So, I had a volunteer tomato come up this year in my flower beds. I don’t know if it grew from the compost or bird droppings or what but I really like it and would like to grow it again next year. I don’t know if it is a hybrid from the tomatoes that I was growing or some heirloom that might be from a store. I don’t recall seeing/tasting it before. It’s a large cherry tomato type that reminds me of Cherokee Purple which I did grow.
What would be the chances of growing the same tomato next year from seed? If it is a hybrid, will it most likely revert back to something else?
I suspect that you have a good chance of growing a similar tomato from seed next year. I would prepare and plant several seeds and grow them all out and see what I got. (I don’t remember tomato’s requirements for seed prep for sure, but it seems to me you need to ferment the pulp and collect the seeds then.)
It is unlikely to be from a hybrid if it is purple, don’t know of any purple F1s, also unlikely your tomatoes cross pollinated. But if it is a hybrid you will see a large amount of variation in the next generation, basically about every combination possible between the 2 parents, with each future generation becoming more stabilized based on your selections.
It takes quite a bit of effort to cross two tomatoes. The flowers generally self pollinate by the time they are open. Commercially they do surgery on the flower buds, removing the stamens before the flower opens, and then manually cross them when the female flower is ready. There is of course some chance that an insect passing by could have cross pollinated them, but it’s pretty unlikely.
So unless you were attempting crosses on these flowers, they are most likely pollinated from the same plant. Look up how to save tomato seed (you want real over-ripe tomatoes, squeeze the seeds out into a bowl, cover with water and leave at room temps for a few days. Mold will grow on it, it digests the jelly sac around the seeds. Once the seeds are free of the jelly sacs, rinse in water and dry)
You may want to plant several of the seeds, just to be sure that one of the plants will repro the fruit as you like it now (just in case this is a hybrid and there is variation in the children). If you do find variation next year, you can select for the traits you want, and in a few generations you will have created an open pollinated version.
I have saved tomato and pepper seeds for many years. Not sure if any of those were hybrids to start with. Mostly I was selecting for specific characteristics (size, flavor, earliness) rather than trying to stabilize a hybrid.
I am in the second year of attempting to stabilize a hybrid with sweet corn though. It’s a gamble in that I really don’t have a sufficiently large enough gene pool by numbers for corn, but it will be fun to see what comes of it. I am encouraged though, as recently I saw some OP corn commercially for sale which was stabilized from a sweet corn hybrid, so it is possible.
Some of our sweet corn, although planted late, is tasseling. We have a patch of Honey Select yellow corn planted next to a patch of Silver Queen, a white. The HS is dropping pollen and already has some ears forming.
The SQ is just now starting to tassel, and doesn’t have any ears yet. I’m wondering if some of the later developing HS plants’ pollen could create some cross with the SQ plants. And if so, if there would be some kind of cross I could plant next year. Would this year’s cross corn have both yellow and white kernels? And which of these colored kernels would need to planted? I’d be curious to see how either colored kernel would turn out.
It may be a trivial point to most folks, but it still fascinates me how that little kernel grows into a little green sprout that gets a little bigger every day, then puts on a new layer of leaves, grows some more, adds another layer after another, until it gets to maybe 5ft tall. Then it shoots out that tassel, the pollen falls, and then the ears form, and in about a month, those ears become full sized, full cobs. Sure it can be explained in some botanical, technical terms, but it still seems a bit miraculous to me.
When a yellow pollinates a white, you see something like bicolor (actually a white and yellow interplanted) but because of pollination timing in your case only the bottom of some ears will get HS pollen and should have some yellow kernels.
It really is incredible, how a tiny seed can grow into a huge plant. It reminds me all the time of that scene in ET (the movie) where ET is marveling at the size of a redwood seed and looking at the finished tree.
Corn needs some serious separation to avoid unwanted crosses. Even if you weren’t growing multiple varieties yourself, your neighbors likely are and you could get cross pollination from that. I forget the recommended separation but something like 1/2 a mile or more. Or one can cut all the tassels off the unwanted pollen donors or plant varieties which do not pollinate at the same time.
Corn genetics is pretty well studied and understood (just not by me). I suspect there are folks out there who could tell you what to expect from the crosses you would likely get. But if you have the room to experiment and grow some out, it could be interesting. Just be aware that if you do decide to grow any of these crosses out for long term propagation, corn suffer from inbreeding decline so you need to collect seed from a minimum number of plants to avoid this. Again not sure I remember that number right but I think it is like 100. Maybe not the first time til you see what you have, but long term. [Did a quick check with one reference, and they recommend planting 200 plants and selecting seed from thw 100 best.]
I had a number of volunteer tomatoes this year, and they all seem to be cherries. I tasted one today and it tastes like Jasper which I grew last year. Jasper is a hybrid, but appears to be fairly stable. Jasper is an excellent tomato, so these are going to be saved and grown again next year. So two plants are producing cherries, and so far they taste great, very cool!