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Cross-pollination woes

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Over a decade ago, I ate a red and yellow striped tomato at a farmer's market in northern California and fell in love. Alas, I didn't know what the variety was. Since then, I've been looking for it and last year I purchased a seedling at a farmer's market in Alabama that turned out to be THE ONE -- German Striped. I saved seeds and planted them this year.

So yesterday I was slicing a lovely tomato I picked in the morning and couldn't for the life of me remember what I planted that was orange with yellow shoulders. Yep, you guessed it, is was my German Striped. Sort of. Tastes the same, but no lovely striping.

While I know it's possible for tomatoes to cross on their own or with insect help, I've never had it actually happen. I don't even know if it happened in my garden or if the seedling I got wasn't pure. This variety itself may have some physical characteristics that make it more likely to cross.

I'm torn... this is my best year for maters ever despite the horrible weather issues. Do I roll with it and keep "my" orange tomato that isn't cracking and splitting like they usually do, and is more uniformly roundish? Or buy seed and try again?

And yeah, I saved the seeds from the lovely orange tomato I ate yesterday. I just don't know if I will plant them yet.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

NicoleC - if you like the flavor, save the seeds and try them again next year. If you decide they are not "German Striped" - call them something else. The main thing is to grow a tomato that you LIKE.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Nicole, German Striped won't necessarily show its stripes on all the fruit. Variance in color will vary with plants, weather, growing conditions, etc. If it tastes like the one you remember I'd do as Honeybee suggested, keep growing it. Matter of fact, I have an idea you just may be pulling some tomatoes from the same plant later that will show more pronounced stripes.

I'd be more inclined to check some pics online and compare your tomato to them. You'll see that some folks get yellow tomatoes with brighter (red) shoulders while others get close to the opposite.


Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Hmmm. Last year my German Stripes were all strongly striped -- well, marbled, they aren't really "stripe." 8 maters so far and not a hint of stripes. They do, however, share the characteristic of going bad in about 2 days outside the fridge, which is a bummer.

I may buy seeds and plant them both next year and compare. And if they are a variety that easily crosses maybe they'll backcross and I'll keep the stripes AND the cracking resistance.

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