The Q&A Archives: Heirloom vs. Hybrid Disease Resistance

Question: I have a small veg. garden and can only plant 4-5 tomato plants. I would like to try an heirloom variety, but wonder if one loses the disease resistance when going with the heirloom varieties. In a small garden is it worth while trying these? I would think the hybrids breed out some of the disease problems.

Answer: A number of hybrids have been developed specifically with disease resistance in mind, but certainly heirlooms were also selected on the basis of overall health and vigor. Rutgers and Marglobe for instance are listed as fusarium resistant, and Quarter Century is noted for good disease resistance. You might consider planting one or two heirloom variety plants as an experiment and using modern hybrids with specific resistances for the majority of your plants.

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