This story starts with one of my favorite flowering plants ever: the giant Pinot Noir Hardy Hibiscus. It blooms 8-10″ across, and it has overwintered in this giant pot for the past 3 years.
It was always quite slow to start showing any green in the spring, and every year I’d think it hadn’t made it through the winter, but then just when I was about to give up on it, some green shoots would appear. So this year I kept the faith when staring at the bald sticks into June.
And the faith paid off – in mid-June, green shoots started to appear.
But….the shoots didn’t look quite right! On closer inspection, these were tomato shoots! It seems that some tomatoes must have fallen into this pot last year, and the seeds managed to survive the winter and self-seed! It was a mystery though, which of the 12 varieties of tomatoes I planted last year was the winner here.
After letting it grow wild and crazy for a while, I managed to wedge in a tomato cage and tie up the stalks. But now that the tomatoes have started to ripen, it’s become clear that there wasn’t just one winner, but at least THREE different types of tomatoes growing in this one container!
So far I see Sweet 100s (the bright red ones), Sun Gold (the smaller orange ones, and my favorites), and … I have no idea!! (Larger yellow/orange ones). None of the tomato varieties planted last year were this medium type of yellow/orange tomato. My best guess is that this fruit is a result of cross-pollination.
If different tomato varieties are planted close together (as mine certainly are!), flowers from one plant can get pollinated with pollen from another variety of tomato. The resulting tomato fruit will look exactly the same, but will carry hybrid seeds inside. If these seeds are saved (or sow themselves!), the offspring tomatoes will carry some characteristics of each parent, resulting in an entirely new variety of tomato! Will it turn out to be a delicious accident, or a monstrous disaster? Stay tuned…
Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.
~Frankenstein’s monster, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein