Tomato Grow Out Possibility for Going to Seed?!

Following the data a recent failure is also an opportunity to redo my 2023 tomato gardening / breeding plans. Which frees up at least one isolation block- probably two.

Joseph’s tomato breeding projects are foundational to this group’s tomato interests and I have long perceived them to be exciting.

For five years I have been growing tomatoes from crosses Joseph Lofthouse made with wild species Solanum habrochaites and Solanum penellii with one of the domestic parents since about 2020 being Big Hill HX-9 his OSSI pledged open flowered domestic. In 2021 I selected two of those plants for amazing flavor. I re-named those lines “The One” and “Little Pumpkins”. Likely “The One” was known formerly as S35, S36, S37 for three awesome 2020 plants Joseph pooled. Sadly, this sub-project was generally unproductive both in seed and pollen- though there was that one plant that produced normal amounts of seed. I intended to grow enough seed to share on EFN and instead shared it much more narrowly person to person because there just wasn’t enough for the general population. I also have some left- including a packet that includes the seed from that more productive plant. There is also mixed seed- enough to direct seed, from multiple parents of a now failed crossing block between these and my fully domestic potato leaved Mission mountain lines (That cross could still be in there somewhere).

A separate project in 2022 was growing out a sub-strain of the project Joseph successfully direct seeded in his Utah garden where usually this has failed.

I have several other, sub strains of the project including some small packets of good flavored seed from plants from other direct seeding projects as well as quite a bit of XL red sub-project lines and some older 2020 variation.

I also have plentiful seed for other Big Hill HX-9 descended but domestic tomatoes including of course Big Hill, Exserted Orange, and Mission Mountain Morning F3.

So ultimately my thought here is to put together a grow out of a direct seeded grex mix with the common theme being Big Hill HX-9 descent and wild genes from various substrains of Joseph’s Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty tomato project.

This grex would be for this community. What would you as a community member want in that grex? What would you like excluded?

Exclude older wild cross project genetics that might include more off flavors? Or include it because of the greater diversity? How old? I could be the way-back machine of that project and take things back to the truly unpalatable of 2018 and 2019… Or I could keep things domestic tomato like post 2020 elites but still with off flavors, or just the best of the best “The One”, Little Pumpkins, a few ok to good flavor selections, and the direct seeded sub project.

Exclude or include full domestics like Big Hill, and its descendants; Exserted Orange, and Mission Mountain Morning F3?

Or are there other grex components that would be more exciting to this community? Maybe none of these and something else entirely?

Extremely unpalatable three species cross of domestic tomato, Solanum habrochaites, and Solanum penellii that have been waiting a long time for a grow out anyone? Though I should add- that plant, of much higher wild percentage, produced great seed, but its descendants may not produce much at all!

Or maybe something like a full domestic mix? I have it within my power to revive the full-domestic Lofthouse Landrace tomatoes from before the current era wild-cross project for instance. Mostly red, hardly any open flowers, but they worked great direct seeded for me. Also, there are likely few palatability issues there other than maybe a little too much boring domestic short season red flavor. Probably heavy on descent from Brad, Jagodka, and Fern aka Silvery Fir Tree. I could also add in other full domestics including Big Hill and Exserted Orange. Or make a full domestic mix only from Big Hill and its descendants Exserted Orange and Mission Mountain Morning.

Some things to think about:

  1. Wild genetics especially from the obligate outcrossing populations of certain species have far more diversity at the genetic level than domestic tomatoes. Any inclusion of full domestics means more dilution of wild genetics and less diversity at the genetic level.

  2. A common theme makes a grex more coherent.

  3. Selections represent genetic narrowing, the more selection a population has undergone the more bottlenecked it is. Recombining bottle necked populations is a way to reverse that, but also may result in reintroducing off flavors. Another way is to include less selected genetics closer to original crosses but that may also reintroduce off flavors.


Is this a vote for what you’re gonna plant in your extra block? My vote is for whatever has the greatest long term impact. Starting over on the wild tomatoes line sounds counterproductive to the goals of that project and growing complete domestics sounds counterproductive to the goal of the tomato breeding project you guys started.

What I personally want is seeds from the promiscuous and tasty tomato project after it’s finished.

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Yes its a vote for what I am going to grow in that extra block for sharing with this organization! It could be some of the most advanced and tasty lines I have of the promiscuous and tasty tomato project which by definition may never be “finished”!

I’m mostly with Rylan on this, not much interested in the older wilder genetics. I don’t breed tomatoes so I’m also happy to wait a bit on something ready to eat. :smile: On the other hand, I have nice transplants of “the one” about ready to put out. I’ll see what they turn into and save as many seeds as possible.

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I’m going to interpret that pretty much as two votes for the tastiest possible strains of Joseph’s promiscuous and tasty tomato project.

I think I have a near perfect envelope somewhere from 2022 “The One” where one plant produced much more seed.


For a seed grow out that is the most useful to more people… I’d say yes, the “tastiest possible strains of Joseph’s promiscuous and tasty tomato project”.

I think The One is very interesting. I’m growing several plants of it with plans for many hand crossses with it.

I hope those hand crosses work. Mine didn’t last year! I plan to try scraping the anthers this year. Saw it on youtube somewhere.

I did have one plant with better seed production. I may need to include some other decent tasting samples from the project for better seed production but I think this may be heading towards concensus!


Some combination of the widest genetics and flowers that bees will pollinate is what interests me the most. I am not at all confident that we all think the same flavors are “off”* and I’d be capable of selecting for that over the next few years.

*For instance, I get the impression that Joseph doesn’t like tomatoes, which makes his interest in them a little quixotic. I love lycopene and don’t much love sugar.


The widest genetics would be pretty wild!

Have you seen the wildling panamorous tomatoes and q series tomatoes at experimental farm networks’s store? Sounds like something you would be interested in growing. Also sounds like maybe you and William could dial in exactly what you’re looking for in a seed mix and he might already have some seeds you’d be interested in. Not trying to take away your vote but just making you aware that seed might already be available for you to grow to make your own selections and you can find out for yourself what those off flavors are and if you like them.

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I have both of those from EFN, I also have William’s seed from Snake River, and also got seed directly from Joseph. And I save seeds each year from my growing of those and more, but I’m also always on the lookout for cooler stuff. :slight_smile:

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I would love both a tastiest set of seed (I super want to get my hands on “The One”) and a wildest/pollinator-attracting/how-do-tomatoes-even-have-those-flavours?! set of seed. If you do have two isolation blocks my vote would be one to each of those.

@WilliamGrowsTomatoes I’m so excited that you’re the tomato steward! I agree with Erin and Chris-- and would love the most promiscuous as a subset, whatever that tastes like as long as it’s better than Habrochaites :slight_smile: If I want to know what I’m going to get and be sure it’s tasty-- I will get heirlooms or known varieties or choose the heirloom GTS mix. But I’m also going to need to do my own serious blight resistent version of whatever this mix is, so I don’t keep getting get almost 100 death like last year. But I’ll grow some of this wild promiscuous mix in my greenhouse every year just so I can follow the conversation and know what people are talking about when they compare tomatoes to sea urchins. FOMO.


Julia it sounds like you need to cross the promiscuous project with something seriously blight resistant!

This problem of what to plant is an interesting one to have and I have dug out my Joseph Lofthouse promiscuous project seed collection or at least what I have handy of it.

I have five seed packets of R18 which had remarkable flowers and twelve seed packets of the one. I think I’ll sit here and plant a tray of those two concentrating on a particular packet of the one that says it contains in part seed from a plant that produces a lot of seed.

I also have a number of packets dating back to 2020 when elites first showed up in the project. Such wonders as 2020 G2 promiscuous XL Dark Chocolate red, and 2021 XL a small plant that kept its fruit off the ground. Also 2021 early promiscuous red and pink not exserted but from bicolor mothers.

I think I have more promiscuous project seed in bins out on the garden land as well.


I planted a little flat of forty, twenty of R18 and twenty of The One from the packet that included seed from the lone good seed producer of the 2022 generation.

I’ll direct seed the rest this coming weekend if I can. Perhaps one isolation block with a diverse mix including R18 and a block of The One.

I’ll likely hold back a few seeds of R18 and The One for backup.

It is a late start which might weed out some slowness. Hope it works!


Sir William Schlegel you are a legend. Thank you good sir for your contributions here.

Do you happen to know if solanum pimpinellofolium likely to cross into the panamorous mix? If so then I might try to cross the Florida Everglades into it.

Also is there anything you would really want to try if you lived where it’s hot and humid til November? For the sake of maybe furthering the project I might could try doing something you or Joseph wouldn’t be able to. It’s a late start for the year but I could at least try.

If I lived in a hot and humid climate I would grow Florida Everglades, Solanum cheesemanii, and Solanum galapagense and make crosses with those! Though I already do grow the latter two and several strains of pimpinillifolium! I can’t quite get Solanum chilense to grow here, but I suspect it would grow better in inland California then in hot and humid Florida.

There is an odd tomato species that is a tropical vine but I don’t know if seed can be had easily.

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This experiment raises an interesting possibility. Reed just asked in another thread if The One might be a better receiver than a giver or pollen. I have established through experimentation both by attempting to collect pollen from it and by attempting to use it as a male parent that it is a terrible producer of pollen. I plan to include some of the seed from crossing blocks in the grow out so we are about to find out- in a couple of months! Red fruits, blue fruits- would be a couple of tells.

The One is regular leaf? I have a potato leaf dwarf I want to try crossing with for ease of knowing a successful cross. The rest I’ll try with The One as the mother plant.

Yep, regular leaf!