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Old March 31, 2011   #5
feldon30's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 5,346

Originally Posted by Seth Williamson View Post
I mentioned on another (non-gardening) list that I had started a bunch of heirloom tomatoes. I got this response:

"With specific respect to heirloom tomato varieties, the down side is the propagation of diseases. Most of those were replaced with disease resistant types a few decades ago. The current trend to return to the so called heirloom varieties has reinvigorated the diseases. Tomatoes of any variety that have been treated with copper sulfate to ward off the diseases renders the fruit questionable at best."

Can anybody comment on this matter?
I have a brief comment:

The person who gave you this "advice" is an idiot.

Modern tomatoes were selected not so much for disease tolerance/resistance, but to be perfectly red, uniformly round, all harvested in a narrow time window, with thick skins in order to stand up to long distance shipping, refrigeration, and proper consistent coloration once they are sent to the Ethylene gas chamber en route to the grocery store for further refrigeration and abuse.

Not every hybrid is disease tolerant, just as not every heirloom is a flavor blockbuster. I would have absolutely no objection to crossing tasty tomato varieties with hybrids to introduce disease tolerances, as long as the flavor and variety isn't lost. I just don't know anyone who is doing this commercially because there's no money in it.

Further, there have been a lot of breakthroughs in organic treatments and solutions in the last 10 years that make fusarium, nematodes, alternaria, early blight, etc. manageable. Whenever someone trots out the copper sulfate, I know I'm talking to someone who is about 20 years out of date on tomato cultivation.
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