Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

F1 Hybrids - Worth the Money?

Lots more veggies are ripening down on my plot this week. I've picked some of these Trombocino squash, also known as Tromba D'albegna. Some can grow to almost a yard long, and will readily curl round if they meet an obstacle while they are growing. Some I have left on the plant to ripen more, some I have picked because the vines were dying back anyway.
Supposed to be related to a butternut squash, the seeds are found in a small area at the bulbous end of the squash, otherwise the whole of the rest of the squash is seed free and can be cut into discs.
They come in all shapes and sizes and should ripen to a butternut colour.
Elsewhere on the plot diversity is the spice of life. My large golden beefsteak tomatoes Golden Jubilee are finally ripening. These are a late variety and have an outstanding flavour and are very prolific too. They just look lovely sat next the the chocolate cherry tomatoes and the F1 hybrid Dombito Beefsteak.
Which brings me to the question of F1 hybrids. Here are my new F1 hybrid runner beans St George. Is it really worth the money to buy expensive F1 hybrid varieties? You are supposed to get a 'hybrid vigour' with a first cross, but can you really tell the difference? I can't. Certainly cheaper (free actually) to save my own seed for next year and I don't think I will notice.
I'm excited that these Bishop's Kiss chillis are growing. They were a very late prezzie from my good chum Stan. These remind me of the type of chillis that include the variety 'Friars Hat'. A bell shaped chilli with a skirt round the bottom. Fingers crossed we have some more bright weather to encourage these along.
And these are my F1 hybrid leeks Oarsman. Again there were only about 30 or so seeds in the packet!! I'll see how they stay over Winter and what the flavour is like, but I might return to my old pal Musselburgh next year. You get 10 times the number of seeds for your money.
Perhaps one exception to the rule is this all female F1 cucumber Tiffany. Just so brilliant to get no male flowers at all! I wish someone would breed a pumpkin or squash with no male flowers! This was a later planting that I planted outside. It has grown and grown, I have tied in lots of sideshoots and looked after it. Highly recommended. Well done Tiffany!

9 Comments:

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Wild Mood Swings said...

Glad you like , As I said to you today , all my gardening equipment seeds et al has to go when I leave.

So Matrons chums , if you're in or near N. Hampshire come and take please, you could always make a a donation to my charity of choice RNLI

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Everything is looking very good Matron, do you manage to eat all this stuff yourself?

 
At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Damo said...

Defintely worth it on all female cucumbers I think but I would stick to standard varieties normally as better value and don't crop all at once.

 
At 2:24 AM, Blogger Mr. H. said...

What a timely post as I was just trying to figure out what our on earth our Trombollini squash was supposed to look like...so far it is very long and very skinny and we are quickly running out of time...I don't think it will turn out like yours.

I grew 4 different types of supposedly bountiful hybrid tomatoes this year and honestly cannot tell that they have in any way out-produced our open pollinated varieties. That said, I must admit that our hybrid "millionare" eggplants have been producing nice amounts while, in this rough gardening year, our other four non-hybrid varieties have so far produced nothing...and they all did good last year. Glad I went with a hybrid eggplant this year.

 
At 6:19 AM, Blogger Dan said...

I find most F1's aren't really any better either. Often I think the only new thing about them is the name. Those Tiffany cucumbers do look very nice though.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Jo said...

There's always an exception to the rule, like the cucumbers. I've grown Bella this year which is an f1 all female variety and it has done very well too. When I started out gardening I used to look specifically for F1 varieties as I thought they must be better, they cost more and you get less seeds. I soon learnt that it isn't the case though. Some F1s might perform better or taste better, but certainly not all of them.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

It doesn't make sense to me to boast of Hybrid Vigour in plants like tomatoes ans beans which are jolly vigorous anyway!

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Matron said...

I suspect that the seed companies have to make money some how. If we just bought one packet of seeds then saved our own, they wouldn't make any profit would they?

 
At 1:56 AM, Blogger ortolandia said...

"Trombetta di Albenga" is a typical squash from the north-west of Italy. It's nice to see that it's growing so well into british gardens too..!

 

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