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. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Chilli Time

I'm sure I said I was going to cut back on varieties this year!

2014 seedlings sown 15/3

The above Picture was taken today and show my chillies progress since being sown on March 15th, which is later than usual, but the propagator and greenhouse fill up quickly and it can be a case of jiggling when to sow in order for all the seedlings and plants to fit. They are in quite small pots and will need potting on into something bigger very shortly. Several varieties are compact growing types, Caldero F4, Cayennetta F1, Pretty in Purple, Pyramid and Starburst, these will remain in pots for the season.

My seedling list, still growing indoors under lights. 

Aji Fantasy
Aji Largo
Albert's Locoto
Black Hungarian
Black Prince
Caldero F4
Cayennetta F1
Fish Pepper
Guatemala Orange
Hyper Pube CAP 217
Mild Jalapeño 
Pink Habanero
Pretty in Purple
Red Peruvian

Several are new to me varieties, others I've grown before. The following four are all newbies.

Fish Pepper, variegation starting to develop
I love variegation on plants, can't wait to see how the fruits look

Black Prince, first flower bud. 
I'm growing  couple of black fruited chillies this year Black Prince sounded interesting and certainly looks like it will be early to flower and I hope fruit.

Aji Fantasy
 Aji Fantasy sounds gorgeous and has been bred in Finland by Fatalii, it has been registered for Plant Breeders Rights, but I should be fine to save seeds for my own use.

Guatemala Orange, hairy leaves of a Rocoto
I'm looking forward to this orange one, love those leaves.

I'm developing a big liking for Rocoto peppers. They are easy to grow and produce lots of fruit, even in cooler conditions, what's not to like? Well for me the heat they can be a bit too hot to handle at times, but it doesn't diminish my attraction to them. This year I've sown Aji Largo, Albert's Locoto, Guatemala Orange, Hyper Pube CAP 217 and Red Peruvian 

Albert's Locoto, black seeds of a Rocoto fruit 2012

I had a couple of varieties fail to germinate, I think the seed was just a bit too old.  But I was lucky enough to have one germinate each of Lantern and Mild Jalapeño (packed for 2008) Both varieties were from Real Seeds some years ago. The Mild Jalapeño is doing well although Lantern is very slow growing and looks a bit pathetic. I've popped it back in the propagater in the hope it will give it a bit of a boost.


I'm hoping it grows into a plant like this -

Lantern Chillies green ripens to orange

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Lange Ærmer and Variegated Lange Ærmer tomatoes

Lange Ærmer, F generation unknown, seeds
originally fromNew World Seeds and Tubers

Lange Ærmer a beautiful indeterminate, Green When Ripe (GWR) striped tomato bred by Tom Wagner. They make large plants and have long wispy looking leaves, the sepals are long. Fruits are very pretty, being elongated and similar in looks to Green Sausage (originally called Green Sleeves by Tom) The fruits I find delicious, firm and nicely sweet with that lovely fresh spicy taste that often goes with GWR tomatoes. They are great eaten fresh in salads and look gorgeous sliced up amongst other coloured and shaped tomatoes. They also cook well, having quite thick fleshy walls and few seeds. 

Ripe fruits, thick walls with few seeds

A line of  Lange Ærmer

A couple of years ago I found one of my Lange Ærmer seedlings showing variegated foliage. I wondered if the variegation would fade as the plant grew older, but the unusual colouration continued to be present in leaves, stem, sepal and faintly on the fruits. As this was a segregating variety I did ponder if Tom Wagner had perhaps used the variety Variegated in the breeding of this tomato but he said it hadn't been used. 

Variegated Lange Ærmer

Close up of the partial variegated striping on the fruits,
sepal and stems

Variegated Lange Ærmer fruit on the left,
Lange Ærmer on the right

I saved seed from the variegated plant which I refer to as VAL, initially not knowing much about why a tomato behaves in this way or if it is stable or transferable trait, I have continued to grow out VAL and also used it in breeding projects. So far I have found subsequent generations of VAL have all displayed the same style of variegation although this does vary a bit from plant to plant. I also sent some seed back to Tom, I don't know if he has had similar results. Happily fruits are equally tasty from both types of Lange Ærmer and I hope both of these will be stable varieties in the near future. I have noticed that in a cooler summer fruits are not as elongated. I wonder too, how much of a part cooler growing temperatures have on the variegation seen. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Mini Mammoth

This is a home bred mini windowsill type sized tomato plant, a little bit quirky to look at, but the taste was very good. Although a small plant the fruit was comparatively large in size with an equally big tomato flavour. The black-purple colour is caused by a gene in the tomato which produces Anthocyanin in the skin, usually in response to exposure to sunlight and gives it this gorgeous colour to the tomatoes. This appears to be a dominant trait with many offspring of a Blue/Antho crossed to another variety carrying the genes for this trait. These pictures are the F4 generation.

These plants are also 'Woolly', which means they carry a gene which gives them this furry or woolly appearance.

The fruit is striped although it's an unusual pattern and colour combination, I don't know if it is because it is a segregating variety? I'll be keeping an eye out for similar types in the next generation. 


Thursday, 10 April 2014

What's up?

Not the best picture, but this young and partially variegated potato leaved plant caught my eye today, mainly as it is looking very short in comparison to its F3 siblings. It is a cross of Variegated x Yellow Furry Hog, both indeterminate varieties. It looks to have a stout main stem with short internodes, more indicative of a dwarf which neither parent are. I'll be interested to follow and see how this one turns out. 

Striped Black Cherry tomatoes

I just adore the colour combination of black striped tomatoes, coupled with being cherry size, this makes them look irresistible to me!

One common trait I've found in most of the varieties I've tried, is they all have firm to very firm flesh and good keeping. They are tasty fresh cherries to eat but are particularly good pan fried with bacon or roasted in the oven either on their own or with mixed vegetables.

Varieties I've tried, Black Zebra cherry, Green Tiger, Highlander F1, Purple Bumble Bee, Tigris F1, Tigro F1, Val's Black Striped, Zebrino. I also have a few segregating varieties of Tom Wagner's varieties, which have been very good too.

I grew Tigro and Tigris, both F1's last year, similar good tomato taste, firm texture in both and production was excellent. I'd be happy to grow them again. Also grown last year Purple Bumble Bee (along with Pink Bumble Bee) and Val's Black striped, production was fair and the fruit were indeed very pretty to look at, but for me the flavour was not there. I'm going to try them again and hope their flavour comes through.  I've grown Highlander F1, Black Zebra Cherry, Green Tiger and Zebrino F1 in previous years. These were again quite similar to each other, not overly sweet with good tomato taste and firm flesh, production was good with the F1's making slightly taller vines.

I'm growing Green Tiger alongside Tigris this year to compare the two and I'd like to make a couple of crosses with Green Tiger to see if I can keep the taste, colour and stripes but have a slightly 'softer' fleshed and sweeter tasting cherry.

Black Zebra Cherry (unripe)

Highlander F1

Purple Bumble Bee

Tigris F1

Tigro F1

Zebrino (unripe).