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Old October 23, 2016   #1
dfollett
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 635
Default What Would be the Ideal Micro?

I know there is no one answer to this question. What I am fishing for is a notion of which characteristics would have the most value in a micro-tomato plant. A plant that could be grown indoors, on a window sill, on a shelf under lights, in a greenhouse or sunroom, on a patio and brought indoors on cold nights, or just something that could be grown in a flower bed without crowding out everything around it.

For the sake of discussion, I am going to define ‘Micro’ as a plant that stays under 18” tall during a normal growing season. It could be determinate or indeterminate. It could be multiflora or normal. It could be ‘dwarf’-type with thick stems and rugose leaves or normal leafed. It may or may not require support. The only defining characteristic I’m using for calling it ‘Micro’ is height. Is 18" too tall?.

The reason I am asking these questions is that I am growing out a whole bunch of F2 crosses this winter selecting for micros. I don’t know what will manifest, but I’m hoping for a lot of variety and would like an idea of which characteristics to focus on. I‘m growing them 6”-8” wide pots from 1.5 quart to one gallon in capacity. What size of pot would work best in your situation if the right plant did well in it?

What are the most important characteristics? I know good flavor must be there. I have found most of the traditional micros I’ve grown to be lacking in flavor. But, what do you want them to taste like? Should they be sweet and ‘sungoldy’ for snacking on, or should they have ‘big tomato’ flavor? Can you even get ‘big tomato’ flavor from a micro? Is appearance and symmetry most important or productivity? (Yeah, both is best, which is most important?)

I could go through a bunch of other questions, but you get the idea. If these I’m growing work out the way I hope, by next spring I’ll have a bunch of F3s with different characteristics to ask folks to help grow out. I can only grow and save seed from so many, so what should I look for? What characteristics should I cull early and what should I save?

Now, a question for those pros out there who might know. At the F2 & F3 stage of segregation; which give me the best opportunity of finding a segregate with ideal growth habit, color and flavor? If I find something with the right color/size/shape, but lacking in taste should I concentrate on F3s from that one looking for the flavor. Or, should I concentrate on one that has the right flavor but not the right color/size/shape? Which characteristics are the easiest to find and fix? Or is it a matter of going with either and counting on Lady Luck to do her thing?

Lots of questions there. Any input is appreciated.
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