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bower June 26, 2018 11:06 AM

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So with all the tomato misery, it's great to see fruit coming on, and perfect 'catfacing' test conditions for the Compass F3, my 'not so pretty' sibling of the Skipper and Rodney.
I was excited about one plant that flowered very early, but in the end it didn't grow any fruit in the first cluster, and won't be the earliest. It also has some pretty bad catfacing - they all have some.
Two of the plants are unusually compact with very short internodes, and would be as good as a determinate for my conditions. No sign of terminal buds on either of these.
Here's a cluster of beefs on one of them... not too misshapen, although not the best. I am pleased to see good cluster sizes on these F3's, since production of the F2 plant was on the light side compared to the siblings, but that may have been due to its position in the crowd after all.

KarenO June 26, 2018 11:14 AM

I heard it snowed in part of Newfoundland again today holy moly it’s been a tough year on the beautiful Rock
These look great so far under adverse conditions so I bet in a better year they will be fantastic.

bower June 26, 2018 11:15 AM

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Another surprise in the Compass.. one of the tall plants has the sp/sp genetics, forming sideshoots with the determinate pattern and terminal buds. Also coincidentally, this F3 has the best blossom ends of the bunch, and far less drastic catfacing than the worst ones. The second pic for example, that early flowering one sadly misshapen.
Since I'd like to see the larger fruit in a more compact plant, I've made some tentative crosses between this plant CC3 and my best looking Rodney F4's.

bower June 26, 2018 11:35 AM

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[QUOTE=KarenO;705972]I heard it snowed in part of Newfoundland again today holy moly it’s been a tough year on the beautiful Rock
These look great so far under adverse conditions so I bet in a better year they will be fantastic.

Yeah I don't know what to think of snow June 26! :no: Longing for that "normal" Newfoundland weather! We certainly have better springs and summers than this, and for sure they can all do better with some solar energy!!
It is exciting to see a few outstanding plants in the circumstances - one of the determinate Skippers had set 35 fruit at the 100 day mark, compared to a range of 9-17 on most of the others (reference plant Moravsky Div came in at 14). I hope to goodness it's as sweet and tasty as the rest. Interesting to notice that it has been dropping a lot of blossoms higher in the canopy on hot days, so perhaps it is better adapted to cold than to heat.
Also the Purple Skipper SP5 which is blushing darker today after a marginal day yesterday, was a complete surprise for earliest ripe. This was one of the extras, I judged to be on the late side and ended up three to a 5 gallon bucket, where she beat the odds by coming on strong. :)

bower June 26, 2018 11:57 AM

Skipper F4 determinates
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Another late surprise, one more of the brown Skippers turned out to be determinate - it's in the same 'multi' tub as the earliest purple.
All three determinates have a different architecture/growth habit/ determinate patterning. The late one has a longer truss with 9-11 flowers, the other two have seven per cluster. The earliest one has longer internodes and more leaves between clusters, compared to the most prolific one, pictured last below. Yes those are aphids on the fruit. :x They were promptly killed as soon as I saw them in the picture. :cry:
All of the brown Skippers have the 'pointy' end to some extent, whereas all the purple Skippers from my selection this year (just one line chosen from the farm Skippers) have swallowed up the early points to become quite round. So the expression of the points is not entirely environmental, although that is a factor. Purples overall were later than the browns, as well. So I will likely grow out a different purple line next year, as I think mine were prettier. :roll:

jmsieglaff June 26, 2018 11:30 PM

Great looking tomatoes! Black tomatoes might be my favorite color so I’m eagerly following your updates. Probably see some blushing in a couple of weeks?

Edit: I see you’ve already got blush! That is super early, wow!

bower June 27, 2018 09:39 AM

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Thanks, JM. That Skipper is so far the first and only to blush, but things could pick up if the weather forecast is right and we do get some 'normal' summer weather at last.
I counted up all the "non tomato growing days" since transplant, there were 13 counting yesterday which only got to a high of 58F. If you subtract those days from the actual 115 days from seed to blush, it is closer to the earliness seen in other years.
There are some other small fruit close to normal full size, but for the most part nothing looks fully formed and ready to ripen although they've been hanging a long time. The Compass beefs are nowhere near full size yet so will be later. Whiskeyjacks are the largest on the vine and could blush any time I guess, but they are still a bit smaller than most F2 fruit last year.
It is interesting to compare different plant responses to stress...
The cold tolerance in the Skippers is clearly a strength... I am really surprised to see this fruit blushing darker in spite of the past two days of marginal or unfit weather. :surprised:

bower June 27, 2018 09:54 AM

Whiskeyjack F3
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Here are pics of the first cluster of the three earliest Whiskeyjack F3s. The larger fruit could be full size or close, and have been hanging a good while so I hope will start to ripen soon. I can't say that resistance to catfacing is a feature of the Whiskeyjack unfortunately. They all have at least one catfaced fruit in the first cluster, and there are mis-shapes and catface in some of the later clusters too, corresponding to the horrible weather.

bower June 27, 2018 10:06 AM

Whiskeyjack F3
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All things being equal, (all things = fruit taste, texture and eating quality!), shape and resistance to bad catfacing is emerging as a selection point, as the next clusters of fruit are becoming large enough to evaluate. My two favorites of the six plants for shape, shown here, also seem to have a more robust cluster architecture - a smaller cluster with stronger branches and adequate separation of fruit. The larger clusters on other plants seem to be almost 'wispy' themselves, with weaker stems and poor fruit separation - this may have made them vulnerable to mold, as I did find and had to remove several fruit and/or moldy sepals from two of those de-selected plants - possibly the result of aphid feeding but still, showing a disease susceptibility which I don't want to carry forward. One example shown in the third pic - a blunter shape as well almost beefy and more prone to mis-shapes/catface too...

bower July 6, 2018 01:31 PM

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Three of my six Whiskeyjacks are ready to pick or very close. We ate the first fruit that ripened - a small very catfaced one which remained white on the unpollinated nub. Like the F2, the first fruit was not as sweet as those that came after - barely sweet at all. The fruit part that ripened had a very nice smooth texture, no mealiness (which I hate).
Anyway, it would be a mistake to judge taste on first fruit in a cold spring, as they rarely represent what the rest will taste like. I'll have a small nibble and save the seeds from these.

bower July 6, 2018 01:42 PM

Skipper recessives!!! must have been a sibling cross!
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I was surprised when three of five Skipper Brown F4 turned out to be determinates.... but I put it down to chance. Now that they are ripening though, so far two of four ripes have turned out to be purple instead of brown!
To have so many recessives turn up, I can only conclude that there was a cross with a purple sibling last season, as these Skipper brown seeds came from a plant that grew outdoors last summer with a purple sib in the same container...
The ratios would be correct, only if one of those plants was also sp/sp - something I may have missed because they don't always express it until late season. Anyway I'm not unhappy to have some more purples by mistake.

bower July 6, 2018 02:19 PM

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This Skipper which turned out to be a purple, had the most impressive early fruit set - 35 fruit when the closest second was 17. That being said, it has dropped a lot of blossoms higher on the plant since hotter weather set in.
Stands to reason, your best cold weather tomato may not be your best hot weather tomato!

bower July 6, 2018 02:47 PM

Rodney F4
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Haven't mentioned these yet but they are coming along, and my favorite plant so far is blushing the first fruit. I grew four from the "Rodney Greypot" line that was top taster last season. Two seedlings were taller than the others, and as it happens, turned out to have the best early season production, while the plants are not any bigger than the others. The two shorter seedlings, one set up fairly early but has had some foliage issues.. the other short seedling became a rambling tall plant with very little fruit on it, which I have moved outdoors to free up space. I feel that two contenders out of four is a good result, and hopeful about the taste tests to come.
Also grew two "Rodney Whitepot" which placed second last year. I wanted to see if the locule number and smooth dark color was conserved in the next generation. These two are both a bit later than the leading RG's, and I'm a bit sorry that I didn't grow a solid four to see if there are earlier ones.
I made some tentative crosses using the two best Rodneys as mother plant for the Compass F3 pollen donor, and no trouble at all getting them to take - the crossed fruit are growing up.

Canehdian July 7, 2018 02:14 AM

Interesting thread.

bower August 12, 2018 05:18 PM

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I've really neglected this thread, in the meantime have nearly wrapped up my season with taste testing done, seeds saved, and some of the experimental plants in the big containers have finished or been removed already to plant carrots. My crossed fruit have just ripened and will be ready to save seeds in a few days. I'm anxious for all the indeterminates in the big containers to be finished - mostly because almost none of them were sweet and that certainly detracted from their taste test ranking. I'm pretty sure that a nutrient/pH imbalance played a role but that's it, it's over and those that didn't impress are the losers. I also think I will stick to smaller containers in future, since they did so much better overall in 5-10 gallon.

Rodney has been my happiest outcome this season, especially because there was taste consistency from last year. I grew four of the Rodney Greypot line - one grew lanky and tall and had few fruit so it got hucked outdoors earlier on. When I taste tested the three contenders, I really couldn't pick a favorite. Very rich and sweet, with two hard to distinguish and the third had a greener gel and a different but equally pleasing nuance of flavor. I had to taste them repeatedly trying to pick a winner, and the whole business left a sweet taste in my mouth for quite a long time afterwards. :love: The outdoor plant also produced some very sweet fruit, but didn't get a real side by side with the others. It may have been more like Rodney Whitepot - which I also grew two of, and were also quite consistent with last season, very sweet and enjoyable but not as outstanding as the Grey.

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