Re: [tomato] cross pollination with heirlooms

Margaret Lauterbach (
Tue, 21 Jul 1998 08:19:35 -0600

At 03:29 AM 7/21/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Chuck or anyother heirloom expert,
>    How much of a problem is cross pollination with heirlooms.  You
implied it is too much of a problem to use saved seeds.  Last year I saved
seeds from several heirloom varieties but didn't use cages.  A
gardening/C.S.A. friend told me they wouldn't come true so much to my
husbands dismay I planted the saved seeds and also some newly purchased
ones "just in case".  We now have 145 tomato plants.  So far I can't tell
any problems with the saved seeds but here in WI there aren't many ripe
tomatoes yet. I was lazy again this year and didn't build cages, do you
think I should bother saving seeds or just wait until next year when I
finally am more organized?  
>Waiting impatiently for that first red tomato,
Kim, I rely mostly upon Suzanne Ashworth's "Seed to Seed", maintains that
since most modern tomato varieties have totally retracted styles (and are
self-pollinating), there's little crossing.  But currant tomatoes (L.
pimpinellifolium), potato-leaved varieties of L. lycopersicon, and any
fruit formed from double blossoms on beefsteak types of L. lycopersicon do
not have retracted styles, and may cross.  I don't save seeds from
potato-leaved varieties, and am not growing currant tomatoes.  I watch out
for the beefsteak doubles, but other than that, I do save seeds.  I have
noticed last year and this year that there are some very aggressive
bumblebees attacking tomato flowers, however, and they may be causing some
crossing.  At this point I don't know that, but I did save seeds of several
varieties last year and probably will again this year.  (I highly recommend
this book, by the way).

You beat my 60 tomato plants, for sure.  What is a C.S.A. friend?
Confederate States of America is the only thing I know that stands for.
And by the way, I think she/he's wrong -- I'll bet your tomatoes will come
true.  Margaret