Heirloom vs Hybrid

In December I started two tomato plants growing as seeds in Jiffy pots. After having them crop prolifically for many months, they were left to the elements and mealy bugs. They haven’t had any water, love or attention since March, and now being the end of July there are two distinct differences between them.

One is a heirloom tomato called Principe Borghese I got from Diggers Garden Club, the other is a Yates hybrid called “Small Fry”.

^ Principe Borghese

^ Yates “Small Fr”

This makes me wonder, not only do heirloom varieties taste better than hybrids, but they do not require as much water and chemicals as the hybrids that are so readily available.

Have you had any experiences with heirloom varieties?

Garden Update – July ’09

We are now half way into the dry season in the top end of Australia. Even though we have not seen a cloud for months, growth in the garden has slowed significantly due to the shorter days and lower sun intensity. The arrowroot received a severe pruning after the caterpillar infestation over the wet season. They have come back slowly but will need another prune before the big summer growth appears.

The potato tower has grown really well, although I have been lazy and not built it as high as I would have liked. Next year I may opt for a round bird mesh bin.

My aquaponics setup has cycled, which in short means that there is enough bacteria converting Ammonia from the fish into Nitrite, and from Nitrite into Nitrate. So far we have been able to make 4 salads from the Cos lettuce. I am still having some trouble with the pH being too high for the plants to absorb Iron, so I have been dosing with vinegar to bring it down.

The rhubarb and garlic are coming along slowly, possibly due to being in the shade most of the day over the winter months. Living in a climate that does not get below ~5 degrees C, the rhubarb will have to come out of the ground each year and be put in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Doing this encourages growth during the warmer months.

A lime tree has been planted, with the hope of enjoying some Vodka Lime and Soda drinks at some stage. The lemon has been dug up and put into a pot as the tree was not growing. Soil pH is fine, maybe some time in a pot with some TLC will bring him along!