Monday, 29 September 2014

New Blog Started

I have started another blog at growingfoodsavingseeds.blogspot for all the non tomato entries I've been making and to run alongside Growing Food Saving Seeds forum or GFSS for short. The tomatoes were starting to get a little lost amongst posts for pink flowered and red podded peas!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Dancing Val (first published 2nd May 2014 now updated)

This cross is in it's early days, currently at  F2. I really like the two parent varieties, Dancing with Smurfs x Variegated Lange Ærmer (DWS x VAL), both bred by Tom Wagner and released by him not yet fully stabilised. See links Variegated Lange Ærmer , Dancing with Smurfs

I made this cross as there are such a varied lot of traits to go into the melting pot, with loads of potential for fruit colour, taste, shape, stripes and with or without 'antho'. Ideally cherry size would be good for me or perhaps a small saladette on strong healthy plants with great taste. I'd be particularly interested in any early plants and if I'm really lucky variegated foliage showing up in the mix too!

Dancing with Smurfs F1 x Variegated Lange Ærmer 

Dancing with Smurfs F1 x Variegated Lange Ærmer 

I had both round and oval fruit shapes in the F1 with faint anthocyanin showing on the shoulders and faint sparkling possible stripes. I've sown a mix of seeds from  the F1 plants, which will I hope give a range of types in the F2 plants. Just ticking some of the boxes will give interesting types and I'm looking forward to these progressing through the season. Updates to follow.

Update 10th June
A surprising number of the plants I'm growing out are determinate. I'm not sure why when both the parents are cordons, I guess it is the mix of unstable genes they have?

I only have a few plants that are variegated from this cross, I really like the looks of this one pictured below. I can't wait to see the colour of the ripe fruit and best of all tasting the first fruits!

DWS x VAL an elongated striped fruit with variegated foliage and
determinate growth habit.

Oh I forgot, looks like faint anthocyanin in the fruit too!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Blonde Boar

These gorgeous looking and tasting tomatoes are bred and developed by Brad Gates from Wild Boar Farms. I'm not normally a huge fan of yellow tomatoes as I find they tend to be on the mild side and lack the flavour balance I love. But I was knocked over by these, I loved the beautiful striped tomatoes, so very tasty and packed full of flavour. My plants this year are young yet, the first truss of flowers are forming, so I have quite a wait yet! I first grew them in 2012 alongside several other yellow striped tomatoes and for me Blonde Boar was by far the tastiest. 

Blonde Boar grown 2012, stripes are more noticeable whilst still green,
once fully ripe they are less striking.

Pictured, Yellow Furry Boar, White Zebra, Blonde Boar, Yellow Spot, Yellow
 Vernissage (Vernisazh Zheltyi) and bottom right hand corner Big Yellow
Zebra ( although the one just in shot is very small!

Savananas, bred by Tom Wagner

I grew these for the first time in 2013 and I am growing them again this year, sourced from Tom Wagner Seeds. Savananas, a combination of Ananas Noir and a greenhouse cluster type tomato, I'm unaware of their generation. Cordon variety with varied traits. 

I saved seeds from 5 plants, although I think I only have pictures from two plants, they are quite different from each other. 
A striped bi oval, orange/yellow.
Smaller red, crunchy flesh and good flavour
Thick walls, keeps well. Sweet, mild and tomatoey nice.
Red Heart shaped (pictured)
And one I saved seeds from but didn't describe for some reason.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dancing with Smurfs x Black and Brown Boar F2

The parents
Dancing with Smurfs (DWS) is one of my favourite anthocyanin (antho) tomatoes, it does very well here. 

Black and Brown Boar (B&BB) was bred and developed by Brad Gates, it is a beautiful black, striped tomato with delicious flavour. The plants grow and crop well here. 

So from DWS x B&BB I'm hoping for a great tasting striped cherry with some antho, black striped would be great. I first made this cross in 2012, saving the resulting F1 seeds to be sown the following year. This year I have sown several F2 seeds and eagerly await their progression.

DWS B&BB F2 plant

DWS x B&BB F2 plant expressing anthocyanin in the

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Variegated tomatoes

I really like the beauty of variegated tomato plants, I started my collection with the variety Variegated (although incorrect it's sometimes called a Splash of Cream) and have gone from there. This year I bought 'Potato Leaf Variegated' bred by Keith Mueller and Cherokee Purple Variegated, which was named Faelan's First Snow by the person who found it growing amongst other Cherokee Purple plants at the nursery he worked at. The remainder are varieties I've bred and I'm hoping to develop over time. 
These are some of the plants I'm growing this season;

The variety 'Variegated', this plant has a lot of
Potato Leaf Variegated, young plant just waiting to be planted out.
Faelan's First Snow, healthy plants with some
variegation showing on the leaves. 
F3 selection, looks like it will be a Micro Dwarf type
Looking for a variegated heart
Love the variegated patterns on these potato leaves
Variegated Dwarf type, variegation is from paternal line.
I think pretty, looks a bit like frosting
A variegated F1, both parents have this trait.
Another variegated F1, looking for combination of traits but at some point
dwarf, potato leaf, slight possibility of stripes.
F3 selection
F3 potato leaf seletion
Unsure of this one as miss-labelled
Green Zebra Cherry x Variegated Lange Ærmer F1. I had
similar results with the F1's last year.
Small growing determinate
With Antho?

Friday, 9 May 2014

Pomato, potmato, matato, tomantato

I quite like Tomantato, but whatever you call them I'm talking about a potato plant grown for its roots and tubers with a tomato stem grafted onto the potato stem to give it a fruiting tomato top.

Why? Because they have been in the press lately with T&M's 'Tomtato', coupled with I've never tried to do it before. Also I have some potatoes left over in store and as most have started to sprout, it seemed rude not to try! 

Phase 1, I've potted up some potato pull starts/shoots of different lengths, some have a fair root system others just have bumps where the roots will form. They are a little immature but I'm optimistic given warmth and good growing conditions they will rapidly develop roots and stem to support a graft. Whether they will go on to produce potatoes is another mater. 

Pull starts/shoots

Newly potted up

Baby leaves

Blue Bella

I'm using a mix of varieties, I'm not sure now what they all are now as they have become mixed up over winter although I recognise some Blue Bella tubers amongst them, which has been one of my favourite varieties over the last couple of years. I've used a few Blue Bella sprouts which are delightful streaked and tipped purple. 

What is a potato pull shoot? It is the developing sprouting eye from a seed potato which if planted goes on to produce a cloned (identical to the parent tuber) potato plant - stems, leaves and also the crop of potatoes. They are normally left attached to the seed potato but if they are pulled off and potted up in growing compost they can be used to produce a cloned potato plant.

Blue Bella potato with pull shoots developing.
Assorted pull sprouts

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Dwarf Shadow Boxing, Bred by Tom Wagner

Dwarf shadow Boxing 2013

Interesting dwarf line of Shadow Boxing, found by Good Mind Seeds. From the seed I had the plants were either dwarf looking types or short determinates. 

I had a nice selection of fruit shapes, some with stripes and all with anthocyanin present, although this was  mostly not very pronounced. 

Dwarf shadow Boxing elongated

Dwarf shadow Boxing, striped round

Dwarf shadow Boxing, striped and elongated with antho

Dwarf shadow Boxing 2013

Dwarf shadow Boxing 2013

This is a pretty one.

No real stand-outs for me but good types. I saved seeds from the tomatoes below and I'll grow a small selection on again this year. 

Latvian Tomatoes?

Recently I received seeds for two varieties from a friend who in turn received them from her Latvian friend, who works on a commercial farm in Latvia. She thought they were Latvian and wrote the names as Fontana a large red beefsteak and Milda a yellow fruited variety. I wondered if they might both be F1's and possibly not bred in Latvia, but I'll grow them and see how they do. I hope I might be able to find out a little more information about them.

Update 22/05/2014
I'd not been very successful finding out about these two varieties. My friend suggested I search using 'Tomati Milda' which does bring up more information although there is some variation in the descriptions. Milda is a indeterminate variety producing large oval fruit which are yellow/orange in colour. They produce large trusses and the tomatoes have a thin skin, which are then sold from the farm or market. 

Fontana is proving more difficult to look up as searches bring up several 'Fontanas' and it's not clear if any relate to this one. Luckily the kind seed donor will be in Latvia soon and we hope able to find a little more information/history. 

Shadow Boxing, bred by Tom Wagner

One of my favourite Shadow Boxing lines in 2012

I first grew this segregating variety in 2012, my seeds came from Tom Wagner's then site New World Crops "Pink-purple slicer with purple stripes. Blue vine. Some late-blight resistance". 

I think I grew 5 or 6 plants that first year. From an early stage the seedling showed individual traits, some with antho, others differing leaf shape. Plants appeared to be indeterminate, although not very tall.

Shadow Boxing

Shadow Boxing

I particularly loved the look of the pointy shaped fruits as they started to develop, again differing amounts of anthocyanin were present in the fruits. Typically they have long sepals. 

Fruit fully formed, most around a small saladette size

On the chopping block

I didn't take many pictures of my segregates in 2013 which is a shame. Interestingly there was a marked difference in vine types dividing them into looking like short determinates, dwarf or short growing indeterminates. None produced the delightfully long pointy fruits I hoped for, although this one pictured below had quite a nice shape with stripes. 

Shadow Boxing 2013

Having the dwarf and short determinate types appear ties in with another line I grew in 2013, 'Dwarf Shadow Boxing' again the same breeding but found and distributed by Good Mind Seeds. 

For 2014 I've decided to sow some saved seeds from the pointy antho plant shown in the first picture and some of the same line from 2013 with the longer and striped fruits. But as I write this I'm wishing I had sown some more of  the original seed I had from Tom, ah, perhaps next year.