|a VERY small sub-selection of seeds|
Generally, with tomatoes, which are susceptible to all sorts of diseases, I've found F1 hybrids to be more productive, but last year, my Cherokee Purple tomatoes in the mountains produced a pretty good crop and certainly were tasty. But I also grew a very productive heirloom in Clemson that was not particularly tasty (a paste tomato).
I'm musing about the benefits of open-pollinated seeds, heirlooms, and hybrids, having just finished The Heirloom Life Gardener (a nice book written by the founders of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), mentioned in yesterday's post.
They're solidly in the all-heirloom camp, and I applaud their success, but having grown many hybrids myself, I certainly witness the perspective that hybrid vigor makes them more productive than heirlooms under a number of circumstances. (Check out this article in the NY Times for some interesting points).
I'm certainly aware and sympathetic to the viewpoint that in rural cultures throughout the world that seed saving is vital to survival, so open-pollinated varieties (OP) are essential. Large companies buying up smaller seed companies to 'monopolize' the seed trade is a worry-making reality.
I love the romance of seed varieties from all over the world, and that's part of the fun for me. I want to grow red turnips from Japan, Asian eggplant varieties, Italian paste tomatoes from the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, storage beets from Germany, French filet beans, as well as cool new selections of mache (from Holland) or hybrid heat-tolerant kale from Japan.
And who knows what might turn up in the local tailgate and farmer's markets this summer?