Protecting against cross pollination

jenniedhsJune 4, 2013

I have read the FAQs on protecting against cross pollination and on seed saving. My husband was given a plant by a co worker last week that was bred and developed by her neighbor, a Mr.Waddell, who is in his nineties now. She brought to a potluck last year sliced "Mr. Waddell" tomatoes and my husband said they were fantastic tasting. (And he knows good tomatoes!) So we asked her to get us a plant this year as he only gives them out to family and friends. I have never saved seed before and we do have bees swarming all over our plants which are full of blooms, so cross pollination is a real possibility in our garden. Reading the FAQs to guarantee purity I need to bag the blossoms. How fine does the mesh need to be? Since the plant is still small with newly forming buds I even thought of draping mesh over the Texas tomato cages to protect from cross pollination as ,from the FAQs a bag reduces productivity. So excited to try this tomato!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The various fabrics are all listed in the FAQ. You make your own out of inexpensive tulle or even old pantyhose. Or as pictured in the FAQ you can buy the white tulle wedding gift bags (sold at Walmart for example or anyplace wedding supplies are sold.). Many use those.

The bags don't "reduce productivity" but they can inhibit pollination when it is especially warm and humid. You can insure pollination within the bags just by jiggling the bagged cluster of blooms.

Don't know if this is an indeterminate or a determinate or even if it is an OP or a hybrid. If it is a hybrid has it been stabilized or is this just his own supply of seed? Just by bagging 2 or 3 bloom clusters you will get plenty of seeds for your own use but it doesn't sound as if he wants you passing the seeds around.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:57PM
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It is an indeterminate large red beefsteak according to the coworker. Open pollinated, maybe even heirloom by now he is of such an age.
And I share your concern that he may not want it passed around. I would only be saving seed for my own plants as we are probably moving in a couple years back to Tennessee and he is in his 90's. Is that unethical to save seeds without permission?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Dave, they list organza, nylon stocking and tulle in the FAQs. I just wondered if a larger mesh that I covered the tomato cage
that would let more air circulation in and still kept out the bees would work. Will go to garden coop and Jo-Ann's and and check out fabric.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It isn't so much keeping out the bees. They play a very minor role, if any, in tomato pollination since tomatoes are self-pollinating. It is mostly to keep out the wind blown pollen from other nearby tomato plants. That's why the finer mesh is needed.

Really can't recommend covering the whole plant especially in out zone. It just gets trapped heat and humidity under the cover and only makes the pollen non-viable.

As to permission - it never hurts to ask him if it is ok to save seed for your own use.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:44PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Just cove one cluster when starts blooming until fruits are set. But tag that cluster and get seeds from the fruits of that cluster.

Nylon tulle( finest mesh, sold at all fabric stores will do. I use it also for insect deterent.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 3:11AM
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Thanks for the advice. I have never saved seed before from a tomato so even after reading all the FAQs and past threads was nervous about it. I will bag just a cluster of blossoms before they open. The part that is so fun for me is trying a tomato I have never had before!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 5:20PM
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