Even if you are an experienced farmer, you may not be familiar with heirloom tomatoes. As such, you might not be able to spot the differences between the two main types of heirloom tomato leaves: regular leaf and potato leaf. Luckily, farmers and consumers alike can benefit from our guide on how to tell the difference between these heirloom tomato leaves.
Regular Heirloom Tomato Leaves
These leaves are so common that they are synonymous with the tomato. Most of the time, when we imagine a tomato, even an heirloom tomato, this is the type of leaf that we see. The shape and the color can be still slightly different depending on the tomato, sometimes jagged and sometimes plain; likewise, sometimes the leaf itself will be a deep green or almost blue. Two other ways to distinguish this leaf are how long the leaf is, and how wide it is. Smaller leaves that are also thinner will curl. Larger leaves are thicker, and as such, they will sink when held up.
Potato leaves, on the other hand, are somewhat different. Unlike their cousins, heirloom tomatoes with potato leaves will almost always feature larger leaves. Not only are they heavier, but these leaves resemble the leaves attached to potatoes. That’s why they are named potato-leaf heirloom tomatoes. Because the leaves of this tomatoes are so much larger, they provide more shade from the sun.
How Do You Grow Them?
When you want to grow one or the other, it ultimately comes down to personal choice. Consider also the audience you are growing for; is this crop meant for a farmer’s market, or an upscale restaurant with a choosy chef? Just because they have different leaves, it doesn’t mean one is more likely to thrive than the other. The flavors are great, but almost all tomatoes will taste great; this depends on if you indeed like the taste of tomatoes. Maybe you only like them in small doses, but again, consider who you are growing these tomatoes for.
Also, some tomatoes have been altered so that they can resist the effects of diseases and insects. The true heirloom tomato should be left organic, and non-GMO. These two varieties of tomato are not necessarily superior to one another in this respect – the main difference is, they just have oddly shaped leaves.
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