A little bit about some of the tomatoes I decided to place into pots this year.....learning that I can grow an awful lot of tall-growing (indeterminate) varieties in small pots - but just prune them to a single stem and top them after a few clusters set fruit - induced me to grow out many more unexpected/surprise specimens than I typically do, such as plants with the wrong leaf shape for the variety (indicative of a new surprise hybrid, or F2 generations of bee-produced crosses from previous seasons.
Given that, here are my indeterminate tomato mysteries for the 2012:
Big Willy - My dad was an avid gardener and caught the heirloom tomato bug from me in the late 1990s. When he passed away in 2007, I suspected he had a collection of saved seed somewhere - and Sue found the cache in 2008 when we cleaned out my parents' home to prepare it for sale. Included in his seed packets with the familiar names was one labeled Big Willy. I didn't find a description of this in his garden diary - so we shall see what it is! So far it has been shy to produce flowers; my suspicion is that it could be Beefsteak that he decided to rename - or not....
Lucky Cross regular leaf - I am growing two of these. There are two possibilities - continued instability (Lucky Cross, as a variety, isn't all that old - I've been working on it for about 10 years), or a new F1 hybrid between Lucky Cross and a neighboring variety, courtesy of the bees. We shall see!
Green Giant regular leaf - Since this is a stable variety, this is undoubtedly a surprise cross.
Casey's Pure Yellow regular leaf - Again, I am growing two of these and both are likely unexpected crosses.
Lillian's Yellow Heirloom regular leaf - Ditto
I also have a Large Lucky Red regular leaf, but it is the first tomato of the year that seems to be infected with Fusarium Wilt...the plant may not be long for this world.
For all of the above regular leaf plants that should be potato leaf, the fruit from the plants I am growing this year are likely to be unexceptional. In F1 hybrids, the dominant traits will show themselves - I could end up with medium to cherry sized red fruit of average flavor on most or all of them. The good stuff would start showing up when I plant any saved seed and start exploring the F2 generation and beyond.
Three plants from last year's Indian Stripe surprise cross (which I guessed may be Indian Stripe X Purple Smudge). When I grew out the F2 seedlings this year, I tried to select three seedlings that had subtly different stem coloration. So these will be true mysteries - I love this type of thing!
Summertime Green indeterminate - I am growing out two of these. What I suspect we have here is a cross between one of our new Dwarfs, Summertime Green, and an unknown indeterminate variety, thanks to the bees. We shall see!
Growing out the unexpected is one of my particular joys of gardening. I guess I just like surprises! I will be taking you all on the journey as we uncover what each of these will be.....