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Old August 5, 2019   #1
bower
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Default Early black F5's in 2019

I couldn't make the commitment to a big grow this year, but a couple of friends stepped up so some lines I couldn't push forward are being grown by them. N. is growing the Black Kitten Paws F5, and very stoked about the huge clusters of fruit, also says they are keeping pace with Sungold and look to ripen first fruit about the same time. S. is growing the indeterminate purple Skipper F5 that was earliest last year and the best fruit quality all season long. This line is the one she selected two years ago at the farm. I'll get a look at those in a few days on the plan to help prune and tie. And I'm growing some Rodney F5, and two determinate Skipper lines here, a brown and a purple.





The determinate Skipper lines were the result of a cross between siblings in the F3 generation, and I'm seeing more segregation than there is in the Rodney or other true- selfing F5's. Skipper Brown for example, has some obvious segregation for growth habit, with one plant much taller than the others. These were planted out in early July, around the time I would usually have first ripe fruit. The difference in growth habit is obvious from early on (first pic).



This got me thinking about growth habit, and how it affects the success of the plant in hot weather instead of cold.
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File Type: jpg 4-skipperbrowndets.JPG (297.5 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpg tallvshortskipperbrowndet.JPG (438.4 KB, 80 views)
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Old August 5, 2019   #2
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I normally plant very early to get as much fruit set as possible before the 'greenhouse effect' kicks in with midsummer sunshine and high temperatures that would cause any tomato to drop blossoms. One reason that I like determinates is because the high temperatures when plants get up close to the glass are a killer for most. When they get too tall, it's over. There are a few notable varieties that I've seen set fruit even close to the glass in blazing sun, but chances are in general better for a shorter plant in my greenhouse. So the big question on my mind this season, how will these varieties selected mainly for their growth in the cold, also manage instead setting fruit at the hottest time of year.


Pretty well all of the plants dropped a few blossoms in that first cluster, when they were dealing with transplant stress and heat stress at the same time, and had not filled out. Here is a nice double cluster on Rodney positioned between two stems. Rodney has done well in previous generations, to continue setting through the hottest time of year.
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File Type: jpg Rodney3F5-2clusters-between2stems.JPG (375.0 KB, 78 views)
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Old August 5, 2019   #3
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Did you ever notice, how tomato plants will cup their leaves over a flower cluster to give it some shade? (They do this to protect them from cold too.) I've often noticed how tomato plants especially beefs, use their suckers to try and support their fruit. But there's another reason for suckers... protect those flowers.
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Old August 5, 2019   #4
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My thought is that tomato architecture plays a role in the ability to succeed and bear fruit when temperatures are pushing the upper limits. Plants with dense suckering, with suckers that come up fast enough to top the cluster, and short enough internode spacing for that to be effective, should have the best chance to protect the flowers and set full clusters in the heat.
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File Type: jpg shortskipbd-densesuckering.JPG (245.5 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg Rodney3F5-dense-suckering.JPG (339.8 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg shortskipbd-shelteredcluster.JPG (228.3 KB, 79 views)
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Old August 5, 2019   #5
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That tall skipper has the worst chance of losing blossoms due to sun exposure. The internodes are too long for the next leaf up to provide optimal shelter, and with all that energy into vertical growth, not suckering as fast or densely either.
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File Type: jpg tallskipperbrd-exposedfruit.JPG (239.9 KB, 77 views)
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Old August 5, 2019   #6
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I had fun looking for all the shelter around fruit. Tomatoes are such motherly creatures, no surprise to see neighboring plants reaching out a leaf to add shelter for the little ones next door.
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File Type: jpg skipperpinkdet-shelteredfruit.JPG (278.7 KB, 75 views)
File Type: jpg tom-shelter-neighbor.JPG (281.8 KB, 74 views)
File Type: jpg shortskipperbd-umbrella-neighbor.JPG (355.5 KB, 74 views)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
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So I managed to get a couple of blushing fruit by the end of August. Not quite ripe yet so tasting will wait. One Rodney, one Skipper Pink.
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File Type: jpg 2019-earliestfruit.JPG (144.9 KB, 40 views)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #8
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I don't have numbers but just eyeballing the outcomes, the Rodney with the first ripe fruit also has the best fruit set and the most compact growth habit. Another Rodney has a larger fruit but that may be due to dropping more from that first cluster. August has been very hot and dry, so not good setting weather in the greenhouse unless it's a cloudy day. I've also been away working and have really ignored the plants other than watering and opening up in the morning. I finally put some ties on them last week as they began to collapse under their own weight, although this particular Rodney being most compact has also required the least support in a year of neglect. If it tastes the same as last year it'll be thumbs up. If not, I'll probably grow F5 again next year.
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File Type: jpg RodneyF5-firstclusterblush.jpg (107.9 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg RodneyF5-2019.jpg (107.2 KB, 36 views)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
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The SkipperPink DET has two different plants, fruit shape is not the same, but the early one is most like the F4 selected last year. Shape is not stable, two plants enough to see that. The early one is also similar to last year's in being quick to set up that first cluster, and very intolerant of the heat that kicked in. Whole clusters are reduced to just sticks, dropped the works. Second plant fared no better. So this line is definitely not heat tolerant, but it is cold tolerant and very early and a quick setter. Taste is the final issue to check out. Will not start this one late again.
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File Type: jpg SkipperPinkDET-F5-2019.jpg (94.0 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg SkipPinkDetF5-radish-shape.JPG (190.6 KB, 33 views)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #10
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SkipperBrown F5 are not stable for shape either. The tall one is most like last year's F4 selection, with the pointy shape, golf ball sized fruit, and longer clusters (7-8 +), which sadly are producing about 3 per cluster of 8 so many have been lost to the heat. OTOH it's good to see some set happening on the scattered cloudy day and not whole clusters gone. This plant is really huge, would have to say semi-determinate, has the potential to be really productive, but that would be in the cool spring, not the hot summer. Still a nice looking fruit.
The second most interesting is a mini beef shape like Rodney. Looking forward to taste all of these but none are blushing yet.
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File Type: jpg SkipBrowntall-set.jpg (111.3 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg SkipperBrown-tall2019.jpg (110.2 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg SkipperBrownbeefy2019.jpg (109.2 KB, 33 views)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #11
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Some interesting results so far Bower, love the work being done in Canada lately
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