It is important "to have a viable stock of Non-Hybrid (Heirloom) seeds that are open-pollinating and reproduce true to variety, year after year.
"Most seed packets sold at garden centers are hybrid or cross pollinated varieties. When these seeds are collected and replanted, they will not reproduce true to variety and are often sterile. In other words they grow great after the first planting, but after that they may not grow at all, or produce very low yield."
~ M.D. Creekmore, April 4, 2009
Right. Not much use in saving seeds from hybrids. Unless as experimentation to see "what happens". They will not be the same as either the original plant or its parent.
Looking on the label for "open pollinated" or "heirloom" or "heritage" variety means seeds can be saved from the resultant plant. I think hybrids have a place. But using them exclusively means utter dependence on the corporation that produces them. In this age, it is also increasingly likely they are patented and some may also be genetically engineered.
I'll still use occasional older hybrids. More and more, I want to use the open pollinated varieties and save my own seeds or starts.
"While perusing catalogs, a couple of terms you may come across are “hybrid” and “open pollinated.” Hybrid seeds are from plants that were artificially pollinated by hand. They are bred to take the best characteristics of the parent plants, improving preferred cultural characteristics such as production, vigor, uniformity and disease resistance. One drawback of hybrid plants, however, is that their seeds do not reproduce reliably; i.e., if you save and replant seeds from hybrid plants, you will not be able to predict what the next generation will be (you’ll get either of the two parent plants used to create the hybrid, not a plant identical to the original hybrid). Aside from this wrinkle, purchased hybrid seeds can be a great choice.
"Open-pollinated seeds are sometimes called “heirloom.” These are descendants of the same seeds that your grandparents and great-grandparents grew. Heirloom tomatoes are popular, especially at my house, where the ‘Brandywine’ tomato is king. Birds, insects, wind currents or other natural mechanisms pollinate these plants. Their collected seeds will produce new generations of plants just like the parent plant."
~ Jason Miller, WSU edu.
I grow a heirloom tomato, "Stupice", that I received from a Czech family years ago. It grows reliably and produced better than others for me this year.
I tried "Brandywine" for several years, but our season is too short and I get a great crop of green tomatoes. Yes, I can ripen them inside, but they don't taste as good, they leave a big mess and it isn't worth the bother.
One tomato I planted this year that is outstanding is "Sun Gold". The neighborhood kids come over and eat it like candy and their parents prefer I give them that over cookies.
Maybe I should try Stupice again.
My Sun Gold were also wonderful. Hybrid of course!
This year the best for me was Lemon Boy. It is also hybrid.
Better Boy is another hybrid that does well for me. But, I want to depend less on hybrids and more on open pollinated.
Cherokee Black does well for me. Also Black Krim. That is open pollinated, not hybrid.
Everyone likes Brandywine but I don't think it's so suitable for short season / cool summer.
Next year.... haven't decided yet. Might try to germinate some old seed and add some new experiments to see what will do well in my climate and microclimate. There are zillions of choices, some at seed savers exchange. tomatoes.
Saving your own tomato seeds is a bit of an art but still doable. One issue is preventing loss of the line due to accidental cross pollination with other varieties. They can be isolated by distance or screening - or if not sending them to a seed saver group, you can just take your chances without physical isolation.