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Topics - Natasha Flue

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Plant Breeding / Paste Tomatoes Project
« on: 2019-03-28, 12:51:00 PM »
My paste tomato breeding project is a few different things in one.

An ideal paste tomato for me is 8-12 ounces, produced on indeterminate vines so they produce a smaller amount every few weeks until frost, can hold reasonably well on the plant, and are disease resistant. I am experimenting with dwarf plants this year to see if they work for my growing systems so that is one aspect.

I want larger paste tomatoes because it reduces the amount of cutting I need to do when I'm processing (my sauce process is cook down in a pot for 3-4 hours and then food mill to remove skin and seeds and if I'm making paste, I bake that on sheet trays for another 3-4 hours). I want indeterminates because I prefer to process smaller, more frequent batches of sauce/paste since it fits better with my life and kitchen size. I also don't live where I grow, so if the fruit can hold reasonable well on the plant, or be decent quality even if it's on the ground, it's good for my processing schedule. Disease resistant because late blight is present frequently in the counties around where I grow (USA, PA). I'm less concerned about taste right now because I don't eat fresh tomatoes, all of my tomatoes get processed into sauce and paste. I also don't have that discerning of a taste because I didn't taste any differences in the sauces I made with last year's trial. It all tastes like tomato to me  :P

The varieties I'm growing out for this are: Amish Paste, Federle, Speckled Roman, Grandma Mary's, Plum Perfect, Plum Regal, Dwarf Sneaky Sauce.

The first three, I grew out last year and were the best in my trial with the biggest fruit and best harvest over time. Grandma Mary's is a new one but it has promise for big fruit. Dwarf Sneaky Sauce is my first dwarf variety to try.

Plum Perfect is a Cornell bred line released through High Mowing Seeds this year with resistances to Verticillium, Fusarium (I1, I2, I3), late blight, root knot nematodes, bacterial speck, TSWV and early blight tolerance. I don't know what the genes for late blight resistance are and I can't find out anywhere online.

I plan to cross all of the plants with each other, just because I want to see what the F1s and F2s look like and possibly combine the extra seed I have into a landrace. So the Amish PastexFederle cross might not be super interesting but it will give me some practice doing the physical crosses. I also kinda want a range of shapes because I find random shaped tomatoes hilarious.

I also received some of Joseph's Beautifully Promiscuous tomatoes that I plan to fold into all of these varieties and create a landrace separate from my other breeding crosses that might also have resistances from his work.

A thing I'm not sure about: how does crossing an F1 like Plum Perfect and Plum Regal affect the transfer of resistance genes? Since Plum Regal is homozygous for its trait, it should be normal like any other homozygous trait. But since I don't know about Plum Perfect, should I grow out extra plants from those crosses? Shoudl I cross it with Plum Regal and then to my other pastes? Should I let it self and see what comes out? All of the above?

Some of the issues with breeding Plum Perfect and Plum Regal into the other tomatoes is that they are both determinate and in the 4-6 ounce range. Dwarf Sneaky Sauce is also in the 4-6 ounce range. I'm not sure why the commercial growers have decided 4-6 ounces is the best size but the majority of paste tomatoes are in this range. I've still got a few more that are larger I'm going to pick up for next year but it's only a few.

My plants aren't being started for a few weeks yet, but I'm excited to see what comes out of these crosses.

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