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How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Posted by RyanC95 7B (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 19:59

I have a Big Beef tomato and a Roma tomato growing right beside each other. I want to save the seed, but I'm new to this and I don't want to get hybrids.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Big Beef is a hybrid. You could bag the blossom of the roma once it's been pollinated. There's really no guarantee that they won't cross pollinate if they are grown close together.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 20:23

Big Beef is already a hybrid so I assume you want to save Roma seeds? Then it will depend on your seed source as many of the Roma subtypes are also hybrids.

Otherwise the only way you will know they have or haven't crossed (the odds are slim) is to either prevent it (see link below) or save the seeds, grow them out next year and see what happens. You can't tell this year as the plants and fruit are unchanged, only the seeds are affected.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ - How to prevent cross pollination


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Ryan, if you bought a Roma seedling at one of the Big Box Stores, it was probably from Bonnie Plants. Their pots are peat/cardboard with plastic around the rim and a plastic variety tag. The bottom right corner of this page shows a tomato seedling with Bonnie's plastic labelling:
http://bonnieplants.com/products/vegetables/tomato-varieties/all-tomatoes/roma-tomato

Bonnie's variety info is supposed to tell whether a variety is hybrid, and the Roma info says nothing about its being hybrid. I grew it three years ago, and noted in my variety info that it was presumably open-pollinated, as Bonnie's online info that year didn't say it was a hybrid.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

The chances/probability of a tomato flower to get pollinated by pollens from another plant is very slim and smaller than couple percentages. Plants own pollens are right there next to the stigma. And there are 1000s of them. Plus in a cluster ,more pollens are available from the neighboring flowers

So I would take that tiny risk and not worry about cross pollination. Actually it will be a surprise to get your own hybrid this simply, by accident if it ever happens with a slim chance.

BUT if you REALLY< REALLY want a pure seed, you can bag a healthy cluster before opening until all flowers (or most) have opened and pollinated. You can just remove the incomplete buds and flower. NOW tag that cluster.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

The chances/probability of a tomato flower to get pollinated by pollens from another plant is very slim and smaller than couple percentages. Plants own pollens are right there next to the stigma. And there are 1000s of them. Plus in a cluster ,more pollens are available from the neighboring flowers

&&&&&&

The degree of X pollination can range up to almost 50% depending on many variables discussed in the link below, which is one of the best articles I know if on X pollination.

If one is just doing geographic isolation to help prevent NCP I do think Jeff's distances are too conservative, but he owned SESE and was producing seed for commercial purposes.

The link below should accompany the excellent one here at GW on X pollination, which Dave linked to above, and is also the best I know of on the various ways that one can help to prevent X pollination.

What some forget is that insect pollinators can be highest early in the season for some folks, and later in the season for others, depending on where they grow their tomatoes.

Where I grew tomatoes X pollination was highest early in the season so I saved fruits for seed that formed much later in the season,

Lastly, it was mentioned above that other blossoms in a cluster could help with pollination, but tomato pollen pollen is sticky, just ask anyone who does deliberate X pollination, and is seldom windborne, as is corn pollen, for instance

Hope that helps,

Carolyn

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


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

The degree of X pollination can range up to almost 50% depending on many variables discussed in the link below, which is one of the best articles I know if on X pollination.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Amazingly too high a probability. Hard to believe. Just saying.

I wonder how they save seeds from OP varieties !
I will save seeds from all my heirlooms (without doing any measure). The next year I should find out.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

It can also be as low as less than 3%. It all depends on how many of the variables detailed in the article Carolyn linked exist in your garden.

The amount of NCP of tomatoes is a function of a number of variables: (1) wind movement; (2) variety characteristics such as style length; (3) environmental variables affecting style length such as light density, day length and carbon-nitrogen ratio; (4) type of bee pollinator and its behavior on the blossom; (5) isolation distance; and (6) presence of other pollen-producing plants in the area of the seed crop.

Once you evaluate the degree of all these variables in your garden you can improve the odds for minimal crossing.

The article is well worth reading for all the details.

Dave


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

It might be a good University Research Paper but practically , to the backyard gardener the article is useless.
Nobody can figure it out. It make the matter a complex issue beyond comprehension.
Just My Opinion.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Its value all depends I guess on how much one wants to learn and so improve their methods.

If seed saving and preventing crossing isn't important to a particular individual then, yeah it has little value other than additional knowledge. If seed saving is important then there are things the home gardener can learn about in the article and changes that can be made.

For example:

What does all this mean for gardeners wishing to save their own open-pollinated tomato seed where there is high bee activity on tomato blossoms? Modern tomato varieties (style length equal or less than anther length in most cases) should be separated by a distance of approximately 10 feet to give a high degree of purity. Older varieties may require a 20 to 25 foot isolation distance. In both cases, a tall barrier crop or pollen-producing crop such as squash should be planted between different varieties of tomato to attract the bees away from the tomatoes. (Squash blossoms will present a lot of pollen to bees in the morning, but not in the afternoon.) In most cases, these recommended isolation distances will give average purity values of approximately 99 to 99.5% or better.

Things like how to change their spacing or even to move their garden if possible for better wind exposure, how to isolate varieties even in a small garden to reduce the odds of crossing, and even what insects pose the most threat of self-pollination.

Dave


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

There is an OP Big Beef for what it's worth.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Modern tomato varieties (style length equal or less than anther length in most cases) should be separated by a distance of approximately 10 feet to give a high degree of purity.
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That is why it is not practical IMO. Who wants to separate tomatoes by 10 feet to save a few seeds for the next season. You might as well spend couple of bucks and buy seeds. And besides, how would a backyard gardener figure out the "style length" ?


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Seysonn, I've tried twice to do a post here with links to show you how wrong you are about that article as well as Jeff himself, and much more.

But I can't get one link to transfer, but I'll be back to try again. I've linked to that article many times at many places and you have the distinction of being the ONLY person who has ever called it useless.

I told everyone to use Jeff's article along with the FAQ here at GW that Dave lnked to.

If you had done that you wouldn't be complaining about a10ft isolation distance, as you did, b'c I already posted above that Jeff's distances were too conservative IMO but he was doing seed production for a commercial reason.

Right now Wimbledon tennis is calling me so it's out to theTV for that and if storms don't knock out the power as they did two night ago, I'll be back.

In the meantime why don't you Google SESE and take a look and thus see that the site IS for home gardeners,not for large scale commercial farmers.And Jeff wrote that article when he owned SESE for the home gardener.

Two folks from SESE visisted me yesterday, a very vigorous chat for almost 5 hours. They are doing a 2 week tour of many seed places here in the NE and that b'c they want to see how others do this and that b'c they are ones who want to always learn more, which is a good thing to do in life in general.

Carolyn


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Who wants to separate tomatoes by 10 feet to save a few seeds for the next season.

Not easy to do in very small garden plots, true. But is easy to do in what is the US average garden of 600-800 sq. feet. Even easier to do if using containers.

how would a backyard gardener figure out the "style length"

As the article says they are heirlooms only and only a small % of them and are easy to ID just by looking at the bloom's anatomy.

But as already said, if none of this info interest you, fine. But it is of interest to and practical information for many home gardeners so it's best to let them read the article and decide for themselves rather than declaring it "useless".

Dave


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

I am not wrong and I have no problem with the article (as info) and research/science behind it. Maybe it is useful for commercial seed producers.

WHAT AND ALL I SAID WAS THAT IT IS NOT A PRACTICAL APPROACH FOR A HOME GARDENER TO FOLLOW THAT IN ORDER TO SAVE A FEW SEEDS.

Ninety (90) percent of what I am growing is op/heirloom and I intend to save seeds from them. Obviously , in my case , I cannot follow what has been said in that article.

There is a much simpler and easier method to achieve rlative purity at least to eliminate insect effect ; that is by bagging with very fine nylon tulle. This can even reduce the wind effect to some extent.

I rest my case.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

And, seysonn, your documentation for that is--?

I rest my case.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Documentation ? For what ?

When blossoms are bagged, insects can not get into them.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

There is a much simpler and easier method to achieve rlative purity at least to eliminate insect effect ; that is by bagging with very fine nylon tulle. This can even reduce the wind effect to some extent.

%%%%%

I suggested that folks read the FAQ here, which Dave linked to, as well as the one I linked to.

Seysonn, if you go back and read the FAQ here you'll find that bagging with tulle is one of the main methods suggsted for absolute purity of saved seed.

Many home growers don't need that level of purity so they have other options.

So will you please go back and read what Dave linked to, the FAQ here at GW, since in suggesting bagging with tulle, it appears you didn't even read that link,

Carolyn


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

Seysonn, if you go back and read the FAQ here you'll find that bagging with tulle is one of the main methods suggsted for absolute purity of saved seed.

5%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Yeah. But I was talking about that article, not FAQ or other sources!!. I am done.


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RE: How could you tell if your tomato plants cross pollinated?

The article from Jeff only discussed geographic isolation, no other methods of helping to prevent cross pollination, which is why I suggested reading the FAQ here at GW that Dave linked to for other methods such as bagging blossoms with tulle.

Carolyn


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