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

 
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Today marks a critical juncture. 6 weeks to transplant = 42 days. I first inventoried the March seeded tomatoes on May 7th. They mostly survived the May 15th frost. It takes about 5 days to germinate occurred prior to May 7th and so today marks a rough equivelance to six week old transplants. Fairly reasonably on track size wise though the plant shape is much more natural- no etiolation and much shorter and bushier.
 
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The flowers on the Solanum peruvianum are amazingly bright yellow! Much brighter yellow than domestic tomato flowers!


The Solanum pennellii x domestic F1 hybrid is the biggest and most robust tomato in the garden!!


The Fern x LA1777 F2 is flowering...
 
Andrew Barney
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i will also add that in terms of evaluating wild varieties / traits early i am most interested in Solanum peruvianum and Solanum pennellii genetics for robustness and drought tolerance and survivability in my climate conditions with my soil and high altitude sunlight. The habrochaites, cheesmanaie, & galapagense so far with many of their wispy sparse leaf structures are so far not doing very well and are curling and growing slowly. That could change, but as of now i am not in favor of those plant traits. This is independent of flower structures or fruits at this point.
Plus the peruvianum and pennellii type plants have somewhat silvery leaves which i think are advantageous in my garden. Plus they look cool. I am very impressed with the dark bright yellow color of the peruvianum flower colors.
 
William Schlegel
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I think the Solanum cornelio-muellerii x peruvianum flower is just as yellow as the your peruvianum Andrew. The petals aren't so reflexed though. The anther cone of the domestic I stuck on it is just as yellow.

My habrochaites plants are definitely not as robust as the Cornelio-muellerii x peruvianum. The hybrid resprouted faster after my may 15th frost. I may ultimately have to train or even prune the hybrid back so it doesn't overtake the habrochaites. I really want some seed from the habrochaites so I hope it makes it. Joseph showed a possible cross between habrochaites and peruvianum in March post on another thread which I just rechecked tonight after a long time. I wonder how the plant is doing and if it's really a hybrid between those two?https://permies.com/t/40/54641/Auto-Hybridizing-Tomatoes

One and only one of the 5 surviving cornelio muellerii x peruvianum survived both of my may frosts with top growth intact. I see it as the number 1 wild tomato plant in my garden. The rest resprouted and that vigorously- champion resprouters.

I only have one pure peruvianum left. It is a older slow grower that germinated in a different planting attempt from most of the peruvianum. It only survived the second frost as a resprout because it was planted later. The second frost killed all the younger pure peruvianum even those that survived the first frost with top growth.

I should also mention that the Cornelio- muelleri x peruvianum flower I stuck two domestic anther cones two dried up and fell off- no pollination in that direction as expected.
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Cornelio-muellerii x peruvianum flower
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With anther cone of sweet Cherriette
 
William Schlegel
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In the March direct seeded patch It looks to me like the flower buds are expanding and about to bloom on Sweet Cherriette, 42 days, and Siletz.

In the resprouting beds Sweet Cherriette is the most prolific bloomer.

I saw an awesome huge bumblebee (Bombus) species on my Agastache urticafolia. No sign of pollinated tomatoes yet.
 
William Schlegel
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The tomatillos continue to impress the direct seeded plants have started to flower. Mike's Tomatillo Grex opened a flower this morning and by this afternoon Terrapin my own saved seed had a flower.

The other happenings of note are that a few of my tomatoes turned yellow in the center during the recent rains. Well by this afternoon they didn't look so yellow anymore.

The other happening is that a few of my tomatoes have black patches on their leaves. I looked at some pictures of tomato diseases and the one I liked best was Bacterial Canker. What do you think? My plan is to see what happens and if some of the 75+ varieties I am growing do better with the plant disease than I will try to save seed for those kinds. The disease article says not to grow tomatoes in the same place again. However that seems like just avoiding the problem and not attempting to breed for resistance to me. Not that new tomato patches wouldn't be nice. They would be good places to grow varieties that aren't resistant yet with other good traits for crossing...

Something like this showed up on my fava beans earlier this year. It stopped raining so much and they look better now. My plan for them is the same.

Generally I don't have enough tomato disease here to hope to select for resistance to things so will see how this one progresses.
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Tomatillo flower
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Black patches 1
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Black patches 2
 
William Schlegel
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List of tomato kinds I direct seeded that are still growing:

1. 2016 Large Tomato Mix GREX from my 2016 garden included Bison, Ararat Flame, Amirski Tigr, possibly Roma VF, and indigo rose. Some of these are doing really well.

2. 2017 true volunteers could include all of the above, definitely Roma, a random tomato from the farmers market that wasn't a sungold, and sungold. These are growing mixed in with the transplants. Some are doing really well.

3. 2017 Mix which includes 2016 large Tomato mix, JL Landrace 2015, Hamsonita, and Mike's Short Season Tomato Grex. This mix is doing well and I seeded a bunch of it in the unfenced garden expansion area as well as inside the fenced garden. It needs weeded outside the fence.

4. 2016 volunteer current- interestingly these came up really late and are tiny plants. I suspect other tomatoes will shade them out.

5. 2016 Pilarski direct seeded- a tomato that showed up in the scatterseed mix I got from Michael Pilarski's booth at the first annual seed library seed swap in Missoula a few years back and grew out last year. It is doing ok but is overshadowed (figuratively in Actuality it is on an edge) by more vigorous sorts. Growing it as a control.

6. JL landrace 2015 growing 3 patches of this inside the fence, plus added it to the 2017 seed mix. It's doing well, includes both tomato leaved and potato leaved seedlings. Plants vary in growth rate.

7. Deepest Frost 2016 paradise UT- a landrace mix of Joseph's he tortured last year. I have two patches, one with lots of small seedlings and one with a single larger seedling.

8. Lofthouse Short Season landrace- much smaller packet I think Joseph sold this as his main landrace in 2017. Probably includes advancements / changes / genetic drift since 2015. I have two small patches of this seeded.

9. Anmore Dewdrop- I have I think 2 patches of this. Supposed to be ultra early dehybridized tumbler. Doing ok but smaller than some varieties- seems to be a trend amongst ultra earlies.

10. Forest Fire three patches. Doing alright

11. Kalinka two patches small plants

12. Kibits - potato leaved strain small plants 2 patches

13. Sweet Cherriette - 3 patches. Small plants direct seeded. Looks about to bloom can see petals on a flower bud.

14. Blue Ambrosia - 3 patches doing ok.

15. Dwarf Hirsutum Cross- 3 patches

Zagadka - doing great

Betalyuks - doing great

0-33

LXM-F3

Saraev 1-2

Hillbilly x Jagodka F2

4th of July F1

Silvery Fir Tree

Summer Girl F1

Sungold F2

Nevsky

Roma VF - control, doing shockingly well

Saraev M-22

Bloody Butcher

Siletz -been doing shockingly well direct seeded. About to bloom soon.

Krainy Sever

Sequoia Alpine (free gift packet) doing ok for a free gift packet. I probably direct seeded it because of the name.

Indigo Kumquat F2 - long season parent will see

Label Lost? There is a space in the grid with a tomato that should probably have a label but doesn't. Hmm.

Earl's First Early

Earl's Red Beef Steak

42 days- 2 patches. Doing surprisingly well, about to flower. Might live up to it's name.

Matina

Sweet Pea Current- germinated late, late to the party may be overshadowed.

Glacier

Ditmarsher 

Siberia

1-3 new germinant I just noticed it and trimmed back some overhanging salvia columbariae leaves to give it a chance

Grushovka


 
William Schlegel
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Some upcoming important dates for this project:

June 26th the date when 42 days or the rough equivelant of 6 weeks from transplant occurs for the last direct seeded tomatoes on May 16th the day after the killing frost. Some individuals from that seeding will be equivelant some will still be laggards. 58 days will remain until the next important date.

August 23rd 100 days will have passed since the last killing frost of spring. On that date some of my March direct seeded plants will be a little over 108 days old. This is approximately the day I will want to post as to what worked in 100 days or less.

September 1 - I start to expect frost.

September 3 March direct seeded plants censuses on May 7 will be 120 days old. Deb recently posted that plants get ancient around 120 days.

September 21-31 random dates the internet picked for my "average" first frost. I usually expect a few slight frosts before a true killing frost. I was kind of expecting the same for the last frost but it was a whammy of a frost.

In general my current expectation is that direct seeding is going to work and work fairly well. With the time remaining I think many of the kinds of tomatoes especially in the March seeded block will be old enough by the 100 day mark and by the actual killing frost mark to not only produce a tomato or two but to do so productively- more than a few tomatoes. Wild cards include disease, fire season, pollination, deer, grasshoppers, and hail storms.

I also have an inkling I think that the most successful varieties may not be the ones I most expected to work based on Days to Maturity. Current front runners are sweet Cherriette, Siletz, and 42 days but lots of the varieties listed in the previous post are capable of producing in the time remaining with current size of plants.

Of the controls I would say that Roma VF is doing surprisingly well. I predict it will ripen at least a few tomatoes by last actual frost. I suspect my last year 2016 volunteer current will be outcompeted by other tomatoes this year. I suspect the volunteer from the scatterseed mix I've dubbed Pilarski 2016 will set ripe fruit again and earlier than last year but won't remotely touch on the productivity of some of the new varieties.

I'm already wondering how to refocus the experiment for next year! No transplanting? Fewer varieties? I am adding flag labels for when things get tangled but I don't expect to be able to keep all the regular leaf reds separate. Therefore there will probably be some broad segregates. Yellow tomatoes, potato leafed tomatoes, great performing regular leaf reds, and anything I can tell apart should be separate. I hope to be able to keep the varieties of potato leafed tomatoes separate by variety. I may pull any yellows out of landraces and grex's specifically to try to find red offspring. I want to plant lots of potato leafed seeds next year to search for regular leafed offspring but will need to do so on clean ground. I also want to include some of Joseph's promiscuous tomatoes next year. So next year will be heavy on the best performers and on yellow fruited and potato leaved plants. I might transplant in the promiscuous plants one every 10 feet of row. If I can get the fence built I might do three ~100 foot long direct seeded rows where Cucurbits are now. A row of yellows, a row of best performer regular leafed reds and a row of potato leafed with a fancy eating tomato and a promiscuous tomato transplanted in about every 10 feet on each row. If any of Joseph's landrace tomatoes prove to be yellow and potato leaved that may necessitate a fourth row. Within each row named varieties will get special sections. I may even thin (I almost never thin) and RL segregates in the PL row will get preference.

Most varieties I have in the experiment are red and RL.

Exceptions include

PL: bloody butcher, stupice, PL kibits, dwarf Hirsutum cross, JL landrace 2015

Yellow: sungold F2, blue ambrosia (also blue), Coyote, JL's landraces, possibly yellow Glacier from Mike's short season grex

If I direct seeded some longer season plants I could include PL white shah and yellow pear.  PL white shah would go in the fourth row with any PL yellows from Joseph's landrace. Also perhaps Blue Gold or some of the other yellow/white based high anthocyanin strains. I'm currently Doing this with indigo kumquat F2 so that may actually work and if so may encourage the same.

Then tomatoes in my current garden may be "volunteers only" next year or if disease becomes an issue I may also add in disease resistant strains to that garden.

I will also be excited to grow a second generation of wild tomatoes.

Two years from now if all goes well I will be growing out F2 RL Children of PL varieties that should segregate for PL. I should also be growing red children of yellows that should segregate for yellow. With some short season high anthocyanin and fancy maters in the mix along with some promiscuity.

 
William Schlegel
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The buds on Sweet Cherriette and 42 Days tomato continue to swell and are in a race to see which will open first! Might be later today or tomorrow.

Weeding the garden before I leave for field work. Photos below.
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Far north bed mixed resprouted transplants and direct seeded.
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Dense bed resprouted transplants and volunteers only
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Best tomatillo patch mostly direct seeded in March
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March direct seeded patch
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Amethyst Cream and direct seeded far end of north bed
 
William Schlegel
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42 Days followed closely by Sweer Cherriette became the first direct seeded tomatoes to flower today!

Then later in the day the same Sweet Cherriette plant managed to open several additional flowers!
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42 Days
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Sweet Cherriette
 
William Schlegel
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Siletz bloomed today becoming the third variety to bloom as expected.

Over in the resprouted after frost transplant patch Sweet Cherriette and Jagodka have become the first two varieties to set a fruit.
 
William Schlegel
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7 additional direct seeded varieties came into bloom today in the March seeded patch! So the bloom is on! Next point of interest: setting fruit!

Saw a bumble bee working the direct seeded tomatillos today.
 
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I direct seeded about 10,000 tomato seeds this spring, split between early, and late plantings. I searched diligently this week, and couldn't find a single plant that managed to establish itself.

I didn't find any S. habrochaites seedlings in the area where it grew last summer.

A lot of S. peruvianum seedlings volunteered this spring.
 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I direct seeded about 10,000 tomato seeds this spring, split between early, and late plantings. I searched diligently this week, and couldn't find a single plant that managed to establish itself.

I didn't find any S. habrochaites seedlings in the area where it grew last summer.

A lot of S. peruvianum seedlings volunteered this spring.


Mine (including lots if your tomato genes) are doing pretty good but I've been weeding the March seeded patch since March! The outside the fence ones are about to be overtaken by weeds but they are also some of them about up to your 6 inch rule so if I can weed em once before I leave for field work in about a week! Rained 3 inches in early June here though.

Are the S. Peruvianum volunteers still plugging along?

The wild tomato blocks in my direct seeded patch have stayed empty this whole time. A late to the game tomato seedling popped up in one of them the other day tho it might be a domestic and I give it little hope of reproducing this year.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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William Schlegel wrote:Are the S. Peruvianum volunteers still plugging along?


The volunteer Solanum peruvianum wild tomatoes are doing great. They are just starting to flower... They messed up my planting plan. I had originally wanted to grow only one S. peruvianum plant in that field. But the volunteering trait seemed more valuable to me than attempting to make naturally occurring inter-species hybrids with S. peruvianum as a mother. I'm still attempting other inter-species crosses with S. peruvianum as a pollen donor.
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Volunteers: Solanum peruvianum wild tomato
 
William Schlegel
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You inspired me to rescue some of my 300+ row feet of outside of the fence maters. I got through about 40 row feet and rescued 69 plants. See photos below.

My first ever TPS potato is flowering.

In the March seeded bed about 16 varieties are flowering or about to. That's getting close to half!

In my furthest North inside the fence direct seeded row sweet Cherriette is the first to bloom. Anmore Dewdrop and JL Landrace 2015 are almost blooming in that row.

In the furthest south direct seeded patch Seeet Cherriette is about to flower.

In the latest seeded patch (May 16th) there are individual plants getting close to blooming with large buds.

In the resprouted transplants Jagodka is the champion fruit setter with my lone plant working on four fruits.

Back at home the pampered plants that got to stay in the greenhouse a long time are about half setting fruit. 

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Lost tomato mesic end of row
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More xeric end of row
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Rescued some tomatoes
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TPS tater flower just for pretty
 
William Schlegel
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Siletz set the first direct seeded fruit!

Siletz is capable of setting seedless fruit early in the season and this may be the case here.

Interestingly I have no direct seeded Jagodka and no known transplanted Siletz so I can't directly compare. That will have to be a project for next year.

Over in the transplanted resprouted patch fruit set has expanded from Sweet Cherriette and Jagodka and now includes Summer Girl F1 and Saraev Shtambovyi.

However most exciting fruit set in the transplant crowd belongs to S. Cornelio-muelleri x S. Peruvianum. The plant I've called "Slow Father" has fruit set. Most probable father is the plant called "Fast Father". I also saw a bumble bee visit the patch and the plant that survived 2 frosts with top growth intact has it's first bloom. It's a much yellower plant and the last of its size class to bloom. There is one diminutive plant that still isn't and may not- it's getting increasingly shaded by other plants now. Fast Father is starting to shade my Neandermato LA 1777 plant. It may get pruned a smidge eventually.

I also finished weeding the direct seeded tomatoes outside the fence this morning. Now I will build them an irrigation system.

I got a vegibee pollinator tool in the mail today. I had seen that Darrel Jones instigator of the frosty tomatoes recommended it on his website. So I put it on my wishlist and then recently saw a good deal on it. So my toothbrush is saved from being forced to do garden work!
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Siletz fruit
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Slow Father is a good Mother
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2 Frost top Survivor
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Another round of Weeding complete!
 
William Schlegel
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Well Potato Leaved Matina does have slightly exserted stigmas- but not substantially better than Blue Gold, or some potato leaf plants in a JL landrace patch. PL Matina frosted transplant showed fruit set today though- joining a still small and pretty elite group. 

Blue Ambrosia showed itself today to have very exserted stigmas- while this is more a promiscuous pollination trait I reckon with other goals I have it puts blue Ambrosia over the top. I reckon it might get that coveted 20% natural outcrossing rate. Since it is blue/yellow any red parented offspring will be easy to spot!

So if I had to choose next year's parents today I would say 100 row feet of Blue Ambrosia parentage.

Then a 100 foot row of short season potato leaf tomatoes. I reckon this would still be a even split between JL landrace PL, Matina PL, Kibits PL, Dwarf Hirsutum Cross, Bloody Butcher, and Stupice.

For regular reds so far Siletz, Jagodka, and Sweet Cherriette have impressed so they will each a third of 100 feet.

A fourth row will get a small amount of everything else promising in a repeat of this year's experiment.

If phenology and production events show an additional particular variety to be extra promising it will get more row space.

Then long season fancy varieties and those I failed to propagate successfully this year but still have seed for will get transplanted. As will any new additions such as Joseph Lofthouse promiscuous lines. They may get spaced every ten feet along rows in pairs of two. I may torture the main garden ones again by planting them out before all danger of frost again- - gotta keep those epigenetics cranking. I will try though to hold back one of each for the pampered container garden next time.

Next year I think I should set the spacer on the earth way seeder and skip the line it makes so that the space between rows is double. That will make it so I can rototill with my tiller between plantings. I suspect there will be more than 4 rows in next years direct seeded patch.

I need to leave soon for a seed collecting trip so may not be able to adequately note tomato phenology during absences.
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Direct Seeded Blue Ambrosia Stigmas
 
William Schlegel
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So I went a little crazy with the new vegibee pollinator this morning. I started with some of the pampered backyard tomatoes. Got a mix of pollen on the spoon from White Shah, Michael Pollen, Pineapple, D5 frost Trials, and maybe some from Krainy Sever. Then I ripped apart some young sweet Cherriette flowers. Pulled off the anther cone and dipped the stigma in the pollen spoon.

Then I went out to the land with those exposed stigmas of Blue Ambrosia on my mind.

I mixed pollen on the spoon from Forest Fire, Sweet Cherriette, 42 Days and Jagodka and dipped the Stigmas of the first Blue Ambrosia plant.

Then I added pollen from Siletz and dipped the stigmas of the second plant (March direct seeded).

Not done I went to the Solanum cornelio-muelleri x S. Peruvianum patch. I left the domestic pollen on the spoon just for luck and collected pollen from slow father, fast father, straight peruvianum, and that faster growing plant from the second batch (might be a fast father full sibling). Then I dipped the stigmas of the five or so flowers on the 2 frost top survivor with the different colored foliage. I went back to fast and slow for some more stigma dipping.

Then I censused the fruit set.

Direct Seeded with fruit set: Siletz, 42 Days, and sweet Cherriette. The same three that flowered first. This redeems 42 days for me- given current data it will get more direct seeded row space next year.

Frosted Transplants with fruit set:

Forest Fire, Sweet Cherriette, Sequoia alpine, Cornelio-muelleri x peruvianum, PL Matina, Summer Girl, Jagodka, 42 Days, blue gold, Saraev Shtambovyi, and Bison.

Top 4 earlies based on fruit set are Siletz, 42 Days, Sweet Cherriette, and Jagodka.

First ripening could change this math... As could the performance of a few varieties that never germinated march planted. PL Kibits and Kalinka might be such.

To be a fair try everything should get a second year as well. Though the winners this year will get more row space!
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Pollination tools
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Stigma of Blue Ambrosia after Pollen Dipping
 
William Schlegel
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Got the irrigation system installed for the outside the fence direct seeded tomatoes. Tried it out they seem pretty wet. I think they've grown since I weeded them. I spotted a few blooms.
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Direct seeded outside the fence
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Direct seeded outside the fence 2
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Direct seeded outside the fence 3
 
William Schlegel
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A few more pictures of the tomato patch from yesterday. I'm on the road so it's on a watering timer next couple weeks.
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Crowded transplant patch
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Mixed DS and TRansplant north patch
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Tomatillos direct seeded march
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March direct seeded
 
William Schlegel
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Starting to get ripe tomatoes in the Frosted on May 15th transplants but none yet on the direct seeded plants. Earliest two were Jagodka and Sweet Cherriette. Then I got Tumbler F1, Sungold F2, and Coyote today.

At the house from the pampered tomatoes in pots I'm getting Krainiy Sever, Yellow Pear, and D5 Frost Trials. Saving seed from all the earliest ones for direct seeding next year.

Lots of the Direct seeded plants look great and are just loaded with green tomatoes. Amurski Tigr has reemerged from my 2016 tomato seed mix in the direct seeded beds- stripes on the fruits are apparent. Weeding matters- the outside the fence maters that I weeded last and only once are further behind. Though there are standouts with lots of fruit set the outside the fence tomatoes have largely not yet set fruit. The inside the fence direct seeded tomatoes that got weeded early and often all have fruit.

Interestingly at least for an extended portion of the time I was gone the water timer did not work. The inside the fence garden is so well established it didn't matter much. I planted lots of things in March like Favas, peas, garbanzos, and lentils- these are all getting ripe dry seed now. For the tomatoes it means they got a bit of the California Dry Farmed tomato effect- and interestingly the tomatoes haven't been watered a whole lot. I am pretty sure that I can grow tomatoes not only direct seeded but perhaps without ever watering them. An intriguing possibility to try for future years.

My lone Jagodka (42nd Parallel Seed Strain- egg shaped) has already stopped producing flowers so is no longer a pollen source. This morning I mixed pollen from Sweet Cherriette with Pollen from the Solanum cornelio muelleri x S. peruvianum individual that survived 2 frosts with top growth intact and brushed all the Blue Ambrosia stigmas I could find with the mix.
 
William Schlegel
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The first ripening fruits in the March Direct Seeded patch are sweet Cherriette and ... sungold F2 from saved sungold seed. I picked the sungold it probably could have stayed on another day or two but it was exciting.

Over in the Direct Seeded Tomatillo patch Farmer Mike's tomatillo is ripe.

So August 1, date when fruit harvest begins on direct seeded tomatoes and tomatillos in my climate this year at least.

Lots more tomatoes in the direct seeded patches seem on the verge of ripening. Even in the May 16th seedings which were the last seedings. 
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Sungold F2 direct seeds ripe August 1 2017
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Sweet Cherriette ripening august 1 direct seeded
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Direct seeded tomatillo Mike's grex yellow tomatillo ripe august 1
 
William Schlegel
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Picked sungold F2, Krainiy Sever, 42 Days, and sweet Cherriette from the March Direct Seeded patch today.

Anmore dewdrop is about to ripen in another direct seeded patch.  

Interestingly I picked my first 42 days today from the transplant / frosted / resprouted patch plant next to my lone Jagodka plant. Also interesting the Blue ambrosia plant on the other side of the 42 days plant from the Jagodka is ripening it's first fruit- and it's got no blue, it's an early selection I suspect this plant missed out on blue. It has the exserted stigma's though! I'm going to let that fruit ripen another day. -update- second fruit same plant expressed the blue trait.
 
William Schlegel
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Picked the first anmore dewdrop today from the far north row direct seeded patch. Simultaneously picked a sweet Cherriette same patch. So far in three plantings sweet Cherriette has tied three times. Jagodka, sungold F2, and anmore dewdrop.

DTM is only the roughest of guidelines...

Got a Betalyuks from the March DS patch yesterday.

Today I got blue boar berry and yellow pear from the transplant frosted patch. Longer season types around 75 DTM. Which means the earliest start of the main tomato season has begun.

I've been saving tomato seeds. So far 7 different kinds of high interest but quantities still low.

Most interesting varieties for shortness of season so far:
Sweet Cherriette, Jagodka, Sungold F2, Anmore Dewdrop, tumbler f1, Krainiy sever, and 42 days

I should be back out in the field for my contract soon and the mater patch will be left to my family's care.

 
William Schlegel
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Top row of this photo is sungold f2, second row is Krainiy sever, third row is Jagodka, fourth row is sweet Cherriette left and 42 days right, fifth row is anmore dewdrop, betalyuks, coyote, a direct seeded potato leaf (picked today) from Joseph Lofthouse, and Blue Ambrosia.

Also picked some 4th of July from the direct seeded patch today. With Betalyuks, and the JL potato leaf thats three large tomato varieties before Siletz- though I do think there might be a twinge of color on Siletz. So Siletz early blooming and early fruit set didn't follow the pattern of the other two early bloomers- probably because the tomatoes are really quite large.

The March direct seeded patch is a pretty dense jungle in some areas. It will be hard to seed save from.

There is this urge to save seed from each and every variety but not every variety wi distinguish themselves.

If I can I will save all the seed from the 4 blue ambrosia plants with exserted stigmas.

I think next year's direct seeded planting may be 1. Entire row blue ambrosia. 2. Row split between dwarf hirsutum cross, Matina, JL potato leaf. 3. Row of 6 red shortest season tomatoes. 4. Row of 2 yellow / orange shortest season tomatoes. Then I will transplant in wild and promiscuous and fancy tomatoes. Might try to direct seed some wilds again- zero success this year.
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Seed saving some earlies.
 
William Schlegel
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I picked tomatoes from the last planted direct seeded patch yesterday. I got a huge bucket full of big red ones. Sometimes too much success is uninformative! As is 0% success! The tomato from last year that impressed me the most yesterday is Amurski Tigr. I can tell it apart because it has distinctive stripes. I bought one plant of it last year from the tomato lady at the Clark Fork Market in Missoula MT last year. I was excited about it because it was a pretty short season indeterminate with a fancy tomato feature- stripes. Anyway I had hoped to save some seeds but ended up only saving them as part of a grex. Then for the last seeded patch I mixed that grex with a landrace of Joseph's and another grex from California. It is mostly red tomatoes of decent size. I saw one blue tomato (not ripe), many red tomatoes, found one sungold descendent that might be one of Joseph's (saved some for seed). Then the Amurski Tigr was scattered throughout, also found it in a pure stand of the Grex in the March seeded area and as a true volunteer in the area of the original plant, and in the inside the fence planting of the same Grex. I think proportionately it's success is greater than it's percentage in the Grex!

Other cool thing I found was a direct seeded yellow pear plant in one of Joseph's landrace section of the March seeded patch. I imagined the pears to be a more pronounced shape than the strain I have and the flavor seemed really good (though honestly yellow pears are just good maters and it may just have been the joy of discovery). Might have to save that out separate.

So now that I have too much success what to do? Well I feel fortunate I was home and saving seed from the earliest. I know the 6 earliest and the 9 earliest maters and have seed saved of them. I also know that Fancy maters Amurski Tigr Indigo Kumquat F2 and Blue Ambrosia are early enough to be direct seeded. Promiscuity can come from Blue Ambrosia, PL Matina, and a Potato Leaved from Joseph's Landrace.

My wife worked hard to save seed from the special pile of tomatoes I had set aside to save seed from while I was gone and I've added to it now that I'm home. I don't know if I'll be able to individually save seed of all 75 kinds of tomatoes. So will probably end up with another grex- or not!

If I didn't get any more seeds saved I would still have enough for next year including some of the most promising! If I only get what I have piled at the tomato seed saving station I'll still be doing really well!

Flavor- best tasting tomatoes in my garden so far are Sungold descendants, yellow pear, pineapple (from my boss at the organic greenhouse this spring), blue gold, amethyst cream, blue ambrosia, and interesting- PL white shah and Michael Pollen. Of these I only consider sungold descendants and Blue ambrosia to be short enough season to direct seed. Though yellow pear did great direct seeded in Joseph's landrace area.

Indigo Kumquat F2 is a fancy tomato short enough season to direct seed but I haven't found any promiscuity or any exceptional flavor in it's segregating population yet.

Joseph shared with me F2 seeds of his hillbilly x Jagodka cross but of the few plants I have I haven't found one yet with the good flavor none have shown promiscuity or as good of earliness. I saved a few seeds and have more of the original to try again but I may have to find a silver dime for Joseph's selection from the cross- hillbilly is supposed to taste similar to Pineapple and pineapple is really good- except cracking prone. Having that in a shorter season version would be good- also Joseph's selection is promiscuous.

There is one thing I must still save seeds for- my wild tomato patch from Joseph. I need to check it for ripeness as some of the berries have been on a long time. One plant "Fast Father" has died all covered in berries. Possibly a pocket gopher or vole attack on the root system.

Back to too much success- not every plant had ripe fruit in the last direct seeded patch but many did. In the March direct seeded fruit I think it would be hard to find an unsuccessful variety that didn't germinate far too late. Roma VF which I planted for a control is doing just fine. Yellow Pear showed up in Joseph's landrace and is doing fine. So direct seeding works great in Montana in a good tomato year which this is. Shorter season varieties get ripe much sooner but even big beefsteaks are ripe now direct seeded. I wouldn't plant 90 or 100 day varieties but my ordinary 65 to 75 DTM varieties I normally transplant did fine. The super short season varieties I sought out last winter did more than fine in my opinion. I see a few squash leaves barely nipped by frost but the weather report looks good and the tomatoes will continue for awhile!

So to grow again by direct seeding next year of what I tried this year:

earliest:
Sweet Cherriette
Jagodka
sungold F3
Anmore Dewdrop

Almost as early:
Tumbler F2
Krainiy Sever
42 Days
Coyote
forest fire

Promiscuous and early enough to direct seed:
Blue Ambrosia
PL Matina
JL potato leaf

Fancy and early enough to direct seed:
Blue Ambrosia
Amurski Tigr

tasty and early enough to direct seed:
Sungold descendents
Blue Ambrosia
Possibly yellow pear (in a good year like this one!)

Other interesting:
Dwarf Hirsutum Cross "jeepers" exceptionally healthy plants and worked direct seeded.








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Trying to sell some excess tomatoes!
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Saving some Blue Ambrosia seed- saving All the blue ambrosia seed
 
William Schlegel
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Got nine bags of tomatoes from the direct seeded. 8 of those from outside the fence protected only by squash vines!

Got 13 bags total with the ones that I transplanted. Though some direct seeded crept into those bags too as direct seeded plants are mixed into those sections.

I think that's it for me this year. Frost probably Sunday morning.

This direct seeding thing worked better than I could have imagined! I hope the food bank doesn't feel overwhelmed by the ones I can't use, sell, or give away!
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9 bags direct seeded tomatoes
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All 13 bags
 
pollinator
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Good job William!
 
pollinator
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Forgive the ignorant question, but many of Joseph's plants are different colors than I am used to.  How do I know when they are ripe?  Esp something like tomatoes that I don't eat.  If a tomato isn't red, I don't know how to tell if it's ripe.
 
William Schlegel
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Todd Parr wrote:Forgive the ignorant question, but many of Joseph's plants are different colors than I am used to.  How do I know when they are ripe?  Esp something like tomatoes that I don't eat.  If a tomato isn't red, I don't know how to tell if it's ripe.


I bought my mom some fancy tomato seeds a few years ago for her birthday and she was seriously under impressed with the green when ripe ones for this very reason Todd!

So a couple quick thoughts! If you find something in a landrace you don't like for whatever reason- don't save the seeds of those ones. Doesn't mean you can't landrace garden if say you only like red tomatoes. Lots of folks around here want their tomatoes red!

If you have a landrace feel free to customize it by adding in your old favorites and standbys. Once it's growing in my garden I reckon it's on its way to adapting to my garden and my tastes!

Lastly the green when ripe, yellow wen ripe, pale yellow when ripe, pink when ripe, and orange when ripe tomatoes in my garden this year- if it changes color it's getting ripe. This might be pale green to dark green. However the true test with tomatoes for me is to give that fruit a gentle little squeeze. If it's soft it's ripe.
 
Todd Parr
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William Schlegel wrote:

Lastly the green when ripe, yellow wen ripe, pale yellow when ripe, pink when ripe, and orange when ripe tomatoes in my garden this year- if it changes color it's getting ripe. This might be pale green to dark green. However the true test with tomatoes for me is to give that fruit a gentle little squeeze. If it's soft it's ripe.


Excellent information, thanks.
 
William Schlegel
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Some of the tomato plants froze but many did not. I picked a few more bags of tomatoes yesterday.

I've been seed saving the tomatoes all summer really but also some of the recent excess in a grex!

If you should want any seeds from this project I'm certainly willing to trade seeds this winter.
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Picked more yesterday
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Saved a few bags worth from the biggest picking that I couldn't use all of or give away.
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Resulting giant blob of seeds?! Comparable to the lost 10,000 strong herd Joseph?
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Seed saved this stuff if you want to trade
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Happy plants don't know they weren't supposed to make it this long
 
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Hola, I've adapted a 'plum' tomato family heirloom originally from Sanandaj, western Iran, via a decade in London, England, to high desert in Albuquerque, central New Mexico.  It was a low-intensity though all-fronts multi-year effort, with successive direct-seeding & indoor starts transplants (last frost between Mar & May) plus tarps over late crop some earlier frost years (first frost Sep-Nov).  Some years they were an impenetrable viney thicket and/ or reached the roof, others they were small & almost self-upright.  However, I always selected the first ripe fruit and over 20 years eventually managed to bring a crop in just as monsoon was expected in early July.  As I shifted to relying on a larger crop for my starts operation & our kitchen, I also noticed more volunteers around and tended to those.  Though not quite the season-extension/ hothouse-tomato locals were bringing to market, they sure met our needs well across a long season.  Unfortunately, during those 20 years more and more monsoons started failing (higher salinity in metered water) and last decade night-time highs in summer stopped typically falling into high 60's often staying in high 70's for weeks.  A hot season dormancy set in which split my crop into early and late.  Having branched out elsewhere for a while I'm now facing a totally different climate again.  Best, Patrik
 
Andrew Barney
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William, Just sent you a PM on the Homegrown Goodness plant breeding forum. Send me your address. Ready to send you some seeds!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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William Schlegel wrote:Resulting giant blob of seeds?! Comparable to the lost 10,000 strong herd Joseph? 


Uh... No! That's looking more like 100,000! hee hee hee

And regarding how to tell if something is ripe... I don't have anything to add to the comments about color change and softness on tomatoes. However, I can't tell with watermelons. I want to convert my watermelons into something so that when the skin turns yellow that I know they are ripe and ready to eat.

With winter squash, if the skin is too hard to poke my fingernail into, then it's ready.

 
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