Open Source Plant Breeding Forum

General Category => Plant Breeding => Tomatoes => Topic started by: William S. on 2018-12-01, 06:50:07 AM

Title: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2018-12-01, 06:50:07 AM
I've been direct seeding tomatoes for two years. The first year I tried about 70 kinds thinking it would be a bit of a breeding project. Wasn't, turned out in my climate in that year it worked great. Most tomatoes worked. I'm thinking now that tomatoes can be direct seeded, it's just a bit of a different game than transplants. It also may not work for everyone.

So in 2018 I grew out and identified some F1s from known mothers and unknown father's from 2017 using exserted stigma varieties as the mothers.

In 2019 I think I will plant a portion of the F2 population in a bed to be dry farmed. I'm hoping some will do better than others and it will be the start of an experiment towards a grex of tomatoes that do well with that.

The second part of this is wild tomatoes. I got a few seeds back from two wild crosses I got from Joseph and Andrew in 2017. I abused the parents by not watering much. These seeds are more precious to me, but I plan to repeat that. I will do them as transplants because I have no evidence that transplanting reduces the ability to direct seed in future generations. However if I get a dozen seedlings from each of the two mothers, I may put four in each of three treatments.

Then there are Solanum Peruvianum complex tomatoes. They seem to produce seedlings as volunteers even for Joseph who doesn't get many tomato volunteers or have much luck with direct seeding. It's possible that they could have genetics that could extend the direct seeding of tomatoes to areas that that doesn't work in now.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-06, 05:47:09 AM
My direct seeded dry farmed field is doing very well if a little late this year. First sign of a few plants drying out. Lots of flowers, some fruit set.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-06, 05:52:31 AM
Soil quality really matters for this. My native soil needs sand addition it seems to grow healthy plants consistently. Shallow spots in the field without sand addition are growing inadequate plants. Native soil has a 7 inch plow layer for topsoil and a 5.6 inch water holding capacity. So I am adding more sand to the poor performing parts of the field.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-22, 09:46:38 PM
Got the second picking of ripe and ripening tomatoes off the direct seeded dry farmed patch today August 22. First was two tomatoes alost a week ago. This was about a dozen.

Picked one of the stripey ones green. Possible descendent of green vernissage or similar. Exserted though.

Tried to sort for exsertedness. One of the difficulties is I think some of the plants are determinate and have stopped blooming. Did get three or four indeterminate exserted tomatoes into a separate bag including the possible green vernissage descendant. 

Still haven't gotten a real wild or half wild ripe tomato from the transplant patch.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Lauren on 2019-08-23, 10:05:14 AM
My one dry gardened tomato this year. It was actually watered once because I thought the pepper next to it needed water. Other than that, rainwater only (one storm this year at the beginning of August) so approximately two months dry. The first blossoms came out this week and I'm not sure that mess will even be capable of pollination. :) It was a volunteer that I transplanted from another location.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Lauren on 2019-08-23, 10:10:52 AM
My direct seeded dry farmed field is doing very well if a little late this year. First sign of a few plants drying out. Lots of flowers, some fruit set.
The three years I've been doing a dry garden, the plants have always been a couple weeks behind those planted in the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and now tepary beans are all behind.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-23, 06:40:17 PM
The three years I've been doing a dry garden, the plants have always been a couple weeks behind those planted in the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and now tepary beans are all behind.

I think my control kind of failed due to my timidity in watering it. Irrigation seems like it does speed things up, especially if applied early in the season. As does transplanting. A lot of what a transplanted tomato gets is 6 to 8 weeks more or less of irrigation and frost protection.

Also and I think this may be important: lack of irrigation may reorder which varieties are the shortest season. My evidence for this is my single variety standard I added to the mix: sweet cherriette. In 2017 sweet cherriette at least matched the earliness of any othsr variety. Now in thia scenario and year it is present, but was superseeded. This possibility intrigues me and I wonder if I should continue this direct seeded dry farmed experiment into subsequent years? Also at what scale? I might reduce it down to a single row. So 1/10 the currentire scale or less. Continue it, but grow most tomatoes in other ways. Or maybe keep dry farming the whole plot but do 9/10ths from transplant. Then could seed the one direct seeded row with less than 1/10 of an ounce of seed. Might also be interesting to try dry farming with penellii hybrids, peruvianum, and arcanum. I have the one pureish penellii plant and it may be either itself something like 75% or crossing with the nearby penellii hybrids to produce that in the next generation, or perhaps 5/8ths. It's seed should be interesting to grow out a lot of as should that of my other producing penellii cross plants. It seems like dry farming penellii derivitives would be a really good use of that genome, and might help to keep those genes responsible for desert adaptation in the population. However, don't think it's short enough season for direct seeding yet. If can find some arcanum that is crossed with peruvianum next year, may have a very interesting F2 of those two species in 2021. Peruvianum may be short enough season for direct seeding. However, this year did not germinate in a timely manner from volunteers. One or two early watering might help with that. Essentially need a one inch rain event around may 5th and maybe a second may 15th if too cold on the 5th. Though often my well is out of comission then. Then could continue dry farmed once seed was germinated. Or you could germinate a few seeds inside and set them out as truly tiny transplants with just Cotyledens. Then dry farm them. If I dry farmed a lot of peruvianum, arcanum, and penellii might get some hybrids as Joseph pointed out that peruvianum may accept penellii pollen.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: reed on 2019-08-24, 07:56:31 AM
I don't know how drought in my climate compares with the dryness in your climates but I'm definitely noticing that tomatoes fair better in it than most other things. Most of mine have not been watered at all and are producing pretty good. Most other crops except corn would have simply croaked without it.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Lauren on 2019-08-24, 10:28:24 AM
Reed, I get about 12 inches per year, mostly in the winter, so I'm guessing half to a third of what you get. Got one rainstorm in early August and before that nothing since May. So in essence these are surviving on whatever was dropped during the winter and early spring. As I said I did water once, in early June, so essentially two months without watering before that storm.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-24, 10:58:49 AM
I'm rolling in H2O this year with 17 inches to date and nicely distributed. Grass is still green. So at least an inch above the yearly average I think. Also not so dry of a summer as is often the case. Nice wet winter, especially late winter last winter.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-30, 05:43:09 PM
I like this tomato so far from the direct seeded dry farmed F2s. Starting to think of it as exserted tiger. Parents are probably Blue Ambrosia and Amurski Tigr.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: reed on 2019-08-30, 07:15:41 PM
How is it for flavor?
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-08-30, 07:42:07 PM
Just a boring red for now with boring red flavor. It isn't quite ripe in the photo.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: reed on 2019-08-31, 04:51:17 AM
I like red tomatoes, well I like some red tomatoes. I find there is a very wide range in flavor in them and other colors as well. Seems like in my garden especially among the volunteers from my domestic/ pimpinellifolium cross, flavor and color are not interdependent at all. Actually the best one this year, actually the best one ever is red. An unusual thing about it is it has very few seeds per fruit. Another round red one is also good and all three yellows are rather bland, one of them is pure nasty. There aren't any orange ones this year.

It's been at least four years, I think five, since that accidental cross showed up and I'm still getting new kinds. I'v saved seed but I'v never planted any, they always just volunteer and none have ever been watered during dry spells. I noticed a reduction in fruit size this year when the hot dry arrived but no slow down in production. The single vine of my new favorite has produced I bet a five gallon bucket full over the season and is still loaded down right now.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-02, 10:21:45 PM
Found a pretty domestic x habrochaites cross F3? Or so. Seems to have S allele intact.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2019-09-03, 06:27:04 PM
Found a pretty domestic x habrochaites cross F3? Or so. Seems to have S allele intact.

Wow! That looks cool.  Certainly has big fruit! Taste may or may not be good,  but still cool! I like the pattern on the bottom.  Direct seeded too?!
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-03, 07:12:31 PM
No, just a transplant. The direct seeding of half wilds wasnt very effective. I think I need lots more seed!

Getting there though for next year! This is my biggest half/wild seed bag.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: triffid on 2019-09-04, 08:19:32 AM
Found a pretty domestic x habrochaites cross F3? Or so. Seems to have S allele intact.

What's the role of the S allele?
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-04, 06:44:45 PM
S allele is really important to Joseph's project. It forces some Solanum species to outcross. It's why S. Habrochaites has such deep diversity.

Basically a number of versions exist and plants won't accept their own pollen.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Lauren on 2019-09-05, 10:53:19 AM
So...how do you tell the difference between forced outcrossing and male sterility without a microscope? Especially when most of the plants around have closed flowers?
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2019-09-05, 12:30:04 PM
So...how do you tell the difference between forced outcrossing and male sterility without a microscope? Especially when most of the plants around have closed flowers?

That's a good question. I have a suspicion it can be very easy. Take a black spoon and use an electric toothbrush. If it releases lots of pollen but has little fruit on the plant I'd say its self incompatible. If no pollen, then male sterile is a high possibility, in which case some manual crosses might be a good idea.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-05, 05:06:42 PM
I have one two year old hab x domestic F2? plant that's never produced a berry. It's fertility problems run deep.

Lots of my penellii x domestic F3 plants are producing no fruit.

There might be any of several reasons why a interspecies hybrid produces no fruit... inserted flowers, wrong S alleles, not attractive to bees, receptors on stigma don't work right, no pollen, etc.

I think I've decided to play it as a numbers game and just save fruit from those that segregate back to fertility.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Lauren on 2019-09-07, 08:44:22 AM
If it releases lots of pollen but has little fruit on the plant I'd say its self incompatible. If no pollen, then male sterile is a high possibility, in which case some manual crosses might be a good idea.
I have one tomato plant (just FYI, all my tomatoes are mongrels) in the greenhouse that hasn't gotten any fruit on it the whole season. It has plenty of pollen. I just hand pollinated two flowers. I have another in the main garden that is doing the same thing--lots of flowers, pollen is evident, but no fruit. Self-incompatible? There are other possibilities, like heat, the high UV index, water, etc. It'll be interesting to see if those manual crosses take, as that would rather eliminate most of the environmental factors.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-07, 10:04:52 AM
I have one tomato plant (just FYI, all my tomatoes are mongrels) in the greenhouse that hasn't gotten any fruit on it the whole season. It has plenty of pollen. I just hand pollinated two flowers. I have another in the main garden that is doing the same thing--lots of flowers, pollen is evident, but no fruit. Self-incompatible? There are other possibilities, like heat, the high UV index, water, etc. It'll be interesting to see if those manual crosses take, as that would rather eliminate most of the environmental factors.

Is it an interspecies hybrid with habrochaites or penellii?
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Lauren on 2019-09-07, 06:45:22 PM
Unless something sneaked in when I wasn't looking, probably not.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-07, 09:00:46 PM
Unless something sneaked in when I wasn't looking, probably not.

Probably a lack of pollinators plus still air in the greenhouse then.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-08, 09:45:01 PM
Collecting fruits and saving tomato seed.

Here is a picture of most of my wild and half wild fruits so far. Got some Arcanum berries today.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-08, 09:46:49 PM
Wow! That looks cool.  Certainly has big fruit! Taste may or may not be good,  but still cool! I like the pattern on the bottom. 

Taste is ok. Only a few really good looking seeds in there. Fermenting now.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: Peter on 2019-09-10, 12:25:33 AM
How many of you who dry farm have ever used black plastic? I don't mean landscaping fabric.

Anyway, I don't exactly dry farm, but I water very little (and usually only at the beginning of the season) in a semi-arid area with very little rain and a lot of summer heat. I've found that using black plastic has a number of advantages for gardening with drought, and at least a couple disadvantages:

Less water is needed. The soil is warmer. Many tomatoes will produce more. some will grow faster and more. Some will get too hot and become stunted. The downside is that acclimatization to growing with black plastic isn't the same as without it. Alternating every other year probably isn't the best idea (be consistent), as it's almost like starting over there.

Making sure the plants have a good supply of potassium also helps, with regard to heat/drought tolerance and fruit size. Three handfuls of wood ash early on seems to do the job for me.

I have a suspicion that storing the seeds in a freezer for a while before planting may increase vigor. I definitely intend to try that.

Anyway, some varieties that I think are probably good candidates for direct-seeding and dry farming with black plastic are these (they've done well for me in near-dry-farming conditions with black plastic; I haven't tried direct-seeding them, but they're early enough):
* Marion (good-sized fruit; prolific; quite tasty; vigorous)
* Bloody Butcher (prolific; decent taste; doesn't take up too much space)
* Galapagos Island (my version; it's extremely early; good fruit to leaf/vine ratio; this is great with or without black plastic, in drought, but it gets bigger with black plastic, I think; handles poor soil well; I actually have direct-seeded this in a container outside before, but the other times I've grown it have been through transplants in the ground)
* Sweet Orange Cherry (similar to Galapagos Island, but fruits are a little larger, taste a little different, and the plant is a little later, with a larger, vinier plant with fewer suckers; good fruit to leaf/vine ratio; this is great with or without black plastic, in drought; handles poor soil well)
* Coyote (handles early season cold weather with much vigor; not as practical of a plant as I'd like, since it has a lot of foliage compared to fruit, but it has good genes for breeding; translucent yellow/off-white fruit; isn't ripe when it first changes color)
* Matt's Wild Cherry (similar to Coyote, except it has a lot of vines for the fruit instead of a lot of leaves; very deep red fruit; isn't ripe when it first changes color)
* Possibly my Brandy Boy crosses (not sure just how early they are, as I transplanted the F2s young and late, but the F1 was great there; the F2s have large pink to dark pink fruits; RL or PL; wide range of flavors, but I found two I liked a lot; one of those two was a near multiflora)

Then there's Thessaloniki (prolific; good-sized fruits; I wouldn't call it early, but maybe early enough; I wouldn't recommend it without the black plastic for dry farming, though, if my experience there wasn't with a cross)

Another one that might not be as early as is ideal, but that can be geat in black plastic in very hot temperatures is Sausage. It still needs proper soil to avoid BER, though, but it's the later fruits that are probably less prone to BER that matter most with Sausage.

Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-10, 06:35:22 AM
In 2017 Bloody Butcher was a variety I tried direct seeded. It did ok. Was not top ten.

Andrew sent me a very early domestic galapagos derivitive this year. It deserves testing against my top ten.

Coyote is in my top ten- towards the bottom.

Sweet Cherriette works ok but under dry farmed direct seeding it was slower than something in my F2.

Ordinary segregating Sungold F2 also seems a good place to start.

Lizzano segregating F2s could be a good place to start if PH2 and PH3 resistance is important.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-11, 09:15:48 PM
Taste is ok. Only a few really good looking seeds in there. Fermenting now.

7 seeds when I rinsed it just now. Feel kind of precious but I highly suspect they will have crossed back and be hard and green.

Interestingly so far the tomatoes on my Fairy Hollow plants are hard and green. Nice and big though for a hab x, very beefsteak like. Anybody else's Fairy hollow segregating drastically?
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2019-09-17, 07:41:48 AM
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190916143949.htm

Interesting article re: drought induced transposons.

So if we expose plants to stressors such as drought they react with a variety of mechanisms. Transposons, epigenetic change, and in the case of a variable population: simple selection.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2020-02-06, 07:42:15 PM
Got tons of seed from this project in 2019. It wasn't a great test of dry farming here in one sense- much more regular rain than usual for summer here.
Title: Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
Post by: William S. on 2020-02-07, 09:10:50 PM
Made an experimental Farm Network project page for this project. https://www.experimentalfarmnetwork.org/group/26