Words, Pictures and Videos About a Variety of Gardening Topics

At my You Tube channel, nov51947, I did a video called “Save The Suckers!”

It was kind of an afterthought after my earlier video about whether tomato suckers were good or bad and whether you should remove them. Since then I’ve learned some new techniques for saving and propagating tomato suckers besides the “stick ’em a glass of water and hope they don’t rot!” technique.

But it got me to thinking…

If I propagate a sucker from a parent plant that I really like, then a few weeks later propagate a sucker from that child plant, then later progagate a sucker from the grandchild, etc., etc. (obviously keeping them inside or in a greenhouse over winter), can I theoretically make that plant immortal?

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, that IS the plot of many a Sci-Fi story! But my interest is purely scientific. (Isn’t that always the case?) Would the plant really be the same after several generations of cloning? Would it still bear fruit? Would the fruit be as prolific…or as tasty? Would it be more susceptible to disease or to physiological problems?

Being a scientist by training, I am going to begin a two year experiment. I will try to stick closely to the scientific method, keep a lab notebook (logbook), take photos and record observations. I’m going to spend some time designing the experiment and I’ll try to begin later this summer.

If I can propagate a new clone every eight weeks, then in two years I will have gone through twelve generations. I’d like to hear your ideas. Let me know how you would like me to conduct the experiment…what to look at, what variables to change, indoors or greenhouse (I might be limited there!), how to do a ‘control’, hybrid or heirloom, how to record my observations: in this blog or in a series of short videos on my YT channel?

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Comments on: "Can You Immortalize a Tomato Plant by Cloning?" (1)

  1. One DUMB question: Is it technically cloning? Is it not the same plant?

    One result that I’d be curious about would be the presence of seeds in the later generations. Is this how “seedless” watermelons are created?

    Some design controls: feeding schedule, and preferrably, lighting. How could you control the lighting? Would a summer generation fair better than a fall/winter generation? Another design control: timing of the removal of a sucker from the previous generation (i.e., no. of days after new growth?) Is there a way to compare that?

    Pictures and a written/digital log book would probably be sufficient in recording this experiment.

    Just some thoughts.

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