Author Topic: Direct Seeded Tomato Project  (Read 233 times)

William S.

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Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« on: 2018-10-13, 09:10:08 PM »
This is sort of an effort to start recreating threads I've started elsewhere so here is a summary of what I think of as my direct seeded tomato project.

In 2016 two volunteer varieties of tomatoes produced a few ripe tomatoes at the end of the growing season.

So I thought to myself: What if I planned this? Bred a tomato for this?

So in 2017 I tried about 70 kinds of tomatoes including grexes and modern landraces. Everything worked and you could call that the end of the story or ask and answer more questions. I should say though that I did identify some really interesting varieties for further breeding.

To me those further questions are:

Can I breed tomatoes using exserted stigma varieties like corn? (This idea comes from Joseph).

I eliminated transplanting. Do I need to water?

Can I create fancy tomatoes that do this? Fancy to me = shape, colors, stripes, blue skin, and flavor.

Can we extend the season with cold/frost tolerant genetics?

So in 2018 I focused on direct seeding the offspring of the most exserted stigma domestic tomatoes a yellow/orange tomato with a blue blush called Blue Ambrosia itself an unstable experimental line from a breeder's website J and L gardens. I did indeed find many hybrids and have saved their seed. Some of the offspring will hopefully be larger, earlier, and fancier!

I watered less in 2018. I think watering less creates smaller, earlier plants that produce far less. Watering not at all, could work in my climate. Might be a spacing and or a breeding problem- but does seem possible.

I think the wild tomatoes are the best source of frost and cold tolerance. This seems to be a longer term project and deserves its own threads. If any good results occur they will be incorporated back in.

Some of the stops on the way of this project may be varieties that are really good breeding tools. I plan to create a short season potato leaved yellow tomato with extremely exserted stigmas for this purpose. Using exserted varieties for breeding allows me to bypass hand pollination which I don't feel like I have time for in the growing season which is when I am busiest professionally and with my gardening hobby. Using an exserted potato leaved yellow variety as the mother would allow me to easily find hybrid offspring as they would likely be regular leafed reds. Eventually by recursively back crossing to the shortest season reds in existence we should be able to create a yellow tomato as early as any other tomato known.

So in 2019:
 I have promising F2 seed to grow out from F1 regular leaf plants from an exserted potato leaf mother. One of the F1s was modestly exserted itself.

Promising F2 seed from Blue Ambrosia.

Potential F1s amongst saved seed of Blue Ambrosia and Big Hill

Then I want to cross in or allow to cross the following:

Yellow descendents of Joseph's Brad x Yellow Pear cross.

Coyote (flavor and early)

Earl's Strain of Jagodka (early)

Amethyst Cream (flavor)

Amurski Tigr (stripes)

Forest Fire (early)

42 days (early)

Sweet Cherriette (earliest cherry I know of)

My simple plan is thus. Direct seed everything. Alternate small rows of the pollen parents with the exserted stigma varieties Blue Ambrosia and Big Hill. Save seed, be on the lookout for F1s.



Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

Lauren

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #1 on: 2018-10-14, 07:15:27 PM »
The tomatoes I've always grown seem to have a level of frost tolerance because I keep planting them out in March or April (one year as early as February) with wall-o-water. Those that survived this treatment of course produced seeds for the next generation. For the most part they don't even flinch when they get snowed on, at least in the spring.

For cold tolerance, maybe you could do something similar? It would take several years of additional work early in the season but might give you the results you want.

William S.

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #2 on: 2018-10-15, 07:34:55 AM »
The tomatoes I've always grown seem to have a level of frost tolerance because I keep planting them out in March or April (one year as early as February) with wall-o-water. Those that survived this treatment of course produced seeds for the next generation. For the most part they don't even flinch when they get snowed on, at least in the spring.

For cold tolerance, maybe you could do something similar? It would take several years of additional work early in the season but might give you the results you want.

Hi, Lauren

I think probably what is going on with your tomatoes is some epigenetic change that gives them a little more hardiness.

Darrel Jones is kind of the Guru on this. He has done a lot of research and is about 4 years away from his own development. So in 2017 I grew a number or varieties mentioned in Dar''s threads. Especially when it came to frost results were really random. For instance a single individual of Brad Gate's variety Blue Gold did great and survived a frost most tomatoes had to resprout from the base from including many other Blue Gold plants. The supposedly frost tolerant plants did no better. So epigenetic might let us grab temporarily enduced frost/cold tolerance on lots of varieties. Though this year it never frosted after I planted even though I seeded and out planted early again. So the effect might be hard to keep going.

There might be better genes for cold and frost tolerance in some of the wild tomatoes. Darrel is woeking with those. This topic deserves it's own thread, but it sounds like we could potentially have tomatoes almost as frost tolerant as tomatillos  which would give us a few more weeks on either end of the season. For direct seeded tomatoes that could make for a more productive season. Like this year an unexpected light frost killed much of the tomato plant tops over two weeks before the next frost. Solanum Peruvianum and Tomatillos were fine in my garden whole the regular tomatoes were pretty much gone.

One mystery in my garden is I have quite a bit of LA1777 derived habrochaites and descendents and it's known for frost tolerance. They haven't shown that yet in my garden whereas the Peruvianum seems to. Though I might just need to do a larger grow out of the LA1777 derived material I've received from Joseph. Darrel is working with a introgression line derived from LA1777.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #3 on: 2018-10-15, 07:50:53 PM »
I don't give cold tolerance much thought since my season is plenty long and warm enough for tomatoes. I have however noticed some things in volunteer tomatoes of which I have tons, in both fall and spring. All the fall ones eventually freeze of course but they don't do it uniformly, always one here or there, still alive after the first frost or two.

Same in spring, the occasional one that keeps growing after late frost. Also they and other later sprouting volunteers when left in the spot the sprouted in seem to have better tolerance to disease and to produce better.

Is it possible those things are due to never having had any root disturbance because they were never set out or transplanted? I think I'll try direct sowing some next year ans see if I can find out.

I'll also keep any spring volunteers that survive frosts and keep the seeds in case anyone wants them.



William S.

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #4 on: 2018-12-29, 01:08:19 PM »
2019 Tomato Plans

Wishlist from transplant if get

Weight in Gold (4 seeds)
Wild Child (4 seeds)
Black strawberry (4 seeds)
Black Bumblebee (4 seeds)
Muchacha! (4 seeds)
Fairy Hollow (4 seeds)

To grow again: Direct Seeded

Sweet Cherriette (4 seeds)
Jagodka (Earls Strain seems earlier 4 seeds)
Anmore Dewdrop (4 seeds)
Krainiy Sever (4 seeds)
42 Days (4 seeds)
Coyote (4 seeds)
forest fire (4 seeds)
Blue Ambrosia ( large amounts as hybrids likely)
JL potato leaf exserted blue skinned RL exserted offspring F2 (large amounts as will segregate and hybrids possible)
Blue Ambrosia X Unknown F2 (large amounts)
Brad (4 seeds)
Big Hill (large amounts of home saved seed as hybrids likely)
Amurski Tigr (4 seeds- will replace with Black Strawberry if it performs well)
Dwarf Hirsutum Cross "jeepers" (4 seeds)
Brad x yellow pear (rest of original packet in search of short season yellow pear)

To grow again from transplant

Amethyst Cream (4 seeds)

Wild Species grow from transplant or just in pots in some cases.

Peruvianum (4 seeds as backup to volunteers)
Pimpinillifolium (4 seeds)
Galapagense (4 seeds)
Penellii X domestic (all homegrown) + 1 seed
Cheesemanii (4 seeds)
Arcanum (24 seeds)
Chilense (24 seeds- will grow in pots)
Habrochaites x domestic (all homegrown)

New Must Grows from transplant

Stress Tolerant Strain from Darrel Jones (4 seeds)
Blue Speckled Favorite of Andrew’s (4 seeds)

Possibly others
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #5 on: 2018-12-29, 01:51:10 PM »
I have an inkling both from recent experiences with under watering and reading about dry farming and dry gardening that it might be possible to not only dry farm tomatoes here but direct seed dry farm them and breed varieties for that.

 I think there is both great variation in the suitability of habitat for that within gardening areas available to me and the genetic ability to withstand the growing conditions within the tomatoes I am growing.

Wild species and hybrids thereof seem to have tremendous potential for this. My favorite species complex so far the Peruvianum complex seems to have the ability to volunteer here. Moreover at least the Arcanum accessions I intend to grow in 2019 come from very dry deserts. My most successful Pennellii x domestic F2 plant in 2018 ultimately succumbed to overwatering which makes me think it retained some of the water sensitivity of its Pennellii grandparent. When I was gone recently for a month and did not water, only the domestic potted tomatoes looked stressed by not being watered. Habrochaites x domestic, habrochaites, peruvianum, and pimpinellifolium seemed fine.

Without watering for a month potted domestics Blue Ambrosia and Golden Tressette suffered but Amethyst Cream and Sweet Cherriette did not.

Generally it seems to me that my wild tomatoes and crosses are not ready for direct seeding. I don't have adequate seed stocks and they are still too long season. Therefore I hope to include them in dry farming experiments by transplanting. In my initial direct seeding experiment in 2017 they did not germinate adequately. However in 2018 Peruvianum and pimpinellifolium volunteered. My 2018 wild bed was watered minimally.

I have several potential sites for direct seeding experimental plots. One thought would be to use my entire outside the fence garden, though this may be excessive for an initial foray. Other sites could be a deeper soil moister area at the base of my hill, a dry shallow soil site on a small hill, and an intermediate site, then an even more mesic site at my parents hayfield. My backyard could work for a couple unwatered plants but I wouldn't have space for a full rep.

Another thought would be to do 20 foot x 5 foot reps with 3 plants each. Direct seed 10 seeds then thin to one. Transplant in wild species. Each rep might get something like 1 wild species transplant, and two individuals from my F2 Blue Ambrosia x unknown population.

It would also be interesting to test a number of varieties dry farmed direct seeded including:

Indeterminate
Blue Ambrosia
Brad
Sweet Cherriette

Determinate (this list could be shortened)
Big Hill
Forest Fire
42 Days
Jagodka

Wild
Pimpinillifolium
Peruvianum complex

Another related thought is to plant a few plants of pimpinillifolium and Peruvianum on pocket gopher mounds out in the wild grassland of my hill. If successful, they should reseed themselves.

There would be lots of room here for subsequent experiments or sub experiments. In fact 2019 might just be a few pilot plots I'm uncertain about the scale of the dry farming experiment just yet. Success with a pilot even partial, could inform scaling up in 2020.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #6 on: 2018-12-31, 07:04:07 PM »
http://members.efn.org/~itech/

Found a couple of the same opensource instructions in a book on gardening. At the bottom of the page there is a list of root system sizes for various crops. 5.5 feet lateral for tomato by 5 feet deep for the variety John Bauer. This was in 1927.

https://www.seedsavers.org/john-baer-organic-tomato

That would suggest starting a tomato plant every four steps in a grid (my strides are about 1 yard). Probably say 10 seeds, thinning to one. (Note edited this to 4 steps)
« Last Edit: 2019-01-01, 10:56:11 AM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

PaulJ

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #7 on: 2019-01-01, 02:16:33 AM »
I shall be following this project as it seems we share similar goals

I am surprised by the size of the root system that was suggested as normal 5 foot deep
that should provide adequate water to prevent blossom end rot.
I cant imagine Ive ever grown a tomato with roots half that deep.

Do you guys all dig ground very deep, double digging etc.?

The Peruvian genetics sound very strong, do you find the toms get bitter/bad taste if left to dry for long periods? something I find with cukes at least

I didn't say before as I took it as given (being OS breeding site) but if you want any seeds i'll happily send some across
not that I think there is anything special of course, probably better to wait at least a season to see what occurs.

William S.

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #8 on: 2019-01-01, 09:03:41 AM »
I've been hearing about double digging a bit the last 20 years or so. Keep thinking about trying it. I got a meadow creature broad fork as a gift which is a somewhat similar procedure and considering at least using it some to test out this deep digging thing.  Actually would like if time allows to test a number of gardening techniques I've heard about but not done including Double digging, broad forking, Ruth Stout mulching, and Hugelculture. Though current methods seem adequate.

My main technique is to pick out a patch of ground and rototill it shallowly with my BCS rototiller (not the largest size). I repeat until the pasture grasses are killed. Then plant. I have enough space to move the garden around if need be though I have one small fenced area.

I have 8 acres, with my parents owning another 8 next to mine that shares a well. So 16 acres between us divide by 2.5 is about 6 hectares. Of that though only about two hectares is previously farmed and the rest is sort of my wildflower preserve. So I only garden a small fraction of that perhaps a fifth of a hectare. There was a large lake here during the last ice age which laid down a large deposit of clay. Though I've also purchased some sand about eight large perhaps eight to ten cubic yard truck loads over the years so I have some spots I've amended well. When I water I do so with a garden hose and a sprinkler from my well. Sometimes I use soaker hoses. My garden soil according to the US government is 7 inches deep on average. In the fenced garden I dumped sand with a wheel barrow and formed my raised beds from it. So basically have an artificial soil horizon. Which is actually sandy subsoil not proper road sand as a Farmer I know just digs it up and delivers it to people. He discovered years ago that one of his alfalfa fields was too well drained. It's finer sand then they sell if you go to a quarry to buy it and unwashed.

« Last Edit: 2019-01-01, 09:27:35 AM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

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Re: Direct Seeded Tomato Project
« Reply #9 on: 2019-01-02, 08:40:25 PM »
2019 Tomato Plans

Wishlist from transplant if get

Weight in Gold (4 seeds)
Wild Child (4 seeds)
Black strawberry (4 seeds)
Black Bumblebee (4 seeds)
Muchacha! (4 seeds)
Fairy Hollow (4 seeds)

To grow again: Direct Seeded

Sweet Cherriette (4 seeds)
Jagodka (Earls Strain seems earlier 4 seeds)
Anmore Dewdrop (4 seeds)
Krainiy Sever (4 seeds)
42 Days (4 seeds)
Coyote (4 seeds)
forest fire (4 seeds)
Blue Ambrosia ( large amounts as hybrids likely)
JL potato leaf exserted blue skinned RL exserted offspring F2 (large amounts as will segregate and hybrids possible)
Blue Ambrosia X Unknown F2 (large amounts)
Brad (4 seeds)
Big Hill (large amounts of home saved seed as hybrids likely)
Amurski Tigr (4 seeds- will replace with Black Strawberry if it performs well)
Dwarf Hirsutum Cross "jeepers" (4 seeds)
Brad x yellow pear (rest of original packet in search of short season yellow pear)

To grow again from transplant

Amethyst Cream (4 seeds)

Wild Species grow from transplant or just in pots in some cases.

Peruvianum (4 seeds as backup to volunteers)
Pimpinillifolium (4 seeds)
Galapagense (4 seeds)
Penellii X domestic (all homegrown) + 1 seed
Cheesemanii (4 seeds)
Arcanum (24 seeds)
Chilense (24 seeds- will grow in pots)
Habrochaites x domestic (all homegrown)

New Must Grows from transplant

Stress Tolerant Strain from Darrel Jones (4 seeds)
Blue Speckled Favorite of Andrew’s (4 seeds)

Possibly others

2019 Tomato Plans Revised after seed inventory. Joseph sent me some more wild and half wild seed. I inventoried my wild seed including some Andrew sent. Revising thoughts on 2019 grow outs to grow more wild seed.

Wishlist from transplant if get:

Weight in Gold (4 seeds)
Wild Child (4 seeds)
Black strawberry (4 seeds)
Black Bumblebee (4 seeds)
Muchacha! (4 seeds)
Indeterminate child of Big Hill (4 seeds)


To grow again: Direct Seeded

Sweet Cherriette (4 seeds irrigated 4 dry)
Coyote (4 seeds irrigated 4 dry)
Blue Ambrosia (8 seeds at least)
JL potato leaf exserted blue skinned RL exserted offspring F2 (large amounts as will segregate and hybrids possible)
Big Hill (large amounts of home saved seed as hybrids likely I interplanted with Blue Ambrosia)
Dwarf Hirsutum Cross "jeepers" (4 seeds)
Chariot Cherry (8 seeds)
Indeterminate child of Big Hill (12 seeds)

Wild To grow direct seeded

Wildling Bulk Hab x domestic and Domestic x penellii (large amounts)
Peruvianum complex (lots)
Penelli x domestic (12 seeds including 4 homegrown)
Fairy Hollow (12 seeds)
Gnome (12 seeds)
Nymph (special 12 seeds, special area)
G3 Fern x LA1777 (might add to wildling bulk)
BC1 (10 seeds)
BC1? 3 Locules (10 seeds)
Neandermato (10 seeds)
Joseph's Pimpinillifolium (12 seeds plus berries I moved to wild tomato section last fall)

To grow again from transplant

Amethyst Cream (4 seeds)

Wild Species grow from transplant or just in pots in some cases.

Peruvianum complex (8 seeds as backup to volunteers)
Pimpinillifolium (4 seeds)
Galapagense (4 seeds)
Penellii X domestic (all homegrown)
Penellii x domestic Andrew new strain (1 seed)
Penellii x domestic Andrew & Joseph (4 seeds)
Cheesemanii (12 seeds)
Cheesemanii x? (4 seeds)
Arcanum (24 seeds)
Chilense (24 seeds- will grow in pots)
Habrochaites x domestic (all homegrown)
Nymph (12 seeds)
Fairy Hollow (4 seeds)
Solanum pennellii (12 seeds- will grow in pots, mist and water sparingly)


New Domestics from transplant

Tastiheart Stress Tolerant Strain from Darrel (4 seeds)
Aft LA 1996 (4 seeds)
LA 4454 High Sucrose (4 seeds)
2-625 prolific leaves (4 seeds)
Anazasi? (4 seeds)
Golden Tressette (4 seeds)
LA0214 (1 seed) dark anthers

Possibly others inventory may be incomplete and I may change my mind.


I intend to plant some tomatoes without supplemental water (dry farmed). I may however keep the dry farming experiment a little smaller so I can grow larger numbers of plants direct seeded using my seeder in the same area as last year. I would like to hasten the selection of short season individuals from the wildlings if possible. I may be able to add back in something like the F2 population of Blue Ambrosia descendents depending on how much space is left.

Highest priority is growing out Arcanum and Chilense successfully, saving lots of seed, and making crosses with them to the peruvianum complex and domestics. A number of the domestics listed have a small amount of peruvianum or chilense dna. Including Golden Tressette, LA 1996, and LA 0214. Though I would prefer crosses with exserted stigma short season strains of domestic like Big Hill and Blue Ambrosia as I think that might prevent obnoxious problems with self incompatible closed flowered offspring.
« Last Edit: 2019-01-02, 09:42:47 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A