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Direct Seeding Tomatoes in ~100 Frost Free Days without season extension  RSS feed

 
William Schlegel
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I think of my climate here in Ronan MT as being 100 Frost Free Days. However when I check my facts with the internet it says I may often have 120 Frost Free Days so lets call it approximately 100 days. In 2016 I had two varieties of tomatoes mature just a few tomatoes when direct seeded either as volunteers or in a seed mix. The first variety was some kind of current tomato and the second was a small plum shaped tomato in a scatter seed mix from Michael Pilarski's Friends of the Trees. I obtained at a 2013 seed swap. In checking the notes on a separate rice growing experiment I found that these two tomatoes had perhaps 130 almost frost free days to mature- I ran the sprinklers on cold nights with a threat of frost.

I love volunteer vegetables. I wonder if I can perhaps give over an entire section of my garden to volunteer vegetables and just weed out some of the competition. I bet lots of you have spared a volunteer tomato plant now and then as well, even when you knew because of your short growing season it probably wouldn't do anything. So these intrepid tomatoes inspired me a bit and here is my question: Is it possible to grow productive ripe tomatoes direct seeded in my Montana climate without season extension?

I've been doing some investigating and it seems possible as a breeding project or maybe even just by trying lots of the shortest season tomatoes out there. At least more possible than the few fruits i got off the volunteers. There are tomato varieties out there for which there may be some pretty short days to maturity- with some caveats due to climate variations in day length and heat units. Beyond shortness of season there may be genes that would help for cool soil germination, frost tolerance, and cold or cool temperature growing.

What do you folks think? Is it possible? Productively? Have you done it?
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Starting some tomatoes
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Not early but have a few longer season tomatoes started hoping to cross them with shorter season ones.
 
Casie Becker
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I didn't realize how short a 100 day growing season was until just a few minutes ago when I looked up my growing days at The Farmer's Almanac web site.

If you haven't seen Joseph Lofthouse's seeds, he's working in a Utah mountain valley. I don't know if he uses season extension, though I suspect he starts transplants. He's been working for a while now to develop exactly the traits you're looking for. His website doesn't list DTM for any of the tomatoes, but many of the squash do and they're all under 100 days. http://garden.lofthouse.com/seed-list.phtml
 
William Schlegel
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Hi Cassie,

I have seen Joseph's seeds and am quite impressed and intrigued by his work and have ordered some seeds! In fact it was reading about Josephs work in part that made me pause and say hmm what if they could be direct seeded? What if we didn't need season extension for tomatoes? Will evolutionary processes kick in a bit of a strong selective pressure and help us out even more if we direct seed?

Joseph sent me some tomato seeds he thought might work for the project they arrived yesterday morning and I planted a few seeds of each packet he sent in the tray to the left in the picture I uploaded of the two trays. My hope is to make a few crosses between likely candidates for the project before spring if possible as I have time now to work on it. I've also collected a few varieties I thought sounded promising and seeded them as well. Then this spring I plan to do a direct seeding trial and see if anything does substantially better than the two direct seeded varieties from last year- I will replant my saved seed from them as well. 
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have puttered around with direct seeded tomatoes for years. It hasn't been a high priority project for me. There have been a lot of failures, etc.. For example, one year I direct seeded 900 row feet of tomatoes. But by the time it got warm enough for them to germinate, they were hopelessly lost in weeds. If I were to try this again, I think that I would try direct seeding every 10 days starting about the time that apple trees are flowering until after the last spring frost. My frost tolerant tomato lines are becoming resistant enough to cold that I am able to set transplants out about a month before our average last frost date. So that 100 day frost free growing season might correspond to 130 day actual growing season. When I planted the 900 foot long row five growing seasons ago, my seed was not well adapted to my farm. I bet it would do much better today.  The landrace seed that I shared with William for this project is about 80% descended from hybrids that are derived from plants that were winners in my cold/frost tolerance trials.

The past two growing seasons, I carefully watched the spot where the previous year's tomatoes had grown, looking for volunteers. The first year, I didn't find volunteers. Last year I found a few, and transplanted them to a row. Some of the plants produced seed. I think that I sent that seed to William.

About 7 years ago, tomatoes volunteered in my brother's garden, and produced an abundance of large fruits. His garden is near mine, but at lower elevation, so his frost free season is about 130 days. I sent William most of my seed from those plants.

A neighbor gave me seeds some years ago for Solanum pimpinellifolium, telling me that they have been volunteering in her garden for over a decade. I hope that I included some of those seeds in my shipment to William.

My primary focus regarding tomato breeding for the next few years is to create a population of self-incompatible tomatoes. Then once I get a genetically-diverse population that always creates hybrid seeds, I'll throw that genome against all sorts of problems like direct seeding, frost tolerance, and diseases.
 
Denis Huel
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I'm from southern Saskatchewan, 150 miles north of Glasgow, MT. Also in that 100-120 frost free days.  I've been growing tomatoes for 40 years and always use transplants. That said a local gardener directs seeds and says there is no difference in maturity with the transplants. By the time the transplants recover from being planted the seedlings have caught up and both ripen tomatoes at the same time.

I did have many years ago have a small variety that routinely produced volunteer seedlings in the following years. It was kind of a wild looking type sprawling along the ground and ripening small fruit very early. Unfortunately I no longer have it and can't remember its name.
 
Todd Parr
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Denis Huel wrote:By the time the transplants recover from being planted the seedlings have caught up and both ripen tomatoes at the same time.



I have heard that as well but haven't tested it.  Anyone else have input about that?
 
ronie dee
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I direct seed open pollinated tomatoes Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter and cherry tomatoes. I plant them the summer and fall one year and they produce the next year. I am in NW MO so I think there is 150+ frost free days. Cherry tomatoes might be best for your short season.
 
William Schlegel
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Hah I wrote a long winded detailed reply and timed myself out and lost it! I should have written it in Word and then copied and pasted!

I wanted to ask the permies community what you all think about the project but I have been discussing it on the Homegrown Goodness forum as well.

http://alanbishop.proboards.com/thread/8980/direct-seeded-frost-free-tomato

Joseph sent me 16 very interesting tomato seed packets with plenty of seed for my direct seeding experiments. It definitely includes his current tomato Solanum pimpinillifolium strain though I'm not sure which packet has the volunteer seed for Joseph's brother's garden- might be included in the packet labeled something like "2015 landrace". I did double check the spot where I opened the package from Joseph and I don't think I lost a packet (that would be a calamity).

I've also acquired or am in the process of acquiring some other interesting seed if you all are interested I will list it, I ahem had that all typed up in the post I lost.

For earliness it is rare from my research to find a tomato listed as less than 50 DTM from transplant but they do exist at least a few kinds.

In the mail with Joseph's seed package was one other thing an adaptive seed catalogue. Adaptive Seeds has a current tomato that is 35 DTM. So of course I ordered it! Joseph also wrote on the thread at home grown goodness that he has gotten some tomatoes ripening their first tomato at 35 DTM and those genes hopefully are still in his landrace! I only found one other tomato that short season in my searches but on investigation It might be an overblown claim so for that one I will say 31-65 DTM. I ordered that one as well.

I also got some tomatoes for cold and frost tolerance but I suspect the wild tomatoes Joseph is working with (which he sent me!) are the most concentrated source of these genes.

 
William Schlegel
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ronie dee wrote:I direct seed open pollinated tomatoes Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter and cherry tomatoes. I plant them the summer and fall one year and they produce the next year. I am in NW MO so I think there is 150+ frost free days. Cherry tomatoes might be best for your short season.


You may be right though I hope there are some larger tomatoes that will work too.

Current tomatoes are extra small cherry tomatoes that tend to be either Solanum pimpinillifolium or hybrids with S. Lycopersicum. I believe I have 4 strains of current tomato currently including Joseph's and one ordered (the 35 DTM) from adaptive seeds.

1. Coyote 50-70 DTM

2. 2016 volunteer in my garden 130 days from seed probably from a current tomato my mother grew in some old used potting soil I spread out.

3. An old packet of a 65 DTM current from Territorial

4.Joseph's strain of current from the feral population he mentioned- he has tested it for frost tolerance as well!

5. Adaptive Seeds 35 DTM current on order.

The Solanum pimpinillifolium species is known for some cold and frost tolerance. This could be adative to short DTM and a tomato like the one from Adaptive Seeds could be a real winner as direct seeded-for a very small fruited tomato anyway.


 
Joseph Lofthouse
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William: The volunteer from my brother's garden was called D5 in my cold/frost trials (Right Down Joseph's Alley). I might have written something like "Possibly descended from Celebrity" on the label of the seeds I sent. I don't think that it's represented in the 2015 landrace seeds.

For me to get tomatoes at 35 days after transplant, the plants have to have flowered and set fruit in the greenhouse. Some of my plants last year were flowering in the greenhouse after the 4th leaf node.

Here's what Solanum habrochaites looked like this fall after the snow melted off it. Also posting a photo of what the rest of the garden looked like... This was about 10 weeks after the other tomatoes started getting damaged/killed by cold weather. This same plant survived a number of snow storms and frosts in the spring.

habrochaites-nov-17.jpg
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The rest of the garden.
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Solanum habrochaites
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Tomatoes flowering on 4th leaf node.
 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:William: The volunteer from my brother's garden was called D5 in my cold/frost trials (Right Down Joseph's Alley). I might have written something like "Possibly descended from Celebrity" on the label of the seeds I sent. I don't think that it's represented in the 2015 landrace seeds.

For me to get tomatoes at 35 days after transplant, the plants have to have flowered and set fruit in the greenhouse. Some of my plants last year were flowering in the greenhouse after the 4th leaf node.

Here's what Solanum habrochaites looked like this fall after the snow melted off it. Also posting a photo of what the rest of the garden looked like... This was about 10 weeks after the other tomatoes started getting damaged/killed by cold weather. This same plant survived a number of snow storms and frosts in the spring.



Cool yep that seed packet is here ok and I don't need to tear my living room apart! I read that thread you mentioned a while back and sort of connected the D5 to it! I'll have to look back through that thread again. I just looked up Celebrity F1 tomatoes they are known for disease resistance- good traits for any tomato.

The frost tolerance photo you just shared of the Solanum habrochaites (my spelling may be iffy) in the snow is awe inspiring. You sent two seed packets for two different strains of that species if I remember right. Neat to have it here!

Oh- this is an edit, there is definitely a packet from your 2016 volunteers Joseph.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I am sharing two versions of S. habrochaites this year. One is the general population, which had up to three accessions that may have contributed pollen or seeds. The other is LA1777, a very high altitude accession, that was pollinated by two accessions which survived the spring frost tolerance trials.  

I am also sharing some hybrid clades in which S. habrochaites was the ancestor.

 
Wynne Kelch
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I'm a total amateur, but I want to suggest to you Matt's Wild Cherry, a solanum lycopersicum. It's 60 DTM and has voluntarily sustained itself here for six years despite neglect. Granted, I'm in VA, but I read it was bred in ME. Not sure how productive you'd consider it--prolific and delicious, but fussy to de-stem.
 
ronie dee
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I don't plant the cherry tomatoes on the same property as the Brandy Wine and the Mortgage Lifters. I don't know for sure if the Brandy and Mortgage do any interbreeding but I don't think they do. I fear that the cherry might interbreed and I wouldn't really know it happened for generations  (plant generations). 

Sometimes the summer planted tomato seeds germinate the same year that they are planted - these are doomed. Some seeds germinate early in the spring - these have all died in frosts. I want these to survive, just have had not been able to give enough care to allow them to survive.    I always get some tomato plants that manage to germinate at the right time of spring, to survive. These plants are always stockier better looking plants than plants that are started inside and transplanted out.  I see some local growers start tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets and set these whole buckets in the ground outside, when danger has passed - these always have larger tomato plants and sooner tomatoes than my direct seeded plants.
 
William Schlegel
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Wynne Kelch wrote:I'm a total amateur, but I want to suggest to you Matt's Wild Cherry, a solanum lycopersicum. It's 60 DTM and has voluntarily sustained itself here for six years despite neglect. Granted, I'm in VA, but I read it was bred in ME. Not sure how productive you'd consider it--prolific and delicious, but fussy to de-stem.


Hi Wynne,

I've heard the name of Matt's Wild Cherry a few times and it sounds like it does reseed itself for a lot of folks. I think since I already have 5 small fruited tomatoes to try I'll hold off on seeking it out specifically, but I think it illustrates well the concept that small fruited cherry tomatoes have a lot of potential for direct seeding.
 
William Schlegel
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Here are some of the shortest season tomatoes I've found in my searches:

Kibits 31-65 DTM estimated depending on which source you believe!

Sweet Cherriette 35 DTM

Anmore Dewdrop 47 DTM estimated

42 Days tomato, 42 DTM but some sources say not quite that fast

Kalinka 46 DTM

Forest Fire 45-50 DTM

 
William Schlegel
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Joseph's Seeds sent for this project!

1. Solanum Cornelio-mulleri ?x peruvianum
2. S. peruvianum
3. D5 Frost Trials F4 Celebrity Direct Seeded
4. Neandermato LA 1777 X other S. habrochaites
5. S. habrochaites
6. Wild Orange F2
7. 2016 Deep Frost
8. Frost Trial Large Red Determinate
9. Landrace 2015
10. Fern
11. Frost Trial Wild Orange
12. S. pimpinellifolium Joseph Lofthouse strain
13. Frost Trial Sun2X F2 Hybrid
14. LX-M F3
15. 2016 Earliest Volunteer
16. Hillbilly X Jagodka F2
 
LeRoy Martinez
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Interesting thread on tomatoes

I enjoy reading all these articles but it's too  disciplined for me.
My name should have been Hap Hazard because that's the way I garden.

I'm in SW Montana and last fall I was talking to my son who lives about 40 miles
away and he told me they started eating tomatoes the 15 th of June last year.
That got me digging for details from him and it turned out he took a couple of
tomato plants inside his house when cold weather hit. (Fall of 2015)
He said they kinda went dormant but they kept them watered enough to keep
them alive and when the plants "clock" went off they woke up started life all
over again.
So then I brought 3 plants that were about 3 foot tall into my shop last fall and
I kept them going and picked tomatoes Christmas day. There's one tomato left &
It's got a few days left to ripen and I'm thinking I'll  wait and pick it in February.
That plant has a new yellow blossom on it as well. Tomatoes are small but good.
The last 3 or 4 years my coffee crew members and I have discussed my big south
windows and maybe tomatoes could almost be grown year around in there?

So on October 11th and again on October 26 of 2016 I started 10 tomatoes from seed
and I gave one plant to my son and one to my grandson. Now I have 8 plants left and
they are about 19 inches tall. They seem to be doing well with the combination of
2 - 12" X 12" LED gro lights and window sunshine. Perfectly straight with no gangly
reaching for the sun. They are just starting to get some blossoms started or maybe
it's my wishful imagination seeing things.

Some background: They are planted in dirt and I have added amendments like rock dust,
Bio-Char etc. They are on wheeled carts so they can be rotated to follow the sun,
(when I think of it).
 
William Schlegel
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ronie dee wrote:I don't plant the cherry tomatoes on the same property as the Brandy Wine and the Mortgage Lifters. I don't know for sure if the Brandy and Mortgage do any interbreeding but I don't think they do. I fear that the cherry might interbreed and I wouldn't really know it happened for generations  (plant generations). 

Sometimes the summer planted tomato seeds germinate the same year that they are planted - these are doomed. Some seeds germinate early in the spring - these have all died in frosts. I want these to survive, just have had not been able to give enough care to allow them to survive.    I always get some tomato plants that manage to germinate at the right time of spring, to survive. These plants are always stockier better looking plants than plants that are started inside and transplanted out.  I see some local growers start tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets and set these whole buckets in the ground outside, when danger has passed - these always have larger tomato plants and sooner tomatoes than my direct seeded plants.


I checked out a book by ruth stout when I was in college, oh about 17 years ago. She had a direct seeded tomato that never left her garden. She would bury a few tomatoes in her famous hay mulch in the fall next to a stake and spread them out along a row in the spring. That sort of fall planting would make sense for breeding a direct seeded tomato because to make it all work the tomato has to get the timing right. The genes for early cold soil germination, cold tolerance, and frost tolerance need to come as a complete set if things are to work out well direct seeded. The only way to make sure that the tomato has the fitness to grow direct seeded is to grow it direct seeded...
 
William Schlegel
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LeRoy Martinez wrote:Interesting thread on tomatoes

I enjoy reading all these articles but it's too  disciplined for me.
My name should have been Hap Hazard because that's the way I garden.

I'm in SW Montana and last fall I was talking to my son who lives about 40 miles
away and he told me they started eating tomatoes the 15 th of June last year.
That got me digging for details from him and it turned out he took a couple of
tomato plants inside his house when cold weather hit. (Fall of 2015)
He said they kinda went dormant but they kept them watered enough to keep
them alive and when the plants "clock" went off they woke up started life all
over again.
So then I brought 3 plants that were about 3 foot tall into my shop last fall and
I kept them going and picked tomatoes Christmas day. There's one tomato left &
It's got a few days left to ripen and I'm thinking I'll  wait and pick it in February.
That plant has a new yellow blossom on it as well. Tomatoes are small but good.
The last 3 or 4 years my coffee crew members and I have discussed my big south
windows and maybe tomatoes could almost be grown year around in there?

So on October 11th and again on October 26 of 2016 I started 10 tomatoes from seed
and I gave one plant to my son and one to my grandson. Now I have 8 plants left and
they are about 19 inches tall. They seem to be doing well with the combination of
2 - 12" X 12" LED gro lights and window sunshine. Perfectly straight with no gangly
reaching for the sun. They are just starting to get some blossoms started or maybe
it's my wishful imagination seeing things.

Some background: They are planted in dirt and I have added amendments like rock dust,
Bio-Char etc. They are on wheeled carts so they can be rotated to follow the sun,
(when I think of it).


Hah I took a couple pepper plants inside and left my tomatoes outside to freeze! Then I got to reading about Joseph's winter tomato breeding and got to missing them and planted a few in December. They are still pretty little though as per the picture on the top of this thread.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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In my garden, I think that birds scavenge heavily for seeds that are laying on top of the ground. So I have the feeling that incorporating seeds into the soil in the fall is more likely to preserve them till spring than leaving the fruits above ground.

I'm a huge proponent of the idea of selecting for growing conditions... If a gardener wants to grow in pots, I feel like they should plant/save seeds from plants that have been grown in pots for generations. If they want to grow on black plastic, I feel like they should plant/save seeds from plants that were grown on black plastic. So in this case, I feel like the best way to select for direct seeded tomatoes, is to plant a wide variety of tomatoes, save seeds from anything that succeeds, or almost succeeds, and replant year after year until the population reliably produces fruit when direct seeded. The first two years that I planted muskmelons, I harvested green fruits. Finally in the third year, I was harvesting lots of ripe fruits.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I haven't written much about LX-M. It  is a clade that originated as a hybrid I made as part of the promiscuous pollination project. I didn't find the traits in the F2 plants that I was looking for, so I didn't follow through with this line. There are tens of thousands of seeds still.  It is represented in the "2015 landrace" seed lot. The mother of the cross was Jagodka, the winner of my cold tolerance trials. The pollen donor is unknown, but based on what the clade looks like, I'd guess DX52-12 might be the pollen donor. (The same mother and pollen donor as the DXX clade.)

Hillbilly X Jagodka was also part of my promiscuous pollination project. It was a pretty wide cross (for domesticated tomatoes):

saladette vs beefsteak
red vs yellow fruits
closed vs open flowers
determinate vs indeterminate
short-season vs long season
small vs large plant
decent vs great taste

My favorite ended up with open flowers and large yellow beefsteak fruits on a determinate, early, short-season, mid-sized plant. Taste is great. (I call it Big Hill).

This cross lead to the HX clade. Any tomato I have named that carries the "Hill" name is descended from that cross. There is enough diversity in the clade to keep a tomato breeder busy for decades. I found open flowers among the offspring, so they continue as part of the promiscuous pollination project, though I haven't got them  incorporated yet into the auto-hybridizing project. Some members of the Hill family survived the harshest of the frost tolerance testing last spring, so are included in that project as well.

 
 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
In my garden, I think that birds scavenge heavily for seeds that are laying on top of the ground. So I have the feeling that incorporating seeds into the soil in the fall is more likely to preserve them till spring than leaving the fruits above ground.

I'm a huge proponent of the idea of selecting for growing conditions... If a gardener wants to grow in pots, I feel like they should plant/save seeds from plants that have been grown in pots for generations. If they want to grow on black plastic, I feel like they should plant/save seeds from plants that were grown on black plastic. So in this case, I feel like the best way to select for direct seeded tomatoes, is to plant a wide variety of tomatoes, save seeds from anything that succeeds, or almost succeeds, and replant year after year until the population reliably produces fruit when direct seeded. The first two years that I planted muskmelons, I harvested green fruits. Finally in the third year, I was harvesting lots of ripe fruits.



I'm curious to see how it all works out. I saved the seed of my 2016 volunteers the small plum and the current I mentioned before. If I had no other tomato seed I would have used that. Maybe cross just those two kinds. I didn't get much seed but I bet I have 100 seeds or more of each of the two- that is better than most commercial packets. In a few years I could have a lot of their descendants and work with some big population sizes.

I certainly have more diverse seed to work with already but if a farmer had just two kinds of tomatoes to work with that could be a good breeding project if the two were diverse. Sometimes just two varieties of something can unleash a very high level of diversity in the segregating offspring of the hybrid.

Edit: as I wrote this post Joseph posted about his Hillbilly x Jagodka cross which is a great example!

 
William Schlegel
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Well I have a flat with fifty tomato seedlings in it in January. The seeds I planted for winter tomato breeding of Joseph's are starting to sprout. I see about 4 cells showing just a smidgeon of stem. Might see some cotyledons tomorrow. Types include the Solanum Cornelius-mulleri, 2015 landrace, D5 Frost Trials F4 celebrity, and LX-M F3
image.jpg
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Joseph's seeds barely starting to sprout (latest arrivals)
image.jpg
[Thumbnail for image.jpg]
Earlier seeds sprouted and reorganized
 
Pamela Smith
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Well besides the obvious that has been said, planting early varieties, shorter grow periods. The average early varieties are around 75 days but as mentioned if one looks around there are seeds that take 45-60 days. One needs to also take into account warmth of the soil. If you want to plant seeds directly into the soil you need to know the soil is warm enough for germination. So frost free is not enough. You will need to warm the soil and keep the soil warm. A black plastic sheet on the place you want to plant the seeds to warm the soil up and then leave it on after you plant the seeds until they start sprouting. Just be sure the soil does not dry out.  Good luck.
 
William Schlegel
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Hi Pamela,

Hoping to accomplish this with good genes not with season extenders. However I am interesting in altering albedo fairly permanently with charcoal or biochar. Plastic is out for me I see it as a solid state petrochemical that often breaks apart into tiny pieces and gets into the soil.


Pamela Smith wrote:Well besides the obvious that has been said, planting early varieties, shorter grow periods. The average early varieties are around 75 days but as mentioned if one looks around there are seeds that take 45-60 days. One needs to also take into account warmth of the soil. If you want to plant seeds directly into the soil you need to know the soil is warm enough for germination. So frost free is not enough. You will need to warm the soil and keep the soil warm. A black plastic sheet on the place you want to plant the seeds to warm the soil up and then leave it on after you plant the seeds until they start sprouting. Just be sure the soil does not dry out.  Good luck.
 
William Schlegel
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Exciting seedling today. Since the ten day mark came and went I went ahead and replanted some of Joseph's seeds and on the second try I got a really viable looking Solanum habrochaites seedling. The older seedling is still alive but it never had cotyledons. This new one does. The older one has a tiny bud probably the start of a true leaf. Given time it may yet flourish.
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Good Neandermato seedling with cotyledons
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Sad Neandermato seedling cotyledons missing but with a tiny hopeful bud
 
William Schlegel
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Yesterday morning a seedling of Kalinka began germinating in the unheated greenhouse. Surprising to say the least. Perhaps a fluke. I suspect it is far to early as this variety is not known for frost tolerance. It could mean good cold soil emergence if planted at a proper time. Say mid may- if not a fluke. I will rescue the seedling before Thursdays frost of 27. I may start heating the greenhouse minimally if more varieties germinate.

I also planted a replicate of the experiment direct seeded in the garden.

The baby wild tomatoes from Joseph are still quite exciting.

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Solanum habrochaites Neandermato LA 1777 x other S. Hab
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S. Cornelius mulleri ?x peruvianum
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2016 volunteer current - already larger than parent, not blooming yet. Biggest tomato plant so far.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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William Schlegel wrote:S. Cornelius mulleri ?x peruvianum


I am so jealous. I planted all of my seed from that attempted cross and got zero germination. The phenotype is way different from S. corneliomulleri, so it's looking like the hybridization took. I hope that you are able to grow seed from that plant. I expect that it's self-incompatible, so will need a pollen donor.

Solanum corneliomulleri, the plant that produced the seeds I shared. Notice how the leaflets are approximately evenly spaced along the petiole, and that the leaflets come in pairs on opposite sides of the petiole.


Solanum peruvianum, most probable pollen donor. Notice how William's plant has three leaflets close together at the tip of the leaf? That resembles the leaf structure of S. peruvianum. And the shape of the leaflets on William's plant resembles S. peruvianum more than S. corneliomulleri. Notice the non-paired staggered leaflets on some petioles on William's plant which resembles S. peruvianum. All good indicators that the hybridization was successful.


 
William Schlegel
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Now I am a bit nervous! My babies are precious cargo!

I've been focusing my tomato love a bit more on the three baby Solanum habrochaites I have growing from your seed...

The good news is that while I photographed the best plant previously in combing through my tiny tomato jungle I found a sibling. It will get transplant priority now that I know it's precious. They both will. I also have a tiny Solanum peruvianum baby. So there should be cross pollination options! Also I believe there are plenty of more seeds in the packets and hopefully more babies will follow. These were just the ultra early planting. I will return seeds this fall if all goes well.

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Solanum peruvianum
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Solanum Cornelius-muellerii ?x Peruvianum smaller sibling
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Both siblings side by side for scale and slightly different leaf shapes
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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William Schlegel wrote:Both siblings side by side for scale and slightly different leaf shapes


Now I'm really hyped! I love it when my stuff does better in other people's gardens than in mine. There were two likely pollen donors to the S. corneliomulleri plant. They are from different accessions.  Based on the phenotypes of the hybrid leaves, it looks like we got one seed from each daddy!  For what it's worth, the second possible pollen donor grew slower, and produced a smaller plant than the one I already showed.

Solanum peruvianum. Other likely pollen donor.
 
William Schlegel
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Hmm this morning two seedlings of Forest Fire have germinated in the unheated greenhouse. Joining the single seedling of Kalinka. No others yet. Intriguing turn of events. The only other commonality is that they are both in the elite group of less than 50 DTM from transplant. Kalinka 46 DTM and Forest Fire 45 DTM. Seems less like a fluke now and more like a trait. Though one that could preclude successful volunteering.

Should be a great trait though for spring direct seeding at or a couple days before the last frost date.
 
William Schlegel
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Interesting developments in the unheated (winter sowing method) greenhouse. Solanum cornelio-mulleri ?x S. Peruvianum has made another appearance. The first Tomatillo has also arrived. A short season Polish variety from Baker Creek- beating out Joseph's landrace but not by much, they haven't emerged but you can see a tiny bit of stem.
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Solanum cornelio-muellerii ?x S. Peruvianum
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Forest Fire Tomato Sprouts
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Polish Tomatillo from Baker Creek
 
Andrew Barney
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Cool! I'm all for the wild tomato crosses. They should prove exciting. I have two new S. habrochaites seedlings emerging today. Maybe one Solanum peruvianum as well. None of the other new S. cheesmaiae or S. galapagense seedlings yet. Of the S. cheesmaiae or S. galapagense i started a few weeks ago they are growing well. There is considerable variation of the S. cheesmaiae for anthocyanin coloring in the stems and also for smell. Each plant smells different so far. One of the S. cheesmaiae smells kind of lemony similar to lemon basil, but it also kind of bugs me. Interestingly enough the lemony one lacks any anthocyanin in the stem or leaves. The S. galapagense really don't smell like much, even lacking the traditional tomato smell so far.

So considering the goal of this project is direct seeding, are these tray sown seeds for comparison, insurance, or separate screening for cold soil emergence and/or frost tolerance independent from the direct seeding goal?
 
William Schlegel
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Andrew Barney wrote:
So considering the goal of this project is direct seeding, are these tray sown seeds for comparison, insurance, or separate screening for cold soil emergence and/or frost tolerance independent from the direct seeding goal?


Yes most if not all of those things. I want to conduct trials for two years to see if varieties are useful in my variable year to year climate. To do that I need to save seed from everything. So some tomatoes already got started inside- I was actually hoping for some fruit by spring but I don't think it will happen. I will start a full set of varieties inside probably around April 1 and I have a full set in the unheated greenhouse. I may alternatively start heating the greenhouse a bit around April 1. I couldn't get into the garden till last weekend. So the unheated greenhouse is a garden surrogate letting me screen for interesting traits like this cold soil emergence I'm currently observing. Ideally I will fall plant a replicate this fall using fresh seed- but the unheated greenhouse is a nice surrogate now and I can monitor it closely. So basically I just learned that Kalinka and Forest Fire will germinate in super cold soil, and then probably be killed by frost. Not sure what to think about the S. cornelio-mulleri ?x S. Peruvianum and the tomatillos as they are frost tolerant. Wonder how frost tolerant?! That question may need to wait for next year! If the replicate I direct seeded last weekend germinated they are on tier own but I am liable to bring the babies in the greenhouse inside for Thursday nights predicted low of 28 F

Main replicate that is actually direct seeded will get planted mid May.


 
William Schlegel
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Evening update a seed from the current tomato that volunteered in my 2016 garden also germinated. Somewhat dispelling my belief that a fit tomato would not germinate so early. Current tomatoes can be frost tolerant as well. Since I have a decent amount of seed for that variety I may go ahead and test it for frost tolerance. Though I went ahead and brought quite a bit inside this evening including my the germinating tomatoes, and my trays of tomatillos and true potato seed.

5 seedlings of the Forest Fire variety emerged total- cold soil emergence seems more likely to be a trait for this variety.
 
Greg Martin
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Great stuff guys.  Can't wait to see how things go for you this year!
 
William Schlegel
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Stems of Anmore Dewdrop have emerged from the seeds but no cotyledons yet. Cold soil germination seems fairly common among the less than 50 DTM from transplant crowd. Wonder if they share quite a bit of ancestry?
 
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Here's the tomatoes I planted for my cold/frost tolerant trials. As usual for me, I didn't label the flats. They are my children, so I'll know them when they grow up. They have been growing in the unheated (but not cold) greenhouse, so I only attribute quicker germination to some of them, not necessarily cold tolerance at this point. I intend to plop some of them into the garden every few weeks to see what survives. A snowstorm is forecast for about 10 days from now, and I could set them out any night to flirt with radiant freezes.

Perhaps I'll plant another flat, and leave them outside to see what germinates in spite of the chilly weather.

Last year's timing/weather worked much better for selecting for cool-weather germination.


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Tomatoes destined for frost-tolerance testing.
 
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