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Old August 7, 2017   #1
coYote
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Default Growing F1's indoors during the winter

Hi all it's been a while since I've posted, but I have some questions for the more experienced minds of tomatoville. I've been working on some crosses and was wondering if you all think it's feasible to get fruit on indoor tomatoes from a F1? I seem to remember KarenO doing this with some of her F1's, but I can't seem to find the post. The tomatoes wouldn't have to taste good, just have to produce viable seeds. They would get a modest amount of natural light with some supplemental light from some high powered compact florescents.

If you folks do think it is feasible do you think it would be better to start the plants in the fall or wait until after winter starts as to make use of the increasing natural light?
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Old August 7, 2017   #2
bower
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KarenO did that alright, but I think she did plant midwinter and then got seeds in spring just in time to plant.
I've never grown a fall planted tomato indoors, and nothing I brought in or tried to grow from a fall cutting was strong enough to survive, but I think Fusion Power brought seedlings or cuttings indoors in fall to overwinter and then got fruit and seeds.
Of course that is Alabama vs Alberta.
I noticed with my overwintered peppers that they didn't flower again until we got to the ten hours of daylight mark in February. Maybe you could start the seeds at a time they would be ready to start flowering when you get ten of natural light?
https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/madison
Your 'daylight winter' is just a couple weeks shorter than ours. That would be February 3 for you. So count back ?? eight weeks from that perhaps, or six? depending on the parents. Some time in December. You can keep the seedling(s) right under lights for weeks anyway before you pot them up. I do think the little ones need lots of light. If the timing works out, you should have fruit setting middle of february, at roughly six weeks to mature there would be ripe seeds at the end of March for spring sowing. ???
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Old August 7, 2017   #3
oakley
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No expert but I did this last Winter with great success. As long as your Aphid,
Fungus Gnat, White Fly identifying skills are good and you have the arsenal at hand at
first sign. Yellow Sticky traps to monitor the signs and having ready the proper spray.

I managed it well but was caught by surprise.

Also depends on the size of your intended plants. I was growing micros and hunting
full trays and culling. No trouble getting fruit, though sparse. Some time shifting to a
full South sunny window helps.

I'm planning another Winter grow. This time starting in a few weeks instead of waiting
until late October. I can grow out three times a year I think the way it is going.

On diversion tactic foil...I grew micro sunflowers and found that all predators flocked to
them and left the tomatoes alone. So I will plant them again....cheap seeds and had
them in a bi-weekly planting all winter once I found their use for that.

I also grow micro greens all Winter, actually year round, so watering needs are different
and hard to keep all soils dry. (to prevent soil borne issues). Lots of tricks.

I did listen to the discouraging words of many, but went about my way and glad I did.

A dozen plants I topped to keep them manageable and that helped production.
Early Spring, headed for the compost, I just put them out on the deck bench to
cascade instead. Being multiflora they have been pumping out fruit since and still.
Not dwarf so I won't save seeds, maybe one, but the fruit is dark chocolate and very
tasty. I had fruit in June, unheard of here. Even have had to freeze a big quart.

Just now, in complicated NewEngland weather this year, I'm just now getting a few
SunGold, early August.
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Old August 7, 2017   #4
coYote
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Thank you bower and oakley for your extensive and thorough answers. I think I'm going to give it a go!

I'll only use about a third of my F1 seeds that way if it doesn't work out I'll just grow them the traditional way out in the fields in the heat of spring and summer. Thanks again and I'll post some updates along the way if it all works out.
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Old August 7, 2017   #5
bower
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You only need one F1 plant to get all the F2 seed you need. All the F1 will have identical genetics if the parents are stable OP's, so every F1 plant gives you the same variety of F2 seeds.. A second plant for backup is more than enough, so don't have to risk many seeds at all.

I have grown a number of OP tomato varieties indoors in winter, including a micro, and those that are not micro are not as easy to manage. They can get very leggy and some varieties were not inclined to set at all. If they lean against the window the condensation gives them foliage disease as well for their trouble. So unless it's micros (which are perfect indoors anytime) you're better off with one plant or two at most, and give them all the artificial light you can. Good point from Oakley about cropping or topping to get fruit set. Heavy pruning may be your best strategy. Also the indoor pests. Mosquito dunks a must, fungus gnats are deadly.
Every house and place is different. KarenO had fabulous sturdy plants that set fine in the conditions she provided. Our winters here are some of the darkest, so chances are you'll do better than me. You should indeed, give it a go.
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Old August 7, 2017   #6
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Thanks bower, two tomatoes sounds like plenty to me, especially given my limited space. I'll also have to keep an eye on those fungus gnats, I've had issues with them before. Luckily I've never had any other infestations or disease issues despite my 30 or so indoor plants...so as long as I keep to my usual set-up I hope I can continue that trend. And I will try to give them plenty of extra light with my compact florescent setup. Thanks again.
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Old August 7, 2017   #7
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coyote, I had an idea, but I see you are in WI. I'll go ahead and post the idea anyway.

I grew a variety called Pinky Blast that isn't a hybrid, but it grows to about 18" tall and wide. Has average tasting cherry tomatoes that produce a lot like some pepper plants do - the fruit is on the top of the plant. I want to grow a couple of them this winter. The difference is I'm in TX where I could put them outside in full sun a lot more often than you could in WI. However, you might get a lot of warm days in winter with the way the weather has been so odd lately. If you would like some seeds, PM me. No SASE needed.
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Old August 8, 2017   #8
KarenO
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You can do it, the thread i started is titled "first time crosses "
I would start about beginning of December.
good luck, all you need is one fruit with F2 seeds in it
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Old August 8, 2017   #9
coYote
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Alittlesalt, thanks for the offer, this time round I'm just trying to get a jump on my growouts for my crosses. Thank you though, your winter setup sounds like a good one.

KarenO, thanks for the words of encouragement, I am planning on moving full steam ahead. (:
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Old August 16, 2017   #10
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Sad news unfortunately, my crosses have all failed this year. I had held out hope for one of my crosses as it seemed to take, but yesterday i saw that it's stem had turned yellow.

Not all bad news though. I definitely improved my technique as the season went on. Though I think I need to start my crosses earlier, probably late may early june if possible. Also I never realized just how hard it could be to work with some of the smaller flowered tomatoes...makes me envious of squash breeders. (: I will try again next year, some really unusual crosses have come to mind. I'll keep you all posted. (:
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Old August 16, 2017   #11
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Do you mean the stem of the fruit, or the stem of the plant?
I had the stem go underneath one of my crosses a few years ago, before it had grown the fruit. I cut off the stem above the rot and put it on a windowsill in a pickle jar of plain water. No nutes provided but the darn thing actually grew the fruit and produced six seeds! I grew that cross out this year and five of six seedlings were vigorous brutes now loaded with fruit and F2 seeds.
I have noticed that crosses on side shoots later in the season are sometimes hard to get growing. The plant just doesn't want to put its energy into the side fruit. Worst of all are suckers from low on the plant. So choose a main stem or a strong side stem from higher up the plant to bear your cross, for better chance of success.

Also some plants are reluctant cross mothers, and will reject and refuse to grow the ''tampered' blossoms. Reciprocal cross can be a workaround if you're not sure which parent would be the better mother. It is even worth it to make random crosses just to see which of your parent candidates make great mothers or not - and of course, it's practice.

If your cross is one of the later fruit in a cluster, it may be rejected as well.
So, for best chance of success, I will choose the first two ready blossoms to emasculate in an unopened cluster. I mark the whole cluster instead of adding stress by hanging something on the cross itself. And do the cross two times - one or other may take.
I do let them set the extra fruit if they want to, but some people will remove everything else that could compete for nutrients in the cluster.

Good luck!
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Old August 16, 2017   #12
crmauch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coYote View Post
Hi all it's been a while since I've posted, but I have some questions for the more experienced minds of tomatoville. I've been working on some crosses and was wondering if you all think it's feasible to get fruit on indoor tomatoes from a F1? I seem to remember KarenO doing this with some of her F1's, but I can't seem to find the post. The tomatoes wouldn't have to taste good, just have to produce viable seeds. They would get a modest amount of natural light with some supplemental light from some high powered compact florescents.

If you folks do think it is feasible do you think it would be better to start the plants in the fall or wait until after winter starts as to make use of the increasing natural light?
This is the KarenO's thread you mentioned:
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=30247
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Old August 17, 2017   #13
coYote
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crmauch, thank you

bower, unfortunately the flower stem is the one turning yellow....but wow there's a lot of really helpful info in that post, thank you. I am going to put that knowledge to good use next year. I am involved with several forums on the web, but I've continously found this to be one of the most helpfull, with some super friendly and generous people to boot. Thank you all!
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Old August 17, 2017   #14
bower
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Keep posting and let us know all about your experience... we all learn from each other!

BTW I have had some successful crosses quite late in the season, so if you have any flowers coming at all I wouldn't pack it in. Personally I feel that those stressed crosses which came in cold and darkening days had some special characteristics and unexpected traits/strengths. So there's nothing wrong with pursuing a cross of opportunity, even if it isn't what you had planned.

That is, depending on your goals and strategy for getting there.
As long as you can get the fruit to 'green ripe' stage or close, you can bag it and let it ripen indoors and get viable seeds.
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Old August 29, 2017   #15
coYote
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thanks again bower

I did attempt some late season crosses these past two weeks...no dice...I'm not discouraged though and I will try again next year with more experience and some sound advice from you all...plus I've got some new ideas for some crosses (:
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