Late blight Resistant Tomatoes

Mission Mountain Morning x Purple Zebra F1 and 2 tomatoes making Carol Deppe’s Late Blight Resistant heirlooms dream easier.
I found the last hand cross of tomatoes I was waiting on made in 2022 ripe today in the greenhouse. It is Mission Mountain Morning F2 itself Mission Mountain Sunrise x Big Hill HX-9 crossed with Purple Zebra F1. Purple Zebra F1 is a artisan hybrid with late blight resistance and heirloom flavor. Purple Zebra F1 along with Galahad F1 are two artisan additions to late blight resistant tomatoes. I admire the work of their breeders a great deal. Also it makes it possible for us amateur breeders to skip quite a few steps when trying to breed heirloom quality late blight resistant tomatoes ourselves. Carol Deppe called on us in one of her books to do this work. At the time and it wasn’t long ago she proposed using Iron Lady F1. Most of her scheme was about the lengths needed to get away from the bad flavor of Iron Lady F1. Now with Galahad F1 and Purple Zebra F1 we don’t have to struggle quite so much! So I’ll be crossing with both Galahad and Purple Zebra. I sure hope there is at least one seed inside this fruit!


Late blight resistant tomatoes (Poland)

Wojciech G 2022-10-13T07:00:00Z
The season for tomatoes here is slowly coming to the end, and it is time to write a summary of the first year of “landracing”. The primary goal is to develop landrace resistant to late blight.

I have divided my plantings into two groups:
Group 1 - plants in the main crop garden, no late blight prevention, no treating when it hits
Group 2 - plants in the kitchen garden, treated “as usually”, that means every second week I was doing foliar spray with either horsetail or hydrogen peroxide, and when blight came, I have treated infected plants with iodine spray.

Group 1 - no single fruit has made it to the maturity. No seeds were collected. A few plants that looked dead started new growth just now but they have no chance to develop mature fruits before first frost.

Group 2 - despite of really strong infection I was able to save almost all plants and to get at least a few nice fruits from each plant. I am collecting the seeds but I do not think they are any progress towards my main goal.

For the next year, I will probably have to source better seeds from varieties that have already late blight resistance.

Julia D
I lost 3/4 of my plants completely before any even green tomatoes. I have a row of the best cherries that survived last year do well again this year (half of them were culled as seedlings before planting due to getting blight), and some of Mark Reed’s sauce tomatoes are doing well, and many of the golden currant cross. But unfortunately none of the Lofthouse tomatoes managed to produce even a green tomato. Interestingly most of the survivors are the ones with black skins until they turn ripe and get some red. I started with about 300 plants, have about 50 alive now. Daily count my blessings that I’m not a production farmer.

Thomas P
Apart from landracing, and thinking about late blight resistance (or any other illness) I believe we should always make a quick notice about our cultivation practises: and thinking about late blight resistance I would ask you: do you fertilize? With manure, compost, or fertilizers (I mean any kind of nitrate rich component)? Or not at all… And… do you till? And: do you cultivate in greenhouse or outside?
Because theoretically it doesn’t help at all with any illness: and I had the practical confirmation of this last year : really too much manure, and my previously giant-super-green tomatoes of june were all gone by mid- july! after just one or two rain episods…
This year, I’ve put no manure, and tomatoes are really less gigantic, but still producing in september!

And, by the way, every year, my friend, in greenhouse, (were he uses sprinklers until mid-august, so water on the leaves), and with only inter cover cropping (winter cover crop), no till, and no manure nor fertilizer nor treatment, has nearly no late blight! Even the worse years with a lot of humidity in the air, like last year. And he uses the same seeds as his collegues farmers who struggled all year long with diseases/treatments.

(I think that this is connected to less endophytic relations: plants consume minerals nearly directly (from bacterias only) instead of collaborating with a wide patch of soil fungi and bacterias which gives them more balance… )

Julia D
Thomas you are right, more info needed, I will come back to this to answer at least in my case. Actually now I am inspired by @Greenstorm write a story about disease, death, life, flavor and hope in my tomato patch. Coming soon.

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I think there’s so much value in going head-down and collecting data, then using the winter to consolidate, make meaning, and figure out our stories. I can’t wait to hear yours!

Answering some questions that Thomas has asked above:
I grow my tomatoes outdoors, in raised beds that receive an inch or two of compost every fall, on top of the soil. It is no dig, no other fertilizers. The compost is home-made, contains no manures. The soil itself shows mycelium presence (it has been milched with wood chips initially). For many years all was working fine, but somewhere around 2017-18 late blight has showed up first time and initially I was able to handle it, but it was getting gradually worse. All other plants are doing great in same beds, it is polyculture of dozens of species, varieties of veggies and flowers. The only thing that is surely against the “blight rules” is enormous plant density in the peak of the season, that might reduce air flow. However, under same conditions in the past, tomatoes were thriving and blight was absent.

I had two main successes in 2022 with my distance work on late blight resistant tomatoes.

The first was the cross with Purple Zebra F1 I started this thread with. The second was a cross with a currant tomato I got from the USDA based on a thesis someone shared a link to on the OSSI plant breeding forum. The currant tomato is supposed to be the source of the major resistance gene PH5 which may actually be two genes.

I crossed them both to Mission Mountain Morning F1 and or F2. which is one of my tomato breeding projects where I crossed Mission Mountain Sunrise with Big Hill / HX-9 to try to get a stigma that sticks out a bit more.

I will probably cross them with each other as sibling crosses in 2023.

Mark Reed recently listed his varieties in another thread amongst them Mr. Stripey and Hoosier Rose which he said segregated out of Red Rose which with some googling came up as a cross between Brandywine and Rutgers. Red Rose Tomato – Tomato Growers Supply Company
So I looked up the eorganic article above again and both Mr. Stripey and Brandywine are listed as having some late blight resistance. They also appear to some extent in the article below.

I have grown several of those on that list in the link above. My overall impression of them was less than positive. As I recall:
Mountain Merit - nasty flavor no observable disease tolerance
Mountain Magic - same as above
Iron Lady - same except even more nasty flavor
Defiant - same as above
Plumb Regal - grew pretty well, very productive. Flavor eaten fresh was not great. Many fruits were just left on the vine the first time I grew it, but they had tendency not to rot and instead just dried up. I experimented with sun dying and flavor is fantastic that way. I still have its descendants. I think it was an F1 to start with, but I never saw much segregation.

I have grown Iron Lady F1 and F2. It didn’t taste nasty to me but it didn’t taste like a great tomato either. In the F2 it didn’t seem as vigorous. Someone said that might self correct in the F3 on the OSSI forum.

I grew Galahad F1 and Purple Zebra F1 last year but I only got to taste purple zebra. Galahad I got mixed in with a bunch of others and never tasted. I tried to grow too many different tomatoes last year. Purple Zebra tasted like other purple/black tomatoes. I don’t think I quite care for Purple tomato flavor. However these newer ones are supposed to have better flavor.

In my flavor investigations last year and over the years I’ve found some interesting things. Sometimes a tomato is just nasty. I found in 2022 that the one plant I had of Lee Goodwin’s Wild Gem was a spitter. I think this comes about due to something called Terrior. Some combination of soil and climate just makes for a bad tomato that for someone else is good. It’s also possible that if I grew 10 plants of Wild Gem some would taste great. Especially if I spread them around.

I also found some really good ones but I’m not sure if all the ones I thought were really good vs. Just kind of ordinary were the ones that were supposed to be. Like I really liked Dwarf Saucy Mary. I think it tasted better for me than most green when ripe tomatoes. I’m not sure it’s supposed to be one of the standout greens like that.

Also flavor can vary year to year due to weather in the same variety.

Watering matters too. I think kind of water starved tomatoes do best for me flavor wise.

I violated my own rule on expressing an opinion on flavor. Flavor isn’t something easily related in words, and I believe it also varies a lot depending on growing conditions. I image the same tomato, bean, melon or whatever grown in two different locations would taste different. Not to mention everyone has their own preferences.

I think it is valuable data. If we can find vegetables that taste good in many places to many people it helps us understand what we have. So we don’t send seeds of something that might be awful to someone else without a note of warning. Though it also points to the possibilities there might be in regards to making strains of vegetables that are really for a particular place.

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I have used some F1 tomatoes to try and get an open pollinated variety with late blight resistence. I live in Sweden so the climate is quite cold and the summers are short. I started this project six years ago, long before I heard about landrace gardening. So I have not been working with crossing, just selecting each year the best ones. Now I have an F6 generation with three varieties stemming from Defiant F1, Red Pearl F1 and Vesper F1. They mostly perfom well and especially Defiant gives me a huge harvest outdoor each year which I mainly use in cooking. Red Pearl has a nice taste, not all plants are resistent but I will keep up the work. So my question is, do you think I should start crossing my varieties? They are not uniform, which was my first goal, but now after meeting Landrace gardening I see the advantages with not having a uniform variety.

It sounds like you could cross Red Pearl F6 and Defiant F6 in search of a tomato that both tastes good and produces a huge harvest. If I were in your situation though I would outcross all three to heirlooms perhaps some with some resistance, other resistant hybrids, modern open pollinated perhaps with some resistance, or wild species even if just a currant tomato. I would grow the non-resistant parent and the F1 inside if I had to to keep them alive. I would want more colors and flavors, perhaps an exserted stigma if I could find a source, and more diversity at the genetic level.

Hi Karin,
Have you ever tried ‘Black Sea Man’? Also called Chernomor. I heard it can do very well in Sweden, so if you have tried it I would be very interested to hear your report on it, and if you know others that do better than it.

Hi William! Did you only grow one plant of Wild Gem? If more than one, both were the same for you? Also what do you think of his ‘Dwarf Hirsutum Cross’, if you’ve tried it?

Just the one and I am curious if more would have a different outcome. I for some odd reason saved a great deal of seed from the spitter plant- and will be unlikely to grow that unless I decide to direct seed a crossing block sometime. If I grow a few I’ll go back to the packet in case it is genetic and that plant segregated out something nasty that isn’t typical of the variety. Though it could just be the spot it was planted.

Dwarf Hirsutum cross was remarkably healthy and outwardly not particularly different from other short season red potato leaved tomatoes. I think it might be worth it as breeding material just because it has high percentage Solanum habrochaites genetics. Same with Lee Goodwin’s Wild Child except regular leaf. Just nice short season red tomatoes. I think it would be worth it to buy all of Lee Goodwin’s wild crosses. I haven’t yet managed it in entirety myself though, but I have a few of them.

Also while I am on this thread. I found out recently that Purple Zebra F1 is ok to make crosses with. No issues. That video on sourcing genetics made me wonder about all my genetics.

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@Justin Chernomor is not the fastest up north, about 10 days behind faster similar size varieties, but more importantly it didn’t seem to have disease resistance. Not sure what disease, but doesn’t really matter as I have others that have produced without problems for several years and some that did well last year when I first tested them. Chernomor also has annoying stem base makes inside of the tomato hard where it’s attached to stem. Speed would be enough to make the cut, but I rather have little slower varieties that tolerate diseases.

I would love to hear about it if you do. Maybe just an off-type?

Thanks for the report on Dwarf Hirsutum cross! Also Lee seems a really nice guy :slight_smile:

Oh, that’s interesting. And how do those others compare for flavour? My friend in Sweden says they’re her favourite, and “Strong, massive, wind resistant plants also”. But if there are tomatoes the same size or bigger, very good taste (I heard from many people those are so tasty) but better for Sweden in terms of being earlier and more disease resistant, then I would be interested to hear about it!

Oh damn!

One thing I have been worrying about is that good ‘early’ tomatoes for the US might not be so good for the UK due to difference in sunlight intensity, the UK being so far North (and having many cloudy!) Perhaps Sweden is more similar to the UK in terms of light experience for tomatoes. I was considering using Black Sea Man (= Chernomor) as one of the females for breeding, and I did hear from US people about problems lacking disease resistance but I was hoping to get the disease resistance from the wilds or some of Joseph’s lines. But, if there are better candidates in the same category as Black Sea Man, it would be nicer to have more disease resistance from the start!

Basically my category is:

  • Early specifically in lower light conditions, like UK, Sweden etc.
  • As big fruit as possible (people seem to be saying BSM has 5~10 oz fruits which sounds great)
  • Tasty

What do you find best in this regard in Sweden? (Or anyone else who has ideas!)

I don’t plan to grow out Wild Gem in 2023, though I am sure I will again. Far more excited to grow out the F2 of the hybrids with Solanum galapagense I found and also the cross I made with them to Mission Mountain Morning. Hoping I can find some straight F1’s of MMM x LA1410 Solanum galapagense in the MMM seed from that crossing block.

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Ha ha ha coincidently I just this minute messaged you about S. galapagense! Ah I am excited about your cross too! I wish I could smell, touch and taste it! How exciting :face_with_peeking_eye: