Saving F1 seed

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Odsox
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Saving F1 seed

Post: #282723 Odsox
Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:49 pm

The seed companies tell us that you must never save F1 seed, also the seed saver people tell us you should only save seed from open pollinated varieties.
I saw an interesting article on the web by someone who said that F1 tomatoes are OK to save seed from because they don't cross pollinate easy and also then gave a fairly detailed scientific explanation as to why it's OK .... which was then rubbished by a commenter.
http://daughterofthesoil.blogspot.ie/20 ... hould.html

What's the point of this thread ?
I grow a tomato variety called Totem F1 for (winter) windowsill growing and earlier in the year saved some seed from one of them. I sowed 5 seeds recently and now that they are growing well I can see marked differences between them. One is taller (11") than the others and quite spindly, two others are medium sized (9") and the other two are smaller (7" & 6").
The tallest one has one truss showing but no flowers open, the two next in size also have one truss showing but each has a flower in bloom, but the two smallest each have 3 trusses showing and six or more flowers blooming. The smallest of the two has a very sturdy stem. I would say the the 2 medium sized are the closest to last year's originals
They all look healthy and have all been treated exactly the same.

I shall watch them carefully and see especially if there's a difference in taste when the fruit is ripe, and at the moment the 2 smaller ones are favourite for doing a spot of selective breeding.
So the seed companies are right, saved seed from F1 seed doesn't breed true, but there's a chance that they might be an improvement (but they don't tell you that)

Well I thought it was interesting, but then I don't get out much. :tongue:
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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Re: Saving F1 seed

Post: #282724 Green Aura
Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:20 pm

Hope you're going to share the good ones with your best friends (nudge, nudge) :wink:
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Re: Saving F1 seed

Post: #282725 Zech
Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:33 pm

I saved seed from Roma tomatoes, and I got tomatoes, but they definitely weren't Roma. I'm not sure whether Roma are F1 or not. I assumed not, as it's an old variety, but they didn't come true, nonetheless. I had grown other varieties in the greenhouse alongside the ones I saved seed from.
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Re: Saving F1 seed

Post: #282727 Geoff Dann
Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:35 pm

Odsox wrote:The seed companies tell us that you must never save F1 seed, also the seed saver people tell us you should only save seed from open pollinated varieties.
I saw an interesting article on the web by someone who said that F1 tomatoes are OK to save seed from because they don't cross pollinate easy and also then gave a fairly detailed scientific explanation as to why it's OK .... which was then rubbished by a commenter.
http://daughterofthesoil.blogspot.ie/20 ... hould.html

What's the point of this thread ?
I grow a tomato variety called Totem F1 for (winter) windowsill growing and earlier in the year saved some seed from one of them. I sowed 5 seeds recently and now that they are growing well I can see marked differences between them. One is taller (11") than the others and quite spindly, two others are medium sized (9") and the other two are smaller (7" & 6").
The tallest one has one truss showing but no flowers open, the two next in size also have one truss showing but each has a flower in bloom, but the two smallest each have 3 trusses showing and six or more flowers blooming. The smallest of the two has a very sturdy stem. I would say the the 2 medium sized are the closest to last year's originals
They all look healthy and have all been treated exactly the same.

I shall watch them carefully and see especially if there's a difference in taste when the fruit is ripe, and at the moment the 2 smaller ones are favourite for doing a spot of selective breeding.
So the seed companies are right, saved seed from F1 seed doesn't breed true, but there's a chance that they might be an improvement (but they don't tell you that)

Well I thought it was interesting, but then I don't get out much. :tongue:


It's a waste of time.

F1 is one way of doing it (a way I don't personally like, for reasons I'm sure everybody already knows), and "traditional" open-pollinated is another way. The problem is that anything in the middle doesn't really work.

Both types take time and effort to get right.

The old-style, traditional way of breeding plants involves watching carefully over many generations, and not only noting what tastes good or produces lots of fruit (or whatever characteristic you're after), but that they do so consistently over the generations instead of regularly suffering problems (such as tomatoes going blind after the first truss). When you eventually get a strain that consistently does well, you need to make sure it doesn't get contaminated with some other genes, and it will continue to do what it does. But it can take many years before you arrive at this stable point.

With F1 varieties, you have to do something like the above process, but with two strains. You then have to cross the two strains together to get the F1 hybrid, and keep the two parent strains pure. Again, it takes many years to arrive at this stable point.

What you cannot do is just throw varieties together, or let F1 hybrids reproduce willy-nilly, and expect any consistency in the resulting plants. You will get tomato plants, but it will take a great deal of effort and a lot of time before you can consistently produce anything worth having. And why bother, when you can take your choice of F1 varieties or traditional varieties, where all the hard work has already been done?

I personally grow a genuine heirloom Latvian tomato, brought to the UK by a Latvian immigrant and grown for the last thirty years in Sussex by his wife, who gave me the seeds herself. Enormous, juicy things they are. **** F1.

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Re: Saving F1 seed

Post: #282728 diggernotdreamer
Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:19 pm

I don't grow any F1 tomatoes any more, but I used to. I grew Sungold one year and the next year, I got a flush of seedlings, which I grew on. We had a tomato tasting competition at our local gardening group, several people brought Sungold and I brought my F2 Sungold and it beat the original one hands down, whether it would have come as good the following year, I don't know

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Re: Saving F1 seed

Post: #282729 Odsox
Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:40 am

Geoff Dann wrote:And why bother, when you can take your choice of F1 varieties or traditional varieties, where all the hard work has already been done?

You can say that about most things in life although it's rather a defeatist attitude. If everybody did that there would be only one variety of each vegetable, or more to the point, no varieties.
I do realise that I cannot expect saved seed from my F2 plants to breed true, although they will have no chance to cross breed with any other variety, not only because these tomato flowers have their stigma totally enclosed but as they are grown indoors through the winter there won't be any pollinating insects about.
But it is still interesting (to me) to continue this for at least a few generations, and see if I can breed something to suit my own peculiar personal requirements.

Every year I grow at least 8 varieties of tomato, all open pollinated heirlooms except 2. I grow Ferline F1 as an insurance, as they are blight resistant so whatever the weather I can pretty much rely on getting a crop, and these Totem or similar F1 for my windowsill grown plants that have been bred for container growing.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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Re: Saving F1 seed

Post: #282730 ina
Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:12 pm

I think it's mostly a question of time and space... Personally, I only have space for one tomato plant. So I definitely won't be experimenting with keeping seeds of this year's - and I'll definitely go for a nice variety and just buy the one plant I need. If I had time and space, I'd love to experiment with keeping seeds and seeing what happens... Just for the fun of it.
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