Tomato from your own seeds?

sheltiecheOctober 8, 2013

Do tomato from your own seeds, the ones that you saved previous year tend to be better? I.e. do seeds tend to acclimatize?

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I think youmaybe meant to ask if tomato varieties can be adapted to certain areas, climates, etc.

My answer is probably no. Saving seeds from variety X and sowing those seeds in the same general area is not going to lead to adaptation.

What I think you're talking about is creating a landrace and I'm conservative on that and go with the original explanation, the best examples are Ethiopian Wheat and certain rice cultivars.

And it takes several thousands of years with subtle mutations to achieve adaptation.

So many folks look at varieties from Siberia and assume they are cold tolerant, a few are, depending on what's meant by cold tolerant, but these are the same varieties that folks in much warmer climates plant for Fall tomatoes.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:35PM
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sheltieche

yep, am looking for adaptability of the seed saved and grown again in same area... so there is no info if plants are slightly better adjusted and produce better for following years...hmmm another gardener´s myth
I agree cold tolerance is funny thing... what about range of tolerance for varied conditions? i.e. some tomatoes are fussy and need everything to be just so and some tomatoes will tolerate far wider range of conditions where they will be happy. Will that range of adaptability influence how well seed from another region will adjust?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:08PM
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sheltieche

and those tomatoes that self seed and volunteer... they do show better adaptability to the area?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:57PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"and those tomatoes that self seed and volunteer... they do show better adaptability to the area?"

After a few thousand generations. Those that survive that many generations are probably slightly better adapted.

"...hmmm another gardener´s myth"

A new one to me, I thought it well understood the mechanisms of evolution.
Better to find cultivars more adapted to your climate. For example here in MI a couple counties are at the same latitude as Bordeaux France. The grapes grown there do well in these MI counties, we are now winning international awards.We needed a few years for the vines to mature.

Just a note too, Carolyn is an expert, not just some casual grower (like me!). She is, i would say very famous in the tomato community. I listen to everything she says.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 8:42

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 8:29AM
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sheltieche

Here is my way of thinking- I have not seen as much changeability in other plants, i.e. if I am ordering perennial seed germination rates might vary but generally you will get plant to grow as described does not matter where I order from. Now with tomatoes I already am making selection for biggest and greenest etc seedling when I get original seed. Then I am making future selection by choosing seeds from earliest and latest and biggest or whatever criteria one has and it is recommended to get seeds from several not only fruits but also from plants.. which means what? that the plant is so variable that by just choosing ANY one single fruit you may or may not miss the boat in terms of what you wanted to preserve? Next year I will repeat the process of selecting for healthiest seedling and choose for whatever criteria I am looking in fruit to save seeds. And before you know someone reports that their fruit is now pink or changed to red or shape from heart become oblate and it is within few years of growing...still we only hear cross pollination 4% ...
with perennials or annual flowers you grab whatever seedhead is there and by next year it is highly likely you will receive same type, size and color.
Now with tomatoes it appears we continuously selecting if we are growing from our own saved seeds...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:31PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I'll admit upfront that i can't follow all your reasoning or define exactly what your goal is but this statement

with tomatoes I already am making selection for biggest and greenest etc seedling when I get original seed. Then I am making future selection by choosing seeds from earliest and latest and biggest or whatever criteria one has and it is recommended to get seeds from several not only fruits but also from plants.. which means what? that the plant is so variable that by just choosing ANY one single fruit you may or may not miss the boat in terms of what you wanted to preserve?

has a simple answer. Yes, you are likely missing the boat. For the simple reason that you are choosing to focus on only the seed and disregarding all the other factors that affect growth and production. And you selecting for only a few of the variables.

That's fine if that is what you want to do but don't assume that the end result will somehow be better, stronger, more productive, healthier, etc. It may or may not be simply for no other reason than environmental effects.

It is just the old "nature vs. nurture" argument. Heredity vs. environment. Which makes a serial killer? Which makes a first class basketball player? Which makes the very best tomato plant?

Your focus in solely on "nature", on genetic heredity. You are imposing on the plants your idea of perfection - best color, best size, best etc. But for every variable you select you discard others. Without growing control plants, doing comparative studies in a formal structure, (which have been done by the way) how do you know that some of the recessive variables you are discarding, that some of the variables you decided weren't important, aren't the ones that were required to make it the best plant possible?

Bottom line - you can't create a landrace. Only nature can, over generations.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 6:05PM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Perhaps Carolyn will bail me out on this if I stray to far off track. Because you are saving seed from plants that are self pollinating (all the genes come from one parent) there is no opportunity to improve by selection. The genotype of each generation remains the same as that of the previous generation. Your plant may or may not have a few hidden recessive genes that show up at odd intervals, but the chances that they will have anything to do with the characteristics you want to select for are very small. Spontaneous mutation is always possible but it happens very rarely. The only way to select for improved adaptation to your conditions is to first infuse new genes, usually by cross pollinating.

Mike

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:23PM
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sheltieche

Mike, got it! So all those variables that we might receive, i.e. suddenly shape changed from heart to round or pink form came from red tomato as well as advice on collecting from several fruits from several plants is because of cross pollination possibility and providing lets say you´ve bagged the seeds collection there little chance of getting those changes ...
lets say I consistently will select the very last or the very first tomato seed to continue my line, theoretically it will not influence next generation and generation after to be just a tad earlier or later?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:52PM
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labradors_gw

"Because you are saving seed from plants that are self pollinating (all the genes come from one parent) there is no opportunity to improve by selection."

Thanks Mike

That explains it very well!

Linda

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 7:58AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Mike, got it! So all those variables that we might receive, i.e. suddenly shape changed from heart to round or pink form came from red tomato as well as advice on collecting from several fruits from several plants is because of cross pollination possibility and providing lets say you´ve bagged the seeds collection there little chance of getting those changes ...

$$$$$$$

It's a bit more complicated than that,

The huge world of tomatoes is an excellent example of what's called biological diversity, but what many fail to recognize is that biological diversity exists within a SINGLE variety.

I never realized that until Keith Mueller, who posts here as mulio discussed it. It's there for those who have good eyes.

Put out 10 plants of variety X and if you look closely, you'll see that while at first they may look all the same, there can be differences in internode distances, slight differences in leaf shape, and more.

So why is it suggested that one never save seeds from just one fruit on a plant, several fruits are better, and even better is saving from several fruits from several plants on the same variety, etc?

Two reasons.

First, to preserve the biological diversity of that specific variety.

Second, which most of us would be concerned with, is trying to make sure that if any of the blossoms have been cross pollinated that those crossed seeds would be diluted out.

When I was physically able to grow my own tomatoes I grew several hundreds of plants and varieties each season, There was no way I could have bagged blossoms, many still don't for one reason or another. I used to save a tremendous amount of seed b'c at the time I was listing hundreds of varieties in the SSE Yearbooks.

By ensuring that I used many fruits of a variety from at LEAST 2-3 plants I could distribute up to 1000 seeds before an off type would show up.

Finally, Mike I'm with you on what you posted above, but just to add that since self pollenization is the norm for tomatoes and since that occurs often even before a blossom is fully open as the stigma moves upwards meeting the pollen bearing anthers, it's true that most of the time one can get pure seed.

BUT, that doesn't always happen and cross pollination does occur and the frequency of that is dependent on many many variables,

Below I'm linking to the BEST article I know about NCP, natural cross pollination, written by Dr. Jeff McCormack when he owned SESE and it's still at the site with the newer owners.

I think Jeff is too conservative on distances, but then his concern was b'c he was commercial and selling seeds, while most of us are not commercial,

The good news is that depending on where you garden and the frequency and kind of pollinators, weather, etc.,most of the time you can get good pure seed, UNLESS there's been a mutation or X pollination.

Hope that helps,

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Cross Pollination.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:21AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

We know that it all happened Christopher Columbus or Americus Vespus. When was that?
Today we have thousands of varieties across the globe and they have differences. Russian /European cooler climates produced certain varieties, Mediterranean region produced other varieties.
It seems to me that plants do change and adapt to their environment gradually. I know this for sure, about certain perennial and shrubs etc. They even develop disease resistance and they are called NATIVE or locals plants.
But, to think that this will happen in a few short years, sounds rather naive to me.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:58AM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Tomatoes are considered to be stable after only seven generations, heirloom tomatoes by definition are lines that have been maintained for many times that long. Each successive generation without a cross or mutation locks in characteristics more tightly and makes it less likely that selection will effect changes.
Unlikely is not the same as impossible, especially if you are dealing with younger less well established or recently mutated lines. Selection over time by growing conditions and the interaction of other plants and animals is how land races are established, but that time is usually measured in decades or centuries. Occasionally a virus will come along and mutate a gene, and that gene will affect how several other genes express and a new phenotype appears virtually overnight.
Carolyn, I wrote this before I saw your post. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

Mike

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:57AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Tomatoes are considered to be stable after only seven generations, heirloom tomatoes by definition are lines that have been maintained for many times that long.

&&&&&&

Mike, just adding a bit here.

If trying to dehybridize a known hybrid, or a hybrid that was the result of natural cross pollination, then yes, 7 generations of selection and growth will usually result in a genetically stable variety, but that can be variable depending on the original parents..

For instance, it took me out to the F5 before I had OTV Brandywine stable, but dehybridizing Ramapo F1, I had it stable at the F3.

And some have had to go out to the F10 to get to stability with other dehybridizations.

For an excellent discussion about genetic segregation and how many generations are needed to get to stability, and so much more, I've linked to Keith Mueller's superb website below. Lots of great info there and many super links as well.

And yes, we have tomato varieties that were first described pre-1800 that are still what they should be.

But due to bad seed saving some of the family heirlooms that are more recent are not what they should be. And since I've never thrown out any saved seeds since 1990 both Tania and Remy have asked me to send them what I have since what they have for certain varieties are not what they should be.

Carolyn, who honestly knows of no tomato landraces as she defines a landrace, which is the original definition having to do with Ethiopian wheat and some rice cultivars. Adaptation to an area takes a very long time, and even those who say certain varieties are adapted here and there, geographically, have to admit that those same varieties can be grown anywhere as I think I mentioned in a post above.

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

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 2:04PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I think Tania or someone from a cold area said that tomatoes are grown in greenhouses in cold areas. So a tomato from British Columbia, for example, may not be really adapted to a cool area. I look at the posts of people from Texas to get ideas for tomatoes that can take the heat, but I know they start their tomatoes early and try to get them producing before the heat gets too bad. To me it seems it would be faster to grow many different tomatoes and then come up with a list of those that like your conditions. There was another fellow on here I think he was from zone 4. He was trying to develop a tomato for his conditions. He got into a little trouble here for calling paste tomatoes flawed and rejects, but they were rejects for his particular climate. He sounded like he was trying to do what you are doing. The description for Barlow Japanese says the original tomato was weak and this man selected the strongest plants and developed that variety. Who knows it is was mutations or crosses that caused the improvement.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 3:10PM
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sheltieche

Thank you for sharing information!
my thoughts... life of tree or animal is far longer than annual tomato, and for warmer climate they can even get spring and fall gathering so selection over time by growing conditions etc happens much faster for tomatoes, while it is not done in a year or two, if it takes only 6 years to stabilize new variety why not think that within same genotype selection by phenotype for most vigorous, best productive, tastiest etc does not happen at same rate?
BTW regarding cold tolerance I.B. Michurin who was crossing cold tolerant varieties with distant ¨tender¨ varieties noted that providing such crosses with rich humucy soil was detrimental to crosses and decreased their cold tolerance. I think he even had to move his entire operation to different area with more harsh conditions to get his crosses to retain cold tolerant qualities...
It has been long time since I studied genetics and botany though...

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 3:26PM
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