Vegetables and Fruit forum: Hybrid vs. Open Pollinated (tomatoes)

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Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Jan 20, 2016 3:36 PM CST
So I've been following both the hybrid and heirloom tomato threads to see what other varieties I might like to try after hearing other reports. After some light research, I have some questions that perhaps someone can help answer, or give their thoughts.

So my first question actually started with, "how does one keep their heirloom or open pollinated tomatoes from being cross pollinated by another variety tomato?" if they are going to save the seeds. What methods should one use.

Then in reading the hybrid thread, I got interested in how tomatoes are pollinated to sell an F1 hybrid. So I watched a couple videos at YouTube, and decided it was no wonder hybrid seeds are so high dollar in all that effort that must be put into hand pollinating. Somehow in my mind, I thought that the breeder guys must have some sort of automatic shaker system or something. But based on the YouTube videos I watched, assurance of proper pollination for a resultant F1 could not be had automatically. ?? (It appeared that the tomato, if left to its own, is much too easily self pollinated.)

So all this led to the real major question. Okay, so if F1 hybrids have been bred for disease resistance, and hand pollination seems fairly difficult (well, that's not the right word, but it sure appears time consuming), and if tomatoes are one crop that are fairly easy to stabilize a strain, then why is that not done more often? (Or do you suppose that is what we are really getting half the time when we order an F1 variety like Sungold or whichever?) Just how are commercial F1 hybrid tomato seeds produced?
[Last edited by HoosierHarvester - Jan 20, 2016 3:39 PM (+)]
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Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jan 20, 2016 5:42 PM CST
It is time consuming. Commercial hybrids are the result of years of developing special inbred breeding lines which are then used to develop the F1 hybrid. Of course a new op takes even longer to stabilize into a new variety. With an op the only way to recover the cost is to patent the variety (PVP). With a non patented OP, anyone can grow out the seeds and sell them. When op varieties were grown commercially, seed suppliers worked hard to maintain purity ( such seeds were sold as Certified) No longer the case. Most hybrid tomato seeds are produced in countrys with low labor cost. http://203.64.245.61/web_crops/tomato/seedhybrid.pdf. In the days of Certified seed, isolation was the primary method of controlling cross pollination. Tomatoes are not prone to cross pollination except for a few types, but insects can accomplish the deed. One figure that is bandied about is 5 %. Note that most of the myriad of "heirlooms" came about from chance pollination more than those introduced by dedicated amateur breeders. Remember that a variety like Muletrain or Boxcar Willie may have given the breeder warm fuzzy feelings but no money.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Jan 20, 2016 6:06 PM CST
Thanks @farmerdill for posting. I really hadn't thought real far on the matter. I know in the small town I was raised there was a corn producing seed company. Their seed was "Certified".

farmerdill said:Most hybrid tomato seeds are produced in countrys with low labor cost.
some of the stuff I get from those 'low labor cost' countries makes me wonder if we really do always get good F1 hybrid seed.

I would think that tomato seeds, like some other flower seeds, once a good variety was stabilized, that had good disease resistance, etc., then the seed could easily be grown commercially. But I understand what you are saying, but I would think even today that varieties like Muletrain and Boxcar Willie can so easily be grown commercially, that there is, or would be, some money in it.

Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Jan 20, 2016 6:07 PM CST
Oh, and I don't know if it's my computer or what, but the link you provided is giving a 404 error (404 = page not found) and looks to be in Chinese. ??
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jan 20, 2016 6:34 PM CST
Actually it is AVRDC pub. 01-527. http://203.64.245.61/web_crops/tomato/seedhybrid.pdf This one describes Chilean production http://seedbiology.osu.edu/HCS630_files/May%2017/tomato%20an... http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/mukeshkarnwal-17328... (India) I can read it from the internet but it does not seem to link properly. It only covers hand emasculation and pollination. I believe that research is being done on chemical emasculation.
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter
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DonShirer
Jan 27, 2016 9:47 AM CST
farmerdill wrote:
" When op varieties were grown commercially, seed suppliers worked hard to maintain purity ( such seeds were sold as Certified) No longer the case. Most hybrid tomato seeds are produced in countrys with low labor cost."

Now you've got me worried. When we buy either f1 or OP seeds, how can we be sure that we are not getting impure or carelessly grown varieties? Has any verification program replaced the Certified status?
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Jan 28, 2016 9:17 AM CST
So far as hybrid seeds are concerned it is a matter of knowing who the vendor is and their reputation. There are on-line sites where this question is discussed. Since I personally do not grow hybrids I can give only one recommendation and that because of my experience with their heirloom/OP seeds: Tomato Growers Supply. I am sure there are others whose seeds grow true to variety. So many seeds sellers outsource seed growing it is difficult to know where the seeds came from and from whom.

OP/heirloom seed suppliers tend to be smaller and more specialized. The big catalog sellers have recently been getting into the OP market but I stay away from those guys. So many have the reputation of sending out wrong varieties and often rename some of the old heirloom varieties to fit their purposes.

My personal favorites are Select Seeds, Tatiana's and Sand Hill Preservation. Remy, Tania and Glenn have wonderful reputations, excellent customer service and relatively low prices. In the last ten years I have not gotten a wrong variety from them in the hundred or so orders. Other sellers probably are just as good but these I give my highest ratings.



Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Jan 28, 2016 9:56 AM CST
Casey's Heirloom Tomatoes in Canada
is a reliable source of Heirloom tomatoe seeds.

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