Author Topic: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project  (Read 868 times)

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« 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.
« Last Edit: 2018-12-01, 09:44:12 AM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #1 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.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #2 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.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #3 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.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

Lauren

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: 10
  • Utah, USA, 4000 ft
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #4 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.

Lauren

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: 10
  • Utah, USA, 4000 ft
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #5 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.

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #6 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.
« Last Edit: 2019-08-24, 06:36:20 AM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 388
  • Karma: 28
  • Narrow Ridge above the Ohio River zone 6a
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #7 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.

Lauren

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: 10
  • Utah, USA, 4000 ft
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #8 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.

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #9 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.
« Last Edit: 2019-08-24, 03:53:54 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #10 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.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 388
  • Karma: 28
  • Narrow Ridge above the Ohio River zone 6a
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #11 on: 2019-08-30, 07:15:41 PM »
How is it for flavor?

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #12 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.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 388
  • Karma: 28
  • Narrow Ridge above the Ohio River zone 6a
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #13 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.

William S.

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: 31
    • View Profile
Re: Direct seeded dry farmed tomato breeding project
« Reply #14 on: 2019-09-02, 10:21:45 PM »
Found a pretty domestic x habrochaites cross F3? Or so. Seems to have S allele intact.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A