Author Topic: My Triple Crown project  (Read 153 times)

Vesa Tee

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My Triple Crown project
« on: 2021-08-09, 12:11:57 AM »
I am starting this topic for my tomato breeding project, Triple Crown. I don't have much time during the growing season right now, so don't be surprised if I have slow response and become more active later in the season or even winter time.

I needed a name for my project, and I choose Triple Crown as I like the idea of my tomato breeding lines competing between each other and me being the judge deciding who gets selected and how well they match to my selection criterial. It is difficult to name exactly what these three criterial would be but the metaphor is still nice. Naturally, I don't imagine my Triple Crown project being anything extraordinary or unique, there are much more interesting and exciting breeding projects out there.

Quote
A Triple Crown is the act of winning or completing the three most important, difficult, or prestigious events, feats, or prizes in a given field.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Crown)

I am basically working on parallel breeding lines of compact determinate tomatoes with the hope of creating cherry(+) size tomatoes with different fruit colors, fruit forms and flavors. I am after non-sprawling plants that can be grown in high density (like 30-40 cm apart) without support, with very short time in small pots before planting. Some kind of low management plants, if you like. I am aware of the fact that it is generally believed that such plants could not produce good testing tomatoes. When compared to high brix indeterminates, yes, I am not quite there. But when compared to mass produced super market tomatoes, I think I can beat many already now. Some of my other criteria are:

  • Compact but not micro
  • Definitely not dwarf with rugose leaves (as I believe they tend to flower later)
  • Short internodes
  • Precocious flowering
  • Elegant posture, not too erect (as they fall over), maybe not prostrate either (as the tomatoes gets easily dirty)

Achieving the goal has proven to be more difficult than I expected. Out of some 300+ F2 plants last summer, only one is looking something I would consider a Triple Crown worthy. And this is a bit boring, yet another red cherry, that we all have seen so many before. This is a line selected from a cross with Vnuchenka, a compact determinate plant already which is now reduced some 40% in size. Below pics probably gives a better understanding what I am working on, all these are F3 generations from that Vnuchenka cross. I like the leaf type as it might be the so-called "serrated potato leaf". It does taste good when fully ripe.

I suppose in these precocious flowering phenotypes the apical dominance is broken early giving an early start for all side shoots. The time they start flowing depends on the growing conditions, and cool nights promotes early flowering. It takes roughly three months from seed to harvest, and another 2-3 months before the harvest ends. There is a larger burst of tomatoes at first but when the fruits from the side shoots starts ripening, it continues more evenly. The plants are able to re-generate themselves more easily than one would expect, e.g. grow more than one side shoot from a leaf bud to replace a branch or grow a new one. 

If you look carefully, they also have "three crowns" as I call them. By a crown, I mean two inflorescences ending to a leaf, and as this is often repeated three times, it makes three crowns. What is important for me is that the main stem stops growing very early or otherwise the whole plant becomes spreading and sprawling.

(I hope the attachment pics show-up in the posting as I don't see them in the preview.)
« Last Edit: 2021-08-09, 11:08:54 AM by Vesa Tee »

William S.

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Re: My Triple Crown project
« Reply #1 on: 2021-08-09, 06:37:05 AM »
Krainy Sever is an interesting dwarf variety in my collection. I first grew it in 2017 direct seeded before I knew it was a dwarf. It did very well was perhaps in the top 10 for earliness and supported itself erectly without falling down. I found out it was true dwarf this year so am growing it out again. Next to Payette the only other true rugose dwarf in my collection, then two rugose micro dwarfs. A tomato that I thought was segregating from a disease resistant commercial F1 but looks exactly like a rugose micro dwarf. Sweet Cherriette and then a non rugose micro dwarf called gold pearl.

I have been thinking that dwarf with rugose leaves might lead to greater earliness not less. I haven't tried it yet though but I was thinking about crossing the earliest tomato I have in my collection Sweet Cherriette at 35 DTM from transplant with a dwarf or micro dwarf with rugose leaves to see if it makes an even earlier tomato. Just to push the boundaries of what might be possible.

Why do you think rugose leads to later flowering?
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Vesa Tee

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Re: My Triple Crown project
« Reply #2 on: 2021-08-09, 08:30:02 AM »
About the assumption that dwarf (d) may be later flowering than wild types (D), this is based on an article Ē SELF-PRUNING Acts Synergistically with DIAGEOTROPICA to Guide Auxin Responses and Proper Growth FormĒ, supplementary figure S2 (that is a bit tricky to find as it is not part of the original paper but needs to be downloaded separately). The researchers compared the flowering times of four Micro-Tom mutants (SP D, SP d, sp D, sp d). Both d mutants were later flowering than the wild types D. Based on the figure B, 50% of flowers were open in d plants about 10 days later than in D plants. The difference was smaller for the first flower to open.

I also have Sweet Cherriette and have considered of using it in some crosses. However, my seed source was not pure and I saw more than one phenotype when I first tried it. Also, the one that I expected to be true was not extra early in my conditions.
« Last Edit: 2021-08-09, 08:35:40 AM by Vesa Tee »

William S.

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Re: My Triple Crown project
« Reply #3 on: 2021-08-09, 06:23:23 PM »
I wrote the supplier Adaptive Seeds after growing sweet cherriette for the first time. I wondered about some variation I had seen. Though I also grew it many different ways and there were a few plants that could have been it or something else. They didnt think it has much if any variation. I also shared seed with some folks from what I saved. Now in 2020 and 2021 I have noticed slight exsertion of the stigma. Which I did not note in 2017, 2018, or 2019.

In everywhich way I've grown it, it seems to be the earliest or near earliest. However it only lives up to its 35 DTM from transplant brag in my estimation if transplanted promptly and grown perfectly to a robust size for 8 weeks prior to transplant not 6.



Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Steph S

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Re: My Triple Crown project
« Reply #4 on: 2021-08-10, 02:12:48 PM »
Vesa, those are very nice looking plants!   And quite different in form from the determinates I'm working with, which are tall by comparison.  Your yield looks excellent with the large cluster size.

Incidentally we trialed an early dwarf here named Al Kuffah which seemed promising in the greenhouse environment.  However in the slightly cooler conditions of the outdoor trial it ripened much later than the others.   It left me with the impression that the slowing of metabolism due to dwarf genes was not a good bet for our unreliable summers, and is really the reason I haven't grown any other dwarfs (except for one micro).  There are too many other tomatoes to trial that don't have that disadvantage.
Microdwarfs on the other hand are pretty amazing for the sturdy growth habit requiring no support.  Even growing in winter in the house, I had no need to worry about the Red Dwarf (Roter Zwerg) toppling over reaching for the light.  It was quite happy in a window and did well in short days and low light conditions.   
In my greenhouse, everything grows taller because it is sunken in the ground.  There's too much competition for light.  I did trial some very small determinates (Cold Set, Siletz, Beaverlodge Plum) but I didn't like their susceptibility to foliar diseases which was pretty bad, grown in 5 gallon pots.  I guess you must feed your plants pretty regularly to keep them healthy for a two month fruiting period.  Cold Set and Siletz weren't all that early, and B.Plum was tasteless too, so taken with the heap of Early Blighted leaves they didn't make the cut. 

Vesa Tee

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Re: My Triple Crown project
« Reply #5 on: 2021-08-10, 11:45:25 PM »
Hi William, Steph,

I have seen the exsertion of the stigma in S.C. too which is also why I expected a spontanious cross. One of my plants was very tall and had much larger fruits than the others. I like the idea of directly seeded tomatoes very much, although the weed management would be a major problem for me.  :)

The earliness has not really been in my scope as cherry tomatoes in these types of plants seem to be early enough for me. Another aspect that I like in this plant architecture is the exposed flowers. It means easier and faster harvest as the tomatoes are not covered by leaves. I find that picking the tomatoes from dwarf (d) plants takes often longer time. The down side is the risk for sun burns, especially if the fruit has green shoulders (U). Which is of course pitty as U means often more sugars and flavor.

I havenít fed my plants during the growing season but they do get a good amount of manure and minerals when I prepare the rised beds in the spring. I try to maximize the amount of organic matter in the soil, e.g. by sowing a rye hay after the crop for winter when possible.

Steph, donít get fooled by my pretty pictures as the leafy pics were taken before the heat wave. My plants looks much more miserable now, and always poor by the end of the season. I agree what you write about the susceptibility to foliar diseases in these types of plants, that was one reason for staring my breeding project. Luckily, we donít have a problem with Early Blight, not sure I would even recognize the deciese. Late Blight is a problem here but it has not infected my tomatoes for many years under the plastic. But when the really wet summer comes next time, I expect to see it again.

In low light conditions, these plants tend to get leafy and have low yield. Winter time inside the house, I see strange foliage disease, whilting leaves and such.

William S.

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Re: My Triple Crown project
« Reply #6 on: 2021-08-11, 01:31:03 PM »
A spontaneous cross with sweet cherriette would be fun. Would love to grow out a large amount of seed to screen for that. Probably have a lot saved. Doing that with some accumulated non-isolated big hill this year. 
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days