Question about making crosses.

growneatJuly 3, 2014

I have been looking at a lot of posts and videos regarding how to cross tomatoes. Some of the growers cover their emasculated blossoms while some don't. In fact, more don't cover them than do. Actually, they state that if when emasculating a blossom you remove the sepals, petals and anther that there will be nothing left to attract bees or other insects and so no need to cover. This makes sense to me and would make things a lot easier but I was wondering what some of you more experienced with this are doing?

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

In my opinion THE best place to go to learn about how to make crosses is the website I linked to below.

Keith posts here as either olerist or mulio and knows more tomato genetics than almost anyone I know of.

He has bred many great varieties,on the home page click on autism, that ares old at various seedsites.

Then look,I ithink it's under culture,for the links to how to make crosses,what geneticsegregation is all about and how many generations are needed to create a stable variety, etc.

There's so much info at that site you won't believe it.

And IMO you don't need any other source than his to start doing your own crosses, etc.

Carolyn, who does read at several message sites and knowns of quite a few videos out there, etc.,and still says the link below is the best.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keith Mueller site

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 4:50PM
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Thank you Carolyn. I went to that site and unfortunately Keith does not give a clear cut answer one way or the other as to whether it is necessary to cover the emasculated blossom if you have removed the sepals, petals and anther.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:07PM
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Anyone else have any thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Keith recommends covering when it is done outside to protect it from insects and the possibility of it picking up unwanted pollen.

When done inside as in GH cover isn't needed.

By emasculating the bloom you have reduced the odds of and natural pollination to almost nil but for 100% assurance cover.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:33PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The stigma isn't quite ready yet so you'll need to wait another 24-36 hours before crossing. It will become sticky when receptive. Since most of you will be doing this outside, you may want to loosely cover the emasculated flower overnight with cheese cloth (or some other "breathable" material) to protect it from insects and the possibility of it picking up unwanted pollen (and to mark it). Be Careful not to cause damage to the style or stigma!


Above Is what Keith wrote when describing how to make crosses, saying to cover the emasculated blossom,which seems to me to be quite clear.

Clearly your choiuce and don't be put off by the "may want to" words, b'c it really depends on which pollinators and how many are in the area, and if weather is a factor as well before putting the desired pollen on the stigma, and probably just assumed that folks would be aware of that.

Hope that helps,

Carolyn, who suggests you cover your emasculated blossoms and as Keith also said, it helps to mark them. Some folks tie red yarn on the stem below the emasculated ones to also mark them, but I think it best to cover them. Red yarn optional. ( smile)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:35PM
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I guess the pictures and videos I saw were made inside greenhouses which could account for the disparity in opinions. So, I will cover them even though it is a pain to do so. Also Keith's "may want to" seemed a bit wishy-washy. I will be covering. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 5:29PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I might consider doing this one day as a hobby or just for fun.

I read briefly about the process. It seems to me, even when one is well versed in doing it, still is can be very involved. Because you have to do one flower( = one fruit) at a time. What is more, the process takes a couple of days ; It requires pre observation, screening, marking, tagging, bagging, collecting the fruit, taking the seeds out, processing, packaging, marketing.

So to make more F1 seeds you have to do it all over again the next year, or sell the left over seeds !!!

How can they do all this for a couple of bucks ???

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 3:27AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Seysonn, the many home gardeners making crosses are not doing it for the money. they are doing it to get the F2 seeds to sow the next year and make selections and continue making selections at each generation until the one selection they think best is stable.

Keith is not a full time breeder but all those he bred, and is still doing so if you look at his website, are also available at several websites and he gets no money back.

His variety Purple Haze F1 is not that available other than plants and any money received from those sales go for autism research since his son is autistic.

And often they , the amateurs,come up with something great as did Sam with his initial cross between German Red Strawberry and D.r Wyche which is now called Sweet Ozark Orange, which took him about 5 years to stabilize.

And I could give you other examples aswell.

I send seeds to several places for trial, so do others, and such new varieties often end up being sold here and there, and the persons who did the original crosses receive no money at all, just the pleasureof doing what they do and finding something successful.

it's quite different for commercial breeders such as Fred Hempel withhis Bumble Bees and Mark MC Caslin and Bill Jeffers and more,b/c sometimes, at least for the first two I just mentioned,there is always a contract involved.

if you look at Johnny's, TGS, Jung's and many more you'll see Fred's varieties being sold, for instance.

Hope that helps,


    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:53AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Carolyn, ..I was talking about the commercial breeders, not the home hobbyists. After all, I suppose, the process must be the same. An it sounds very involved and time consuming even when a person is trained and experienced. .. One has to do one flower, one crossing at a time.

And what amazes me is that the so-called "hybrid" seeds are sold at about the same price as the open pollinated ones.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:09AM
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