tedln
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Hand pollinating tomatoes!

My Brandywine tomatoes have been putting on a lot of very large blooms. Some of the blooms have produced small tomatoes. Other blooms have simply dropped. I think I've read about hand pollinating them with a tooth brush. Since I don't want to share my toothbrush with a tomato plant, I tried Q-tips this morning. Anyone have any thoughts on the use of Q-tips for the job?

I have been shaking the plants everyday to help with pollination. We have also had a lot of strong wind (strong enough to snap some of my squash plants off at ground level) so I think the normal methods have been exhausted.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

parcgreene
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I use an artist brush

I too hand pollinated my tomatoes, OCD? Maybe, but it only takes a few minutes and I haven't noticed any flowers drop yet this season. I use cheap artist brushes. The fluffiest ones I can find:

[img]https://i49.tinypic.com/23wtnra.jpg[/img]

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rainbowgardener
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Tomatoes should not need hand pollinating if outdoors, especially in windy conditions.

The blossom drop is a reaction to some kind of stress (type blossom drop into the Search the Forum feature to find a lot more that's been written here about it). Under stress the plant aborts the blossoms to focus more on survival.

So you have to figure out what is stressing your tomatoes... it can be over or under watering, over or under fertilizing, too hot or too cold, etc...

Also Brandywine, though I haven't grown it, has a reputation for being a low producer, that only produces a few tomatoes at a time. So if there are some fruit being set, the blossom drop may just be what it does to keep the level of fruit it is able to handle.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

TZ -OH6
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Electric toothbrush. You just have to touch some part of the vibrating object to the truss; a shaver, electric knife, hedge clipper, etc would also work. Check to see if you have any little sweat bees around, they are most active from about 10:30 to 1:00pm. Before that the plant isn't releasing pollen, and after that the bees have stripped it pretty well.


The structure of the flower is such that a paintbrush won't move much pollen around because the pollen is released on the inside of the cone and filters out around the column of the stigma.


A good way to get pollen for making crosses is to pick flowers from the father plant and pull off the anther cones, let them air dry for 24 hours and then put them in a covered shotglass or similar small container and shake them up hard. Then take the tip of a butter knife and scrape a little pile of pollen off the sides of the glass and dab the "mother" stigma in it. The pollen will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

parcgreene
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TZ -OH6 wrote:Electric toothbrush. You just have to touch some part of the vibrating object to the truss; a shaver, electric knife, hedge clipper, etc would also work. Check to see if you have any little sweat bees around, they are most active from about 10:30 to 1:00pm. Before that the plant isn't releasing pollen, and after that the bees have stripped it pretty well.


The structure of the flower is such that a paintbrush won't move much pollen around because the pollen is released on the inside of the cone and filters out around the column of the stigma.


A good way to get pollen for making crosses is to pick flowers from the father plant and pull off the anther cones, let them air dry for 24 hours and then put them in a covered shotglass or similar small container and shake them up hard. Then take the tip of a butter knife and scrape a little pile of pollen off the sides of the glass and dab the "mother" stigma in it. The pollen will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Is there a cross between a cherokee purple and a beefsteak?

How do you find a resource to explain all the crosses that have been happening in the last 100 years? Is there one?

TZ -OH6
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You won't have much luck finding out about tomato crosses. There were literally tens of thousands of crosses done in the last hundred years, but most of that information is more or less hidden as coded information by university, government, corporate, and private breeding programs around the world. I say coded because most of the plants were never named and are only known by a number. A few of the old commercially grown heirlooms like Rutgers (Marglobe x JTD) have publically known parentage, and if you asked Tom Wagner what is behind Green Zebra he probably would happily write two pages on the pedigree, but good luck trying to find out what the second parent to Big Boy is (Teddy Jones is one parent) because it is a corporate secret. The seed/rights to Teddy Jones, (a 1940s heirloom beefsteak) were bought up so noone outside of the breeders have it. The parents of other F1 hybrids are also closely guarded secrets.


There is some information on a few Cherokee Purple crosses because Keith Mueller developed a series that came out of CP x Brandywine. These include Gary'O Sena, Liz Birt, Dora, Brandokee, and Laurel's California Gold.

https://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/Gary%27O_Sena

Contrast this to orchids where names are registered by a single governing body and so every single one of 75,000 hybrids has had its parentage published since the 1800's. Today you can buy software to look up those pedigrees in an instant.


If you want to know what the genetic mix of two varieties will produce I can help with that, because there are only a handfull of genes that control the outward traits and they are almost all Mendelian dominant/recessive, and thus predictable.

parcgreene
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Location: Village of Frisco on Hatteras Island, NC

TZ -OH6 wrote:You won't have much luck finding out about tomato crosses. There were literally tens of thousands of crosses done in the last hundred years, but most of that information is more or less hidden as coded information by university, government, corporate, and private breeding programs around the world. I say coded because most of the plants were never named and are only known by a number. A few of the old commercially grown heirlooms like Rutgers (Marglobe x JTD) have publically known parentage, and if you asked Tom Wagner what is behind Green Zebra he probably would happily write two pages on the pedigree, but good luck trying to find out what the second parent to Big Boy is (Teddy Jones is one parent) because it is a corporate secret. The seed/rights to Teddy Jones, (a 1940s heirloom beefsteak) were bought up so noone outside of the breeders have it. The parents of other F1 hybrids are also closely guarded secrets.


There is some information on a few Cherokee Purple crosses because Keith Mueller developed a series that came out of CP x Brandywine. These include Gary'O Sena, Liz Birt, Dora, Brandokee, and Laurel's California Gold.

https://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/Gary%27O_Sena

Contrast this to orchids where names are registered by a single governing body and so every single one of 75,000 hybrids has had its parentage published since the 1800's. Today you can buy software to look up those pedigrees in an instant.


If you want to know what the genetic mix of two varieties will produce I can help with that, because there are only a handfull of genes that control the outward traits and they are almost all Mendelian dominant/recessive, and thus predictable.
Fascinating stuff. I was thinking of trying my hand at cross breeding this year. Sounds fun, but it also seems slightlyintimidating.

TZ -OH6
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Its not anywhere near as complicated as putting together a model car, or paint by numbers. The worst thing that can happen is you tear up some flowers and the cross doesn't take, or you fall into a plant when you lose your ballance. The buds are pretty easy to pull apart and emasculate so after the first 15 minutes all of the intimidation is gone and is replaced with frustration because it is delicate work in the hot sun while standing at odd angles. And you can't drink beer while doing it or you tear up more flowers and fall into more plants.


There are some tricks to make things easier such as using a potatoleaf variety or dwarf for the mother, or whispy leaf variety for the father so that you know early on if the seedlings are crosses or not.


You can try for personalized taste by just crossing your two favorite varieties (one favorite garden creation out there now is Brandywine x Neves Azorean Red), and just keep saving seed from the best tasting plant from each generation, or you can try to make something with certain traits like a large green when ripe heart with stripes. This needs a little more consideration of the genes involved and space enough for grow outs. I crossed Kosovo (pink heart) with Green Sausage (striped, green, pointed) last year but will need two generations for the green and stripes from the GS to show up. I started the first generation seed early so that I can get a single fruit while the seedling is still in a 4" pot. That way I can plant out the second generation this summer and see some fruit before frost. I'll need to grow around four plants to get a green when ripe, and four to get one with stripes, and sixteen to find one that is green and has stripes. I will also see heart shaped blacks and yellows in the mix along with the more common reds and pinks. Most won't taste great, but the anticipation is the fun part.


https://www.kdcomm.net/~tomato/Tomato/xingtom.html


https://www.avrdc.org/LC/tomato/hybrid/08emasc.html


https://tgrc.ucdavis.edu/Guidelines_Emasculating_and_Pollinating_Tomatoes.pdf

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