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The Micro Tomato Diversity Project

The project is a multi-year endeavor to increase the diversity and available varieties available to home gardeners and researchers alike. Currently, most of the "micro tomatoes" available are pretty bland, or have non-appealing traits (such as thick skin).

The project will be comprised of smaller, more focused projects. For example, there is already a Massively-Multi-Flora project and a BLT-Worthy project underway. As a result of completing these more focused projects, the ultimate goal will be achieved. Eventually, the project will culminate in many releases being made available to various seed companies that will allow gardeners around the world to obtain seeds that will grow out interesting, tasty tomatoes from very small plants. This may allow many gardeners to have tomatoes through the winter by facilitating tomato cultivars that grow well indoors, under artificial lighting

The home of the project forums is right here. If you are on Facebook, you can also share in conversation and post results right here.

Who can participate?

If you can grow tomatoes, you're in! We would ask you make an official request at: Request to Join and that you report back your results in the forums or social media sites.

How do I get seed?

The project organizers can provide some initial seed. However, we rely on our network of volunteers to who have grown out some of these crosses to help provide seed to those seeking to join in on the fun. You can submit an official request here: Request To Join and we, as the organizers, will coordinate with our members to get you some seed to grow out!

I'm in! So... What are the goals??

First and foremost, the goal is to introduce genetic diversity into the "micro tomato" world. Many of the micro tomatoes currently available are of limited diversity and of questionable background. Many have come from eastern Europe and Russia - and while that itself is not a bad thing - it does mean that many of these likely have very similar genetic ancestors. I have also noticed that many of the micro tomatoes currently available produce tomatoes with very thick skins.

What are my responsibilities?

There are a few responsibilities of the members in this project

  • Record common attributes of the seeds that you grow (height, leaf type, fruit color, fruit size, fruit shape, taste, production level, etc, and report them back via official channels (this website, Facebook, etc)
  • Maintain some seed stock of the lines you are working on. We're operating under a distributed seed stock model. Organizers will facilitate the requests with you for seed, and you will send the seed to other participants. If you do not want this responsibility, then please ensure you submit (some) saved back to the project organizers so it can be distributed to other participants.
  • Return seed of promising crosses to the organizers. This could be Dan, Diane, or Sean. If you've grown something that has promising traits, we ask that you send seed back to be cataloged and stored for future endeavors.


Here are a few tips and suggestions that may assist you in your growing efforts

  • If you are growing F2s, it is suggested you plant many and cull aggressively. Keep only the strongest, healthiest looking plants. There is likely to be a lot of "duds" at this stage.
  • When saving seed, save as much as you can. Several hundred seeds is not too much.
  • When carrying a line forward and planting saved seed - don't plant it all in one go. Save some for later. This would help prevent losing everything if an unfortunate event occurs.
  • If you are considering growing under artifical lights, consider LEDs. They are more powerful, and can be cheaper to run, than tube flourescents.
  • Take pictures and good notes. These are invaluable not only to yourself as you carry lines forward, but also to the project as a whole!

Reporting Results to the Project

One of the most important responsibilities you have as a project member is to record and report back your results. Below are some guidelines as to how this can be accomplished

Data to record

We suggest you keep track of the plants as they grow. Here are some data points you could collect:

  • Height
  • Foliage/Leaf type
  • Growth Habit (long and lanky? bushy? etc)
  • Internode length (how much distance between branches
  • Flower truss characteristics (few flowers per truss, many flowers per truss, few trusses, lots of trusses, etc)
  • Fruit size, weight, and shape
  • Fruit color
  • Fruit taste
  • Skin type (thick, thin, easily cracks, etc)
  • Any observed hardiness (or lack thereof)
  • Seed quantity per fruit (few, many, etc)

How to report results

We have established a separate forum for each cross that is being worked on. You can report your results in the respective forum. It is recommended you start a new thread for your particular results so we can more easily track progress. You can find those cross forums right here. If you can't find the forum for your cross, let SeanInVa know and he will get it added. We may have just overlooked getting that added.

We have created a template you can copy and paste into your threads right here

Saving and Sending Seeds

We ask that you save any seeds from plants that show promise in carrying forward. Feel free to save seeds for your own purpose as well - if you want to experiement with breeding, please give it a go!

We also ask that you maintain a certain level of stock and help us in distributing those seeds to other project members who may want to grow them. This helps spread the diversity around, and also helps prevent overload on the project organizers. We, as the organizers, will field the requests and contact you to send seeds. Members are, of course, free to contact other members with requests - but we would ask that if you send seeds to another member, to please give us a heads up so we can keep track of who is growing what.

If you do not wish to participate in the distributing of seed, that is certainly ok with us - it is not a requirement to participate in the project. In that case however, please do send some seed back to one of the organizers so that we can get it out to other members.

Additionally, if you do not wish to receive seed from other members or otherwise want your real name or address disclosed to members, please let us know! We will be happy to keep your information private amongst the organizers only

How to save seed

We do not have requirements on the method you use to save seeds - but would ask you simply mention the method you used. If you are not experienced at saving seeds from tomatoes, then you can go here for a how-to that walks you through a easy, basic process of fermenting seeds. (tutorial is forthcoming).

Submitting seeds back to the project organizers

You can submit seeds to one or more of the below people. Please contact them via private message on the forums for their address - we are not posting that information publicly here.

  • For those members in the United States you can submit to
  • For those members outside the United States you can submit to