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Promiscuous auto-hybridizing tomatoes

 
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Just a few promiscuous tomatoes
 
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Yesterday, I added a few photos to the promiscuous tomato section of my soon to be released book.

1-  When printed at 300 dpi these are actual size photos of a promiscuous tomato flower (huge) compared to a domestic inbreeding tomato flower (tiny).

2- Anatomy of a domestic tomato flower compared to a promiscuous flower.

3- Inbreeding pedigree of a domestic tomato breeding project. 1 to 1 cross to start off, followed by generations of selfing (inbreeding).

4- A previously added pedigree showing the many to many breeding system of the promiscuous tomatoes.
tomato-flower-thanks-Nicole.jpg
Tomato flower promiscuous vs inbreeding
Tomato flower promiscuous vs inbreeding
tomato-flower-domestic-vs-promiscuous.jpg
Inbreeding tomato flower vs promiscuous flower
Inbreeding tomato flower vs promiscuous flower
tomatoes-domestic.png
Inbreeding scheme used for breeding domestic tomatoes
Inbreeding scheme used for breeding domestic tomatoes
Tomato-pedigreee_ossi.png
Pedigree showing the many to many breeding scheme of promiscuous tomatoes. Followed by mass selection or sibling group selection.
Pedigree showing the many to many breeding scheme of promiscuous tomatoes. Followed by mass selection or sibling group selection.
 
pollinator
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Wasn't really sure if this post belongs in this thread but I found something that is either a screw up in planting or an example of promiscuous auto-hybridizing tomatoes. What makes it even more suspect is the original seeds came form Joseph Lofthouse but it was several years ago, too long I would think to be related to the more recent selection work on the promiscuous tomatoes unless maybe it comes form some of the same distant ancestors.

I've harped a lot about the tomato I call Utah Heart in honor of its origin. It is great big, extremely firm red heart tomato and the best for sauces and juice I have ever grown. It came to me those years ago in a pack Joseph had labeled as 'early all kinds". I figured it was most likely just one of those he started with and probably not really a recent cross at all. That was reinforced by the fact that it has stayed true to type ever since I first found it. On the other had it does have open flowers. Not extremely so but the stigma is generally exposed and the anther cone on some but not all flowers is open enough that the small bees really like it.

I had to cut the photo to highlight the subject area, there are about 50 Utah Heart seedlings in total in the tray pictured below. That one plant in the red box is very definitely not like the others. I'm 99% sure I did not mix up my seeds when planting so will be fun to see what comes from this plant.
OffTypeUH.JPG
Off Type Utah Heart Tomato
Off Type Utah Heart Tomato
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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They're so ridiculously hairy, my heirloom tomatoes look naked next to them.


 
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You’re all making me want to breed my own tomatoes, and I do *not* have the space. ... how close can I pack the poor plants and still get fruit?.... 😅

....but you know, for my fantasy tomato breeding : someone mentioned a *floral* tasting Tomato (that needed improvement)!? Anyone know what var that could be?
 
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Rowan Tyr wrote:You’re all making me want to breed my own tomatoes, and I do *not* have the space. ... how close can I pack the poor plants and still get fruit?.... 😅



Really close. 1 plant per square foot in garden. 20 in a clump. A five gallon pot for a full size or dwarf. Gallon or less for a micro dwarf. Ultra earlies tend to be quite small plants also. Smaller in a small pot.
 
Rowan Tyr
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William Schlegel wrote:

Rowan Tyr wrote:You’re all making me want to breed my own tomatoes, and I do *not* have the space. ... how close can I pack the poor plants and still get fruit?.... 😅



Really close. 1 plant per square foot in garden. 20 in a clump. A five gallon pot for a full size or dwarf. Gallon or less for a micro dwarf. Ultra earlies tend to be quite small plants also. Smaller in a small pot.



Shoot, already at that density. Ah well. Thanks
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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They're getting so many fruit right now, a surprising amount of them look really heavily fluted/wrinkled, and one of them is almost perfectly round with a light green bottom and dark green pigment on top like black from tula or some other black type heirloom. Really excited to see how large they get and how they look ripe.
Very unusually, the stinkbugs and hornworms have completely ignored them so far, they've attacked my heirlooms and tomatillos, but the promiscuous hybrids have been completely untouched.
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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Here's a really messy flower cluster, with a very strangely placed leaf branch just growing straight out of the cluster of flowers.


Another flower cluster. I'm not sure why the flower clusters are all so twisted and curled like, the plants seem otherwise very healthy, but they're all like that.




Finally a selection of fruit. I'm surprised at how reliably they seem to be setting fruit overall, they're incredibly prolific so far.
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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I added calcium when I planted, have a shadecloth, have not missed watering a day, and I still can't seem to escape the blossom end rot in tomatoes around here. Its just been so hot and dry.
 
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I've got around 50 plants going in the greenhouse - it's about 50/50 of Wildling and BH-Series.
Here are some standouts:

One plant has leaves that sort of roll upwards (not stress or anything, this has been going on since it was a seedling, seems to grow fine)
It also has this very cool apical flower cluster.



Next we have a plant with very velvety looking leaves, it really stands out from the other 50. Nothing else like it in this batch.



And there's also 3 plants with the flower structure that matches the projects goal.



Besides these, I also have a bunch of Q-Series that were started a bit later and are planted outside... - not getting my hopes up for them, as blight decimates the outdoor tomatoes just as the fruits start coming in every year.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Thanks for the wonderful grow reports.
 
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Hi Joseph!

No updates for a few years, how is the project going?

I bought seeds from you a few years back, among them “short season land race”

I have a couple plants to a friend who gardens at 8250 feet.  There were two late snows, and one of the plants was snowed on twice, and bore fruit later in the season.  We saved seeds off it and dubbed it “2 snow”

We have planted a couple descendants this year, and sold various starts to others. I am curious to see what we get.

Seems like the obligate hybridized tomato has benefits, but wouldn’t we have trouble getting fruit we liked? How would we be able to stabilize results from such plants?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:No updates for a few years, how is the project going?

Seems like the obligate hybridized tomato has benefits, but wouldn’t we have trouble getting fruit we liked? How would we be able to stabilize results from such plants?



Thanks for the grow report, and inquiry.

This project is proceeding wonderfully. The three to four primary growers are growing 100 to 400 plants each per year. We have done a number of winter grows to cross elite lines with each other.

Landraces can be as inbred as we like. With the tomatoes, for example, i like sweet, fruity flavors. Therefore, the project is selecting against red fruits (lycopene is bitter). I am selecting against anything that tastes like lime. I am selecting against watery fruits. The cucumber-like skin was interesting. Nevertheless, i selected against it.

My ecosystem is inadvertently selecting for determinate growth habit, because they are earlier and more productive.

We are selecting for saladette sized fruits, because they are preferred by chef Dan Barber.

Orange fruits consistently receive the highest scores for flavor, followed by yellow. Therefore, the entire project is leaning towards only growing orange, yellow, and bicolor fruits. Sorry to anyone that likes red tomatoes.

We have put a lot of effort into selecting elite lines. Last year, and this year, my main fields were devoted only to the elite lines. We are not continuously introducing wild genetics.  

Well, technically i am, but i do it in an isolated field dedicated to the wild side.

We sent about 40,000 seeds to Experimental Farm Network for distribution.
Tomato-pedigreee-ScriptFile-Indexed_resize_90.jpg
Pedigree of Beautifully Promiscuos and Tasty Tomato Project
Pedigree of Beautifully Promiscuos and Tasty Tomato Project
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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Some time this week I think I'm actually going to make a video just talking and walking around my garden area contrasting the promiscuous tomatoes with the heirlooms I planted this year, it's pretty wild how much better the promiscuous tomatoes are doing in pretty much every way. They're completely thriving and loaded with ripening tomatoes, meanwhile the majority of my heirlooms haven't even set a single fruit yet, and the ones that have are barely producing anything.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Jeremiah Squingelli wrote:Some time this week I think I'm actually going to make a video just talking and walking around my garden area contrasting the promiscuous tomatoes with the heirlooms I planted this year, it's pretty wild how much better the promiscuous tomatoes are doing in pretty much every way. They're completely thriving and loaded with ripening tomatoes, meanwhile the majority of my heirlooms haven't even set a single fruit yet, and the ones that have are barely producing anything.



Thanks for the grow report. I'd love to see that video.

Before I started working on the Promiscuous tomato project, I trialed around 300 varieties of heirloom, hybrid, and open pollinated tomatoes. The earliest, most productive, and tastiest became the domestic ancestors of the Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomato Project.
 
William Schlegel
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That velvety leafed plant is perhaps more typical of Solanum penellii heritage. It is still a pretty common trait in my saved from 2020 seeds maybe because there was penellii heritage in the promiscuous project bicolor and orange tomatoes I grew last year.
 
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Heat wiped out a bunch of my tomatoes earlier in the season, some plants are just now recovering.

Anyway, no flowers on this fellow yet - but seems like it could have penellii heritage based on the leaves.

I tried saving one leaf type each of whatever I could identify as different, transplants didn't do so well though. Still a few notable types survived though.

Assuming that the one I am posting has penellii heritage. Anxious for the flowers to show up...

Appears to have "velvety leaves" like Ansis's plant. My plants are smaller, but the leaf type seems similar as well.
penellii.jpg
[Thumbnail for penellii.jpg]
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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Alright, I realized I'm too socially awkward to make a video, I tried several times but it just wasn't happening. So instead I have a nice gallery of pictures.
I wanted to get pictures of flowers previously, but my phone completely refused to focus on them and it just wasn't going to work. As far as flowers go, most are fairly typical tomato flowers with some being much fatter and wider than I typically see, almost all are exserted to some degree. One interesting thing about them is just how curly and twisted the flowers are, I've also seen leaves growing straight out of a flower cluster in a way that just does not look typical of a domestic tomato. Anyways, here's my gallery.

https://imgpile.com/images/NtW1fg.jpg

An extra large tomato from a plant that is producing nice sized orange beefsteaks, they're so absurdly sweet they leave your hands sticky like mango or something. Unfortunately this particular one started rotting before it could finish ripening, but I've gotten other great tomatoes off of this plant.

https://imgpile.com/images/NtWIFc.jpg

One of my favorites, it's just a very thin, vertical little thing with minimal foliage. But produced lots of really nice golf ball sized sweet tomatoes with a really distinct sort of charcoal-smokiness to them.

https://imgpile.com/images/NtW77N.jpg

Another favorite. It's a tiny little hideous twisted mess, completely loaded with tomatoes and would be productive beyond all reason in a more suitable environment most likely. Definitely not quite the flavor profile that joseph was going for, a strong, balanced, classic tasting tomato. Nice saladette sized beefsteaks, with some more round. Very deep red when ripe.

https://imgpile.com/images/NtWnTR.jpg

The plant this one is from only produced a couple tomatoes that I've not had the chance to try yet, they're still ripening. But despite that, I quite like the unique shape, so I'll probably save seeds from it.

https://imgpile.com/images/NtWULP.jpg

Out of all of what I planted out of joseph's tomatoes, this is easily the largest plant. Its been really slow and hasn't actually had a ripe tomato yet, but it looks very healthy and it's starting to get quite a lot of fruit.

https://imgpile.com/images/NtW9lC.jpg

https://imgpile.com/images/NtWhTo.jpg

And finally a bunch either ripe or ripening. So far, they've all either been a nice deep red, a sort of warm yellow-orange, or somewhere inbetween.
Sorry about not embedding the images, I didn't realize how huge they were until after I had gotten everything written out and they took up several screens worth of real estate in the preview.
 
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I'm growing 18 promiscuous tomatoes this season, a mix of Q and BH series sourced from EFN. The Q series seem to be doing far better in my garden in the foothills of Northern California. One of the Q series plants has flowers that are particularly open, and some flowers with the purple coloration (most of the plants have nearly standard looking flowers that are slightly more open and have exerted stigma).

I am surprised by the level of diversity between flowers of the same plant. Curious if other growers are experiencing this as well?
IMG_20210703_090116704.jpg
promiscuous tomato flower
IMG_20210703_090122400.jpg
exserted stigma on tomato
 
Ansis Klavins
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Interestingly enough, while the BH and Wildling series in greenhouse have a relatively large percentage of exserted stigmas and/or large flowers, only one plant from 30 of the Q series has anything of the sort. Slightly extended stigma on it and no big flowers on any of them. They are growing outside, so I'm not sure if it's "nature" or "nurture".

Multiple of the greenhouse tomatoes are starting to blush.

Just for fun, I'm going to try to cross the best plants from the greenhouse to some early determinate field varieties I'm also growing - Latah, Siberian and Stupice and see what comes out.
I don't mind the red tomatoes at all, some of the best tasting tomatoes I remember eating are from my childhood - grown outside and red. No idea of variety, probably something from Russian selection.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Thanks for the grow reports.

The Q series are the most likely to be self-pollinating, and to have domestic-type flowers.

Q series were the most productive, and earliest to mature tasty fruits, which is why they were shared, in spite of them not meeting the promiscuity goals. I am growing seeds from some Q series plants that did meet promiscuity goals.
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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I'm starting a second generation of tomatoes from seeds I saved over the spring, no idea if they were from Q series or wildling series considering I just mixed them all together anyways, I saved from anything that produced decently.

Also, out of joseph's tomatoes, has anybody had one with a flavor reminiscent of fish? Because I was eating a pretty sweet and tasty yellow tomato a few days ago and it had this really mild note of a flavor that I couldn't quite place, until I finally recognized it as sort of fishy. It wasn't strong, I had to take a few bites to pick it out fully, but it was there. It wasn't unpleasant, just a little odd.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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This is the first time I have received a taste report of fishy. Though one chef said that his favorite tomato tasted like sea urchin!

 
Ansis Klavins
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I'm harvesting a few tomatoes each day from the greenhouse now. Interestingly the orange and yellow ones seem to lack something in their taste, they are good, but don't have something that makes tomato "tomatoey" if that makes sense. Reds taste great.

One of the tomatoes gave me a surprise. It sort made a juice explosion in my mouth. Not like when you bite a tomato and the juice squirts out because you broke the skin, no. It was like the inner parts exploded a ridiculous amount of juice when bitten down on.
It might have been fine or even nice if I hadn't just eaten a mild, beefy tomato and was totally unprepared for this 'bomb'. I had my mouth full when it exploded and the juice, which was on the acidic side, filled every cavity it was not supposed to fill. I was coughing for half a day before the irritation of airways subsided.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Thanks for the grow reports.

Ansis Klavins wrote:I'm harvesting a few tomatoes each day from the greenhouse now. Interestingly the orange and yellow ones seem to lack something in their taste, they are good, but don't have something that makes tomato "tomatoey" if that makes sense. Reds taste great.



I am delighted that they don't taste like tomatoes!!! If people value the bitter/nasty taste of lycopene, which makes tomatoes red, then they aughta focus on saving seeds from red tomatoes, because I select against red at every opportunity. As do our taste testing panels.
 
Mark Reed
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Ansis Klavins wrote:I'm harvesting a few tomatoes each day from the greenhouse now. Interestingly the orange and yellow ones seem to lack something in their taste, they are good, but don't have something that makes tomato "tomatoey" if that makes sense. Reds taste great.



I prefer red or yellow/red tomatoes myself. They are what I grew up with and what I consider a tomato, and I like them. To me the "tomatoey"  and I guess what some people call acid flavor is a crucial aspect of a tomato.

That's why I don't consider a variety I call "Captain Crunch" that came from some Lofthouse seeds several years ago to really even be a tomato. The plants look like tomatoes but that's about it.

Captain Crunch tastes more like something you might find hanging on  a tree in Hawaii. I don't really know what to call it, but it's damn good so I keep growing it. As far as flavor and how I look at and use it, it has more in common with strawberries or maybe peaches than it does tomatoes. Had my first ripe ones just a couple days ago so I'll be snacking while at work in the garden for the next three months or so.

Also I should soon be enjoying my first fried egg sandwich of the season, with lots of pepper and nice thick slice of a red "tomato" pretty soon. Maybe a  bowl of some weird tropical fruit for dessert! Yum Yum
 
Jeremiah Squingelli
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All my yellow tomatoes this season came off of one great big indeterminate that I'm pretty sure came out of the wildling bunch, every tomato I've tried off of it has had a really weird sort of fish-oil flavor that I just can't un-taste, I have saved seeds from it regardless because it has been an incredibly hardy plant.

The oranges are what I primarily got, they're a mixed bag. A couple of the plants produced really ridiculously sweet orange tomatoes that were great, others were weird and off-tasting with too much of a slimy or mealy texture.

My most productive determinate was a red type that had a really great classic tomato flavor, I definitely plan on replanting seeds from it.

My favorite tasting tomato this season though, was actually not even one of joseph's tomatoes, it was a green when ripe variety called Karma Miracle, it was so sweet it was like biting into a kiwi, only issue is it won't hardly produce. If I could have that flavor with the hardiness and productivity of joseph's tomatoes it would probably be my perfect tomato.
 
Ansis Klavins
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
bitter/nasty taste of lycopene



Joseph, this phrase caught my attention, because I can not even imagine how the taste of red tomatoes is bitter or nasty. I feel that there is a different component to the taste, but most definitely not bitter.
So this sent me down a little rabbit hole.

Turns out there are genetic differences in human bitter taste receptors.
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep26904
So some people find broccoli bitter or raw tomatoes bitter, and some don't. As you can imagine this greatly impacts whether a person likes to consume them or not.
It's great that the population of these tomatoes contain enough genetic variability that we can select for exactly what tastes good to us.

btw, lycopene is pretty good if you have a taste for, it also fights against cancer
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332220306521

 
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Bitterness is fascinating. I enjoy bitter flavors more than most people seem to and seek them out. But I've never tasted a bitter tomato. I wonder if people, like Joseph, who dislike it are just more sensitive to it and detect it where I do not.
 
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