Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tomato Dreams

Yesterday the Ottawa Gardener wrote about trading tomato seed. I've been debating what to do with my tomatoes this year. Should I buy transplants from Verrill Farm like I did last year? They have thirty varieties to choose, including lots of heirlooms. Or should I play with my seed? Isn't playing lots more fun?

I saved seed from last year's Sungold plants. Sungold is an F1 hybrid, which means it won't come true from seed. Usually. I've been told by the Seedman that sometimes the seed companies have already stabilized it while still calling it a hybrid. And then again, sometimes not.

This year I'm going to grow that seed and see what I get. I could get lots of Sungolds, which would be yummy, but fairly boring. They could be red or yellow . They could be large or small. Or I could get something tasteless and diseased. I haven't yet looked into tomato genetics so I'm not sure what which genes are recessive. But it will be fun to find out and even more fun to see what turns up on the plants.

And before you think that I have a chance of not getting any yummy garden tomatoes to eat next year, just know that I have a fabulous farm nearby - Wilson's Farm. In August and September they sell their tomatoes, which taste like real ripe picked garden tomatoes, in heaping gallon containers for just 2 for $10. They are hard to beat. My garden tomatoes don't taste any better than theirs. In addition I still have some Busa Bucks to spend next year. So I can go pick some real Sungolds or Black Cherry tomatoes if I really need them.


  1. I am going to buy some transplants as well (I think depending on how this whole seed trading thing goes) but I love starting them from seed and think that trying out the Sungold seeds will be fun. In fact, as it is one of the favourite tomatoes out there, there have been lots of people attempting to create OP sungold varieties. Who knows, you might be next.

    You might be interested in checking out Homegrown Goodness - they're a bunch of plant happy people that are into plant breeding and much more!

  2. I think you should definitely raise your own plants, from store bought seed. It's so boring to just go to the store and purchase transplants, and why limit yourself to just 30 different varieties? There are at least 10,000 out there, just waiting to be tried....


  3. I think it could be fun & interesting to see what you get from the seed you saved Daphne. But I plan on buying transplants this season since it gives me nice jumpstart on the season, plus I've never grown them from seed. ;)

  4. Ottawa Gardener: You must grow a lot of tomatoes. I usually only have space for about 5. This year I could have more (largest rotation space) but instead I want to try potatoes again.

    engineeredgarden: It is fun to grow them from seed. My issue is I'm going to be gone for a week in May. My husband will be home, but he doesn't do plants - though he will have to for this week.

    perennialgardener: Maybe some year you will try it out. If you do I recommend getting a light setup of some kind. I've tried in the window and the plants just get leggy. But this will be your first year of a veggie garden, so that is a huge step by itself.

  5. Unless you Sun Golds crossed with a red fruit (remember you mentioning their stigmas exherting) they should only produce orange fruit if they self pollinated.

    The gene for that color is called "tangerine". It is recessive so it homozygous gene pair is tt. All it can contribute to itself is are "t"'s.

    The plants look generally the same. You shouldnt see too much size variation but what you may notice, if you grow enough plants out, are some's interior seed gels have more green color. Now this can be a matter of timing (when you harvested and how ripe it is) but a few might have more noticeable green around the seeds even when full ripe.

    Good Luck and keep us updated.