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Direct Seeded Tomato Breeding Project Year 2  RSS feed

 
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Today I direct seeded tomatoes for the second year in a row. Last year the project worked too well. Everything worked!

So one tomato that worked well direct seeded last year was called Blue Ambrosia an experimental not yet stable variety from J&L gardens in New Mexico. The other neat thing was that 4 out of 5 plants had highly exserted stigmas. This is important because Joseph Lofthouse has pointed out to us that this trait greatly increases the out-crossing rate. Not only that but I dabbed pollen on the exposed stigmas from potentially interesting parents including some fun things like wild species from Joseph, Jagodka, and sweet cherriette the shortest season tomato I found last year. Then I saved all the seeds from the five plants I had in 2017. So I planted a few seeds indoors but today I direct seeded virtually all the seeds of Blue Ambrosia- save for one small backup packet.

This spring is drier than last so far. I am planting the seed now on April 20 because last year the last frost came on May 15th but the tomatoes germinated ten days before then- and Survived that frost!. So it's 25 days or so till May 15th and that gives the seedlings the chance to germinate in about ten days and then grow for ten days and be about an inch high for the last frost. Thereby potentially giving them a ten day jump start on the growing season.

I seeded 8 rows and paced out about 19 paces for a row. My pace stride is about 3 feet. That gives us about 450 feet of row. I'm guessing I planted at least 1000 seeds.

I doubled the space between rows over last year- I hope to use the rototiller to cut the chore of weeding the patch down in time.

I'll plant a hedge of squash all the way around to deter deer.

The last handful of seeds once they stopped flowing through the seeder I found a little spot in the fenced garden and direct seeded by hand poking them in with my fingers.

It will be interesting to find out if there are any interesting hybrids in the Blue Ambrosia patch this year! They should be recognizable by traits not found in the original parents like very large or very small fruits or unusual leaves in the case of a wild hybrid. I seeded on ground where I grew cucumbers and squash last year so there should not be any volunteer tomatoes confounding the results.

Another fun thing I'd I've seeded a whole flat of potato leaved tomatoes with exserted stigmas from seed I saved last year. Half to a variety called Matina and half to a plant I found in Joseph's landrace last year which I am calling by the longwinded name "Joseph Lofthouse potato leaved with exserted stigma that I direct seeded in 2017" ok you are right that's a description not a name! Any regular leaved seedlings will be hybrids. Though this year will not be a direct seeded year for these. If I get a good rate of regular leaf seedlings this could be a good breeding method!
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Tomato seeder plate
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About 1000 seeds?
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Seeder at work
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Seeding the field
 
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Good luck on the seed growth! So that seeder grabs 1 seed on each revolution as you walk it along, giving you even seed placement? Pretty cool, beats my measure by hand on my hands and knees that I did a couple weeks back for some osage orange hedges!

I wonder if you could space the rows closer every other row, "square foot gardening" style, so you have 2 rows with no space between them, then a normal walking space and then 2 more rows together? As the plants fill out they would shade out (hopefully) the weeds, and you would only need half the space for paths/weeds?
 
William Schlegel
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In my 1/10 acre inside the fence garden I plant things in a lazy hybrid of square foot gardening, grow biointensive gardening, and just scattering the seed over the 4 foot wide beds. Been doing it that way for years. Last year the tomato jungle beds in there were planted on eyeball ed 1 foot centers both direct seeded and transplanted. Definitely worked. Though takes a lot of watering and hand weeding. Intensive gardening = intensive work.

Trying a different style with the garden expansion area outside the fence you see pictured in my first post to this thread. Part of the wide spacing may be because I have half a mind not to water these tomatoes. Another part is I hope to minimize the hand weeding out in the garden expansion area because I have minimal time. I plan to weed the tomatoes just once which is what I got done last year. So this year I want to roll the rototiller down the center of each path for that one weeding. Then just hand weed along the actual row. Assuming I'll wait to long again to effectively employ the new wheel hoe for a second year in a row.
 
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Hi William, I'm planting your direct seed tomatoes this year in my garden.  How much before my 50% likelihood last frost should I put them in the ground? 

My location has a 50% chance of 36 degrees up until June 2nd, 32 degrees up until May 21st and 28 degrees up until May 4th.  I always go with the 32 degree number but maybe that's the wrong temp to worry about?

Thanks!
 
William Schlegel
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Hi Mike,

What I found last year by planting seeds in March was that they germinated about ten days before the last frost and Survived the frost at about 1 inch in height. To me that means planting about twenty days before your average last frost. My main reason for not planting in March again was that planting in March meant I weeded three times before the seeds even germinated.

I have to profess my ignorance about 50% chance of last frost, I haven't used that figure.

I also direct seeded last year on the day after the last frost- that actually worked great too, though the plants that survived the last frost as inch high seedlings were much ahead.

Also even if many seedlings are killed by frost there should be some that germinate late. Though it's also fine to hold back some seed and do successive sowings. That's what I did last year.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks William, most people here don't plant out tomatoes till early June.  I guess I'll do a staggered planting starting in mid May and see what happens.  I'll plant on my desired 2' spacing really early, then plant 3" away 10 days later, then another seed nearby 10 days later, and so on.  If they all make it, cull the younger ones.  If frost gets the two older ones, the youngest will still be my food (plus I'll save seed from the oldest survivors).
 
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What's the temperature where you're at, William? I want to give this a shot in western Washington but I'm not sure when to sow
 
William Schlegel
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James Landreth wrote:What's the temperature where you're at, William? I want to give this a shot in western Washington but I'm not sure when to sow



78 f today! 60 something tomorrow. I'm in 2012 USDA zone map 6a in Western Montana. Average date of last frost here is may 15 and it was exactly that last year. If in doubt sow now. That's what I did last year. I sowed some in march- that was too early. Actually germination started at least 10 days before the last frost. It worked out. Inch high seedlings are either tough or luckier than taller plants. This spring has been much colder than last with the last few days an exception.
 
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Have you tried the squash hedge before? If so, did it work to keep the deer out? I think it is a brilliant idea and I'd like to try. My only worry is cross pollinating my precious squashes with hedge squash.

On a different squash note... Perhaps I need to save more seed of my precious strains and manure pile plant my less precious ones for feed?
 
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I will be interested in seeing the results come in the fall. My location has the frosts about a week later in spring and a week sooner in the fall. I'd say your trial may be applicable to gardening here. I look forward to seeing the results.
 
William Schlegel
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Jenn Wright-Ford wrote:Have you tried the squash hedge before? If so, did it work to keep the deer out? I think it is a brilliant idea and I'd like to try. My only worry is cross pollinating my precious squashes with hedge squash.

On a different squash note... Perhaps I need to save more seed of my precious strains and manure pile plant my less precious ones for feed?



Yep it's how I did it last year! I used maxima squashes. Do you know what species your precious squashes are? If you didn't want to do a whole hedge of them you could use another squash species.

This year most of my hedge will be Joseph Lofthouse buttercups I seed saved from last year which is probably the most precious strain I grew.

 
William Schlegel
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Collin Wolfe wrote:I will be interested in seeing the results come in the fall. My location has the frosts about a week later in spring and a week sooner in the fall. I'd say your trial may be applicable to gardening here. I look forward to seeing the results.



Take a look at the thread I made for last year's attempt Collin. https://permies.com/mobile/t/62189/Direct-Seeding-Tomatoes-Frost-Free

Shortest season ones were sweet cherriette, jagodka, Anmore dewdrop, tumbler f1, sungold f2, 42 days,  and ditmarsher. Little longer and you can include forest fire, and krainiy sever.
 
William Schlegel
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Tomatillos and one tomato have germinated as volunteers from last year. None of the deliberately seeded tomatoes are up yet. Volunteers are great I'm happy to have them. That may be the ultimate goal of this project- tomatoes that reliably plant themselves.

Weather conditions are similar to last year. 15 day forcast shows no frost (this can change it did last year) Soil has decent moisture. This is about when tomatoes started to germinate last year- about ten days before the last frost- which they survived as inch high seedlings.

If history repeats itself this is just the first of many direct seeded tomato seedlings.

Last year I direct seeded the last batch on May 16th. So if you are at a similar latitude and want to try this- plant now it is not too late.
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The lone tomato seedling
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Tomatillo seedlings
 
William Schlegel
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Last year a plant in a direct seeded patch of Joseph Lofthouse landrace tomatoes had potato leaves and a exserted stigma. So I saved the seeds and planted them in a seedling tray. Today I think I found one or two regular leaf seedlings. If so they would be F1 hybrids. The percentage is low though there are only two suspects so far in the whole tray.

Using this same principle that potato leaf is recessive to regular leaf I found two suspect seedlings amongst the seedlings of Brad tomato from Joseph lofthouse. One has fern like leaves and Joseph has a variety he calls Fern. This is a bit remniscent of that. Though I am growing Fern, Silvery Fir Tree, and Fern x habrochaites as well all of which have the fern like leaves and I know I drop the ocassional seed. However if I didn't drop a seed and they are hybrids next year's F2 seedlings will segregate and a few of them will be potato leaved.

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Suspected naturally occuring F1 hybrid, regular leafed?
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Suspected Brad X Fern and Brad X ? In my Brad section
 
William Schlegel
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Also took some photos of some of the wild and wild cross seedlings. Also one tray of domestics with Brad X Yellow Pear in front and then blue ambrosia, big hill, and some amethyst jewel in behind.
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Fern x hab F3 Andrew
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Brad X Yellow Pear
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F2 Penellii x Domestic and cornelio x peruvianum
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BC1, G3 Fern x Hab, and G2 hab x Domestic
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Habrochaites clump from last year
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Cornelio x peruvianum f2 clump
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Cornelio-muelleri x peruvianum f1 clump from original packet
 
William Schlegel
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The Blue Ambrosia tomatoes I direct seeded are up and growing. Good chance we are past last frost. Also have volunteer tomatoes, volunteer wild tomatoes which are F2 Cornelio-muelleri x Peruvianum, and volunteer tomatillos up.

Started transplanting some transplants today- many of them related to this project in the long term. Put out some wild tomatoes and wild hybrids. Planted the wild ones into the same bed as last year where the volunteers are. Some of them are F2 or F3 hybrids from Joseph and Andrew. Should be very fun to watch them grow. There is Fern x habrochaites, domestic x habrochaites, and domestic x penellii. There is also a cross Joseph calls BC1 which is a bit complicated but it is coming out as both habrochaites leaved and Peruvianum leaved. So far my oldest three are habrochaites leaved.

 
William Schlegel
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Here is a Blue Ambrosia seedling picture from Sunday. It's a little blurry.
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Direct Seeded Seedling may 20th
 
Mike Jay
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Hi William, the three batches of seeds I planted mostly all sprouted.  Despite being planted over the course of three weeks they are all about the same size (1" high).  We haven't had a frost in a month and we're past the "normal" last frost date. 

Are these indeterminate varieties?  I'm trying to figure out if I need to get some cages ready or not.  Thx!
 
William Schlegel
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Mike Jay wrote:Hi William, the three batches of seeds I planted mostly all sprouted.  Despite being planted over the course of three weeks they are all about the same size (1" high).  We haven't had a frost in a month and we're past the "normal" last frost date. 

Are these indeterminate varieties?  I'm trying to figure out if I need to get some cages ready or not.



Hi Mike,

I checked our Purple Moosages and it looks like I sent you Anmore Dewdrop, Sweet Cherriette, and F3 Sungold or thereabouts. Did I throw in any other tomatoes? Anmore Dewdrop is semi determinate with petite plants. Sweet Cherriette is indeterminate but plants were small, and Sungolds are hmm- some of the F2's stopped producing in a very determinate sort of way. The way I grew tomatoes last year only my long season tomatoes really benefited from tomato cages. Nothing direct seeded much needed or got caged. Though some of the big direct seeded planting could have benefited from cages, but none of the three I mentioned above would much need a cage. When I had tons and tons of direct seeded plants last year I didn't cage much because honestly I don't own enough cages. Last year I caged what I could but also found that tomato cages are really useful for peas and favas. That said I should probably pop on a cage here and there just for show if nothing else. Might do it about the end of June when I have a little time off.

Mine are about 1 inch to three inches high with volunteers still popping up with each good rain event. My focus this year is on trying to grow lots of the Blue Ambrosia which I thought/think based on the observed nature of its exserted style should have a high outcrossing rate. So I literally just have a few or a clump of some of the most promising 2017 varieties for use as pollen donors and I started them inside.

Right now I am fighting weeds between schoolwork and getting ready for a work trip as soon as finals are over and my BCS rototiller won't start. Will get as much done as I can.
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Mowing between rows of direct seeded tomatoes
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Mowed
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Rototilling with electric my BCS needs taken in
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Tilled and mowing more still no squash hedge
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Volunteer tomatoes and tomatillos
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Transplants by comparison
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks William!  Those were three of the 5 you sent.  Jagodka and 42 days were the others.   I didn't start any inside so they are all quite small still.  Knowing that they tend to be semi determinate or at least smaller, I'll skip building more cages for them.  If they get too big I'll cobble something up.  Good luck with your tiller, that looks like some robust weed pressure
 
William Schlegel
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Mike Jay wrote:Thanks William!  Those were three of the 5 you sent.  Jagodka and 42 days were the others.   I didn't start any inside so they are all quite small still.  Knowing that they tend to be semi determinate or at least smaller, I'll skip building more cages for them.  If they get too big I'll cobble something up.  Good luck with your tiller, that looks like some robust weed pressure



Jagodka and 42 days are both determinate, my plants last year were pretty small. My 2017 Jagodka strain is potentially different from Joseph's. I got it from a different source in a seed trade.
 
William Schlegel
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Some of my volunteer and direct seeded tomatoes are blooming. Would not be surprised to get a ripe fruit by early august. Interestingly, my transplanted tomatoes are much closer to the direct seeded this year. They are larger, and have more blooms, but otherwise are not much further ahead. They didn't freeze to the ground this year, but also were not as large of plants when outplanted.

I am struggling to weed the big direct seeded patch right now. I mowed and rototilled a strip between each row, then hoed one row or 1/8th of it last night. The big patch is all saved seed from Blue Ambrosia which had the most exserted style plants in my 2017 garden. Only a few of these are blooming with the weed pressure. Mainly where I weeded earlier.

The tomatoes grown from seed I saved from Blue Ambrosia last year have far fewer exserted stigma/style than last year. Last year about 4/5 had the trait. Now I havent calculated it precisely yet but would not be surprised if that is flipped. This is evidence towards outcrossing which is what I hoped for. Final evidence will be size, color, and shape of the ripe fruit.

As transplants I planted the remnant of the original packet interspersed with Joseph Lofthouse's Big Hill and that remnant seems to have the original distribution of the trait. Big Hill has the trait as well, so offspring of this patch should have open flowers even when crossed. Joseph is of course the one who's posts got me looking for open flowers in my tomatoes.

I also got my squash hedge planted, very late. Maximas, Moschatas, and Maximoss.

Tomatillos are coming along nicely.
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Weedy direct seeded patch
 
William Schlegel
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Got one row weeded. 169 plants uncovered if I count the tiny ones.

Found 12 blooming plants. Of those only two retained the exserted style trait. Hope that means hybrids.

I think I will hoe the remaining rows retaining only big plants or plants I have already marked as this was my best row.
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One row weeded
 
Mike Jay
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Here's my bed.  I planted the 5 types of seeds at three different times to try to test how early they could go out.  Unfortunately despite planting them 2 weeks before our average last frost, it never frosted to test them.  The earliest and second earliest planting generally gave the biggest plants so far.  I haven't culled any yet since they haven't touched crowns.  In the back of the picture (yellow arrow) are two transplanted tomatoes.  All of my transplants have flowers and about half have small fruit.  The direct seeded ones are probably two weeks away from flowering.  Our spring was a bit late but once it warmed up it has been warmer and drier than usual.
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Direct seeded tomato bed
 
Mike Jay
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Mike Jay wrote:The direct seeded ones are probably two weeks away from flowering.


Ha!  I was only off by about 11 days.  Just saw a flower out there on one and several flower buds on a few others.

So, now for the plant breeding question...

In each location (2 locations per cultivar) I planted two seeds on X minus 2 weeks, two more on X minus 1 week and the last pair of seeds on X=last frost date.  We never got a frost.  Generally two or three seeds germinated and grew.  Now it's time to cull each spot down to one plant.  Should I:

Keep the largest plant from the earliest plantings or keep the largest plant regardless of when it was planted?  Or wait and keep the first to flower from each set?  I'm thinking that the largest plant from the earliest planting would select for early germination in colder soil.  I'm thinking the largest plant from the latest planting selects for quicker growth.  Maybe it doesn't matter since I didn't have a frost to really test them out?

What's a guy to do...
 
William Schlegel
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Mike your garden looks awesome.


I usually just keep all the plants and wait and see what happens. When it's time to save seed I definitely save more seed from my favorites.

 
Mike Jay
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Thanks William!  I guess I'll see if anyone else has an opinion before I just pick favorites and go with the heart, not the head.
 
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If you planted standard highly inbred varieties of tomatoes, I guess it doesn't matter much which plant you choose to keep, since they are more or less clones within the variety. But if a particular cultivar is thriving, while other cultivars are pikers. I'd concentrate more next year on the cultivar that is doing great. However "great" is defined.
 
William Schlegel
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Mike of what I sent you only the F3 Sungold should be highly variable genetically. They are more varieties that may be potentially good short season breeding material then a variable population for selection.

I planted everything very close together last year hoping for a decent out crossing rate. I did not get a decent out crossing rate based on the following:

I had one strain I pulled out of Josephs land race I called "lofthouse potato leaved exserted". With potato leaved plants all f1 hybrids with regular leaf plants have regular leaves. I planted all the seed I saved from it and I got two hybrids. This was less than one percent. Then I tried the same thing with a similar variety called potato leaved Matina and got no hybrids. This tells us that my out crossing rate was pretty low amongst normal or close to normal tomatoes. Which is what I sent you.

Though it is still important even with inbred tomatoes to save seed from good plants. Mutation rates are just high enough to make this important for variatal maintenance. They are somewhat similar to clones but not true clones. Even true clones get some mutations. 

I still have hope for Blue Ambrosia to have a high out crossing rate (particularly with some of the varieties I sent Mike) but it had the most extreme form of exserted flowers I found in my 2017 plants. It also was not very stable to begin with. The 5 or 6 plants I grew last year varied in fruit color, anthocyanin, and the exserted trait. The fruit size was pretty consistent. I suspect this year that earlier or later plants, plants with closed flowers, and plants with larger or smaller fruits, may be hybrids. Red fruits may be hybrids as well but I did get at least one red fruit last year. Even if I get just one hybrid, tomato plants produce so much seed that I could potentially plant my whole garden with that seed- which is kind of what I've done this year with the Blue Ambrosia.

I am kind of hopeful that the earliest Blue Ambrosia to flower and fruit with closed flowers may be just what I want- hybrids with varieties like Jagodka, 42 days, and sweet cherriette. I really only need one!

With the potato leaved plants I have now four suspect plants that should be hybrids. Two regular leaf descendents of potato leaved Lofthouse exserted and two putative descendents of "brad". In the latter case there is some potential I may have dropped a seed. However, I can save the seed, and then test it by growing out 100 seeds or so. Roughly a quarter of the seedlings should segregate back to potato leaved. If all four plants pass this test- I could save enough seed from the four plants to plant an entire large tomato garden next year. I won't do that because there are just too many other interesting tomatoes in my garden, but the principle is sound, and I might do a whole row that way.
 
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Thanks gentlemen!  So I'll just go with the most robust plants that have the earliest flowers.  If tomatoes are this inbreeding, it seems like it's a waste of time to put wedding favor baggies over my tomato blossoms to ensure they come out true to type. 
 
William Schlegel
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Mike Jay wrote:Thanks gentlemen!  So I'll just go with the most robust plants that have the earliest flowers.  If tomatoes are this inbreeding, it seems like it's a waste of time to put wedding favor baggies over my tomato blossoms to ensure they come out true to type. 



The need to bag or maintain proper isolation distances depends on your garden's suite of pollinators. I get a  good diversity of bees but one breeder from Michigan or Minessota I think mentioned a particular species that chews through the anther cone to rob pollen amping up the outcrossing rate.

It also depends on how open your tomato flowers are and this can vary over time. I bought a sungold and a sunsugar plant this spring at the hardware store. They were sitting in water and had exserted styles. Now they don't anymore. Many beefsteak types have some messy giant double blooms early in the season. These can be more prone to outcrossing. One correspondent on Alan bishop proboards recommended saving only seed from such flowers which result in large messy tomatoes to get a higher outcrossing rate. Or the reverse to keep things separate.

It's also not uncommon to accidentally select a rare hybrid for seed saving- they are often noticeably "better" plants. That could be where a lot of within variety variation comes from. So even if my outcrossing rate is say 0.25 % and 1000 plants are grown out, and one plant seems better- so I save seed from that one, it might be a hybrid and go undetected especially when both parents have red round fruit and regular leaves. Even with tomatoes that should be easy to keep straight they aren't always. Like there are potato and regular leafed strains of many varieties with the same name floating around. Probably the result of past hybridizations or mutations.


 
William Schlegel
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Plugging away at weeding the direct seeded tomato patch. About half way done, though it's becoming a exercise in decreasing rewards as I've weeded the best rows and plants first.
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Partially weeded tomato patch
 
Mike Jay
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Here's my quick update.  I have pictures if anyone wants to see them (they're nothing special).  My year has been much hotter and drier than normal.  No frost hit any of these plants.

F3 Sungolds have the biggest plants (18" tall) and 1-2 blooming flower clusters.  Might need to stake/trellis them.

42 Days have 12 blooming flower clusters per plant and some marble sized green fruit.

Jagodka have 2-3 blooming clusters and some tiny fruit.

Anmore Dewdrop have 8 blooming clusters and are the second tiniest plants (but very healthy).

Sweet Cherriette has 1-15 blooming clusters (quite variable), have the daintiest plants and some micro fruit.
 
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So I planted these vaguely around May 15th (3 weeks before I planted out the transplants).  No frost.  I got my first cherry tomatoes off of transplanted tomatoes today.  I've picked about 12 full sized tomatoes from other transplants.  My transplanted cherry tomatoes aren't in the best soil.  Pictures for each variety are of two planting spots.  I never thinned them so sometimes there are 4 plants in the picture.  So most of the green in the picture is of the intended variety, ignore the plants around the edges.

Sungold F3: Fairly big plants (compared to the others), tomatoes are getting hints of light green to yellow in spots.

42 days: Covered with tomatoes and should ripen first.  Bigger than cherry tomatoes.  Not sure what "42 days" refers to, they're currently about 70 days old

Jagodka:  Lots of flowers and some green fruit

Anmore Dewdrop:  Even more flowers and a good amount of green fruit

Sweet Cheriette:  Seems like two different plants.  One is tall and lanky, the other is smaller and covered with flowers

For reference the last picture is of some Lofthouse tomatoes that were transplanted.  I can't remember the variety but I can look it up if needed.
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Sungold F3
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42 Days
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Jagodka
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Anmore Dewdrop
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Sweet Cheriette
Lofthouses.jpg
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Lofthouse
 
William Schlegel
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I just came back from a long work trip. Tomatoes survived my absence. Since I didn't direct seed the earliest of the earlies, my direct seeded plants have green fruit at best. My earliest volunteer may be a yellow pear based on its green fruit shape.

Picked a few early tomatoes to save seed from, from my transplanted patch. Joseph: Brad is a very early tomato for me too. Got a few fruit from a regular leaf plant that sprouted amongst my Brad seedlings. It was very early as well.

My direct seeded and volunteer plants are quite variable. Hope that means some hybridization. 

Mike, your garden looks great. My sweet cherriette last year were variable like that.

 
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Mike Jay wrote:

42 days: Covered with tomatoes and should ripen first.  Bigger than cherry tomatoes.  Not sure what "42 days" refers to, they're currently about 70 days old



Just to weigh in as to what I think "42 days" means. I think it is that the variety was named after days to maturity after transplant. If Sweet Cherriette had been named for the same thing it might be called "35 days". So I only had two 42 days plants last year but I had a lot of Sweet Cherriette. I believe the hype but only with the following stipulations: must be started 8 weeks not six before transplant, must have perfect potting soil and garden soil, transplants must be transplanted frequently or started as single sown seeds in a pot large enough to outplant, temperature and fertilization must be done perfectly, no disease or unusual weather events allowed. So amongst many many starts last year I maybe approached this level of perfection with two or three sweet Cherriette plants.

This year I started a clump of each of the super earliest tomatoes from last year just to keep them in the garden for pollen and for seed saving. The sweet Cherriette clump isn't ripe yet! It's been eclipsed by Brad tomatoes I actually transplanted into single cells in a timely manner. So I guess what I have learned is DTM is a rough guideline that kind of works if you aren't a rule breaker. For us rule breakers it helps somewhat to identify tomatoes that might be quick enough to withstand some rule breaking. Like crowding, not watering, not fertilizing, not weeding, not transplanting, and just direct seeding instead of transplanting at all! Under my torture regimen it seems to me that a 55 DTM tomato can be just as early as a 35 DTM tomato.

So my tomato clumps this year aren't as fast in general as my single plant tomatoes. I guess thinning is important after all! Why did I get the Brad transplanted? I spotted a couple hybrids so transplanted the whole clump. I got a few fruits from the hybrid and from brad. Definitely very early tomatoes, I've loaded them into my seed saving que. I also got a few tomatoes from earl''s strain of Jagodka, and one from anmore dewdrop. Got four tomatoes from three transplanted plants of Blue Ambrosia. I was hopeful the earliest of these would be hybrids but no definitive sign of that!

 
William Schlegel
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It's August 7th and I just found my first direct seeded ripe tomatoes.
20180807_193643.jpg
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Ripe Blue Ambrosia tomatoes direct seeded
 
Mike Jay
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It's August 9th and I just found my first ripe direct seeded tomato.  A Sweet Cherriette (from the more compact bush on the right in my pictures).
 
William Schlegel
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So I am saving seed from the Blue Ambrosia experiment. Most of it so far is from transplanted indivuduals with just a few from the big direct seeded planting. I have six segregates so far:

Big red with a hint of blue

Big red with no blue

Apricot with a hint of blue

Dark blue with apricot

Apricot with no blue a probable reversion to Ambrosia Gold

Small red no blue, probably mostly a regular leaf Brad descendent I planted with the Blue Ambrosia and then accidentally picked some of mixing with Blue Ambrosia tomatoes.

Of these I suspect the two Big Red types are the most likely hybrids.

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Blue Ambrosia descendents with some accidentally mixed in Brad descendents
 
William Schlegel
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It's raining today which made seed collecting impractical. So I went to a used book store and found a 1971 edition of the ruth stout No Work Garden Book. The book is authored by ruth stout and Richard Clemence. I had remembered an old Ruth Stout story about a tomato that never left the garden- that story isn't in the modern reprints because they left out Richards addition. Anyway his tomato that he buried in mulch each fall next to a stake, then planted was the variety Ponderosa which interestingly was known for having an exserted stigma.
 
Oh, sure, you could do that. Or you could eat some pie. While reading this tiny ad:
Solar ovens, haybox cooker - What would you build to go with a rocket oven?
https://permies.com/t/89917/Solar-ovens-haybox-cooker-build
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