My Hybridizing Attempt with Tomatoes

digit(ID/WA)October 6, 2013

It could all come to nothing but I think I learned that I can do it!

Here is what I attempted: crossing Kimberley with Buisson. These two are fairly similar in that they are small tomatoes on fairly small plants. Fruit shape is quite different. So are the leaves. And, they are both early varieties!

I was late. Perplexed that the blossoms are so small, and my digits are so big & clumsy, I waited until the very last moment. I might even have waited beyond the very last moment. The largest of the fruits on the Kimberley mother plant are about half the size as a ripe Kimberley . . .

See, according to the instructions, I was supposed to remove the petals and stamens from the mother plant's flowers. The flowers were supposed to be "closed" - in an immature state. Then, I was supposed to return and move pollen from the other plant. Looking at the immature flowers, it didn't seem possible for me to remove the closed-up petals and stamens. But, I think I did it!

The 2nd problem I ran into was finding male flowers with their pollen. Quickly after opening, they don't seem to have much pollen! So, I needed a very "fresh" flower. You can actually tap the flower and see the pollen come out of it.

These plants were in pots and, certainly, not growing to their full potential. I wanted to include Bloody Butcher in this effort but it got off to a "too early" start. I guess I should have just cut off all of those early flowers and made it wait for Buisson to mature. Instead, it loaded up with fruit. Flowers showed up the rest of the season but I never found a fresh flower on Bloody Butcher at the same time as Buisson!

Well, there was the Buisson plant and there was 1, count 'em, Buisson flower at the same time as I had 6 Kimberley flowers to work with. Hopefully, there was enough pollen to pollinate all 6 flowers. I also pulled some older flowers and "tried" to tap some pollen out of them. It wasn't much!

There is a reason I chose Kimberley as a mother plant. It is a potato-leaf plant. Buisson has regular leaves. Regular leaves are dominant so if the crossing worked - the seedlings will all have regular leaves. If those Kimberley seeds grow into potato-leaf plants . . . the darn flowers pollinated themselves and I failed!!

Now, my problem is to get those Kimberley fruits to mature so I can get some seeds from them!

Steve (having fun ;o)

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

If you're having fun it doesn't matter if it works!


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:07PM
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But . . .

I wanna have more fun! If it looks like I'm just wasting time & energy . . .

One thing I'm curious about is if hybrids are naturally stronger plants, less susceptible to disease and maybe earlier to mature fruit!

Heck, if it isn't difficult to cross-pollinate - and an advantage to do so - why not have our own hybrids from parent plants that we collect seed from every few years? Pick 2 varieties that we are happy with anyway, cross them.

I mean, it works for Black Baldy cattle . . .


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:30PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Good luck! It is fun. Tedious, but fun. Like your cross choice, Steve. Very much.

I got a Thess/BB to an F3, but hail did that in and I ran out of seeds so it is back to the beginning. They were healthy plants.

Hope it all goes well and look forward to reports! :)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Thessaloniki & BB would be very different parents, Jali! Both do just fine in my garden, however.

I'd be worried that I'd have trouble sorting the characteristics out in later generations. Like, it would take me years!

Mostly, I wanted the experience for the 1st time around. Secondly, I wanted it simple. If the offspring have regular leaves, I'd know that I managed to do the crossing. Then, if I save their seed and get a potato leaf F2, I can claim that whatever other characteristics it has is as I've planned it. The potato leaf F2 plant can go on to be the grandparent of a whole new variety!

Now, stabilizing it might still be difficult if it can't make up its mind whether it wants oblate fruit or ones with that little nipple on the end . . ! Howsomeever . . . if it does turn out that the F1 has characteristics that I can claim were as hoped for & intended, I don't really need to go on to an F2, F3, etc. I can just grow my F1's every year!

Monsanto might be interested!!


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 3:23PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


I have saved pollen from pears and I know it's possible with other fruit trees. I just collected it in a small container or mini zip-lock and refrigerated it. It might be worth a try with tomatoes if you can't get the timing right.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Well! There's an idea! Collect enough so I'm a little more sure of success.

It would be easier if there had been plants in greater numbers than 1 each. I wanted to keep them here at home to torment me with their presence until I finally had enuf courage to try it!

I was looking around Tatiana's TomatoBase website yesterday. She lists hybrid varieties along with hundreds of heirlooms. I finally decided to take a look at what info she has for the hybrids.

Not only are there the usual hybrids with information on their characteristics and seed availability but there are these "intentional heirloom crosses!" Somebody is having fun with those, taking them through their F1, F2, F3 . . . generations trying to stabilize those crosses.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tatiana's Hybrids

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:16PM
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