Thomas Ziminski

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since Sep 28, 2012
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Recent posts by Thomas Ziminski

Tracy - I have just started multiple landrace breeding projects. So I guess I am one step ahead of you.

I am working on a fall landrace garden. Arugula, cabbage (red, green, savoy, and napa), beets, carrots and turnips.

I bought every single OP variety I could find of the above species. I haven't added any hybrid seeds as of yet as I am afraid of CMS. I’m afraid I wont have the time to check the flowers. I feel like the more varieties the better, once they cross I can select for any trait I want because the genetic pool is so diverse.

I wanted a good bolt-resistant summer Arugula, so I bought almost every OP arugula variety I could find and then sowed a bunch of it about a month ago. Maybe half of the seeds came up, the soil temp is at least 80 degrees F. We had about a 2 week period of low to high 90's F (pretty rare around here). I didn't weed the bed, and it got inconsistent watering. It's August 2nd and still no sign of bolting. I'd call it a riveting success already. (My original variety bolted in late April, way before the really warm temperatures hit, and lasted maybe 2 weeks before flowering). This will be my summer arugula landrace. I will also be growing winter, spring and fall arugula landraces as well. For the arugula I sow all my varieties, 10 total each month, and select for my desired traits.

I started 150 cabbage plants yesterday. 6 seedlings each from 25 different varieties. I will select the best seedlings (there is only room for 100 of them) and then plant them out and trial them and see what grows well here and what doesn't. I'm selecting for good growth, pest resistance (there are cabbage moths everywhere this summer), good storage ability, taste and cold resistance. I'm gonna try and overwinter some of them outside and some inside. I want to replant the winners in the spring for a seed crop.

Winters are weird here and highly erratic. Sometimes it is mild with a few days just below freezing. Other winters we can have 3ft of snow cover from December to March and no above freezing temperatures for months at a time. Other winters there is no snow cover but it goes below freezing often. I look forward to whatever the weather throws at me, maybe I can overwinter some of the fall veggies, maybe not. Survival of the fittest.

Buy some seeds, plant them, observe, take notes, select for your desired traits, and you’ll be well on your way to creating something awesome and amazing!
4 years ago
I just got back from my garden to harvest my tomatoes and I thought of this thread.

I plant two OP heirloom tomato varieties every year because they are early, productive and very tasty. I usually plant them in my side garden and they get about 4ft tall and are pretty productive. I have some black spot and had whiteflies one year, but the plants didn't seem to care or be bothered.

This year I grew them in the back garden, which has a lot more disease pressure, notably verticillium wilt. I've noticed a degree of tolerance in some of the many varieties I have trialed in the back garden, but have never planted my two staple tomatoes in the back garden.

The plants grew to 6-7ft tall, fell over (I can't seem to stake tomatoes well), got black spot, got verticillium wilt, and possibly late blight. I watered way less than I should have, barely weeded and pretty much neglected my tomatoes very badly. The wilt caused the fruit to be in full sun and gave them sun scald.

Even with all the problems, I just got done harvesting about 50 lbs of tomatoes from 5 very sickly plants. This is my third time harvesting, and I'd say I have harvested close to 100 lbs of tomatoes with no cides, fertilizer, or anything other than our homemade compost and some grass clippings from our lawn.

Despite the insane disease pressure, my tomatoes still did amazing and although my tomato season is done thanks to verticillium and late blight, I have to say I am really happy with them. Even though they aren't resistant or tolerate all the disease pressure, I'm still going to save seed from every one of those 5 plants and try and breed some verticillium and late blight resistance into them. I want to develop a landrace with these varieties because of the fact that they are so productive despite total neglect and attack. I'm dreaming of how they would produce if they had resistance and lasted all summer.

4 years ago
This project has inspired me to try a similar experiment.

Three years ago a natural and unexpected cross between 'Mexico Midget' and/or both 'Brandywine (Sudduth)', and 'Italian Heirloom' occurred in my back vegetable plot. The next year (2014) hundreds of little vigorous tomato seedlings appeared and we let a good portion of them grow to maturity, and we had this small-to-medium sized red tomato that was pretty darn tasty and enjoyed by everyone we shared with.

In 2014, we planted other varieties in the back garden with our "wild" tomato variety. I expected and hoped for some crosses to enhance genetic biodiversity, but in 2015 when the wild tomatoes came up they were the same as the year before, and as far as my eyes and tongue could tell, were no different than the year before. I found this strange, because as far as I know, F1 hybrids, don't usually grow true. Perhaps some other genetics ended up getting in there after all.

After reading your posts and work, I see now that most cultivated tomatoes have poor flower structure for pollination and are natural inbreeders. I searched a rather massive database of wild tomato accessions and have selected quite a few to evaluate and incorporate into my tomato population.

I selected accessions that had the following characteristics:
Pollinators noted visiting flowers
Large Flowers, or high amounts of flowering
Disease or Pest Resistance
Cold, Heat or Drought Tolerance
Good Fruit Sets
Flowering and Fruiting Time of Year

I have made selections from:

S. cheesmaniae
S. chmielewski
S. habrochaites
S. neorickii
S. pennelli

These 5 are listed as easily hybridizing with S. lycopersicum (common cultivated tomato), and according to my research can either be inbreeders or outcrossers, depending on the form.

They have a host of other helpful characteristics I'd like to incorporate like disease resistance, pest resistance, drought, heat and cold resistance, depending on the species and collection in question.

I also included the 4 species that make up the S. peruvianum complex:

S. arcanum
S. corneliomuelleri
S. huaylasense
S. peruvianum

Also useful for disease resistance and all natural outcrossers, as far as I can tell. From the information I could find this complex does not easily hybridize with S. lycoperiscum, and that:

Crossing L. peruvianum to L. esculentum (S. lycoperiscum) is rarely sucessful. Attempts frequently result in embryo or flower abortion. As more lines have been evaluated, a few have produced at least one seed. Fortunately, these hybrids are capable of backcrossing to a L. esculentum (S. lycoperiscum) parent.

Another method which has been successful at overcoming the incompatibilty between the cultivated tomato and the L. peruvianum is the use of L. chilense as a bridge species (L. peruvianum is crossed to L. chilense and that progeny is crossed to L. esculentum). Although this might seem encouraging, most of the time this methods fails, but does yield better results than a direct cross. Most crosses between the cultivated tomato and the members of the "peruvianum-complex" fail due to some sort of incompatibility.

Apparently S. peruvianum complex and S. chilense can cross, but I forgot to acquire S. chilense seed, so that won't happen this year.

I'm not doing any embryo rescue techniques, but hopefully one of the four species I'm evaluating will produce at least a little viable seed for further backcrossing.

I have concerns with flowering time as you have mentioned, but also edibility of the wild species I am crossing. I know I will end up crossing these wild tomatoes many time, therefore diluting any possible toxic compounds, but alas I could find very little information on edibility or toxicity of these wild tomato varieties. There are a lot of toxic members of the nightshade family and I'd hate to create something that got me or someone else sick. Some of the accessions I requested were noted as being edible by local peoples though.

I selected accessions with a diverse flowering time from Summer and Winter, taking into consideration that the Southern Hemisphere has different seasons. I have grow lights if necessary.

I also will be growing 8 conventional varieties, some hybrids, some open-pollinated, with some noted for producing lots of flowers, or lots of pollen, for an addition of genetics into my local landrace. I may have to hand pollinate, but I'm lazy and wish the bees would do this for me.

4 years ago

Juglone does not kill or harm tree-of-heaven (at least in my area it doesn't). I have regularly seen them growing side by side I am unsure if ailathone effects black walnut seedlings, germination, etc, but as far as I know, the only north American tree that isn't effected by ailathone is white ash (Fraxinus americana).

5 years ago
Looks amazing and delicious. I've always wondered whether you could make a venison cured meat/prosciutto and now I know.
Thanks for the pictures and instructions.
5 years ago
If you are talking about the Eastern Red Cedar, I know that they are incredibly susceptible to fire.

The low branches easily catch fire and than quickly travel up the tree like a ladder.

Around here they grow in very inhospitable poor soils, rocks, by the ocean, etc.

They are incredibly long lived for a pioneer species (850+ years). They have certain impacts on the soil, making it alkaline, the deep shade it casts doesn't allow for much of anything to grow under them, and they remove nitrogen from prairie soils.

Ecologically they are invaders of grasslands, and periodic fires would serve to hold them back from invading a grassland.
5 years ago
I think the horse manure already has enough nitrogen in it, you wouldn't want to overnitrify your soil. I'd throw some fast growing annuals (native if possible) or short-lived perennials, that you can chop and drop to build soil structure and stability. Maybe look into some dynamic nutrient accumulators as well.
6 years ago
Thanks for a great read, loved it. One of my dreams is to have blight-resistant American Chestnuts growing all over the place once again.
6 years ago
Can't be 100% certain of the species but it's size and bark look like a flowering dogwood, which is native to North America and as per the USDA plants website has a cold tolerance of -25F, it never gets that cold around here so the cold isn't it.

Looking at this website,, its possible that the dogwood borer could be the culprit

There are a few dogwoods around here and some of them have the branch flagging your seeing but they have been like that since hurricane sandy (they were flooded) and they come back every year since but they have a lot of dead branches and they don't leaf out fully.
6 years ago
Hey Frank fellow Long Islander here!
Could you post some pictures of the tree?
Have all the leaves wilted and fallen off? If you could post some pictures of any leaves that do remain, and of the bark, maybe I can identify it.
6 years ago