Heirloom vs Hybrid? What’s the difference?

 So you’ve found yourself starting a garden and happen to stumble upon tomato plants, one says heirloom and the other hybrid, so what exactly is the difference and how will it affect your garden? 

Heirloom: An heirloom is simply a variety that has been passed down generation to generation for about 50+ years and hasn’t been altered. Heirlooms provide us with more unique looking and tasting options that grocery stores and farmers markets can’t. Heirlooms are perfect candidates for seed saving as well. As usual with every good thing comes bad and that’s no exceptions with plants. When growing heirlooms you may find that your yields are minimal and plants frequently dying or suffering from diseases. This won’t always be the case, some years yields will be high others not as good. No matter what you decide to grow it’s always worth saving some space for heirlooms. 

Hybrids: A hybrid is the child of two different varieties, typically bred in greenhouses due to certain characteristics. Hybrids may offer you the best of both worlds so to speak, if you need a disease resistant tomato but also one that produces abundant amounts there may be a variety for you. The issue with hybrids is that you will typically get more of the generic looking fruit and some (not all) will also have a bland generic taste as well. Another negative with hybrids is that you can’t save the seeds (you can save them but they won’t be the same variety as what you originally planted) but for some it won’t matter. Hybrids are a great choice for gardeners who have specific needs and wants out of a plant, I have no issues with them myself. 

So what’s it going to be?  No matter what you decide to plant in your garden there’s no guarantee of a bountiful harvest, you are going to have good years and bad years. Some plants will thrive and others won’t no matter what you do. We as gardeners experience a rollercoaster of emotions but we also get the enjoyment of picking from what feels like an endless amount of unique and generic plants. Depending on how you want to garden and what you garden for should dictate whether you choose an heirloom variety or a hybrid variety. 


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