Following the data a recent failure is also an opportunity to redo my 2023 tomato gardening / breeding plans. Which frees up at least one isolation block- probably two.
Joseph’s tomato breeding projects are foundational to this group’s tomato interests and I have long perceived them to be exciting.
For five years I have been growing tomatoes from crosses Joseph Lofthouse made with wild species Solanum habrochaites and Solanum penellii with one of the domestic parents since about 2020 being Big Hill HX-9 his OSSI pledged open flowered domestic. In 2021 I selected two of those plants for amazing flavor. I re-named those lines “The One” and “Little Pumpkins”. Likely “The One” was known formerly as S35, S36, S37 for three awesome 2020 plants Joseph pooled. Sadly, this sub-project was generally unproductive both in seed and pollen- though there was that one plant that produced normal amounts of seed. I intended to grow enough seed to share on EFN and instead shared it much more narrowly person to person because there just wasn’t enough for the general population. I also have some left- including a packet that includes the seed from that more productive plant. There is also mixed seed- enough to direct seed, from multiple parents of a now failed crossing block between these and my fully domestic potato leaved Mission mountain lines (That cross could still be in there somewhere).
A separate project in 2022 was growing out a sub-strain of the project Joseph successfully direct seeded in his Utah garden where usually this has failed.
I have several other, sub strains of the project including some small packets of good flavored seed from plants from other direct seeding projects as well as quite a bit of XL red sub-project lines and some older 2020 variation.
I also have plentiful seed for other Big Hill HX-9 descended but domestic tomatoes including of course Big Hill, Exserted Orange, and Mission Mountain Morning F3.
So ultimately my thought here is to put together a grow out of a direct seeded grex mix with the common theme being Big Hill HX-9 descent and wild genes from various substrains of Joseph’s Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty tomato project.
This grex would be for this community. What would you as a community member want in that grex? What would you like excluded?
Exclude older wild cross project genetics that might include more off flavors? Or include it because of the greater diversity? How old? I could be the way-back machine of that project and take things back to the truly unpalatable of 2018 and 2019… Or I could keep things domestic tomato like post 2020 elites but still with off flavors, or just the best of the best “The One”, Little Pumpkins, a few ok to good flavor selections, and the direct seeded sub project.
Exclude or include full domestics like Big Hill, and its descendants; Exserted Orange, and Mission Mountain Morning F3?
Or are there other grex components that would be more exciting to this community? Maybe none of these and something else entirely?
Extremely unpalatable three species cross of domestic tomato, Solanum habrochaites, and Solanum penellii that have been waiting a long time for a grow out anyone? Though I should add- that plant, of much higher wild percentage, produced great seed, but its descendants may not produce much at all!
Or maybe something like a full domestic mix? I have it within my power to revive the full-domestic Lofthouse Landrace tomatoes from before the current era wild-cross project for instance. Mostly red, hardly any open flowers, but they worked great direct seeded for me. Also, there are likely few palatability issues there other than maybe a little too much boring domestic short season red flavor. Probably heavy on descent from Brad, Jagodka, and Fern aka Silvery Fir Tree. I could also add in other full domestics including Big Hill and Exserted Orange. Or make a full domestic mix only from Big Hill and its descendants Exserted Orange and Mission Mountain Morning.
Some things to think about:
Wild genetics especially from the obligate outcrossing populations of certain species have far more diversity at the genetic level than domestic tomatoes. Any inclusion of full domestics means more dilution of wild genetics and less diversity at the genetic level.
A common theme makes a grex more coherent.
Selections represent genetic narrowing, the more selection a population has undergone the more bottlenecked it is. Recombining bottle necked populations is a way to reverse that, but also may result in reintroducing off flavors. Another way is to include less selected genetics closer to original crosses but that may also reintroduce off flavors.