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Breed your Own Vegetables

Have you ever wondered where all these great varieties of veg come from?
A highly-trained scientist in a lab somewhere perhaps?

WRONG!
Historically, almost all our great vegetable varieties are the result of work of ordinary people
saving the seed from their best plants.

Ordinary people who were good at gardening perhaps, and who really cared about their veg,
but with no particularly special training.

People just like your grandfather and grandmother, the last generation that routinely kept their own seed.

If you think about it, someone has to breed tomorrows heirlooms now.
Why not you?

 

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But how do you start out a new variety?

To get a new variety of vegetable, you need some variation - something different to choose from.

Usually this comes by crossing two different varieties that you like - either on purpose, or by accident.

For example, you might have a small yellow tomato that was great, but a bit sour.
So you could cross it with a bigger red one that was really sweet.

The offspring - as with animals - will come out all different -
they'll show all the characteristics of the parents all mixed up.

And you can select the combinations that you want - in this case small yellow sweet ones.

If you then breed from these, you'll eventually end up with a stable variety of your own.
You'll need to give it a name, and pass it on to your friends.
If its great, perhaps your great-grandchildren will still be growing it.

And you can of course eat the less-good ones, so there's no great loss from the garden.


Our Gardeners Vegetable Breeding Project

What we have done is make the intial crosses for you, from parents that we know will go well together.
So we know the offspring will - although varying - will all be interesting and good.

Each seed in the packet is slightly different - and each person will end up breeding a different variety
that suits their soil and personal tastes.


OK - let's start!

You don't need to know a great deal, but if you'd like to understand it further there's a book that is good.
But you can just go on our basic instructions and you'll be fine

Then, choose a variety from those below. Have fun!



Oh, a final word about ethics.

All the vegetables you and we eat these days are the end results of 11,000 (yes eleven thousand) years
of seed-saving by ordinary people - each person building on the achievements of their ancestors.

We see food plants as part of our common human heritage. And we do not think it is correct to patent them.

So, we are doing this breeding work and releasing this material into the public realm for everyone.
Thus, you may only request this seed if you agree to not patent, legally protect
or apply for breeders rights over the resulting varieties.
Nor will you in any way restrict anyone else saving seeds of your variety for their own home or farm use.

These seeds should released and improved for the unrestricted benefit of all.



Delicious Early Vine Tomato Project - Original Diverse Selection

Tomatoes do cross occasionally, at a low level. A few years back, after growing our Latah (ToLA) and Irish Gardeners Delight (ToGi) next to each other, we noticed one plant of the next sowing of ToGi that had bigger fruit, and an amazing flavour. It had leaves like Latah, and was really early.

We saved seed from it, and planted that; getting some vine plants and some bush plants, with varying flavours and fruit sizes. From these were have selected this breeding material, based mainly on taste and earliness.

What you are aiming for: Amazingly-flavoured early red VINE tomatoes about the size of a golf-ball.
Parents:

Irish Gardeners Delight (vine, small sweet cherry)

Latah (bush, very early, medium, rich flavour)

We have already selected for:

Good flavour

Earliness

Medium size fruit

Vine habit

We have already bred for: 3 years. (This is F3 seed)
You will see variation in:

Vine / Bush (you should get almost all vine)

Flavour (mostly good but distinctly different, like wines)

Fruit size (but not much, pretty stable now)

Jucyness - some fruit are much dryer than others

Thickness of skin - some have thinner skins than others

Each year, you should save seed from: Just 1 vine plant, with your favourite flavour.
You will get a stable variety in: 3 - 5 years
You will get useful yields in: fantastic tomatoes straight away

No longer available - see the improved version below:


Delicious Early Vine Tomato Project : Ben's 2010 Vine Selection

This is an alternative to the seed listed above, which is quite variable, with seed from many different of the 3rd generation plants, so people got a lot of differences to chose from.

This is seed from just one plant in the 4th generation, so there will be smaller differences between the plants - less for you to chose from - but then more certainty that the variety is good.

In 2010 Ben grew out about 30 plants from seed of the Vine Breeding project (ToXV) above; one plant was to his taste better than all the rest.

It has slightly top-shaped fruit and a particularly good flavour while still being very early. This seed from that one plant is the 4th generation since the original cross bewteen two very early tomatoes.

You’ll still see a bit of variability but we think they will all be vines now. Save your own seed from the one best (taste, earliness, yield etc) plant you get each year for 3 years; you will find that the plants get more uniform each year and at the end you will have a new variety that is stable, and selected for your own preferred taste and conditions. Have fun!

What you are aiming for: Amazingly-flavoured early red VINE tomatoes about the size of a wild plum, with a slight point on the end.
Parents:

A growout of 24 of the F3 ToXV seed in 2010, this seed is from the 1 best plant as selected by Ben.

Note: ToXV = Irish Gardeners Delight (vine, small sweet cherry) x Latah (bush, very early, medium, rich flavour)

We have already selected for:

Very good flavour and acidity balance.
Earliness and a long season.
1-inch size fruit with a point on the end
Vine habit
Thinner skins

We have already bred for: 4 years. (This is what is called F4 seed)
You will see variation in:

Vine / Bush (you should get all vine now we hope)
Flavour (very good but some differences still)
Fruit size (but not much, pretty stable now) & shape

Each year, you should save seed from: Just 1 vine plant, with your favourite flavour.
You will get a stable variety in: 2 - 4 years
You will get useful yields in: fantastic tomatoes straight away

Order ToBS - 20 seeds £1.95



Delicious Early Bush Tomato Project

The other selection from our Latah - Irish Gardeners' Delight cross, this is a cherry BUSH variety, mostly variable only in truss shape.

What you are aiming for: Amazingly-flavoured early red BUSH tomatoes about the size of a gobstopper.
Parents:

Irish Gardeners Delight (vine, small sweet cherry)

Latah (bush, very early, medium, rich flavour)

We have already selected for:

Excellent flavour

Earliness

Medium size fruit

Bush habit should be stable now.

We have already bred for: 3 years. (This is F3 seed)
You will see variation in:

Flavour (all amazing but distinctly different, like wines)

Fruit size (from small cherry to large gobstopper)

Truss size (long trusses or short trusses)

Leaf shape

Each year, you should save seed from: Just 1 bush plant, with your favourite flavour, earliness and fruit/truss type.
You will get a stable variety in: 3 - 5 years
You will get useful yields in: straight away

 

Order ToXB - 20 seeds £1.95

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