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Old February 4, 2016   #9
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 637

Originally Posted by disneynut1977 View Post
Yes, yes, yes. They are under 2ft right? I read your other posts with crosses. I have various indoor lights, ho t5, leds and basic shoplights. I can could grow these through the whole year indoors because of the size and would love to help. How big of a pot do these plants need so I could figure how many I can fit on each shelf?

I think it's great what your trying to do as it gives northern growers an option indoors that would work under basic lights if that's all they had because of the size.
In addition to these, I have received a number of questions in PMs. Rather than answer them individually; I will answer them here. I apologize up front for this being too wordy, but I am.

What I am actually trying to do is find for myself more options of things to grow indoors, but I am willing to share with anyone and believe in collaboration. I have grown full sized plants indoors in the winter and, while it can be done, it is very unwieldy, cumbersome, consumes a huge amount of space you can’t use lights easily. Small ones are much easier and I can accommodate more variety – except that good variety, taste and productivity is not available in small plants. My primary objective is to find unique, quality plants under 2 ft. that can be grown in a pot on a shelf under lights or in a window.

However, with many of the crosses I’ve made anything from full-sized indeterminates to dwarfs to micros are possible. These are NOT the Red Robin X Rose Quartz Multiflora, small red cherry multiflora micros I have posted about in ChrisK’s “Micro-Tomato Crosses” thread. I really like that cross and am growing it out for Chris – we are at F6 now. He determines where those seeds go, when it is ready for release and all such things. I think it is ideal for growing indoors under lights. It is also a small red cherry – like nearly every other small sized tomato (not really every, but …). It differs from others in that it is VERY productive. It also tastes good. That plant with different colors, tastes and sizes of fruits is what I am after.

These crosses I am referring to in this offer are mostly children of that cross. Chris generously gave me permission to use it as a parent in other crosses. That is what I did (Thanks, Chris!). And I have made more crosses than I can possibly grow out. Of well over 50 total crosses from which I have seed, I have grown out the F1 for 11. Of those 11, I have found and fixed dwarf (or micro) and multiflora characteristics in 8. They are at either the F2 or F3 stage with a lot of segregation remaining to stabilize different colors, tastes and sizes. That is what I have available to send out.

Pot size:
I have had quite a few questions about pot or container size requirements. They should do fine outside or in nearly any size pot or container you would like to use. All of the F1 and F2 dwarf and micro plants from which I have seeds to send out were grown indoors in one-gallon pots or smaller. I assume they will do better outside than inside and better in larger containers than small pots – perhaps they will grow larger and be more productive. I just know that they grew fine in small pots.

Plant size:
I’ll probably embarrass myself by showing how little I know about the genetics I am playing with, but…. I know there is a ‘dwarf’ gene that makes it easy to distinguish a dwarf from a non-dwarf. I am sure there is at least one (I think several) additional gene(s) that also contribute to diminished stature – smallness. There doesn’t seem to me to be any real distinction between ‘dwarf’ and ‘micro-dwarf’ that is easily identifiable. It appears to me there is a continuum of size from ‘dwarf’ to ‘micro‘ with the ‘micro’ being more definitional than genetic (dwarf gene plus one or more additional 'smallness' genes). Somewhere along that continuum you start calling them micro – <18” appears to be what ChrisK classifies as micro – and he’s a lot smarter in this area than me – so that is what I’ll use.

With these lines there should be no need to dwarf hunt. The dwarfs should be fixed for dwarf and will probably produce some micros (possibly 1 in 4). Some micros – those that are from crosses with other micros – will produce only micros. Other micros – those that are from crosses with indeterminates – should produce only micros (assuming recessive genes), although I haven’t grown out the next generation and don’t know with certainty. They may produce some larger, I can’t say for sure – That’s part of the fun.

Fruit size:
Some have large fruit in their pedigree – Brandywine Cowlick’s – Margaret Curtain – Pink Pioneer and others. The F2s with large fruit in their pedigree range from cherry to saladette size (2 oz). From what I understand about crosses between large and small fruited plants, the small fruit is dominant initially. In later generations, they still lean more heavily toward the smaller sizes, but some percentage will be larger fruited. I don’t have any idea what influence the multiflora gene has on fruit size. It seems to me intuitively that they will come smaller when they are multiflora than when not, but that is something I want to learn and only time and growing them out will tell us for sure.

If I understand the genetics behind the multiflora trait, it is recessive and therefore should be fixed in all these. They should produce multiflora. I have found that there can be a fairly wide variation from one multiflora to another in the size of and number of blossoms in the floral sprays, but they are distinctive nonetheless. They definitely don’t produce fruit on every blossom. I have been growing these inside with no insect pollinators. (I occasionally buzz them to help pollination, but certainly not every plant and not regularly at all.) I assume they should pollinate at a higher percentage outside with wind and insects, or if you hand pollinate them regularly, but am not certain. That is something else we can monitor and select for.

Fruit color:
The mama in most of these crosses is a red cherry, so red is the most normal initial color. Some are black (purple?) and one is striped in the F2. I don’t know enough about the genetics of color to predict or say what is fixed or even what is possible. That is something else I want to select for – variety. The papas include black, pink, multi-color and stripes. I am hoping to find as many variations in color as possible.

This one to me is a no-brainer. If they don’t taste good, they aren’t worth growing. I know the mama tastes good (to me) and I like the flavor of all the papas in these crosses. (I do have some crosses with papas that don’t have great flavor, but they are primarily those carrying the anthocyanin gene. I haven’t fixed any dwarf or multiflora from those yet.) I haven’t selected for taste at all in the F2 stage (the F1s were mostly really good). I have been interested only in growth habit at this point. That is something we need to select for going forward.

Many of these have potato leaf in their parentage so a PL is a possibility from those. Some are PL in the F2 and should produce only PL. Some of the PLs that I have grown have been strange-looking. The leaves seem disproportionately large for the size of the plant. It is strange to see a 12” tall plant with leaves the size of a normal full-size indeterminate like Brandywine – leaves 1/3 as long as the plant is tall – but that is what some of these had. Some of them with the extra-large leaves seem so tightly compacted I am not sure how they will hold up outdoors against disease. Again, time will tell. I am not aware of any PL micros. It will be great if we find some good ones.

I don’t want to get very formal at this point. I had initially hoped to get some of these adopted into the Dwarf Project, because Craig has managed it so well and been so successful. However, I am my usual ‘day late and dollar short’. Craig made a major expansion of the Project this year and doesn’t want to expand it any further at this point – maybe someday.

Here is what I ask of those receiving seed:
  • Grow whatever works for you however it works for you.
  • Keep as detailed records as you can/will. More information is always better than less.
  • Please report on what you grow – good or bad. No feelings will be hurt if these aren’t the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  • Please send seed back to me for anything you feel is worth pursuing or for any that I request seed from based on your reports.
  • Please ask anyone you share seeds from these with to follow these guidelines.
  • If you find one that I eventually do something with, you can name it.
  • If you find something you like that I don’t want to follow-up on, you are free to continue to grow it out and do whatever with. If you do end up with something spectacular from any of those, acknowledgments are always in order – and don’t forget that most of these ultimately go back to ChrisK’s original cross.
  • Let’s don’t name anything until we have something stable and ready to release. I hate it when 5 different unstable varieties carry the same name. At this point, because I don’t like writing long names, I have them named 1X through 70X (Some crosses are not dwarf/micro/multiflora and some weren’t successful). At some point I’ll create a reporting thread and include detailed information on the parentage of each.
  • Most importantly – Enjoy!

Please anyone, feel free to correct any misstatements or incorrect assumptions I have made in my ramblings above. I don’t claim any real expertise in this area at all.

Last edited by dfollett; February 4, 2016 at 08:01 PM.
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