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MTDP Status Report - 2021 - January

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    MTDP Status Report - 2021 - January

    As I stated here, this is the first in a series of posts this weekend - and our first actual status update.

    Overview
    This past year, as stated elsewhere, has been fairly slow in terms of project progress. That changes right now. The projects focus will be changing, as it's been kind of open-ended. The ultimate goal is to open the micro world up. Most of the commercially available micros are all fairly similar. 12" tall plants that produce cherry tomatoes. Many have thick skins, and for the most part, are quite boring. Ellie over at Bunny Hop Seeds has done quite a bit of her own work on micros, and on obtaining micro varieties from around the world to make them more available in the US. We're working on really opening up variety. Taste, colors, stripes, multi-flora, plant size, fruit size.

    Progress
    BLT Worthy Project
    dfollett has been making good progress with his 135X cross for the BLT project. Though for some inexplicable reason, this wild man makes Peanut Butter and Tomato sandwiches! 😁 You can see his latest news on this one here

    I have started on the 125X line. The F1 which Dan grew and sent me seeds from happened to produce fairly large fruits. I also grew out some F1s, and they were all golf-ball size cherries/saladettes, so I think Dan might have gotten super lucky with his F1. Of the F2's I've grown, all have produced larger sized fruits, with some nearing reaching 170-200 grams (6-7 ounces for us stone age Americans 🤣). F3s of two different F2s have been sent out to a few of you. These are tending to lean more towards small indeterminates (or perhaps semi-determinates) and are growing larger than micro. I personally have one F3 that, while not as small as we want a micro, shows a dwarf growth pattern (tree like, rugose leaves) but is only 18" tall. This one shows some potential - but waiting on some ripening to taste it.

    HL2601 is working on, amongst several others, 88X. She has selected out to F5 so far and she's been reporting back good things about these.

    gthegardener has done some initial work on 161X and so far, the taste has not been note worthy. She also grew out some F2s of the 102X but none were presented a micro growth habit.

    wykvlvr has started working on 172X and we will hopefully hear more back about these soon (hint hint!)

    Multi-Flora Project
    HL2601 has carried 51X through to a F8 and has sent us some seeds back. It produces a yellow, nippled cherry with good taste and great production. I plan to start some of these this weekend. It needs a name!

    The 150X line is showing several multi-floras. I neglected to save seed from many of them, and instead was focusing more on the non-MFs. I will be exploring this one more for MF this year.

    We have several others that are MF that are in the F3 or higher stage, that Dan had worked on previously. I am still inventorying some of these.

    ilouque has done some initial work on 108X and has found one that he really likes. We'll see how this one progresses.


    Looking forward
    I've referenced a few times now a slight change in focus, along with some new projects. To go along with this, I plan on re-organizing the Crosses section of the forums so we can have parent-level forums for the breeder. So all of the current crosses lines will live under a "dfollet crosses" parent-level forum. Note that the projects won't be breeder-specific. I have already made this change.

    Change in focus
    About the change in focus. We have been sending out a wide array of crosses to folks. Instead, I will designate a small set of crosses to focus on and we will work on getting them to the finish line. Each cross could potentially result in multiple releases. The number of lines to focus on at any one time, per project, will be proportional to the number of active participants. As more people join in, we can expand the focus. I will make posts in the respective project forums as to which crosses are the focus.

    Projects
    Our current two projects - BLT Worthy and Multi Flora focus on two different aspects. BLT is focused more on size and taste of the fruits, while the MF project is focused solely on compound inflorescences. I would say "taste" is also a focus for MF - but it's not as primary (or perhaps, as specific) as BLT.

    I would like to announce a few new official projects. I have a few more in mind to introduce at a later date.

    Basket Tumblers - there are a few of these available commercially already, such as Tumbling Tom. These produce tons of flowers and fruits, but aren't quite technically Multi Flora as far as I'm aware. These usually aren't technically "micros" either, but are typically described as "compact determinates" but have growth patterns that work well for growing in a hanging basket. I will be kicking this project off later this year after some crosses are made.

    Decorative Tomatoes - This project idea was sparked by an exchange Diane Whitehead, dfollett, and I were having last year. This is going to be challenging. I've noticed many variations in flowers - not just in the micros, but in indeterminate tomatoes as well. There are some slight color variations, moreso in the shade of yellow - but also variations in petal count. This will be an experimental project to see what we can do while working primarily on other projects. As Diane pointed out - deer resistance is something else we should consider!

    You can find forums for these two new projects under the Projects parent folder.

    Releases and Names
    We have a few selections that are either ready for a name and release, or are very close. It's time to start thinking about how to handle this.

    Naming, by default, is left to the person(s) who carried a line to the end for a selection. They get that honor. If they don't want to name the variety, then we can decide it on it here.

    As for releases and selling seed... On the one hand, we can work with established seed vendors and make seed available to them. I will likely reach out to Craig from the Dwarf Tomato Project to see if he has any thoughts on how best to approach that angle. On the other, established seed companies may not want to participate. What then? I have some ideas that involve the project itself becoming a store, but in a way that rewards the breeder and participants who helped get the selection to the finish line, in the way of royalties for each packet sold. All done in a transparent manner, so there are no thoughts of "funny business". Multiple ways this could be done. I will pursue the traditional method first.

    In closing
    I know it's been a long long year for everyone, and what a crazy one it was! Now it's time to look forward and start making some progress. Let's gooooooo!

    #2
    Woohoo! Great to see all this info and goals and new parameters put together! While it may seem like a slow start ,really a lot has been accomplished to get it going. Great kudos to you Sean and to Dan. I am excited to be a part of it.

    For the meantime, I would like to continue on with my 88x, 70x ( 2 lines), 150x( 4 lines) and 35x. Is that ok?

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, absolutely please continue on those. What I plan to do is for each project, select a few lines to begin focus on. This may be (will likely be) lines that are already being worked on. I should be listing the focus lines for MF and BLT today. The two new projects require some new crosses first - so those lines don't exist yet!

      Comment


        #4
        Are you thinking of making a micro with the tumbling habit? Or just working with tumbling varieties? I currently have seed for 10 varieties of tomatoes with the tumbling habit including Shimofuria variegated leaf variety but doesn't include Tumbling Tom varieties. They are my small collection for a shelf in the garden....

        Comment


          #5
          So, I think the definition of a "micro" is still up in the air. We've been saying it's a small tomato plant which grows to a maximal height of no larger than 18 inches or so. We've also discussed that there is a gap in size between this definition and a Dwarf. Whereas a micro is typically determinate or semi-determinate, based on my experience with what are traditionally billed as micros - Red Robin for example; a dwarf is typically an indeterminate that has shorter internode spacing that causes it to simply grow smaller than normal indeterminates - but also has a characteristic tree-like growth pattern (and rugose leaves).

          In growing out some of Dan's crosses, I'm finding that we have some that exhibit a indeterminate growth habit, bit apparently missing the Dwarf gene (not tree-like, more traditional indeterminate), but the internodes are closer than in a normal indeterminate. For example, I have a 125X going right now, that is - for all intents and purposes - indeterminate; but it's only 32 inches tall. It's been transplanted to a 2.5 gallon planter. I've had traditional indeterminates reach this height in 4" pots while awaiting transplant, so it's not a factor of nutrients or soil volume.

          While I don't have much exposure to traditional tumblers, the ones I have seen seem to grow out quite far and/or "hang" a couple feet. I'm wondering how that growth could be constrained by introducing the micro growth gene(s). I see it as more of filling a gap than anything and a playground for experimentation

          Comment


            #6
            Understand now, I was curious what you were thinking. I have room for 4 plants on my shelf. My plans for this year was to grow Shimofuri (pink with variegated leaves) Sijra's Love (regular leaf yellow) and Krentje (sweet regular leaf red that can dry on the vine) and Borghese Vase Roman (wispy leafed long yellow)
            Shimofuri x a micro could be an interesting cross as it would bring in genes for variegated foliage to the micro as well as putting the micro and tumbler genes in the same plant eventually.
            Last edited by wykvlvr; 01-31-2021, 10:19 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              My understanding of the difference between a micro and a tumbler (aka tumbling, or cascading, or trailing, or hanging basket tomato) is that in a micro everything is shortened, but in a tumbler only the internodes are shortened and the petioles, rachises and trusses are the same as an average determinate. So the end result is a very short main stem with disproportionately long leaves and trusses. Always reminds me of a sea anemone - lots of floppy stems coming out of a central hub.

              What is your priority when selecting the tumbler parent of a cross - classic tumbler shape or flavour?

              Comment


                #8
                This is such a great update! Thanks for putting it together. I’m so excited about this project and although I’m a relatively new gardener with an obsessive gardening habit I’m so excited to learn from this project every year! I have a lot of growing room indoors this year (took over our spare bedroom completely - who needs guests in a house full of RNs during a pandemic!). So feel free to send me a few more if you want. As long as they are true micros they should fit!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Hatgirl View Post
                  My understanding of the difference between a micro and a tumbler (aka tumbling, or cascading, or trailing, or hanging basket tomato) is that in a micro everything is shortened, but in a tumbler only the internodes are shortened and the petioles, rachises and trusses are the same as an average determinate. So the end result is a very short main stem with disproportionately long leaves and trusses. Always reminds me of a sea anemone - lots of floppy stems coming out of a central hub.

                  What is your priority when selecting the tumbler parent of a cross - classic tumbler shape or flavour?
                  Good question - I'm not sure I've necessarily defined that yet. This may tie in a bit more with the decorative project and explore using these as porch decorations. With that in mind, I don't think we would want them flowing too much (ie: instead they should be shorter).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by gthegardener View Post
                    This is such a great update! Thanks for putting it together. I’m so excited about this project and although I’m a relatively new gardener with an obsessive gardening habit I’m so excited to learn from this project every year! I have a lot of growing room indoors this year (took over our spare bedroom completely - who needs guests in a house full of RNs during a pandemic!). So feel free to send me a few more if you want. As long as they are true micros they should fit!
                    Sure thing, I will get some more out to you. I'm will be publishing the list of "Round 1" for the BLT project soon, and likely will include some from that and the MMF project round-1 list.

                    Comment


                    • gthegardener
                      gthegardener commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yay! Can’t wait!
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