HEIRLOOM Usually 50 years or older.Heirlooms are about preserving natural history/ characteristics of a plant. Not all heirlooms are organic. All heirlooms are OP. Some heirlooms actually started out as hybrids and eventually stabilized. Heirlooms can be generational, legacy, old market or modern depending on the lineage and how far back it can be traced.
HYBRID (aka cross pollinated) Hybrids can be man-made or cross pollinated in nature. Man-made hybrids originated in the 1920's. Hybrids will not always reproduce a plant with the identical characteristics of a parent plant. Some hybrids the seeds will be sterile.
GMO Genetically Modified Organism involves gene splicing. Taking DNA from completely different species and organisms to isolated desired characteristics (resistance to pesticides or acceptance of a fertilizer)
F-# Means x# of generation hybrid. This does NOT mean GMO. This is simply a transfer of pollen from one cultivar to another of the same species.
OC Organic Certified. Certified crop grown to a set of strict and specific standards
V is the designation for verticillium wilt. You want the V resistant varieties. Verticillium wilt is caused by a fungus late in the season. Follow this link to read more about this disease and for a list of V resistant cultivars.
F/ FF is the designation for Fusarium Wilt/ Fusarium Races 1 and 2. This is another fungal disease that affect tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes. Follow this link to read more.
N is the designation for Nematodes. Follow this link for more information and list of VFN resistant varieties.
T is the designation for Tobacco Mosaic virus. TMV affects tomatoes, peppers and ornamentals worldwide. Follow this link for more information.
6. Water deep at the roots. Moist, well drained and no standing water! An innovative way to do this is to insert perforated tubes near the roots when planting.
9. When the weather gets really hot (usually mid July in the Midwest) I blanket the bed with straw to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. I make sure the straw is nice and loose so water and air can get in but thick enough to deter weeds. It retains moisture, cools the roots and provides a barrier between the fruit and soil, reducing chances for spoilage.
10. Harvest frequently and enjoy the "fruits" of your labor!
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