Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by Maria B.

There’s a whole of tomato species beyond the known ruby red ones and this variety is so unique and they are called heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are a genetically flavored fruit that has rarely been crossed with any other variety. So, let’s take a look at growing heirloom tomatoes.

These heirloom tomatoes are so unique and are pure breed tomatoes. They are not even new because they have been in existence for a long. It is an open-pollinated non-hybrid kind of tomato that has been passed down from season to season. So, is growing heirloom tomatoes a straightforward process?

Let’s dive in and discover how to grow these scientifically sweeter tomatoes.

Table of Contents

Heirloom Tomato Plants

Heirloom tomatoes may be funny-looking or weirdly shaped, but they definitely not breed in the lab. Hence, they are pure breed tomatoes. They are called ‘heirloom’ because they haven’t been crossed with any other variety at least not for a very long time (usually as long as decades or even centuries).

These special tomato breeds have been passed down from generation to generation of family, ethics, religion, and so on. Called family heirloom, mystery heirloom, or created heirloom.

Heirloom Tomato Plants

Generally, there are different types of fruits and vegetables that are heirloom. But for the purpose of this post, we will be discussing growing heirloom tomatoes plants. For tomatoes, there are about 15,000 known heirloom varieties. However, we only have about 3,000 of these tomato heirloom varieties been grown to this day.

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

These tomato varieties are seasonal. You can find heirloom tomatoes at your local farmers’ market from late summer into early fall.

It is pretty easy growing heirloom tomatoes from seeds. The seeds of heirloom tomatoes are passed from season to season through generations of farmers. When you grow tomato heirloom seeds of one variety, the seeds will give rise to identical offspring to their parent plants year after year. Isn’t that amazing? Open-pollinated plants meaning their pollination is natural. So,  there’s no genetic modification.

Therefore, you can save your seeds and grow the same tomato next year and expect a similar identical product as last year.

Tips On How To Grow Heirloom Tomatoes

Growing heirloom tomatoes is not so complex and they are fast-growing plants that will produce ripe fruits in 60 to 80 days of seed sowing. The best period to plant heirloom tomatoes is around spring when the danger of frost has elapsed.

Tips On How To Grow Heirloom Tomatoes

Healthy Soil

One essential component to growing heirloom successfully is using healthy soil. Use rich loamy soil that permits the root to penetrate deeply. Apply compost, leaf, or manure up to 50% and blend it with the soil.

Growing From Seeds

These tomatoes are great to grow from seeds. With a most and sterile soil mix, the seeds should be pushed gently into the soil. With the right temperatures (about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and conditions, you should begin to see germination in about a week of seed sowing.

Spacing

Space heirloom tomato plant 2 to 3 feet apart. Growing tomato side by side with basil is ideal. They are great natural fly repellent. However, there are some plants that are not advised to be planted alongside these tomatoes. Plants such as potatoes can suffer from blight, so avoid planting these in the same garden space.

Reduce Disease Pressure And Staking

Most heirloom tomato varieties lack resistance to some diseases. Therefore, it’s important you try to reduce drastically any disease pressure.

Heirloom tomato tends to grow pretty large. Therefore, one important thing you can do is to stake the plant so as to prevent the plant from touching the ground. This is because the plant can pick up any disease spore by touching the ground.

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Watering

Proper watering is very essential in heirloom tomatoes especially when it’s time for fruit production. You should water deeply to promote deep root systems. The plant requires moisture and avoids soil dryness. Soil dryness can cause issues such as fruit development, cracking of fruit, and even blossom end rot.

Sunlight, Temperature, And Humidity

Supply heirloom tomato plant with direct full sunlight all day. These plants also require a warm temperature to grow optimally. Before you begin planting outdoor, wait until night temperatures are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Humid conditions have no effect that can bother the heirloom tomato plant.

Fertilization

These tomato plants are heavy feeders. Hence, they require optimal or regular fertilization to flower and produce fruit. You can make use of either organic or chemical balanced all-purpose fertilizers.

Harvesting

You can harvest these juicy tomatoes right before their color peaks. Avoid leaving them for too long on the vine as this can cause cracking. Once the fruits start becoming soft, it means they are already approaching their peak.

Heirloom Vs. Regular Hybrid Tomatoes

Both heirloom and hybrid tomatoes appear the same and have similar growing requirements.

An heirloom tomato is a special pure breed tomato that is even sweeter than the regular tomato that has dominated the commercial world. Most regular tomatoes have been bred to look like animated tomatoes that appear plump, round, red, and easy to store.

The regular tomato was majorly modified for consistency rather than flavor. Hence, the regular tomatoes give rise to watery, less flavor, thicker skin, and mealy fruits. Heirloom on the other hand offers distinguishable qualities.

Heirloom tomato tends to have thinner skin, juicer flesh, and they taste better than most regular hybrid tomatoes. Therefore, when handling them, they require more care because of their thin skin.

One main drawback is that heirloom tomatoes have shorter shelf life compared to regular hybrid tomatoes. Make use of your heirloom tomato as soon as possible.

Do Heirloom Tomatoes need a cage?

Heirloom tomatoes are usually grown in cages. If you're growing them indoors, they'll need a cage because of the amount of light they receive. If you grow your tomatoes in an outdoor garden, you should be fine without a cage.

You can make a cage out of wire, wood, or cardboard.

Some gardeners prefer using wire cages because they are easy to make. Other gardeners prefer wooden cages because they are more aesthetically pleasing. Cages can be constructed in a variety of shapes and sizes. 

You can also grow your heirloom tomatoes without a cage. There are some disadvantages to growing them without a cage. For example, you will not have the same protection from pests and disease. The other problem is that you will need to thin your crop when the fruit is ripe. You may have to do this for up to a week before harvest.

How many tomatoes does an heirloom tomato plant produce?

The number of tomatoes produced will vary based on a variety of factors. Some of those factors are: How much light the plant is getting.
How well-watered the plant is. How warm the room is in which the plant is growing. And when the plants are harvested, how soon they are picked. In general, plants that are given a lot of light and a good amount of water will produce more tomatoes than plants that have less light and less water.
In general an heirloom tomato `Lana can yield from 10 to 30 pounds of tomatoes.

Are heirloom tomatoes easy to grow?

Heirloom tomatoes are very easy to grow. They are generally tolerant of a wide range of conditions and will grow well in any environment.The only thing you need is a fertile soil that has a good drainage system, sunlight and water. In fact, you can grow this kind of tomatoes in pots and planters.
Heirloom tomatoes can be grown successfully in most parts of the country.

Can you grow heirloom tomatoes indoors?

Yes, you can grow heirlooms indoors indoors especially during the winter months. .But tomatoes tend to be small
You'll need a warm, sunny spot with good ventilation and humidity. Keep the soil damp and mist regularly. You can also start it indoors earlier in the spring. You'll need to have your tomatoes transplanted outside when they're about 6 inches tall. They'll grow much faster once you've transplanted them.

How often should you water heirloom tomatoes?

The best time to water your heirloom tomatoes is when it’s still dry, but before the soil has been wet for very long. Watering the plants in this way encourages the roots to absorb moisture more effectively and prevents them from drying out too quickly. If you don’t water your plants regularly, they may develop problems like leaf burn, which is caused by too much water and can be avoided by watering regularly. Your plants need to be watered regularly throughout the season so they can produce at their best. They will grow best if you water them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes Conclusion

Heirloom tomatoes are easy to grow just like the regular hybrid tomatoes. Follow our tips to learn how to successfully grow your heirloom tomato plants.