Heirloom Cross Pollination &Genetics Question

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Howdy all, I live in TN, and I grow a mid size garden with one of my primary crops heirloom tomatoes. I primarily grow two types, Mortgage Buster and Green Stripes, and I have grown from purchased seed every year. Each is planted in its own 20 foot row and the rows border each other, so each type of plants are only about 5 feet away from each other. I had heard that there will be some cross pollination among the plants, and if I grow from one of the seeds from my this years plants, next year, they will be a sort of hybrid of the two. Does anyone have experience with this? Will some of the plants be more like a hybrid and some less? Also would this make my plants hardier. I would love to be able to cross a Black Russian with Heat Buster and maybe have a much more vigorous to heat version of the Black Russian.

Also I would like to know what other heirlooms ya'll like and where you find the seeds.
 

zigs

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Welcome to the forums :)

There shouldn't be much cross pollination as the tomato has "perfect" flowers, with both the male and female parts within it. Quite often the flower is fertilised before it even opens.
 
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Some sites said to put bags over one and then put the bag with the pollen over the other, but from what you say most of the pollination will already occur just from the host plant, that's pretty interesting. Are there ways to make cross pollination more likely?
 

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It depends on the variety, if the flower has got a long style (female part) then it could be pollinated from another plant. Trouble is, you wouldn't know if it had already been pollinated by itself.
 
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Most of your tomatoes will self-pollinate, so if you want a cross you'll have to do it "on purpose". Crossing tomatoes is a pretty finicky process--you'll want diagrams, tweezers, and some practice You have to emasculate a flower and then pollinate it with another flower a little later, and then guard it from pollination by anything else. I've never done it myself, just read about it. I found the following page on Google, that should give you an idea:

http://www.kdcomm.net/~tomato/Tomato/xingtom.html

Edited to add: Carol Deppe's Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties is, IMO, THE book to read about plant breeding.
 

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