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breeding

Genetic Control of Fruit Ripening in Tomato

The tomato is one of many plants that have evolved an “edible fruit” strategy for seed dispersal. Mature seed is encased in a fruit designed to be attractive for consumption by fruit-eating animals. Seed dispersal occurs when the consumed seed passes safely through the digestive tract and is deposited with feces on the soil some […]

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Garden

To Feed or Not to Foliar Feed?

To Feed or Not to Foliar Feed? What’s the best nutrient feeding method for your urban, hydroponic, aquaponic, indoor, organic, greenhouse or vertical tomato garden? There are many ways — and many climates — in which to grow tomatoes. No single fertilizer solution will work for everyone. Visual and soil analysis will help you develop […]

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Garden

A Rainbow of Tomato Colors

Have you ever thought about the color of tomatoes? They come in so many colors these days: red, pink, purple, brown, yellow, white, green, orange, bicolor, and even blue and black! Here’s the breakdown of some of the genetic reasoning behind specific colors of tomatoes, but first let’s talk about what creates the color palette. […]

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Breeding Practices Part 1

When it comes to breeding tomatoes, the first step is deciding on what the parents will be. Parents are chosen for many traits, such as plant habits, productivity, disease resistance, fruit shape, fruit color, and—most important—flavor. For example, let’s say we want to cross Cherokee Purple to Sweet Scarlet. Both tomatoes have good flavor, but […]

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Garden

In the Beginning Part 4 of 8

What do you do if you have already started your seeds and maybe you are seeing a few gnats or some fungus, or maybe you have lost a few seedlings to damping off? There are a few methods of rescue to help you get things under control without having to throw everything out and start […]

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Changing Young Lives through Culinary Careers

Careers through Culinary Arts Program names Karen Brosius as new president The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) and Board Co-Chairs Marcus Samuelsson, award-winning chef and owner of the acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem restaurant and cookbook author, and Mark Weiss, chief investment officer of RFR Holding LLC, proudly announce that Karen Brosius has been appointed […]

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Involvement in Breeder’s Grow Outs

In 2018 I participated in two separate grow outs: Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, and Dwarf Tomato Project with Craig Lehoullier from North Carolina. Requirements In order to participate in the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) you need to be a member. Depending on your choice of membership, it will cost approximately $25 for an […]

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Garden

Tomato Blossom Anatomy Part 2 of 2

In the last article we talked about the male blossom parts and how pollen is vibrated loose inside the anther cone. This time we will continue with the completion of fertilization and talk about the female blossom parts. In figure 2 you see a partial anther cone opened from the side so that you can […]

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Breeding Practices Part 3

We discussed selecting and preparing the maternal host blossom, leaving off at the actual pollination timing. Today, let’s look into paternal selection and preparations, and then bring the process up to pace with the mother host. A blossom used as a male parent in breeding needs to be further along in the maturity process than […]

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Farming

The Chemical and Genetic Basis for Flavor in Tomatoes

There is no universal agreement on what a “perfect” tomato tastes like.  There can be significant differences in flavor ranking based on personal preferences – level of sweetness or acid content, for example. Fruit texture and skin thickness can also influence “likeability”. However, recent research, including the use of replicated tasting panels, has helped highlight, […]

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April

This calendar’s monthly planting guidelines are based on USDA zone 9, but they are adaptable to most zones. To find your zone, go to the National Gardening Association’s website. If your zone is 7, 8, or 9, you can safely use this guide. If your zone is 4, 5, or 6, then add a month […]

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Solanum Pennellii

Solanum pennellii is a dryland-adapted species of wild tomato that’s native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru. In this habitat, the tomato gets much of its water from fog; therefore, the method of watering I’ve had the most success with is misting the leaves with water. The root system is small and […]

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In the Beginning Part 6 of 8

Now that your seedlings have reached a few leafsets high, it may be time to transplant them into larger containers before their roots outgrow the little cells you had started them off in. A good rule of thumb to go by is their height. If the plant is more than two times taller than the […]

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Solanum Habrochaites

Taxonomy Solanum habrochaites is a “wild tomato,” one of about 13 species in the Solanum lycopersicum genus, or tomato “family.” The other, older name for this species is Lycopersicon hirsutum. Description There are two types (subspecies) of Solanum habrochaites: Solanum habrochaites Solanum habrochaites f. glabratum This species is native to Peru and southern parts of […]

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My Management for Growing Tomatoes in the South

Hello my name is Bill Yoder and I am a tomato grower located in the southeastern U.S, growing for market, local restaurants and also trialing for different breeders. I have trialed over 2,000 varieties in the past 18 years, growing roughly 700 plants each season, most of which are heirlooms or “created heirlooms”, with very […]

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Solanum Peruvianum Complex

Solanum peruvianum are a group of closely related species of wild tomato that are native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru and northern Chile. The group comprises Solanum peruvianum, S. corneliomulleri, S. arcanum, and S. huaylasense. I’ll call them Solanum peruvianum here for simplicity. Solanum peruvianum produces small white or green fruits, […]

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In the Beginning Part 5 of 8

Edema or Oedema is a common problem with many types of seedlings, but it’s not widely recognized and is frequently mistaken for insect larvae or insect damage. Edema is an issue caused by overwatering, it happens in young plants when their roots absorb water faster than their leaves can release water through transpiration (the “breathing” […]

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Influences in Breeding

My love of heirloom tomatoes began 60 years ago in my Grandfather’s garden. He was a friend of Ben Quisenberry who we’re indebted to for saving ”Brandywine” and other great tomatoes. Because of this, my early gardens had Brandywines, Mortgage Lifters and others passed along by Ben. My taster’s tongue was set for a delicious […]

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Garden

NPR

Human toll is not the only cost of conflicts A tall rectangular building juts out of a mountainside on a Norwegian island just 800 miles from the North Pole. Narrow and sharply edged, the facility cuts an intimidating figure against the barren Arctic background. But the gray building holds the key to the earth’s biodiversity. […]

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Personal Setup and Process for Trialing New Varieties

Part of my grow plan every year includes trialing new variety selections. The source of these selections may be my own crosses or crosses from other breeders. I am a grower in the southeastern U.S. Our climate in the summer is typically very hot and humid with abundant rainfall. My success with a variety can […]

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Garden

In the Beginning Part 3 of 8

Have you ever had beautiful new seedlings pop up perfectly, then the next morning find them flopped over and rotting at the base of their stems? This is a fungal problem known as “Damping Off”, it can be heartbreaking! There are two main causes of this problem, but both of them have to do with […]

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Garden

May

This calendar’s monthly planting guidelines are based on USDA zone 9, but they are adaptable to most zones. To find your zone, go to the National Gardening Association’s website. If your zone is 7, 8, or 9, you can safely use this guide. If your zone is 4, 5, or 6, then add a month […]

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Garden

Tomato Leaf Types Part 1 of 6

Did you know that tomatoes come in all sorts of different types of leaf patterns and colors? There are some wild and crazy ones we are excited to show you, but first let’s look at some of the common ones that we can all recognize. The most common leaf type is the regular leaf, or […]

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Garden

Interview with Joe Cannistraci

Creating a Tomato Community and Culture There’s no doubt about it, Joe Cannistraci is passionate about tomatoes. You could even say tomato sauce runs in his veins. Born in New York and raised in the Garden State of New Jersey, Cannistraci first started growing tomatoes with his Sicilian grandfather in his large backyard garden. And […]

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Garden

Dry-Farmed Tomatoes Take Center Stage

Adding no water produces more flavorful tomatoes Though engineers outnumber farmers in today’s Silicon Valley, this bustling central California region was once a patchwork of fruit orchards and vegetable plots nicknamed the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Martial Cottle Park keeps that agricultural heritage alive across 287 acres of trails, exhibits, and fields set in urban […]

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Breeding Practices Part 2

Early in the spring, when tomato plants are starting to load up with blossoms, this is the best time to find viable mother blossoms; pollination has a higher success rate in cooler temperatures. This shows a good example of the ideal blossom—not too small or tightly closed so that it’s immature and unreceptive to pollen—but […]

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In the Beginning Part 7 of 8

Your plants are hardened off, the sun is shining and you’re ready to plant your tomato seedlings into the garden. First things first, please check with your local extension office to be sure it’s past the average frost date for your area, and a good recommendation is to have your soil tested ahead of time. […]

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In the Beginning Part 8 of 8

When it comes to supporting tomato plants, there are many choices, but most require a decision at planting time. If you wait too long to implement a support system, you will run the risk of injuring the plant’s newly established root system. The first option is to let them roam freely across the ground, much […]

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Garden

In the Beginning Part 1 of 8

One topic that many people find overwhelming when deciding whether or not they want to grow their own tomato starts is lighting. There are so many sources nowadays, and the addition of LED lighting at a more affordable price point has caused even more confusion. Natural lighting from a sunny southern exposure window is one […]

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Elizabeth Candelario On Biodynamic Farming

Understand the difference between organic and biodynamic farming Elizabeth Candelario is the managing director of Demeter Association Inc., the nonprofit certifier of Biodynamic® farms and products in the United States, as well as the board president for Demeter’s accredited organic certifier, Stellar Certification Services. Before that, during her time as marketing director at Quivira Vineyards, […]

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Towards Promiscuous Wild Tomatoes

I am Joseph Lofthouse, a subsistence farmer from a cold mountain valley in the Rockies. I am known for my advocacy of landrace gardening: that is growing genetically diverse, cross-pollinating crops for enough generations in the same location, that they become locally-adapted to the ecosystem and to the community’s habits. One of the strengths of […]

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Garden

When the Timing Is Right

As the “I’m starting my tomato seeds” posts start showing up on social media more often, the thought will suddenly hit: “Should I be starting my tomato seeds now?” The answer for most of us is no. In general, six to eight weeks is the optimal time to go from seed to sturdy transplant ready […]

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Farming

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Whether you are producing tomatoes commercially or have a few pots in your backyard, your plants can and will fall victim to pests. Why? Because you are creating a perfect environment and food source for many invertebrates such as insects. The following information pertains to general pest management practices and prevention. At the bottom of […]

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Garden

Tomato Leaf Types Part 2 of 6

Anthocyanin, which can appear in a number of different leaf shapes, involves a blue/purple pigment on the epidermis of the fruit. The gene responsible for that expression was the “Aft” gene (anthocyanin fruit). Anthocyanin can also be found in plant foliage and stems, but it is controlled and expressed by another recessive anthocyanin gene called […]

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breeding

Microberry Tomato Breeding Project

Microberry was bred in Austria in 2008 by breeder, Lukas Wallmann. It was trialed and selected by a group of 63 people, Lukas thought this would be a better idea since he had little space of his own. It is an open source licensed strain (no seed sales without permit, not available for patent). The […]

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Garden

Stripes, stripes, and more stripes!

From Brad Gates’s Pink Berkeley Tie Dye and Boar lines to Fred Hempel’s Artisan Bumblebee series—and all the way back to one of the pioneering lines of stripes, the Green Zebra, bred by Tom Wagner—there’s just something so visually fascinating about these eye-catching tomatoes. There are pinstripes, wavy stripes, broken stripes, and more, but where […]

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Breeding Into Grafting

My name is Clifton Hedrick, I am 55 years old, and currently live in Somerset Kentucky. I have now been growing tomatoes for more than 40 years. In the spring of 1998, with no internet, no computer no cell phone, I went to the library and began reading a book on plant breeding. I was […]

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Garden

Solanum Habrochaites

Solanum habrochaites is a species of wild tomato that is native to the western slope of the Andes from central Ecuador to central Peru. It’s range includes areas from near sea level to very high altitude, thus some populations have developed remarkable cold/frost tolerance. Solanum habrochaites produces small, green-colored, hairy fruits. The flavor tends towards […]

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Garden

Empowering Young Children in the Garden

Installing a passion for gardening Instilling a passion for gardening in a child is a delicious gift. “It’s a chance to do something positive together in nature,” says horticulturist Lisa Hilgenberg. Hilgenberg manages four acres of edible landscape in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden, part of the Chicago Botanic Garden in Illinois, and she […]

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Garden

Tomato Leaf Types Part 3 of 6

We are getting to some of the most aesthetically pleasing leaf types of all. Both chartreuse and variegated plants have to do with chlorophyll function, or the pigment in the leaves, but each in different ways. In this article, we will look at the chartreuse leaf. Chartreuse leaves are one of the most rare color […]

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Garden

A Rainbow of Tomato Colors

In the previous article, we talked about the phytonutrients that express the pigment colors in tomatoes. To recap, there are three basic classes of pigment pertaining to tomatoes. The first is chlorophyll, expressing shades of green in unripe tomatoes, in green-when-ripe tomatoes, in some forms of stripes, and in combination with other pigments to create […]

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Garden

July

This calendar’s monthly planting guidelines are based on USDA zone 9, but they are adaptable to most zones. To find your zone, go to the National Gardening Association’s website. If your zone is 7, 8, or 9, you can safely use this guide. If your zone is 4, 5, or 6, then add a month […]

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Garden

Tomato Blossom Anatomy Part 1 of 2

We are getting oh so close to the actual concepts of tomato breeding, but first let me take you through a crash course on the basic anatomy of a tomato blossom. This is where all the action happens when it comes to breeding. Tomatoes are known as “self-pollinating,” meaning a tomato blossom contains both the […]

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Tasting Party

Chefs and plant breeders met recently to taste tomatoes from The Beautifully Promiscuous & Tasty Tomato Project. The goal of the project is to develop sweet, fruity, aromatic, and wonderful-tasting tomatoes that are 100 percent out-crossing. When tomatoes were domesticated long ago, 95 percent of the available genetics were left in the wild and are […]

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Garden

Tomato Leaf Types Part 4 of 6

This leaf type is my most favorite of all, and that’s because it can be so beautiful. The variegated leaf is one that has some known genetic findings as well as some mysteries left for us to discover. The main gene associated with variegated leaves is the albescent (alb) gene, which is another recessive type […]

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breeding

More Promiscuity in Domestic Tomatoes

I love promiscuous pollination in every crop that I grow. I believe that if genetically diverse crops are able to rearrange their genetics, that they can solve problems for themselves that we are currently trying to solve with poisons, labor, or materials. My definition of heirloom tomatoes, is that the genetics worked a long time […]

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Garden

Bon Appétit

Longevity and appearance matter on the supermarket shelf It’s a tough world out there for a tomato. Chances are high that you’re packed into a tight greenhouse and getting regularly doused with chemicals. Even if you’re organic, even if you’re grown in fertile, volcanic soil, even if you make it to maturity unscathed, well, you still […]

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Garden

Tomato Plant Types Part 1 of 2

What are the differences between plant types, and how do you know which type is best for your gardening needs? These are questions people ask themselves when ordering seeds or standing in the local greenhouse, trying to pick the plants they want to grow for the season. In this series, we will delve into this […]

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breeding

Why You Should Cull Most of Your Seedlings

My name is Lukas Wallmann of Uttendorf, Austria where I live in a tough 900 meter-high climate that is cold, windy and wet. I love to breed and test the limits of tomato resiliency. I throw away more than 90% of my seedlings- they may look good, but they are not great genetically. I normally […]

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Garden

June

This calendar’s monthly planting guidelines are based on USDA zone 9, but they are adaptable to most zones. To find your zone, go to the National Gardening Association’s website. If your zone is 7, 8, or 9, you can safely use this guide. If your zone is 4, 5, or 6, then add a month […]

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Garden

In the Beginning Part 2 of 8

“How do I grow my tomatoes from seed without the stems getting leggy?” This is a question I hear a lot this time of year, either that or I see people posting photos who are in a state of panic because their seedlings have already grown leggy. There are several things that can be done […]

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Garden

Trichomes

Have you ever wondered why tomato plants have so many little hairs on the stems and leaves? They are kind of neat to look at, but they actually serve a purpose too. The tiny hair-like structures are called trichomes, and they are there to help protect the plant from weather and herbivorous insect invasion. Tomatoes […]

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Garden

Digger Bees

Presenting digger bees pollinating the wild tomato species Solanum peruvianum. The only time I have seen this species of bee is on flowers of the highly promiscuous wild tomato species. Planting wild tomatoes, with their huge attractive flowers, could be an important conservation strategy for this species of bee.       Joseph Lofthouse World […]

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