Win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry this week in the Woodland forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
stewards:
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Beau Davidson
  • Nancy Reading
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • L. Johnson
  • thomas rubino
  • S Rogers

Montana Tomato Breeding Project

 
pollinator
Posts: 674
Location: Montana
251
forest garden trees
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
https://www.facebook.com/groups/807438750513630

I created a Facebook group today but would be happy to discuss it here as well.

https://opensourceplantbreeding.org/forum/index.php/topic,746.0.html

Also started a thread to the same effect on the OSSI plant breeding forum.

I am a gardener in Ronan and Missoula who breeds tomato plants. The hobby has gotten to the point where I think it would be nice to share it more with the community.

 
master steward
Posts: 41058
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You probably have a long list of stuff you would like to be your breeding attributes.  I would like to say what I would like to see in breeding tomato varieties - which I embrace will be thoroughly ignored.

pw001:  save seed from robust volunteers.  Maybe some day, in some montana situations, we will have a variety that is called "an invasive weed."  Montana will be infested with beautiful tomato plants.  People will hate me (and maybe you) for ever having this conversation.  Any field that is untended will fill up with tomatoes.  And these tomatoes might outcompete some of our current invasives.  Gardeners and homesteaders everywhere will, at the very least, be flooded with tomatoes.  Without even trying.  The quality and quantity will be determined by the plants they take out rather than the plants they save.

pw002:  paste varieties.  Mostly because I like salsa, ketchup and similar stuff that i tend to plant more paste tomatoes.  

 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 674
Location: Montana
251
forest garden trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On the contrary! My tomato breeding started with volunteers in 2016. One was a currant tomato in some potting mix my mother had grown one in an earlier year and the other in a seed mix from Michael Pilarski. So in 2017 I gathered up some 70 kinds including those two and tried very seriously to direct seed tomatoes here in Montana. Everything worked. Some even better than the accidental two. In fact, they didn't even make my top ten list for breeding material!

I documented that first year of the project here on Permies:

https://permies.com/t/62189/Direct-Seeding-Tomatoes-Frost-Free

Where I am now with the project is that I have made some 14 or more unique crosses almost all of them with ancestors from 2017. A few of which I have seed saved into the sixth generation or so but many of which came about just this year as things seem to be picking up a bit of steam.

As far as paste tomatoes go, I am not against them. In fact, I think I found a couple interesting ones this year as potential breeding stock. My hope is that the community will take up the plant material and point it in new and interesting directions that support our local food culture.  You are of course a part of the community!

I made a cross this year with Brad's Atomic Grape which has the classic cylindrical shape we associate with Romas and sauce though a bit fancier looking.

I also made a cross this year with the earliest tomato I found in 2017 Sweet Cherriette which I bought from Adaptive Seed, and they resurrected from an old packet from the breeder Tim Peters: Peters Seeds and Research, and I even have a small amount of F2 seed already!

One of the 2017 crosses uses an unknown Lofthouse landrace potato leaf I direct seeded as a mother and Brad Gate's Blue Gold as the father. I ultimately sorted out some potato leaf blue golden offspring and named them Mission Mountain Sunrise. Last year I crossed that with Joseph Lofthouse's Big Hill HX-9 tomato for the long stigma and grew the F1 over the winter. I used the F1 and the resulting F2 for some nine more crosses this year. Some to horribly unpalatable wild tomatoes. Some to fantastic fancy tomatoes. Some to wild tomatoes with decent flavor. So the idea of getting tomatoes maybe even sauce tomatoes so wild that they reproduce on their own is not far-fetched!
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 41058
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Biggest question:  do you have volunteers outperform transplants?

If you have a volunteer that wildly had more volunteers the next year, and the next year, and so on for seven years --  THAT would be an extremely valuable seed to me!

If nothing else, I could grow a hundred plants, and from each plant make sure a tomato was mashed onto the ground so that there would be another tomato the following year.   Or maybe pick the ten plants i liked best and make sure ten tomatoes from each plant got mashed onto the ground at the time of the harvest.  And then the garden kinda becomes a thicket of tomatoes every year and I'm mulching over a thousand baby tomatoes so I can grow something other than tomatoes.  

Or even better:  I have a huge polyculture annual garden growing every year, of 20 different species, and I never planted a damn thing.
 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 674
Location: Montana
251
forest garden trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Volunteers and direct seeded tomato plants do ok in my garden. They bear later than transplants usually- though often a very heavy crop on plants that eventually get just as big as the transplants. However, they do so with a lot less resources- including my time! They seem to need weeded at least once and it may be best to water them until they start to set fruit.

This year for the first time I had a row of tomatoes that I direct seeded the previous year produce many thousands of seedlings as volunteers. In the past volunteers have been a little sparser with them often disappearing after a second year. These volunteers were different in that they were from Joseph Lofthouse's promiscuous tomato project which is about 1/4 wild species tomato genetics which I direct seeded in 2021. They may well come back a third year in 2023.
 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 674
Location: Montana
251
forest garden trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, one of my favorite ways of doing tomato breeding is to use potato leaf tomatoes with a stigma (female part) of the flower that sticks out a bit. These are more likely to naturally be outcrossed, and I made my first cross this way back in 2017 using a potato leaf mother I got from a tomato mixture that Joseph Lofthouse made. Of the potato leaf tomatoes it had the stigma sticking out a bit more than any of the others in 2017. Though potato leaf tomatoes are famous for sometimes doing this. In 2021 I used the potato leaf descendant of the 2017 cross now named Mission Mountain Sunrise to make a new cross with Big Hill or HX-9 an Open-Source Seed Initiative pledged regular leaf tomato bred by Joseph Lofthouse. I grew that cross out over the winter and got some F2 seed which I planted in the spring and from which I sorted out all the potato leaf plants. I then used those F2 plants which I began calling Mission Mountain Morning to make up the mother portion of some crossing blocks. I didn’t have quite enough, and it turned out that Mission Mountain Sunrise had worked well as mothers in 2021 so I substituted in some of them as well especially on crossing blocks where the other parent was of OSSI descent as well. Though it does turn out that Mission Mountain Sunrise is more dependent on hot weather for the stigma to stick out of the anther cone than is Big Hill. Hopefully Mission Mountain Morning will be less weather dependent.

I made a larger than normal number of deliberate hand crosses in 2022 but what I want to talk about here is the crossing block crosses! The crossing block crosses aren’t emasculated, and they may or may not have happened. Though they are likely to generate several Mission Mountain Sunrise F6 and Mission Mountain Morning F3 seedlings as well. In fact- it will be the only way to get such seedlings! The regular leaf seedlings will be F1 hybrids, and the potato leaf seedlings will be selfed.

11? MMS x Dwarf Mocha's Cherry
This cross number 11 if it indeed happened is between Mission Mountain Sunrise and Dwarf Mocha’s Cherry an OSSI registered anthocyanin skinned dwarf. Any offspring of this cross would-be regular leaf with any selfed seedlings being potato leaved and therefore easy to pick out (and hopefully those will find a good home). This would be a great way to get dwarfism and anthocyanin better fixed into a dwarf tomato.

12? MMS x OSSI Dwarfs
A similar cross to number 11 but with any of several OSSI dwarf varieties though I think the seeds I picked were from a plant right next to Dwarf Kelley’s Green which was one of my absolute favorite flavors. No anthocyanin on the dwarf side though.

13? MMM x The One (Fruity promiscuous)
The One is a fruity promiscuous project strain. Its heritage is something like 12.5% Solanum habrochaites, 12.5% Solanum penellii, and 75% domestic. Its 2021 parent was a dwarf resulting from the wild cross with truly amazing fruity flavor. In 2022 I didn’t taste a bad one, but they varied from almost as good as the 2021 parent to normal tomato taste. Any regular leaf plant from this crossing block is a cross with it. So, it could be a truly amazing tomato- or normal. Still getting 12.5% wild genetics is probably a good deal for tomato diversity.

14? MMM x Unknown (Diversity Garden)
This is a wild card. The Mission Mountain Morning mother had some of the longest stigmas of the entire F2 population. So bound to have picked up some pollen. The mother was in a tightly woven row with lots and lots of tomato varieties. So, it’s possible that every regular leaf seedling from this tomato could have a different father. Or they could mostly be from whatever was closest!

15? MMM x LA1410 Galapagense
I really wanted to cross MMM and LA1410 Solanum galapagense in 2022. I did manage to make a deliberate cross with a hybrid that turned up. However, I think the 50:50 parentage F1 might just be in this seed lot waiting for us to recognize the regular leaf seedling! Should be interesting to find out. I can’t wait.
 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 674
Location: Montana
251
forest garden trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Future Desired Crosses in 2023 and beyond

Here is a list of domestic tomatoes I still want to make crosses with. Not to mention wild species of tomatoes and half sibling crosses I also will want to make. What tomatoes do you want to cross together?

Exserted Tiger
This is a tomato cross I made in 2017 it is Blue Ambrosia x Amurski Tigr and was an open cross without emasculation, so I didn’t know it worked until 2019 when stripes showed up in the F2. As a cross it has blue skin, stripes, and a stigma that sticks out a good bit. It isn’t completely stable yet, but I would like to cross it with Mission Mountain Morning. Blue Ambrosia is bred by Lee Goodwin and is part of his Ambrosia series where he followed the strange foliage smell of Sungold F1 down through generations of segregation and outcrosses to try to keep its unique flavor. Amurski Tigr is a short season striped red of Russian or Soviet origin which I picked up originally as a seedling in 2016 from the tomato lady at the Missoula Farmer’s Market.

Exserted Orange
This is my line of a collaborative cross with Big Hill HX-9 made in the garden of a fellow named Malcolm then grown in the F1 by Joseph. I grew out the F2 and selected it for the one with the stigma that stuck out the most. Then grew out the F3 and F4 isolated. I would like to cross it with Mission Mountain Morning to get the orange color but with the blue and the potato leaves of Mission Mountain Morning.

Blue Golden Tresette
This is a cross with interesting shapes I found in a packet of Alan Kapuler’s Golden Tresette. I noticed one plant with a slight blue blush. Turned out to be an F1 and the F2 segregated wildly into some very nice looking chile shaped tomatoes. Unfortunately, the flavor can be off putting. Golden Tresette is interesting because it is one of Alan’s tomatoes that sometimes outcross, and this would be an example. I would like to cross it with Mission Mountain Morning to see if I can get some interesting shapes without the odd flavor. Golden Tresette is interesting because Alan claimed it might be a three species cross.

Coyote
Coyote also known as White Currant is a standout small, fruited tomato with Mexican origins. It has good/interesting flavor and is early. I have been meaning to make a cross with it for a long time.

Dwarf Eagle Smiley
One of my favorites from the OSSI dwarf tomato project. I think it has good flavor. So, a good candidate for crossing with Mission Mountain Morning.

Muddy Waters
The fanciest looking of the three best flavored green when ripe tomatoes I grew in 2022. It has stripes, anthocyanin, and great flavor. So, I want to cross it with Mission Mountain Morning.

Amethyst Cream
A white tomato that is also blue bred by Brad Gate’s it has been a garden favorite now for a long time. It is fancy with its Anthocyanin blue blush over such pale fruit, and it has great flavor. I would like it crossed with Mission Mountain Morning.

Fuzzy
A Tim Peters interspecies cross maintained and sent to me by a fellow amateur tomato breeder who would like me to cross it with Tim’s “Fruity” strain. I would also like to cross it with Mission Mountain Morning.

Fruity
A Tim Peters interspecies cross maintained and sent to me by a fellow amateur tomato breeder who would like me to cross it with Tim’s “Fuzzy” strain. I would also like to cross it with Mission Mountain Morning.

Glacier
A local favorite tomato that has long done well here in Western Montana. I would like to cross it into the project just for that reason.

Yellow Pear
Back in the 1980s yellow pear tomatoes were probably the fanciest tomato we grew. I like that shape and want to cross it into something else.

Stupice
A local favorite tomato that has long done well here in Western Montana. I would like to cross it into the project just for that reason.

Flamenco
A heat tolerant tomato bred from Silvery Fir Tree which is a short season tomato and with the carrot leaves of that parent. I want to cross this in because heat tolerance is getting more important with climate change.

Bison
A North Dakota bred tomato with the name of my favorite animal.

Payette
An early modern Idaho bred tomato which happens to be dwarf and resistant to Curly Top virus spread by leaf hoppers. It has some very dilute wild ancestry.
 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 674
Location: Montana
251
forest garden trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tomatoes I have successfully crossed into the Montana Tomato Project So Far

1. Unknown Lofthouse Potato Leaf. I noticed the stigma stuck out a bit on this one plant from Joseph Lofthouse’s seed mix in 2017. So I daubed pollen on it.

2. Blue Gold a blue blushed yellow/red marbled bicolor bred by Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farm in California.

3. Blue Ambrosia a tomato bred by Lee Goodwin in New Mexico. He dehybridized Sungold F1 and then crossed that with a blue skinned tomato he bred from Oregon State University developed material related to their 2012 blue skinned tomato release. The strain I received had stigmas that stuck out a long way on 4 out of 5 plants.


4. Amurski Tigr a tomato I bought from the tomato lady at Missoula’s Clark Fork Market in 2016. It is short season, red, indeterminate, and striped.

5. Solanum pimpinellifolium accession PI 270443 because it is reportedly known to have a trait called PH5 for late blight resistance.


6. Solanum pimpinillifolium accession PI 365967 because it reportedly has resistance to a new tomato disease called the brown rugose fruit virus.

7. Sweet Cherriette a currant tomato bred by Tim Peters that ripens in just 35 days from transplant IF a nicely grown large eight week old seedling is outplanted.


8. Aztek a micro dwarf yellow fruited tomato I bought from Bunny Hop seeds. I’ve been told by other breeders that crosses with it produce both regular and micro dwarfs.

9. Big Hill HX-9 a OSSI pledged regular leaf determinate yellow and red marbled bicolor. It is bred from a Hillbilly x Jagodka cross. It has stigmas that stick out nicely seemingly independent of the weather here.


10. Solanum habrochaites LA2329. This is an extremely unpalatable green when ripe wild species tomato with extremely hairy foliage and fruit. It is known for arthropod resistance.

11. Promiscuous project tomatoes are bred by Joseph Lofthouse. They are complex hybrids between domestic tomatoes, Solanum habrochaites, and Solanum penellii with about 75% domestic and 25% wild genetics selected over several generations for good flavor. Though still variable in that regard.


12. Solanum galapagense hybrid- this was a hybrid between Solanum galapagense and domestic tomato that showed up in my 2022 garden. I managed to make a cross with it and Mission Mountain Morning. I am not sure if the original cross happened in my 2022 garden or maybe at Heirloom Reviews seeds garden.

13. Brad’s Atomic Grape- this is a green/red bicolor with stripes and blue blush bred by Brad Gates


14. Purple Zebra F1 this is a hybrid with multiple disease resistance including PH2 and PH3 late blight resistance bred by the Artisan Seeds group including Mark Mccasslin. More interestingly it is supposed to also have heirloom flavor and that seems to be true. Purple in this sense is in the Cherokee Purple type of purple.

15. Dwarf Gloria’s Treat this is a yellow and red bicolor from the Dwarf Tomato project pledged to OSSI and with excellent flavor.
 
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic