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Tomato Breeding

 
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Just wondering how to breed with large flower heirloom varieties such as the Cherokee Purple. I would like to take a cherry tomato and cross it to the Cherokee Purple. Using the cherry tomato pollen on the CP
 
pollinator
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sean vandriessche wrote:Just wondering how to breed with large flower heirloom varieties such as the Cherokee Purple. I would like to take a cherry tomato and cross it to the Cherokee Purple. Using the cherry tomato pollen on the CP



There are tons of great YouTube videos for this. You need to emasculate a Cherokee Purple blossom before it starts shedding pollen. This is easier with a big flowered variety like Cherokee Purple because the flower is large and sturdy and the parts are easy to work with for a beginner without breaking the parts you want to keep. Then collect pollen or an entire anther ring from the cherry tomato and apply it to the Cherokee Purple stigma.

Here is a video someone put on youtube:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hK01Joh70kY

Watching multiple videos is better because there is a lot of variation.

If you don't have an electric toothbrush or similar divice to mimic the vibration of a bumblebee you can use an anther ring or an anther- some videos show these alternate techniques. I bought a tomato pollination tool because I didn't want to use my toothbrush in the garden when using the pollen collection method.

There is another path entirely. Open flowers. If you look at Joseph Lofthouse's tomato threads some of them have instructions, illustrations, and photos for what "promiscuous" tomato flowers look like. These flowers are more prone to cross pollination. This technique requires that you plant your plants close together. If you find an open flower you can let nature takes its course or cheat a little and dab pollen from your preferred pollen source on the exposed stigma. Then just mark those blossoms. You can use something like a twist tie or a small piece of string to mark blossoms.

Most beefsteaks like Cherokee Purple produce some open flowered double blossoms. The resulting fruits are distinctively large and messy as well so you don't necessarily even need to mark them, you just need to know that the extra large somewhat irregular fruits come from double or triple flowers. Save only seed from these fruits and if your two parent plants are close together and blooming at the same time, you will probably get a few crosses. The fruits of a hybrid will be intermediate in size between the two parents and very obvious when making such an extreme cross.

Sometimes you can wander through a greenhouse selling tomato starts and find a few open flowered tomato starts of particular varieties prone to it. I found open flowers on both sungold and sunsugar at my local hardware store last spring though they switched to producing normal flowers later in the season. So if you aren't particular about your cherry tomato you could find and use an open flowered cherry tomato with an exserted stigma as the other parent and use it as the mother instead of Cherokee Purple.
 
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Awesome idea! Cherokee Purples are my personal favorite to eat. Problematic to grow everywhere I have tried but somehow manage to harvest a few every year. A miniature version would likely produce much easier. A bit overloaded with garden projects this year but it's now top of the experiment list for next year. Sounds fun.

As William suggested, Joseph Lofthouse has some excellent breeding info for tomatoes & many other veggies. Poke around a bit, probably won't have any trouble finding it.
 
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