For years I've been trying to grow tomatoes. Goodness, the very first blog post I ever did was about my desire to plant them.
Year 2: Planted 0 hybrid tomatoes and 12 heirlooms. I took relatively good care of them. They all died of disease, bearing almost nothing.
Year 3: Planted 0 hybrids, 14 heirlooms. They all died of disease, making a valiant effort to produce some fruit before they bit the dust.
Year 4: Planted 0 hybrids and 20 heirlooms. I babied them! Death, disease, and dashed dreams.
I will readily grant that my gardening skills leave much to be desired. If the apocalypse happened and I had to produce all of my own food or die, I'd die.
But looking back at the records, I think I've set myself up for failure by trying to do heirlooms. Yes, purple tomatoes are fun, knobby yellow tomatoes are thrills to give away, pink striped fruits would look so lovely in my salad, and it's charming to know that I'm planting varieties that my forefathers ate. But it's hard to argue with years of dead plants.
This year, by golly, I'm going back to hybrids. I never saved seeds, anyway, because there was no fruit to save seeds from! Out with the Purple Cherokee in with the Better Boys!
Have you had any success with heirloom variety tomatoes? If so, what are your secrets?