Heirloom Tomatoes/Disease Resistance

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by moondreamer, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. moondreamer

    moondreamer Member

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    I would like to grow heirloom tomatoes, but have a problem with verticulum wilt. Both in commercial soils and ground soil. In all the catalogs I've seen there are no resistance ratings on heirloom tomato seeds. Are those ratings valid only in hybrids? And are heirlooms just no resistant to disease at all?
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Moon--the verticillium, fusarium and other resistance in today's hybrids is a comparatively recent development.
    '
    That said, many heirloom varieties of many types of plants do have disease resistance which resulted in them being selected by farmers and gardeners over many years. Many ancient apple varieties, for e.g. do well without sprays for scab and whatever, gradual selection over centuries in some cases.

    I suspect that heirloom tomatoes will rarely have verticillium resistance, that is asking a lot of a tomato plant, somewhat like asking for late blight resistance. However, both have been bred into some of the newer varieties...just wasn't ever the case until recent times!

    I'm enjoying my brandywines in the greenhouse this year, but won't be surprised if they start succumbing to disease in a year or two. That will be sad, as I doubt that the flavor will be as good grown in bags/pots of soiless mix to try to avoid the bad stuff...

    Glen
     
  3. moondreamer

    moondreamer Member

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    Thanks for the info Glen So does this mean that verticulum wilt is always present in all soil, and that the only way to grow tomatoes is by getting hybrids? Is there anywhere one can buy soil that has been sterilized somehow, so the verticulum virus is killed?
     
  4. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi again--hopefully verticillium is not present everywhere. It is a problem with many plants, including maples, so it can be fairly widespread even in "wild" areas.

    If you find the verticillium giving you trouble, try changing spots in the garden if possible. Eventually you may indeed have to go with soiless mixes, either commercially mixed or do it yourself. These are made from peat, bark and compost that are unlikely to have the disease in them, and are discarded after each crop. If you google on "attra" there are lots of good recipes for these potting mixes in their site.

    I know I have some verticillium in my yard because of damage to maples here, but hoping that I can keep the tomatoes in the ground for ease of care and possibly better quality...the potting mixes in containers will be plan B!

    Glen
     

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