Although learning how to breed tomatoes takes time, every backyard or polytunnel gardener in the UK would tell you that it’s well worth the effort. The art of tomato breeding involves combining various types of tomatoes to produce new and improved cultivars.
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 can 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 with improved colour, smoothness, fruit quality, crack resistance, and a better taste.
You can even produce vine-ripened tomato varieties with tomato breeding that contain more antioxidants than any regular tomato. It’s also possible to create more extensive 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 flavour that hits the tongue. However, others who have tomato breeding goals 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 choose the tomato plants carefully you’re going to use for the breeding process. These must have the characteristics you’d want to combine into the tomato cultivar you’re planning to create.
Tip #2: Create DNA markers
Those who are doing professional research make sure that they identify the genes that carry the characteristics they want. Once they do, they use DNA markers to identify and produce the tomato cultivars that display these characteristics.
Tip #3: Use different types of techniques
Breeding tomatoes, one can perform with the use of various techniques. However, these methods are dependent on the breeder’s experience and skills.
Other gardening enthusiasts in the UK choose to pull off another cone to emasculate the tomato flowers. One can use a dissecting needle 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 coloured 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 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. Professional researchers are trying to create and develop plants that can withstand the ever-changing weather conditions.
Can You Breed Tomatoes in a Hobby Greenhouse?
Yes, you can! Growing your plants inside a hobby polytunnel proves to be more advantageous than increasing them outside. Here are some of the best reasons why your plants would thank you if you try your hand at polytunnel gardening in the UK:
You can plant anything you like
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to grow cacti or bonsais – you can produce any plant inside a hobby polytunnel because you won’t be planting them directly into the ground. Growing plants in the polytunnel also mean that you can move them anywhere you want! Developing 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 hobby greenhouse, you’ll be able to extend the growing season because the enclosed space allows you to control the climate. Control means that you can still manage to grow your favourite 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 polytunnel provides your plants with a layer of protection against the external environment, you can be sure that they will be shielded from the elements. Shielding eliminates the need to make emergency preparations to keep your plants safe from harsh weather conditions, including strong winds, heavy rains, snow, sleet, hail, and blizzards. What’s more, your hobby polytunnel 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 in the UK, consider growing your cultivars in a hobby polytunnel so that your plants can enjoy the benefits listed above!