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Lonesomedave
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Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

ok....been listening to a lot of youtube videos about growing heirlooms and tomatoes in general and i have another question.....

several times the presenter has said something like....since heirlooms are open pollinated, so if you save seed, the next year you will get the same type of tomato....very good, and i understand the difference between heirlooms and modern hybrids in this respect

however, i was wondering....if you have a garden with several heirloom tomatoes in it, how can you be sure that each variety has only pollinated itself?....

that is, if i have a brandywine next to a big rainbow, how can i be sure that the brandywine has not pollinated the big rainbow and vice versa?....i mean, bees and insects are in the garden doin' their thing, right?...who is to say that one did not visit a flower on one plant and then fly straight to another plant?

is there some mechanism that i am unaware of that does not allow cross breeding of this kind....cause it seems to me, if i save seed from a plant in such a situation, i am taking my chances on the parentage of the resulting seeds

please, anybody...this has got me real curious


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tomc
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

Dave, tomato are perfect blooming. (huh?) wazzat mean? It means that barring bees or other pollinators breaking into the bloom, the tomato pollinates itself.

Some of us are not that trusting. And sometimes bees are too eager. So yes your open pollinated tomato can become crossed.

The oldest kind of fix would to simply grow a solitary cultivar. they're all gonna be Rutger's if thats all you planted.

Or a more practicle modern multi-cultivar plantation would be to bag blooms in a toe of somebodies volunteer pantyhose. Tape the top closed please.

The laziest fix is to do nothing and rouge out the seedlings that look wrong in germination pans.

Nature is messy, bees are dilligent. In the best of all possible segregation models, sometimes a stray gets into the wood pile. Drink a beer and enjoy thier work.
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JosephsGarden
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

Bees are pretty much not interested in the flowers of most tomato cultivars. The flowers are closed up, and don't produce nectar, and rarely release pollen. So bees are not typically interested in tomato flowers. But because they are bees they get into everything just in case: Never know if you don't check at least once...

Modern tomatoes (including many heirlooms) average about a 5% cross pollination rate when planted close together. So if 95% is pure enough for you then you can save seeds from them without stress. If higher purity is desired, then you could bag flowers or only grow one variety of tomato, etc.

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feldon30
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

Alas that 5% has been enough that I've noticed it. I saved seeds of a couple of hard-to-acquire varieties (including JD's Special C-Tex) and got crosses. This year, I ended up just buying all new seed from TGS and so forth as I did not want to risk having off-types. Maybe I can try bagging blossoms here. It was way too hot in Houston for that.
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tomc
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

Even the best seed house has something get into the wood pile and cross up seed from time to time.

Sit back, enjoy your beverage and relax some as you garden.
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imafan26
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

Isolation is really the only way to get open pollinated plants to breed true. However, the hybrids may taste good too so it is the luck of the draw.
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Farmerboy
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

To prevent cross pollination simply plant one variety of tomato in one corner of the garden and the other variety in the opposing corner of the garden. The space between varieties greatly reduces the chance of getting hybrid seeds.

I have saved Tomato Seeds for 40 years. Cross pollination is rare, but it does happen. Sometimes the crossed Tomato is better than the parents. I once had a Roma that crossed with I don't know what, but the hybrid Romas weigh over 8 ounces and had all the characteristics of a Roma. The seeds from the Hybrid Roma did not reproduce the large size of the hybrid.

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ElizabethB
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Re: Saving seed from garden grown Heirlooms

Interesting topic.

Since I practice SFG my heirlooms are planted close together. I would have a higher than normal rate of cross pollination. For my fall tomatoes I started cuttings.

I only have 5 of my original 16. During George's last hospital stay they did not get watered for 5 days about 3 days too long. -wall-

In the spring I will start from new seed.
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