Shortest Season Tomatoes and a Solanum pimpinillifolium connection

Dating from 1934 here is one of the oldest varieties of early tomato I know of. I haven’t grown it previously but what they say about it puts it amongst the earliest. It was bred by crossing Bison with a currant tomato.

The earliest tomato I know of is Sweet Cherriette which is also a currant tomato cross.

The recent dwarf tomato project has two currant tomato crosses amongst its offerings and these are also early.

Dwarf Eagle Smiley is a very tasty yellow tomato and only 60 DTM.

I was sort of lost in the relatively boring red-ness of Dwarf Johnson’s cherry but it is only 65 DTM and a nice small dwarf.

Another classic example of a current tomato cross is Stupice- a very popular tomato!

This does have me wondering if my recent crosses between bicolors and currant tomatoes will lead to some serious earliness.

I also wonder if all of the shortest season tomatoes have some currant tomato genetics. I wouldn’t be surprised as frequently we get more of a class of tomato by crossing it with others like it, if all the common shortest season sorts might be related. When I grew a lot of the earliest I could find in 2017 I thought many of them looked a bit currant tomato like in their leaves.


Always interested to hear how the earlies compare.

I don’t suppose you have leaf pictures?

I might have unlabeled leaf pictures from 2017 but nothing fancy like what Joseph does where he cuts off some leaves and makes pretty comparison shots.

Edit: I got distracted by photos of my baby boy. Who was much smaller then. I sure took a lot of photos of him and Solanum peruvianum that year.

Lots of photos up of that year here: Direct Seeding Tomatoes in ~100 Frost Free Days without season extension (plants forum at permies)


Thank you! I remember reading some of that thread at one point, but don’t remember going back from the beginning. I love the pictures!

A similar case is these galapagos tomatoes from Terrior seeds. Andrew Barney sent me my start and what he noted was that they seem to be a stable hybrid with a size far greater than other accessions. However, they also seem to be extremely early. It is also possible that they did originate on the islands and that the putative hybridization occurred there.

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I believe I have these lying around. I’m inspired to grow them out and see what happens.


Might as well!

Influences on earliness in Tomato.

  1. Disturbance such as plowing: Some tomatoes especially Solanum pimpinillifolium and Solanum peruvianum are corn field weeds. Though some other species seem to be associated with dry wash type habitats so it might be wider than just the two species.

  2. Cold moist habitats like coastal Solanum pimpinillifolium and higher elevation accessions of some habitats.

  3. Deserts: Drought avoidance can mean setting seed as fast as possible.

  4. Small fruit size seems correlated with earliness.

  5. Small plant size seems correlated with earliness.

  6. Fast growth up to a point seems correlated with earliness.

A question I have: How much causal variation in earliness is there at the genetic level?
If there is variation, that is multiple different genetic influences on earliness we might be able to make even earlier tomatoes.

Thoughts on how to breed an even earlier tomato starting with Sweet Cherriette:

  1. Cross sweet Cherriette with even smaller fruited such as Solanum pimpinillifolium, Solanum cheesemaniae, and Solanum galapagense.
  2. Cross sweet Cherriette with desert tomatoes like Coyote, 42 days, and interior forms of Solanum pimpinillifolium.
  3. Cross sweet Cherriette with coastal tomatoes like coastal accessions of Solanum pimpinillifolium, Solanum galapagense, and Solanum cheesemaniae.
  4. Cross sweet Cherriette with a high elevation Solanum habrochaites.
  5. Cross sweet Cherriette with a small micro dwarf tomato.
  6. Cross sweet Cherriette with other ultra-early tomatoes to see if any have different modes of action such as Forest Fire, 42 days, and Anmore Dewdrop.
    I don’t think I’ll make any of those crosses anytime soon but I will continue to cross Mission Mountain Morning with more tomatoes and this may give me a sense of what is possible. I crossed it with Sweet Cherriette and two Solanum pimpinillifolium accessions last year. All three crosses should in theory increase the potential for earliness.

wrt 5. microdwarfs are pretty slow (surprisingly so), but some folks are working on faster ones.

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Hmm one of my first experiences with dwarfs was Krainiy Sever and it made my list for fastness too but that wasn’t a micro dwarf. Hmm.

I feel like the seeds that I got that were supposed to be segregating Lizzano F2 and beyond but then seemed to be a fairly stable microdwarf were pretty fast. Hmm. Well it was just a thought.

The dwarf uralsky ranniy is pretty fast for me too; I was surprised when my micros took so long. Maybe it was just bad luck on the ones I got? None were less than ten weeks, and I think most may have been more.

Still worth trying, just needs careful selection of the micro.

I’ve tried those seeds from small island seed and can share some if you’re looking for them. I did not like the taste of them (bland) but they grew very well.

Thank you! I’m doing tomato seed inventory this weekend, so I’ll see what I have sitting around.

Flavours seem to be very different up here than they are for other folks, not sure if it’s my very alkaline irrigation water or the cool nights or some other thing.

I think I had a different tomato flavor last year. Wild Gem was a spitter for me. Probably Terroir.

Could still be useful for breeding though if a useful trait is present. Just need to cross it with something that tastes good.

That is part of why I think my baseline cross has become good tasting bicolors like Big Hill, Mission Mountain Sunrise and the cross between them Mission Mountain Morning. Then at least there is one tasty parent in the mix.

That’s probably why I’m crossing everything with my zesty green. :slight_smile: Aside from Mikado Black, the only things that have tasted really good up here are from Karen Olivier. Sweet cheriette wasn’t too bad. Did you ever grow out those cheesmaniae from Terrior/Andrew Barney? How were they for flavour there?

Just to toss this in, two very good flavored tomatoes that are early and share other good characteristics that I’ve grown over the past 15 years are Zluta Kytice and Coyote. Zluta is a multiflora and I believe Coyote has some wild genetics. It has somewhat naturalized around the perimeter of my garden. They are both rather small, but not tiny.

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I can confirm that Coyote is an excellent cherry tomato and very early, it made my top 10 list in 2017 for earliness and has better flavor then the early reds. It came from Mexico via the drought avoidance / corn field weed strategy.

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Good Flavor on the Terrior Cheesmaniae

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Interesting about the Coyote tasting good, because I was excited about it, but in my climate it was a spitter. I think it might be in one of the lesson videos with Joseph as a spitter. I didn’t save any of it because it was so bad. On the other hand the Broad Ripple currant tomato was right next to it, and consistently a taste winner.


I just want a database of everyone’s top 10 favourite tomato varieties; their climate including min, max, nighttime temp, average temp, watering habits, soil ph, and organic matter; three words they’d use to describe each of their favourite tomato varieties; whether those flavours change across the season and how; and a comprehensive list of other flavours they like. Is that too much to ask?!!!

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: