Create a variety of your very own

It is always fun to try to produce something new—so why not breed a hybrid tomato for your own family to treasure? Breeding tomatoes is not difficult and requires only a little patience.

You may identify traits that you would like; for example, you might wish that 'Black Cherry' (p38) was available in a dwarf trailing form such as that of 'Tumbler' (p36). Crossing these two varieties and selecting the best offspring over a few generations may lead to a new plant with the desired characteristics. You may end up with many plants showing the growth habit of 'Black Cherry' and the fruits of 'Tumbler,' but that is part of the fun.

The first step in breeding tomatoes is to cross-pollinate the two chosen parents (below). Collect seeds from the female (seed-bearing) parent and raise new plants from them. Be ready to grow many seedlings and keep crossing their offspring. If you do produce a plant worth keeping, isolate it and save the seeds for 3-5 years to ensure that it is stable. Then you can name it and, if you wish, offer it to commercial seed suppliers.

HOW TO CROSS-POLLINATE A TOMATO - create unique seeds

1 Remove all anthers (pp112-113) from a newly open flower with fingers or tweezers to create a seed-bearing parent.

2 Rub the anthers of the pollen parent over the stigma of the seed-bearing parent. Label with names of both parents.

Your perfect tomato plants Start a family of plants to create your perfect crop. Watch them grow, then have fun naming them.

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Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

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