garden119
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6lb red meaty tomato seed

They advertise its really 6lbs i wonder if its true only 80 days from seed

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TZ -OH6
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What a rip off, $12.50 for 10 seeds!!!

You could advertize Big Zack at 6-7 lbs because that is the max size ever grown for it, same for Delicious at near 8 lbs (World Record). Both of these are available for $3 a pack just like other tomatoes.

Giant pumpkin people sell seeds from fruits that have been weighed, but those are the result of selective breeding (pedigree details usually given)whereas the tomato is from self pollination, possibly from a Big Zac (hybrid) late generation grow out, but they don't give any details.

garden5
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This brings up a subject that's been in my mind for awhile. Can you increase your chances of growing a giant tomato by consistently saving seeds from the largest tomato?

If there's anyone who can shed some light on this, I'll be it's you, TZ.
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TZ -OH6
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In most cases the answer is no, because most of the big tomato varieties are open pollinated/heirlooms and as such there is no genetic variation from generation to generation.

Big Zac is a hybrid so you could grow out a lot of seeds from that and save seeds from the PLANT with the most large fruit (or the largest fruit), but on any one plant there will be no difference in the seeds between the largest and the smallest fruit.

Most big beefsteak varieties put out at least one oversized fruit, often early in the season. It is a developmental fluke so it would be better to save seeds from a plant that had a lot of relatively larger fruits that from a plant that just happened to have the biggest oversized fruit.

garden5
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Hmmm, so you are saying that, with an OP, all the seeds on a plant are the same, weather it be from the biggest fruit or the smallest, but the seeds from one OP plant will be slightly different from the seeds of another plant of the same variety. So, by saving the seeds from a plant that produced larger than average fruit, you can have a chance at getting more of these types of plants within a certain variety?

Thanks for any clarification. As you can see, when I'm confused.....I get confusing :lol:.
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TZ -OH6
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No, if you are growing an OP variety, for instance Giant Belgium, it doesn't matter which plant or which fruit, all of them will be the same.

If you are growing a hybrid, like Big Zac, then each plant from its seeds will be genetically different.

garden5
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OK, so, with OP toms, it's all just luck of the draw whether you get some giant toms or not and there is nothing you can do to increase your odds of getting more giant ones of the same variety next year. Is this right?

Now, I don't see the point in saving seeds from a hybrid plant that produced a giant tomato, since all the seeds will come out different, anyway :?. Could you elaborate on this a little?
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TZ -OH6
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Luck of the Draw is a phrase better used for the random genetic recombination going on with hybrid offspring. With the OPs it is the effect of environment on developmental variation. Some flowers are bigger than others, some are fused, some are on the main vine rather than on suckers. The grower can manipulate both the environmental conditions (water, nutrients etc) and pick big flowers on the main vine and hand pollinate them so that they will have maximum seeds and grow as large as possible. But to answer your question, there is nothing you can do to make the next generation any different (genetically) than the current generation.


With a hybrid you have one of those lottery machines with the flying balls inside, so it is luck of the draw if the numbers/gene combinations code for a plant with fruit larger than the parent plant. Most will not be winners, but a few will be. And it is possible that the new best offspring, which still has some genetic variation, could give rise to an even larger fruited offspring, but at some point the genetic variation would be weeded out and fruit size would stabilize and you would want to cross the plant with another to insert some new genetic material.

garden5
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TZ -OH6 wrote:Luck of the Draw is a phrase better used for the random genetic recombination going on with hybrid offspring. With the OPs it is the effect of environment on developmental variation. Some flowers are bigger than others, some are fused, some are on the main vine rather than on suckers. The grower can manipulate both the environmental conditions (water, nutrients etc) and pick big flowers on the main vine and hand pollinate them so that they will have maximum seeds and grow as large as possible. But to answer your question, there is nothing you can do to make the next generation any different (genetically) than the current generation.


With a hybrid you have one of those lottery machines with the flying balls inside, so it is luck of the draw if the numbers/gene combinations code for a plant with fruit larger than the parent plant. Most will not be winners, but a few will be. And it is possible that the new best offspring, which still has some genetic variation, could give rise to an even larger fruited offspring, but at some point the genetic variation would be weeded out and fruit size would stabilize and you would want to cross the plant with another to insert some new genetic material.
OK, thanks TZ. I think I'm getting it better now.

When I said "luck of the draw," it was that developmental variation (superblooms, more flowers, fewer flowers, etc.) that I was referring to. However, you said that these "flower factors" are influenced by the plant's environment, not it's genes (withing the same variety, of course). I always thought it was the plants genes that determined these things. How does the environment influence whether the plant has super-blooms (multiple flowers stuck together) or not?

Thanks for the great insights.
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TZ -OH6
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There are a lot of factors between DNA and expression. DNA codes for enzymes (in most cases) and different enzymes can be more or less efficient. pH, temperature and hormones are some things that can affect the efficiency of an enzyme at its target site. A frog will alternately sit in the sun and go in the water to keep its enzymes within an optimal temperature range. Mammals have an internal thermostat to regulate that temperature. If our temperature goes up or down a few degrees our enzymes don't work efficiently and we die. A frog is less complex and just slows down when its enzymes function inefficienty below their temperature range. These are physiological responses, but the same thing can happen during development. Plants are very simple compared to an animal so if the shape of something gets deformed during development it can live through it.

I had a couple of orchids that would put out deformed fowers when the greenhouse was too cold. One of the deformities was specific to a known gene set (peloric flowers). You can buy peloric orchids that bloom this way under all conditions.

https://www.robert-bedard.com/orchids/gallery/Peloric/phal_bubble_gum_shwartz.jpg


Mine would have normal fowers, partial deformity, and full pelorics on the same flower stalk, so I have to assume that the gene coded for a temperature sensitive enzyme.

I have noticed many more big fused dandelion blooms early in the season, which is when I also see more megablooms on my tomatoes, and that fits in with the temperature effects I saw on my orchids.

Wild type genes are almost always very stable to environmental changes (you rarely see different flower sizes or seed locule numbers on cherry tomatoes), but the fasciated gene responsible for beefsteaks (fragmented ovary = scattered locules) has not been under the same type of selective pressure so it is not unexpected that it throws out more variation and is more sensitive to environmenta factors than the wild type flower genes.


Here is another example of temperature sensitive gene products

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_(coat_color)


Hormonal affects in plants often show some sort of apical (tip) dominance, and I can't remember ever seeing a megabloom that was not the first (oldest) flower on the truss.

So those are some of the ways that you can have variation among parts of a plant even though they all have exactly the same genetic information.

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Genetics and variety aside as thats been covered already for the most part the largest tomatoes are usually from a double or triple blossom, this is when more than one blossom fuse to form a single fruit. Pretty much all of the largest tomato producing varieties have this fused blossom fruit trait. So to get a larger tomato than what is currently out there the only real way would be cross breeding of the large types which could take someone years to a decade and its still a gamble if that effort would pay off.

Also what most people do not know is these super tomatoes are grow in a particular way. The growers for contest for example have to plan when they are going to plant based on when the contest is happening. They then look for fused blossom fruits, any other blossoms are then removed and all suckers and extra growth are removed such as all growing tips from the plant. Then the fruits are culled down to just one fruit. This forces everything the plant has into developing that one super fruit.

I am pretty sure the current record is 7lbs and 14 oz.

This does not mean that you can not breed for size and grow more than one tomato per plant it just means that the best you might get would be tomatoes in the 3-5 lb range, but that is still a huge azz tomato.

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digitS'
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This is very interesting!

I'd never thought of it before (and you can correct me if I'm wrong).

A tomato variety is made up of, essentially clones. Since the flower is closed, the plant clones itself each generation . . . the offspring is genetically identical to the parents.

Therefore . . . . you cannot selectively breed within a variety of tomatoes!

Remarkable!

The only way you could select for characteristics would be to cross one variety with another and select from the offspring. Perhaps, you might need many offspring to choose from, for some desirable characteristic. There might be a good deal of variation amongst the offspring. Or, I suppose, there might not be.

I've always thought that I could choose the "best" plant out of a number that I was growing, and save seed from that plant. Really, the "best" plant was probably just the one in the most favorable location.

If I missed a name for all this, that's okay. This idea of a closed flower seems a little too strange for words, anyway :shock: . Even tho', I've known about it :roll: for years and take advantage of it when I've grown many varieties fairly close together - without worrying much about cross-pollination.

Thank you for this information and please let me know if I've gone astray on any of this.

Steve

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digitS' wrote:This is very interesting!

I'd never thought of it before (and you can correct me if I'm wrong).

A tomato variety is made up of, essentially clones. Since the flower is closed, the plant clones itself each generation . . . the offspring is genetically identical to the parents.

Therefore . . . . you cannot selectively breed within a variety of tomatoes!

Remarkable!

The only way you could select for characteristics would be to cross one variety with another and select from the offspring. Perhaps, you might need many offspring to choose from, for some desirable characteristic. There might be a good deal of variation amongst the offspring. Or, I suppose, there might not be.

I've always thought that I could choose the "best" plant out of a number that I was growing, and save seed from that plant. Really, the "best" plant was probably just the one in the most favorable location.

If I missed a name for all this, that's okay. This idea of a closed flower seems a little too strange for words, anyway :shock: . Even tho', I've known about it :roll: for years and take advantage of it when I've grown many varieties fairly close together - without worrying much about cross-pollination.

Thank you for this information and please let me know if I've gone astray on any of this.

Steve
Yes and no LOL Genetics get complicated

You can have a mutation of a gene which a lot of times will be dominate
this could cause a plant to produce better, have larger fruit , or have some unique quality an example is Depps pink Firefly, there is a trait Gf Gold flake that originated as a mutation that causes gold flecks in the skin of the tomato when ripe. Its a dominate and lasting trait, so some farmer noticed it and took seed and now we have that variety. So there still is some selection. So yes it is still a good practice to take seed from your healthiest best producing plant of a variety. I think the main point was the same plant might have large and small tomatoes on it and all the seeds of that one plant if no crossing has occurred will carry the exact same genetics that the plant had.

There are very rare mutations that can effect only one branch of a plant changing seeds from that branch genetically as well but lets ignore that for this topic as it is very very rare.

Yes most changes do occur through crosses be it natural or crosses done by man's own hands. When a flower is crossed those seed are a F1 hybrid like the ones you can but for example Beefmaster F1, now all the F1 seeds are identical twins containing DNA from both parents they will all look and genetically are the same. Now once they make seed those seed are F2 this is the stage where there is a lot of variety between the plants and what breeders do is select the plants with the traits they want this occurs over several generations usually 5 to 8 generations later these traits are stabilized or inbreed and you get the same genetics there after. Heirlooms and open pollinated varieties all started as a hybrid at some time and then were selected for to become what they are now. This is the most basic explanation as like I said genetics get pretty complicated but trying to not write a book here so hopefully it will give a bit more understanding on how selection works

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digitS'
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I see . . . :shock: !

Well, this idea that tomatoes are "open-pollinated" is a bit confusing when the tomato flower "isn't open for pollination," shall we say.

I know that cross-pollination does occur with them at times but I've had one variety for which I've saved seed for over 20 years with no noticeable change in the plants or fruit. Those plants have been right in amongst up to 20 and more other varieties. Probably not such a great idea but that's been the reality in my garden.

Thank you for helping me get a better understanding of this.

Steve

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digitS' wrote:I see . . . :shock: !

Well, this idea that tomatoes are "open-pollinated" is a bit confusing when the tomato flower "isn't open for pollination," shall we say.

I know that cross-pollination does occur with them at times but I've had one variety for which I've saved seed for over 20 years with no noticeable change in the plants or fruit. Those plants have been right in amongst up to 20 and more other varieties. Probably not such a great idea but that's been the reality in my garden.

Thank you for helping me get a better understanding of this.

Steve
Hey Steve,

On the natural crosses the reason you have not probably seen any crossing is due to a trait of most modern tomatoes were the stigma is actually very short so it is not exposed outside of the flower and a lot of times pollination actually occurs before the flower even opens fully.
A lot of the brandywine and cherry types do have exerted stigma so that is why they usually have a higher separation distance then other tomatoes.

I am actually doing some work with wild tomato types and its pretty interesting as they are out breeders meaning that they do not self pollinate, on those flowers the stigma is very long.

I think most people give the chance of a natural tomato cross as being 2-5% in general.



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