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Early flowering identified- 12 weeks seed to seed

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    Early flowering identified- 12 weeks seed to seed

    Hi everyone,

    I made a MicroTom x Black Cherry cross, and a single F2 plant flowered noticeably earlier than the others and produced its first ripe fruit only 13 weeks after seeding (two weeks before the next soonest plant). The other thirty-eight plants averaged 20 weeks. For reference, I'm growing these plants indoors under fluorescent lights in 2" seedling cells all the way to maturity, so naturally they're a bit stressed and it's not unexpected for them to take longer to develop, thus the average of 20 weeks. In the next generation (F3), half the plants produced ripe fruit in 12 weeks and the other half in 13 (the average for the other lines was 19 weeks; second fastest was 14). This tells me it's obviously genetic and is already fixed in the population. I just planted some F4 seeds and all of the early flowering (EF) line germinated several days before any of the others, and I'm pretty sure that's what happened in the previous generation too.

    I'm not sure if anyone has come across lines/varieties that ripen that fast, but MicroTom is supposed to be one of the earliest and this was even sooner, grown side-by-side (again, these were grown under stressful conditions, so it's possible it could be faster in optimal conditions.)The fruit quality isn't great, but if anyone is interested in messing around with some of these seeds to make use of the EF trait, let me know and I might be able to send seeds. I should still have some F4 seeds but I can also send F5 seeds in a few months when I have them. I'm going to try crossing into one of my micro lines. Here's some info from the F2 and selected F3 plant data:
    F2
    • Growth habit: determinate
    • Average fruit/cluster: 5
    • Ripening time: 13 wks
    • Color: red
    • Height at collection: 6"
    F3
    • Growth habit: determinate
    • Average fruit/cluster: 7
    • Ripening time: 12 wks
    • Color: red
    • Height at collection: 11"
    • Fruit quality: not very sweet, mealy, soft (similar to MicroTom)

    #2
    I'd love to play with a few. I haven't paid enough attention to days to maturity. that will give me a reason to pay more attention.

    Comment


      #3
      Surely optimal conditions would slow things down - stressed plants would be desperate to fulfil their mission, but unstressed ones can luxuriate, growing bigger before fruiting.

      Comment


      • DrTomato
        DrTomato commented
        Editing a comment
        That was my thinking initially too, but the flowering started before they were showing signs of stress, and the F3s were actually transplanted outdoors (which I forgot to note in my post; most of the other lines were grown indoors, including the EF F2 plant); that's the generation that had 12-wk ripening. I'm pretty sure I remember then starting to flower by the time I transplanted. I also noticed that with my setup, even MicroTom is slower to fruit when grown in those small seedling cells compared to sowing directly in a larger pot.

        It seems counter-intuitive but I'm wondering if maybe it's because the stress is enough to cause blossom drop or undeveloped flowers initially, and so the EF plants are able to escape that because they haven't been stressed yet. 2" is a really small pot for a full life cycle but that's just the space I have to work with.

      #4
      Dan!! Raising hand here-my 88 F4's are up as seedlings...This could be a great cross since we know the flavor is good? Haven't dared to cross myself. You are the expert. Let me know if you want any seeds-

      Comment


        #5
        Another question- if we ever did a cross of yours, Dr Tomato, which is a determinate, with 88X which is a micro Indeterminate-would half be det. and half be indet.? Sorry if it is a silly question-newbie to tomato genetics here.

        Comment


        • DrTomato
          DrTomato commented
          Editing a comment
          The gene for determinate/indeterminate growth is the self-pruning (sp) gene which is recessive, so all of the F1 would be indeterminate. In the F2 population, 3/4 would be indeterminate and 1/4 determinate, assuming no weird interactions are happening between the two parent plants.

        #6
        You ought to try a cross. It's not that difficult. I assume his cross is a regular leaf. Send me a few seeds from the good tasting F4 and I'll get them started. If he could send us a few seeds each, we could both give it a try. You will be surprised how easy it is. If you use a carrot leaf as the mama and his regular leaf as the pollen donor, you can know at the F1 seedling stage if the cross was successful.

        Comment


        • DrTomato
          DrTomato commented
          Editing a comment
          Dan, can you please clarify if your comments are directed towards me (if any) and which are for HL2601?

          Also, 88X is one of the lines you sent me, and I started some of those and my EF F4s at the same time a couple weeks ago. I could cross those when they're ready.

          Thanks!

        #7
        The "you ought to try a cross" was specifically directed toward HL2601 only because I got the impression she would like to try some but was hesitant. However, I mean them for everyone. I'd like to see others give it a try.

        I'd like to see how that cross would be, I didn't realize you had any I had sent. You're in a perfect position to make the cross. Give it a go.

        I send seed to real names and lose track of who's who once we get inside here. Somehow I'd like to get those growing the different crosses comparing notes and sharing seeds between each other. If three or four different people shared 88X seeds and grew them to compare, wouldn't we be more likely to find the best varieties to finally stabilize?

        Comment


        • DrTomato
          DrTomato commented
          Editing a comment
          I agree! Maybe you can set up a section where you propose what you want and ask for volunteers to replicate it.

          Do you want any of the EF seeds right now? I still have quite a few F4 seeds.

        #8
        Sure. I'd like to get a few. I'll make some crosses with other lines and leave 88X to you and Heidi. Do you need an address? Send a few to Heidi also if she wants some. Perhaps I can talk her into trying to make a cross. HL2601

        You said to propose 'what you want', I'd suggest it should be what we want. I don't have specific targets other than something unique and good. My objectives are somewhat (probably too) vague i.e. a BLT worthy micro. That could be lots of different things to different people. Perhaps that's why I have 100's of crosses and no specific results. I need help finishing things.

        If I'm not mistaken, Heidi is going to coordinate a couple of the crosses, including 88X. Please coordinate with her. SeanInVa Sean is setting it up to do just what you suggest. We just need to get on the same page.

        Sean - point everyone in the right direction.

        I just figured out who you are and what else I sent you. Please let me know what you think of the 33X F8 I sent you. That is the closest I have to something stable. It is a red carrot leaf that I quite like. I have some F9 seed I just saved from siblings to those I sent you.

        Comment


          #9
          Yes I'll need your address and I will contact Heidi. You can send it to me in a private message or email if you still have that.

          When I said "what you want" I meant that in very vague terms, like stating that you have 88X seeds and you're looking for people to grow them, or you're looking for volunteers to make a particular cross. That way if anyone wants to jump on a project or has some extra space, they have an easy starting point.

          I like that there aren't always specific goals. It brings out creativity! My other (non-micro) project is a double hybrid cross of four phenotypically very different varieties representing two species. I'm bringing them to F2 and then giving away seed packets as a home breeding "starter kit". There should be huge variation and people can make selections over multiple generations to develop new varieties.

          Comment


            #10
            PM with address sent. You are right about the general objective giving people an idea what to start with. I have tried to do that as I have communicated with them before I send seed out. A lot of folks don't follow up. I've concluded that their not ready for the the diversity. I get lots of comments about sending 'so many seeds'. They probably plant a half dozen seeds and are disappointed when they don't get something great. I've started emphasizing that they need to start lots to get a few they'll want to grow.

            What are the specifics of the other project. You mention two species. Forgive me, I've only recently taken some online genetics classes, but have never taken a biology class. Are you talking about a domestic tomato and a related wild species?

            If you want additional F2 seed or have people who would want to see huge variation, I have F2 seed from many crosses between micros X indeterminate, micro X dwarf and micro X micro I'd be happy to share.

            Comment


            • DrTomato
              DrTomato commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, three of the four varieties are cultivated tomato (S. lycopersicum). There are about 13-17 related wild species (some keep getting reclassified), most of which aren't edible. The currant tomato (red, yellow, and white), S. pimpinellifolium, is probably the only one you've seen; it's sometimes sold as a novelty tomato like other heirlooms in seed catalogs and farmer's markets. They're not great for mass commercial production but do taste good. It's the domesticated tomato's closest relative and they easily cross. This isn't to be confused with Matt's Wild Cherry, which is still the cultivated species but a wild form.

              For this project I'm using one of the two species native to the Galapagos Islands. It's S. cheesmanii and the variety is just called "Galapagos". The other three varieties, all cultivated species, are Tim's Black Ruffles, Garden Peach, and Plum Tigris. I wanted a huge variety in phenotype so it includes different fruit colors, shape, and size, one determinate, a striping gene, and fuzzy fruit. Despite the huge number of tomato varieties, there's actually very little genetic diversity in the cultivated species, so Galapagos adds to the genetics a bit.

              Honestly I started this 7 years ago, and if I were doing it again I would probably pick something other than Tim's and Plum Tigris. I think there are comparable varieties that have a little better fruit quality. There are also a couple other species I could have used. Galapagos is a great tasting variety with good yield, but for some reason it always shows nutrient deficiency until it gets above 3-4' tall before growing out of it. It's consistently done this every year when all the other plants are fine. I don't know if that's common for the variety or if mine just picked up a mutation early on; I usually only save seed from a single plant. The fruit also usually gets some disease spots but nothing too bad.

            • dfollett
              dfollett commented
              Editing a comment
              What generation are you with that cross? Is there a specific fruit you are trying for or are you looking to see what that kind of genetic diversity produces?

              Not knowing exactly what I am doing, it appears I have taken a somewhat similar approach. I've seen how breeders often take what I would call a 'rifle' approach. They have a specific objective, then they select specific parents they expect to produce the qualities they are after. I didn't know enough about genetics to select anything specific, so I took more of a 'shotgun' approach. I used a much diversity as I could find, hoping something would work. I just wanted something interesting and good in a micro.

              I made micro crosses with two varieties I haven't followed up on, but sound similar to what you have. One was with (Red Robin X Rose Quartz multiflora F4) X (OSU P20 X S. pimpinellifolium F1). The other was the same mama with Columbianum. Columbianum itself produced extremely tasty small red fruits. The problem I had with Columbianum was the fruit didn't pick well. Every fruit I picked left a hole where the stem connected. they didn't separate cleanly wouldn't keep.

              It seems we're having this conversation in a couple of different places. Maybe you could start a thread about your project. It's something I'd like to follow. This isn't just a micro forum.

            • DrTomato
              DrTomato commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah this project is just a shotgun approach with no end goals. I just wanted as much diversity as possible so that people can have fun with it. I started and stopped a few times; it's really about two years' worth of work spread out over seven. I made two sets of F1 hybrids (Tim's x Peach and Tigris x Galapagos), then crossed the two F1s to get double hybrid (DH) F1. All the plants in that generation could be different but they're also all heterozygous, so recessive traits won't show up. This summer I'm growing 50 DH F1 plants and collecting ~250 F2 seeds from each, then mixing all of the seeds together. That's what will produce the most diversity and what I'll be giving away.

              My micro project has a specific goal of an improved Micro Tom. Your issue with Columbianum is common in wild tomatoes. I think Columbianum is a wild form of S. lycopersicum but that's what currant tomatoes do too, along with a lot of the S. pimpinellifolium, which is one reason they're not really grown commercially. Nature wants the fruit to rot, not be picked cleanly.

            #11
            The MTDP is an umbrella project, with smaller more focused projects within. So, for example, if we were looking at someone running/leading a "early fruiting" project - I would be happy to create a new sub-forum here:
            https://www.tomato-talk.com/forum/projects

            Comment


              #12
              I like the idea of many trying the same thing and comparing results. It seems we may get somewhere faster. Hesitant to try the cross, but Iwill figure it out and ask ? of you guys.Will PM Matt for the EF.

              Comment


                #13
                Update on the EF line. I have seven plants growing that are currently 5 weeks old, and one of those plants is about to open its first flower in the next day or two! The others are not far behind but look like their timing will be similar to Micro Tom. There's still some height variation with the tallest currently at 8" and the shortest at 6" (the same one that's already flowering) and they're all definitely indeterminate. At 5 weeks old these plants are about twice the height of my shortest micros including Micro Tom. I'm taking much better care of all the plants this time around and they're all very healthy. I will update again when they have ripe fruit which I expect around the beginning of June.

                Comment


                  #14
                  Update- Matt sent me seeds and I am starting today. I have 88x's that will be ready, in fact hopefully 2 generations of them. Matt should I call the cross EFx88xf4 etc. Does the male go first or the female first.?

                  Comment


                  • DrTomato
                    DrTomato commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm not sure how Dan has been doing it but typically the female is listed first in a cross (for plants anyway; I think animal breeding is reversed).

                    Also just as one more update to my previous post, it looks like a few of them actually are determinate. The tallest plants are now 15" but the shortest is still around 6". None have a lot of foliage although that's been typical for this line- not great plants, I'm just keeping them for the EF trait. And, for the plant that flowered first (which is also the 6" plant), I wouldn't be surprised if it ripens at 11 weeks. It's currently 10 weeks old and the fruit look fully grown but have not started changing color yet. I'm definitely keeping those seeds!

                  #15
                  DrTomato is right. the female is listed first (I don't know about animal breading). I always list the female first. In your cross, I assume you will use the 88X (carrot leaf) as the female. That will make it easy to confirm the cross was successful at the seedling stage. The successful cross will be regular leaf.

                  I also have some of the EF seed started and will make several crosses with it this summer. I will have F1 seed to share by the end of summer and F2 to share next spring.

                  Matt, if there is anything specific you'd see it crossed with, let me know.

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