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What’s wrong with my heirloom tomato plant?

Well, it’s an heirloom for one. And that’s a big ONE.

While heirloom tomato are prized for their flavor, these open-pollinated plants are especially disease prone.

They get leaf diseases and wilts, and there’e no stopping either–so don’t go running off the plant chemical aisle at your local seed and feed.

Our rainy summer only made it worse.

I asked one of my favorite vendors at my favorite farmers market, WWFM in Morrisville, how they managed to have such a large and beautiful heirloom tomato crop when my plants always fall victims to disease.

The answer is hoop houses. The folks from Redbud Organic Farm in Alamance County also water with drip irrigation so the tomato foliage never gets wet.

And like most serious farmers, they have room to rotate their tomato crop–something home gardeners like me rarely have the space to do.

So should I give up on heirlooms? Never. The few Black Krim that I get from this unsightly plant are more than worth the time and space–truly sublime in fact.

Ugly plant, lovely fruit

Ugly plant, lovely fruit

But the bulk of my tomato crop will always be hybrids with lots of disease resistant and proven track records in the SOUTH.

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What about you??? What are your best and worst tomato plants of the season? (It’s never too late to start planning next Spring’s seed order.)

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