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Messages - Ben S.

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Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-07-24, 06:13:42 PM »
Noticing something as fruit is getting bigger - the fruit on plants grown from Baker Creek's seed acquired this year have the individual cherry lobes more deeply separated compared to the fruit on the line I've been keeping. Mine seem to have broader area where they're fused together. Not sure which I prefer at this point.

Plant Breeding / Re: Basil
« on: 2020-07-23, 07:14:25 PM »
Thank you. Appropriate that someone with the name Ocimum should reply hah! I'll try a deeper search in google scholar, I was initially mostly finding stuff about inducing polyploidy with colchicine

Plant Breeding / Basil
« on: 2020-07-22, 11:44:58 PM »
Is there any information out there on crossing basil by hand, or does anyone have personal experience? It's not in any of my books, and I'm not getting much off google (and what little I have gotten there has been contradictory). Mostly looking for basics on timing, technique, compatibility, etc. Seems like it would be fun to play with - so many distinct and strong aromas

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-07-18, 08:33:42 PM »
Oh wow, I took some Reistomate cuttings the other day and threw them in water. Totally forgot about it. They've already got some nice roots going. That was easy.

Tomatoes / Re: Tomato communication
« on: 2020-07-18, 05:48:33 PM »
That's wild!

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-07-18, 05:30:07 PM »
Very cool Garrett! Glad to see someone else playing with this interesting plant.

William - forgot to update you. Didn't see too much in the way of exposed stigmas. Out of 25ish flowers, there were around 5 that looked like the stigma was maybe about level with the top of the cone, and 2 more just barely exposed. It's possible there are more than that, on some of the crazier flowers I'm having trouble distinguishing what parts are what because everything seems out of place. Regardless, there might still be a place for them in a 'promiscuous pollination' patch though... once the flowers open up they seem ready to share gobs and gobs of pollen. Shake them a little bit and it just falls out. Touch them and it's yellow streaks on your fingers.

The flowers are interesting. Some of them are like the fused kind of beefsteak flowers that I've seen called "marigold" style flowers. But there are a bunch more that have the same multiple stigmas/anthers/etc, except they're arranged in a neat and tidy little donut / ring shape. Sepals around the outside as usual, then a ring of all the important bits, and then some bonus sepal-like structures in a tiny ring right in the center of the flower. And I did notice a couple of flowers that look like they might only form a single globe.

Work got busy and I missed the opportunity to hit some of my first-choice target plants with pollen. Looks like I'll be starting a new round of seeds. I may let a few take over the indoor grow room. Anyone have tips on the best light cycle (or anything else) for growing tomatoes indoors? Never tried before.

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-07-01, 08:39:08 PM »
That makes sense.

Hopefully I have better luck outdoors. I did a few hand pollinated crosses years ago with apparent success, but haven't tried this in a long time. If it comes to it, I'll try growing a few indoors sometime later.

I read your thread about exserted stigmas a while back, and Joseph Lofthouse's post on his site about the same. I've started collecting seed for some known exserted varieties, including some wild ones. At some point I'll do a plot of all of them planted nearly on top of each other and let them have a freaky plant party.

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-07-01, 03:24:10 PM »
Questions for reisetomate growers. These flowers that result in the complex fruits. Are some of the stigmas exposed? This is important because it results in greater cross pollination. Second question. If you have a pollination tool. Can you collect substantial released pollen from the flower? Sounds like from Ben's dissection description there is a lot of pollen when dissected, so I'm just curious to know if the pollen blasts out and how much? Some varieties in my experience seem to produce relatively little and others abundantly.

Another thought is partial crossing. Emasculate a clump flower as best as possible and cross with something obvious in the F1. No need to get 100% crosses if you can easily Identify the crossed seedlings at a young age. Potato leaf as mother works well for this as any regular leaf seedlings are crosses.

I didn't notice exposed stigmas in any of the flowers I was working with, but I also wasn't specifically looking for that and it was getting dark. I'll take a more thorough look next time I'm out there. I haven't tried to get any pollen out of the reisetomate flowers yet (well, not deliberately anyway). I'll see if I can do a comparison with a more standard tomato flower at some point. Judging from my fingers, there was a lot packed in there, but it also seemed to be wrapped up pretty tight inside the flower.

Not sure I'm quite understanding your partial crossing comment. Is the idea to only worry about hitting some of the stigmas in the flower and allow the rest to self, then just sort them out later?

Tomatoes / Re: Composite/compound in domestic? tomatoes
« on: 2020-06-30, 12:55:20 PM »
Iíve had a few of these flowers this year on my Falenís First Snow plants (a mutation of Cherokee Purple with variegated foliage).

Photos show the flowers a few weeks ago, and then fruits a few days ago. The two big fruits toward the left and bottom came out of the fused flower. In person, theyíre about twice as big as the others.

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-06-30, 12:34:23 PM »
Im not sure if the multi fused flower trait is dominant or not,  but it might not be a bad idea to cross the cherry type with a beefsteak type that also has a few fused flowers.

Thanks for linking that thread, interesting. All of the big and heavily variegated Falenís First Snow plants I mentioned have a handful of fused flowers on them, so that sort of cross is already planned.

As far as even ripening... I know Iíve grown cherries before where clusters would ripen almost simultaneously. Might be worth tracking down something like that for a future cross. But for the moment, I think Iíll just focus on taste and looks.

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-06-29, 06:10:03 PM »
This took an interesting turn when I went out to emasculate the Reisetomate flowers last night. From the outside the flowers look the same as a typical tomato flower, but the inside was an overstuffed mash of parts. I need to go back and get a look in better light and take pictures, but I'm pretty sure I was looking at multiple pistils, multiple bits of anther, and underneath multiple ovaries. I tried 7 or 8 flowers from 3 different plants, and they were all similar. I had to go emasculate a few flowers on other varieties to make sure I hadn't lost my mind / forgotten what things are supposed to look like.

I guess this might explain how these tomatoes get their unusual shape... literally multiple tomatoes coming off of one receptacle, fusing as they grow. Needs more investigation. I'll take some photos, maybe someone here has more insight.

It's a minor hiccup for the actual breeding part unfortunately. I was planning to mostly pollinate the Reisetomate plants with pollen donated from the other varieties, and based the numbers of each kind I started on that. But I don't think there's any way I can pollinate these weird flowers successfully and be confident that they haven't self pollinated. Everything is just really mashed together in there and my hands were smeared with pollen after opening the flowers up. I guess I'll be collecting pollen from the Reisetomates and applying it to the others now... no big deal, just going to have a lot of extra Reisetomate plants and less margin for error with the others now. Actually might be for the best now that I'm thinking about it, the Reisetomates don't make all that many seeds, which is something I probably should have considered initially.

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-06-28, 08:13:00 PM »
Oops, didn't mean to disappear for so long. And it looks like my last reply never posted, maybe I only hit preview or got distracted by a shiny object.

Short version of my last post: I thought it was interesting that other folks aren't having the same uneven ripening with this variety. Not sure if it's the line I've had going, or if I just have a specific and narrow definition of ripe for this tomato (basically evenly red, but also with an even firm texture all across such that the individual cherries can be picked off cleanly). Since I wasn't sure, I decided to pick up some fresh stock of the Reisetomate seeds to run along with mine. So far, I can't tell any difference, but they're just starting to set fruit.

I started a lot of varieties, but ultimately decided to really narrow this project down to a few hopefuls with the tastes and colors I'm most eager about. These are the picks:
  • Black Beauty
  • Falen's First Snow (Cherokee Purple mutation with variegated leaves)
  • Volunteer that grows in the gully below my house (small red globes)
  • Rosella

Black Beauty looks like it will prove to be as dark as ever... even the stems have black/purple coloration running up and down them. I've eaten these before, but I don't think I've actually grown them.

The Falen's First Snow plants are really cool looking overall. Never grown these before. About 2/3 of them are big vigorous plants, heavy variegation across most of the foliage, and putting out a lot of fruit. I was wondering if the variegation would result in decreased performance, but they seem at least on par with Cherokee Purples I've grown in the past. As for the rest, something like 1/6 of them are runts with usually one stem that doesn't seem to want to branch, and the last 1/6 are mostly like standard Cherokee Purple (with just maybe one or two small variegated leaves tucked away somewhere on the plant). I have some ideas floating around for other projects I want to do based around this plant. And I'm very eager about the idea of a tasty black reisetomate that grows with variegated leaves. (Have I mentioned I'm into some freaky weird looking plants?)

The volunteer from my gully was chosen just because they're basically invincible and they do so well around here. Some of those plants are over 3 years old and just keep cranking out fruit year round, even through December and January. These things probably deserve their own breeding project. Fruit is sort of an over-sized cherry tomato, tastes pretty good.

And Rosella is there not just because it fits the bill of tasty and dark, but also because my gut is telling me that I'm going to have the easiest path toward my desired result by working with a cherry type. I guess we'll find out.

I'm growing a few other interesting things this year, and some s. peruvianum and s. pimpinellifolium for the first time, so there may be a few other random crosses thrown in the mix just for fun. But the list above is the focus.

I have some Black Beauty and Falen pollen collected. I'm about to walk out the door right now, forceps and tiny baggies in hand, to emasculate some Reisetomate flowers and apply pollen for the first time this year. I'll repeat the application in the morning and tomorrow night, just in case they're not quite receptive yet. (Doing this a wee bit later in the season than I'd planned, but the world went a little nuts and I've been distracted. Fortunately, I started plants in waves, so plenty more opportunities to pollinate!)

And William - thanks for the suggestion. I'll take a look at Iron Lady. I still might start one more wave of plants, so I could probably squeeze that cross in this year. Probably important for me to step back once in a while and think about pest and disease resistance, as opposed to just trying to make things look bizarre.  ;D

Tomatoes / Re: Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-02-15, 06:49:34 PM »
Thanks for the feedback William! You've definitely given me a few things to think about.

I realize I'm probably casting an excessively wide net with that many varieties (and that despite having a decent amount of space to work with, I'll start running out of room sooner rather than later). Part of the thinking there is that a good number of the varieties are ones I have never grown myself before. So I'm essentially trialing them at the same time. And I figure if I'm growing them out, I might as well make the crosses. Can always stick the seeds that I'm less hopeful about in an envelope and leave them for later (or never). I'll definitely consider tightening down the number I'm working with though. There are already 3 or 4 that I'm considering to be my first choices.

As it is, I can grow about 70-80 plants at once before I'd need to think about creating more beds. I'm in coastal SoCal, and have often been able to get away with growing nearly year round, so the number of plants per year can be quite a bit higher than that.

I've been blindly assuming this shape is a recessive trait (or multi-gene with many of them being recessive), but have no actual basis for that. Would certainly make life easier if it were to end up being dominant!

Here is a list of what I'm (considering) working with, in no particular order:
Purple Bumble Bee
Classic Beefsteak
Super Beefsteak
Isis Candy Cherry
Black Cherry (unknown volunteer)
Blue Berry
Pink Jazz
Ananas Noire
Sunrise Bumble Bee
San Marzano
Costoluto F
Costoluto G
Black Beauty
Falen's First Snow
Large fasciated black (unknown volunteer)

I'll take a look at those Brad Gate varieties you mentioned!

Tomatoes / Reisetomate / "Traveler tomato" project
« on: 2020-02-15, 04:42:05 PM »
Thought I would share a new project I'm embarking on for 2020 (and presumably the next few years, at least). I've been a fan of these funky tomatoes called Reisetomate (or traveler tomatoes) for a long time. They look kind of like a bunch of cherry tomatoes fused together, and you can pluck pieces off of the tomato to eat. The problem is, the tomato itself doesn't ripen very evenly... some of the clumps will be overripe with others still green. And to my tongue, the taste is nothing amazing - pretty acidic, neither much meaty flavor nor sweetness, and always kind of a taste that I associate with being unripe.

I've been making selections from this variety for almost a decade, but have only mildly improved results, if at all. This year I'm going to start outcrossing with some other varieties to see if I can develop this into something interesting. Three main goals in mind:
1. More even ripening of each tomato
2. Robust flavor
3. And a separate black/blue colored version

I'll be creating F1 crosses with around 20 other varieties this year. Some traits I looked for in the varieties I've selected to cross include: deeply fasciated large-ish tomatoes, cherry types that tend to ripen all at once, early ripening varieties, and assorted black/blue tomatoes. And just for fun, I'm might chuck some pollen from a couple plants with variegated leaves (because, if you didn't notice, I like me some weird looking plants). Not expecting much in the F1 plants, but hoping in F2 I'll get a few interesting things to play with.

Planning on updating this thread as I go along. Always happy to hear some criticism, suggestions, or comments. Thanks for taking a look!

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