28 February 2009

Random Tomato

Here's an interesting mystery... a half-dozen tomato plants from seed that, somewhere along the line last year, lost their labelling, but were compelling enough to keep. They are finally ripening, and quite a nice tomato it is, too.Trouble is, I've never grown anything like it at all. Ever.

As you can see, the fruit is about 40-45mm across. The colour-balance in the picture is a little off -- the true colour is more of a peachy-orange shade, and very uniform through the fruit. Flavour is good -- fruity rather than tangy, and the tomatoes are nice and juicy. Their skin is quite tough -- almost like commercial tomatoes. I'd place them as a pretty-good (not spectacular) salad tomato, and they should be good for roasting or sauce. The bushes are smallish -- about 30-45cm tall, indeterminate, and quite sparse. Fruit set in trusses of about 6. They're not massively prolific, but not bad either, and one of the earlier tomatoes in the garden this year. Fruit are splitting quite badly, but then so are all the tomatoes! (It's the damn drought and resulting irregular and inadequate water.)

I think that this is a random cross of some sort, so I'm growing the F1 hybrid. My guess is that one of the parents -- most likely the mother -- was Moneymaker, which I grew last year (and swore never to bother with again, as the flavour was just so lackluster compared to everything else.) The other parent? We can only speculate. (Taxi? Ida Gold? Gold Nugget? Those would be the only yellow tomatoes I was growing last year, but my records are not good enough to have recorded what varieties were growing close to each other.)

Another reason to believe I'm dealing with an F1 hybrid is that the fruit are very uniform in size, shape, colour and flavour.

I still have plenty of the seed that produced this oddity, so I can grow them again for some years to come. I'm also saving seed from at least one fruit from each of the bushes for growing out next year to see what comes out in the next generation.

Unless I'm completely wrong in my guesses... ;-) (And that's not unlikely! I'm a complete n00b to the whole breeding thing, and finding the genetics and theoretical side of it quite difficult to wrap my head around.)

Hmmmm... this plant-breeding lark is quite exciting!

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