilot Albert Ball (who was Englands answer to Von Richthofen), he (Albert)  made a veg garden on the airfield where he was stationed in France. I wanted to use varieties that would have been available to him at the time & the Organic catalogue was very helpful as it put dates on many seeds (when first available). It was an interesting project but to be honest we could have done without the extra challenge, the slugs loved the heritage lettuce ate them completely down to the ground stems & all- little gem survived, as you will know it is still the most widely grown variety today. 

    Last edited: 11 January 2018 11:32:37

    AB Still learning

  • I have to admit until I did the project I had not heard of him but he was very famous in his day. Well known as a bit of a loner he declined being billeted in town and lived in a self made  hut on the airfield and made a small garden round it. We knew some of what he grew because he wrote home with a list of  seeds to be sent. 

    AB Still learning

  • stenat says:

    I had a really beautiful crop of Shirley and Gardeners delight, both F1

    See original post
    Gardeners Delight is not an F1. You could save seeds from them and they would grow true.


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