Although learning how to breed tomatoes takes time, every backyard or greenhouse gardener would tell you that it’s well worth the effort. The art of tomato breeding involves the process of combining various types of tomatoes in order to produce cultivars that are new and improved.
Those who practice this art are either trying to come up with a better-tasting fruit (yes, the tomato is a fruit) or they’re looking to form new tomato varieties that are able to withstand harsh weather conditions.
What are the Benefits of Breeding Tomatoes?
In case you’re wondering, breeding tomatoes can offer you plenty of great benefits. For example, the process of tomato breeding can cause you to create tomato plants that are more resistant to diseases that include bacterial canker, as well as bacterial spot. You can also breed tomatoes to create a new variety that has an improved color, smoothness, fruit quality, crack resistance, and a better taste.
With tomato breeding, you can even produce vine-ripened tomato varieties that contain more antioxidants than any regular tomato. It’s also possible for you to create bigger and more productive tomato cultivars with more unique tastes and longer shelf life.
How to Breed Tomatoes
One of the most common reasons why greens aficionados pursue tomato breeding is to create a tomato cultivar that delivers the proper balance of sweetness, acidity, as well as that indescribable flavor that hits the tongue. However, others who have tomato breeding goals that go beyond taste are probably looking to produce a tomato variety that exhibits strong resistance against pest infestations and diseases. No matter what your goal might be, here’s what you need to remember when you’re trying to breed tomatoes:
Tip #1: Choose plants that possess your desired qualities
To achieve your desired results, you need to carefully choose the tomato plants that you’re going to use for the breeding process. These must have the characteristics that you’d want to combine into the tomato cultivar that you’re planning to create.
Tip #2: Create DNA markers
Those who are doing professional research make sure that they get to identify the genes that carry the characteristics that they want. Once they do, they use DNA markers to allow them to identify and produce the tomato cultivars that display these characteristics.
Tip #3: Use different types of techniques
Breeding tomatoes can be performed with the use of various techniques. However, these methods are dependent on the breeder’s experience and skills.
Other gardening enthusiasts choose to pull off the anther cone in order to emasculate the tomato flowers. A dissecting needle is used to gather pollen and transfer it on an exposed stigma. A clear indication of your selected method’s success is the enlargement of the plant’s ovary.
Tip #4: Mark the area where the pollination occurred
You may use colored twist ties to mark the spot where the pollination took place.
Tip #5: Prevent cross-pollination
Make sure that you prevent any occurrence of cross-pollination that could potentially affect the breeding process. One way of doing this is to tie a paper bag on top of the plant’s flowers.
What You Need to Consider
Since tomato breeding involves the use of trial and error methods, don’t be discouraged if you don’t end up with a tomato cultivar that has better quality. It’s important to note that research into the process of breeding tomatoes is still going on. More and more professional researchers are trying to create and develop plants that are able to withstand the ever-changing weather conditions.
Can You Breed Tomatoes in a Hobby Greenhouse?
Yes, you can! Growing your plants inside a hobby greenhouse proves to be more advantageous than growing them outside. Here are some of the best reasons why your plants would thank you if you try your hand at greenhouse gardening:
You can plant anything you like
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to grow cacti or bonsais – you can grow any type of plant inside a hobby greenhouse because you won’t be planting them directly into the ground. This also means that you can move them anywhere you want! Growing a full range of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs won’t be an issue at all.
You get to extend your plants’ growing seasons
If you have your own hobby greenhouse, you’ll be able to extend the growing season because the enclosed space allows you to control the climate. This means that you can still manage to grow your favorite tropical plants even if you live in a colder region. Conversely, you may also choose to keep your hobby greenhouse’s internal temperature cool for your plant babies that thrive in cooler temperatures.
Your plants will be well-protected
Since your hobby greenhouse provides your plants with a layer of protection against the external environment, you can be sure that they will be shielded from the elements. This eliminates the need to make emergency preparations to keep your plants safe from harsh weather conditions that include strong winds, heavy rains, snow, sleet, hail, and blizzards. What’s more, your hobby greenhouse will also serve as a barrier between your plants and the constant threat of pests and vermin.
Now that you know how to breed tomatoes, consider growing your cultivars in a hobby greenhouse so that your plants can enjoy the benefits listed above!