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bower April 24, 2018 09:35 PM

Mostly Blacks F3 and F4 - 2018
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This year I decided to do something different with my space, to try and manage selections without cramming in too many plants and then waiting for weather to allow them to be moved out...

In the past I've used these fish tubs for two big plants. This time I have four plants per tub, planted in a row with equal access to the sunshine. I will have to strictly prune them to one stem, and likely top them as well. They do have room for the roots to spread forward, but are less than a foot apart. No idea how this will pan out, but I'm pretty sure I'll get enough fruit to evaluate and save seeds.

bower April 24, 2018 09:48 PM

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Some early flowers - looks like they have been affected by the cold... so we'll see if the first fruit are too ugly for a mother to love.
Whiskeyjack F3 - looks like a triple. I'm hoping it will be less deformed because of being a heart.
Copper Compass F3: these are ruffly beefs, so I expect the first will be oglie. :roll:
Moravsky Div: Yep even the Moravsky bloom is looking all stuck together and gnarly.
Skipper Brown F4: Will be open soon. Small fruit, and I don't expect any deformities.
Purple Skipper F4 and Black Kitten Paws F4 are running later.
The determinates - Rodney F4 and the grandmother Napoli a Fiaschetto - are a bit later too - good buds but no petal showing yet. They got planted into 5 gallons today.

bower May 13, 2018 08:35 PM

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Here's a shot of the plants 20 days after transplant, and a chart of the high and low temperatures daily. Probably four days of 20 could be dropped as "not a tomato degree day", where temperatures didn't reach 60 F or did so just for an hour. They haven't made really fast vertical growth but that is fine by me, don't want to bring the season to a halt exactly yet. Nearly all have flowered and the earliness winners have baby fruit, so of course, I took baby pictures... who could resist. :cute:

bower May 13, 2018 08:53 PM

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Three of six Whiskeyjack F3's have pea sized or bigger fruit, clocking in at 69 to 71 days from seed. Really pleased and surprised to see that some of the funky flowers look to be producing normal fruit. The second fruits are refreshingly normal shaped too. Other firsts are not looking so normal, we'll see how ugly they get when they get a bit bigger.

bower May 13, 2018 09:13 PM

Skipper F4 - baby fruit
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Rodney, Skipper (brown and purple), Copper Compass, are all sibling lines from the same 4 parent cross, with Compass being the largest fruit. One of the Compass F3 flowered early and had me excited, but it hasn't grown any fruit yet. No determinates out of five, so likely none in this line. The Purple Skipper F4 also has no determinates again this year, so I think there's no more sp left in this line. But the Skipper Brown F4 I have 2 of 5 determinates! One is a small det: cluster-leaf-terminal cluster on the main stem. The other has a semideterminate pattern that hasn't terminated yet, one or two leaves between clusters.
Skipper F4's are a small and sometimes pointy fruit. One of 5 Skipper Brown (DET) and one of 5 Purple Skipper have fruit at 67 and 68 days from seed, just a whisker earlier than Whiskeyjack.
Third pic is Rodney F4: earliest of 6 plants at 71 days. These are determinate small beefs, and are flowering like crazy with 2-3 clusters on the go.

KarenO May 14, 2018 02:06 AM

They are looking great Bower, awesome to see how early they are setting for you in the highly variable temperatures. That’s a very good trait for your Canadian tomato. Keep on posting updates, very interesting projects!

Rajun Gardener May 14, 2018 11:26 AM

Congrats on the early flowering!!

How can you tell they're determinates so early? Is it leaf nodes between clusters or terminal growing shoots?

bower May 14, 2018 12:47 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, KarenO. :) I suspect the defects in those first 'megabloom' fruits may have slowed the Whiskeyjack down until they set a second one. I may yet have to remove them but will let them get big enough to see just how unevenly they set. I really do need tomatoes that will tolerate April extremes in my greenhouse, because the later plantout usually means temperatures are too high when it's time to set up a good crop. So I'm back to pushing the cold tolerance limits.

Rajun, you can tell that the sp/sp determinate condition is there, in any plant that has fewer than three leaves between flower clusters, and/or it sets a terminal cluster on the main stem. In the past I had crosses that took a long time to identify as determinates, because they had three leaves between clusters on the main stem until finally they ended that stem with fewer leaves between and a terminal cluster, or put out side shoots that had the determinate cluster/leaf pattern. It was very frustrating to wait so long for the key information.
So I'm pretty stoked to identify determinates early on this time, only a couple of weeks from planting out. Now if I could have known even earlier, I would have given the determinates their own pots instead of sticking them into the 'single stem' indeterminate plan. :roll: Oh well.... I'll take it! :surprised::)
The Skipper Brown has thrown one determinate in every generation so far. The first one, fruit quality was not up to par (not even close), while all the indeterminates were just great. :no: Last year at the farm, another determinate looked really promising with loads of fruit.. I think they were good but I didn't actually taste them. But then some of the less virtuous OP's were stricken with foliage disease, and the determinate Skipper got it too and just as bad. :evil: Meanwhile all the indeterminate Skippers had awesome foliage health that remained outstanding all season. So that determinate didn't make the cut either.
Fingers crossed at least one or the other will make the grade this year. :roll:

svalli June 4, 2018 01:05 PM

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I'm really glad I came to read here before I started to remove suckers from the Skipper Purple F4s, which I am growing. I planted those to the greenhouse two weeks ago and since then I have not had time to do anything else than water them. Finally now I got chance to pay more attention to the plants and noticed small greenies on both pointed and beefsteak shaped Skipper purples. I have 3 plants of both type growing and the plants are relatively short and have flowers on them. Right now it is still difficult to say if those are determinate or not, so I will not remove the suckers now.

Thanks for the seeds bower! I'm really excited grow these:)


KarenO June 4, 2018 02:57 PM

Did you get any of the late snowstorm?? I sure hope not

bower June 4, 2018 03:19 PM

So glad to see them Sari! :) My Skippers are leading the pack here for fruit set, closely followed by Rodney.
We have just had the weather week from tomato hell though. :( Only two days got up to 60 F even for an hour or two. Multiple days with temperatures closer to 50 F. Yes KarenO we had snow on the ground this morning and snow falling during the day, although it has gotten up to 2.8 C the windchill is below freezing. Greenhouse high today looks like 52 F.

In the past I've done a fruit count at 90 days from seed but I just couldn't face it. There are fruit to count but the poor plants... there's nothing I can do about it but wait and hope. :bummer:
I guess on the positive side, this year will be a genuine test to see how the fruit are affected by miserable cold. Plants are still looking good, some purpling but overall... they are troopers. 8-)

KarenO June 4, 2018 03:22 PM

If they are alive through it all that is a wonderful testament to their hardiness
I sure hope the weather smartens up for you soon.
I can’t compare to your cold but even here it’s going down to 8 every night which is slowing things down and curling my leaves here too.
Here’s to some warmer weather ASAP

bower June 4, 2018 03:54 PM

Yes here's to some warming up! :roll: Just normal temperatures would be fantastic right around now...
Incidentally KarenO, Karma Pink is doing just fine as well. There's a fruit set but not quite the size of a pea yet... and of course, fruit aren't getting any bigger in these conditions.
We're supposed to see the sun tomorrow, I hope the shock of it is not too drastic. :surprised:

KarenO June 4, 2018 04:45 PM

Well the whole idea of the trial is to see what they do in all sorts of conditions, would not be much of a test if they were only grown in ideal conditions so we are very interested in what your chilly KARMA pink does. Mine are sulking a bit with the leaf roll to show it but they are blooming and setting regardless

bower June 26, 2018 10:46 AM

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So here is a chart of the low/high temperature records from transplant to the present - 66 days, just to show how utterly miserable it has been in the greenhouse. Our normal climate is marginal but we tied the record for low temperature in the first half of June, and normal would be fantastic compared to what we've been getting most of the time - including yesterday and today. Starting at 50 F this morning, we have no chance of sunshine today, outdoor temp is in the 40's with high winds, so I doubt we'll reach 60 and will likely drop below 50 again tonight.
A daytime temperature of 60 F is marginal for tomatoes although many will grow and produce at that temperature, some days we reached 60 F only for an hour or two late in the afternoon, so there are more "not a tomato degree day" days than even it appears.

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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