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Old June 11, 2012   #1
bower
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Default starting my first crosses

Today I took the plunge and started several crosses with Black Cherry the male parent.

The reason for this cross is that I can't accomodate the growth habit of Black Cherry in my tiny space (and seems tinier all the time!). I love the fruit, but the number of fruit per linear yardage of plant growth is pretty low, and the hugeness of the vine is a problem in confined space. So I am trying to cross with a female parent with a more manageable and productive growth habit - the three I have available are Stupice, Moravsky Div, and the true determinate Fiaschetto a napoli (a small roma) - hoping to select for growth habit in the F2 early in the season, and look for the black fruited selections among the remaining, etc.

I followed the available videos to choose an immature blossom and remove the anther cones. I chose the leading blossom in unopened clusters, because these usually seem to have the best chance of forming fruit. A document from UC Davis said to pollinate right away, and again two days later - this seems to be a compromise position because other sources vary as to when the female part is ready to receive the pollen. So I guess I'll repeat that on wednesday and hope for the best.

I know there's been a lot of work with Black Cherry as a parent, so I'm wondering if these crosses (Stupice, Moravsky Div, Fiaschetto a napoli) have already been done before? and how that worked out. Also any experience breeding with Stupice or the others would be interesting to learn about.

I'm thinking of following Taryn's approach, and trying to grow out the F1's indoors during the winter so the F2 can be grown out next year (I can only try!). I've been searching for information about those growth habit traits, and so far it looks like Black Cherry's long internodes will be dominant, so the F1's will be space-hogs like their dad.

Any general comments about your experience or advice in breeding for a compact indeterminate growth habit would be helpful... thanks!
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Old June 11, 2012   #2
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I'm very interested in your trial and how they turn out, will be reading along. Sorry to say I don't have any experience to offer, which is why I'm very interested in your trials.

I find this subject area very interesting and hope to one day be ready to cross my own creations.
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Last edited by meadowyck; June 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM. Reason: for typo's
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Old June 14, 2012   #3
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Bower, I love the Black Cherries as well, and grow mine in a container, so they are even taller! I was looking through the Dwarf project just yesterday to see if anyone has attempted developing a dwarf Black Cherry.

It seems that two lines have been started...Dinky (Cheeky F2 x Black Cherry) and Muddy (Golden Dward Champion x Black Cherry). I hope to get on the list for either or both of those next year.
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Old June 14, 2012   #4
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koshki, thanks, I'll be keeping an eye out for Dinky and Muddy. I haven't tried dwarf plants before, but I'm liking the determinate. A 5 or 6 foot plant would really be ideal for my space.

I'm growing in containers too, and the greenhouse is pretty humid - tends to produce a lot of vegetative growth. I am not a pruner at heart, and if there were no tomato diseases in humid and often cold environments I would just let em go jungle.. done it, paid the price.
I can't believe it's June and Black Cherry is looming up against the ceiling... 12 feet tall already.

I did my second pollination yesterday, so now I'm waiting to see if I did a good job or not!
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Old June 14, 2012   #5
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Twelve feet! Holy mackerel! Mine is only about 4' now, but it's growing so fast. I have decided to top it when it reaches the top of the second cage, and let it grow sideways.
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Old June 14, 2012   #6
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The size of tomato plants in my greenhouse is ridiculous. It's attached to the south side of my house so completely sheltered on the north side.
Compared to other plants though, Black Cherry has clusters every two feet maybe, cw a foot between clusters on most everything else. I let all the low suckers grow out, to maximize the fruit within reach. I thought I'd let them get a little taller, and before I knew it they were out of reach! I will be sad to cut these beauties, they seem to like it up there.
Moravsky Div, Stupice, Oaxacan Jewel, Black Sea Man and Vorlon by comparison are all 5-6 ft tall at this stage. Violet Jasper is around 9 ft tall, Galinas and Anna Russian around 8 ft so I topped them yesterday.
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Old June 16, 2012   #7
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The only real hassles with Moravsky Div and Stupice as female
breeding partners is the tiny, tiny, thin pistils in the center of a
flower. Twitch while trimming anthers, and your work with that
flower is history, you broke the pistil. They are like the pistils in
the flowers of most cherry tomatoes.

Other than that, they make good breeding partners because they
are both PL (easy to tell in the F1 if the cross with an RL pollen
donor was successful) and they are both very early, which should
produce some F2 plants earlier than Black Cherry.

If I have the pollen (flowers producing pollen), I will pollenate 3 times,
2 days apart. Once when I first trim the bud, in case it is already
sticky enough for pollen to stick to the end of the pistil, again a
couple of days later, and once more another 2 days later. If that
does not do it, forget it, try another flower.

I also like to trim 3 flowers on a cluster, if there are 3 there of
appropriate maturity (almost ready to open, judging by the size).
Then I have a better chance of getting a crossed fruit, and it is
easy to remember where they are. I trim off the corollas, too, the
leaves around the top of the flower, to make them easier to identify.
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Old June 16, 2012   #8
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Dice,
Many thanks for the advice. I am a day late, but I think I will try one more go at the pollination today on this first attempt. I'm a little concerned that I may have chosen blossoms which are a bit too immature.

There's no sign of any swelling yet. I did lose the pistil on one of them, which I guess is toast. I did two flowers for each female parent, but as a complete novice it's pretty clear that the delicate pistil is easy to damage in the process. (The pistils on Fiaschetto are most delicate of all - really long and as thin as thread!)

Maybe my choice to cross the most mature flower on a new cluster was not the best. Only one of those clusters has matured and opened a second blossom, the others are still immature. So I may have misjudged the readiness of the first flower, if what I read is correct (they say the flowers will open one day after another.. I should pay more attention! as I should know if this is really true or not). I did two from the same cluster on MD and STU, and clipped and tagged them. Next time I'll follow your lead and look for a cluster with three nearly mature, that might be a better indicator that the right stage is present in at least one of em.
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Old June 16, 2012   #9
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I'm doing several Chocolate Cherry crosses this year (both as male and female). I am emasculating before the flower even opens. I double pollinate (1 day and 2 days later) I'm having very good luck this year with fruit set. One reason I like the cherry as female is that the fruits ripen quicker and there is never a shortage of other fruit for eating!

To emasculate I have been using stainless steel fine point tweezers to push/pull the cone apart. I collect pollen with an electric toothbrush onto a small square of black cardstock.

I'm also growing Dinky and Muddy F6s. Fruit appears to be significantly larger than Black Cherry.
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Old June 17, 2012   #10
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I collect the pollen with an electric toothbrush and a small square of
plastic wrap. The plastic wrap lacks any rigidity that could damage
the pistil when coating the tip of it with pollen (although watch out for
the wind if doing this outdoors), and you can see fresh pollen on there
easily enough.

I trim flowers just before they open, like if I waited another couple of
days it would be too late, those buds would open. Sometimes I get
self-pollenated seeds that were pollenated before the bud ever opened,
but with an RL male pollen donor and a PL female bud, that is easy
to see in the F1 seedlings (if the F1 is RL, the cross was successful).
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Old June 17, 2012   #11
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newbie question alert here****

when you say "you trim the flowers just before they open" are you cutting the flower off of the plant?

thanks, as I find this thread very fascinating to follow and learn.
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Old June 17, 2012   #12
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You cut only the anther cone, the male part, off. The female part, the pistil, is left to mature and become receptive.

First pic below is a flower that has opened and would be too late to use. The you can see the yellow cone surrounding the pistil. Inside the cone is the pistil and where the pollen is released. Because the male parts often completely surround the female parts out-crossing in tomatoes is generally low, i.e. they readily self pollinate.

Second pic is the stage I pick for crosses. Everything is removed except for the pistil, which is shown in the third pic. 1 Day later I collect pollen and then gently touch the stigma (the tip of the pistil) to the pool of pollen. Repeat a day later in case it wasnt receptive the first time.




Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowyck View Post
newbie question alert here****

when you say "you trim the flowers just before they open" are you cutting the flower off of the plant?

thanks, as I find this thread very fascinating to follow and learn.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Flower-open.jpg (393.6 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg Black Cherry pre-anthesis.jpg (560.9 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg Emasculated black cherry.jpg (381.6 KB, 64 views)
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Old June 17, 2012   #13
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I wasn't really thinking you would cut the flower, at least that wasn't the way I did things with my garden flowers. But for some reason I was thinking that.

Thanks for the detail and the pictures as well. Really incredible work.
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Old June 17, 2012   #14
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Double Helix Farms has a nice video on the process, too.

http://www.doublehelixfarms.com/videos
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Old June 17, 2012   #15
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Just spent the last hour going through his site. That video was very good.

thanks chrisk for posting it.

Never can have enough site to view....LOL
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