I've invented a system to help keep track of which plants are which, and where they came from.
You don't have to worry about what my IDs or names mean--but if you're curious, here you go.
If you wish to use this system yourself, and are new to it, feel free to consult with me, if you want help.
Note: I already described a similar system a while back (in the Brandy Boy cross thread on TomatoJunction.com, probably); this system is the updated/reworked version (and should be used instead).
So, here's how the modulation works:
A is the first plant.
B is the first-named child of A.
C is the first-named child of B, and so on.
Also, AA is the child of Z, BA is the child of AZ, AAA is the child of ZZ, and so on (should you breed your plants for so many generations).
A0 is the first-named sibling of A. (They need not be planted in the same year, necessarily.)
A1 is the second-named sibling of A.
A2 is the third-named sibling of A, and so forth.
A2A is the first-named child of A2.
A2B is the first-named child of A2A, and so forth.
A2A0 is the first-named sibling of A2A.
A2A1 is the second-named sibling of A2A, and so forth.
If you wish to distinguish between fruits of the same plant, too, optionally put #1 for the first-reckoned fruit (ideally, but not necessarily the first one to set), #2 for the second-reckoned, and so forth (but for more persistent data there, you'll want to take notes on which fruit a certain plant came from in your records).
That's the basic idea. However, you should take notes about each plant. In the notes for plant A (if not the notes for the project itself), you should mention any special rules that you're using in that project.
Here are some additional examples of how the system could be used:
To track unknown varieties, you might consider this:
u + last two digits of the current year + _ + the tracking code as described above: e.g. u21_A, u21_A0, u21_A1, etc.
Note that u21_B is the child of u21_A (you don’t change it to u22--remember, you know its parent; you only do the current year when you don’t know its parent).
To track volunteers, you could use the same system, except use v instead of u: e.g. v21_C6A10 is the eleventh-named sibling of v21_C6A, which is the child of v21_C6, which is the seventh-named sibling of v21_C, which is the child of v21_B, which is the child of v21_A, which was the first-named volunteer grown in 2021.
Or, if you want to track all of your plants like this, regardless of what they are, use a p instead of a u or v: e.g. p21_A.
Or, you can make up other stuff (like since my watermelons are all potentially crosses, I'm referring to this year's watermelons as such as wm21_A through whatever).
Volunteers, unknown plant breeds, and tracking all plants aside, this system is generally used one of two ways:
1. Pick a name for the starting plant (We’ll use Pearler as an example; this is a code name for a breeding project). Add _A to the end; so, the starting plant is Pearler_A. The first Sibling would be Pearler_A0, and so forth. Note that these names followed by underscores do not only apply to plants with only the same breeds in their lineage. To indicate a new cross, you can put F1 after the name: e.g. MyCross_D4 F1. You can also indicate old crosses, too (whether or not they happened before you named it): e.g. Insurance_A F3, Insurance_B F4, Insurance_B0 F4, etc. If it crosses again, start over at F1 (and make notes of what cross happened for reference).
If you wish to refer to the whole project, include the underscore, but no ID after it: e.g. Pearler_ (So, Pearler doesn't mean anything without an underscore, and it doesn't refer to your tomatoes, unless you happen to name one that when it's a finished variety.) You can also do this to refer to any member of the project, if you don't remember, or don't want to use, the full name; if you're doing that with saved seeds, replace the underscore with a hyphen (e.g. Pearler-).
There's no requirement to include every single sibling in the project, if you wish one or more to be separate. You'll note that I didn't call my Mexican Yellow cross F3 that I'm growing this year Insurance_A0, even though I could have.
When you save seeds, label it with the same name as the plant that it came from, and exchange the underscore for a hyphen; then after you grow it, modulate it for each plant and replace the hyphen with an underscore (you only modulate it after the seeds grow)
If you distribute seeds, you should ensure that the underscore remains, and that the recipient doesn't modulate it with future growouts; the recipient continue to use that name received instead of modulating it for each plant (if they wish to modulate it, they would start over by doing Pearler-A0_A for their first-named plant, Pearler-A0_B for its first-named child, Pearler-A0_B0 for the first-named sibling of Pearler-A0_B, and so on--this is so it doesn't interfere with your own project).
2. If you already have a named variety (e.g. Brandywine), or are using a form of hybrid notation (e.g. Amana Orange x Black Cherry F1), then just note the ID name in parentheses or something: e.g. Brandywine (G64B2A0), and Amana Orange x Black Cherry F1 (A3). With this method, when I start with A, that generally means it's the first plant from that seed source that I've grown (regardless of whether I've grown the same variety from another seed source before). If I need to distinguish between two separate sources, I can do such as this SomeTomato (1A) and SomeTomato (2A); so, just preface it with a number, which identifies the specific source.
If you received seeds from me labeled with a name ending with _1 or _2, that's from an outmoded system. Feel free to correct the names; no matter whether they end with _1 or _2, that should be changed to -A. So, if it says Insurance_1 or Insurance_2, it should become Insurance-A. Picnic_1 and Picnic_2 should become Picnic-A (not Picnic_A, nor Picnic-B, nor Picnic_B). I was a little conflicted on what to label the seed packets at first; so, that's why they might have read _0 or _1 instead of just one thing. I didn't share seeds with vary many people, though. If you see seeds circulated under the names Insurance_1 or Picnic_1 or whatever, now you'll know what they're supposed to be called.
If you want to see this system in practice, look at my garden map
on my 2022 growlog.
You may notice on the map that I'm working with these projects, this year, or in 2021 (so far):
* 5CGI_ (Goals: Selecting for more locules, more seeds, and less splitting; perhaps acclimating it to a certain tougher soil and its conditions. This is a fairly regular Galapagos Island line, but one of the ancestors came from five-locule fruit. Early, yellow/gold, prolific, all-season cherry tomato.)
* Bash_ (This is my Purple Calabash cross project, with Bash_A being an F2. I don't believe I saved seeds, so the next one grown would be Bash_A0, rather than Bash_B, Bash_B0, etc.)
* Broy_ (Broy_A, Broy_A0, and Broy_A1 are Brandy Boy F2s, grown from F2 seed I saved myself)
* Clad_ (Very similar to Pearler_, except it had a later maturity in 2020. In 2021, the plants might be smaller than those of Pearler_; this is the project for my second Napoli cross.)
* Gallop_ (This has round yellow/gold fruit; large cherry size; lots of seeds; tart and not sweet. I'm pretty sure Galapagos Island was one of the parents.)
* GGO_ (GGO_A was a Green Giant x Golden King of Siberia F1 grown in 2017.)
* Insurance_ (Select for flavor and the traits it already had in 2020: big pink fruit, very prolific; vigorous; cold-tolerant as a seedling; regular leaf. Insurance_A was a Mexican Yellow cross F3, with the father seeming to be a large pink beefsteak.)
* MatinaBush_ (This is a bushier Matina offtype that I discovered in 2019. It could be a mutant or a cross—plant A, from 2019, was probably an F1 cross, if it was a cross, since only one out of many seedlings was atypical in it's growth; a single cross-pollinated seed seems more common than only one F2+ being different. If I mentioned growing Matina in 2021, that's actually from the MatinaBush_ project before I realized the growth pattern was hereditary.)
* MKX_ (MKX_A was the F1 parent of Snacker_A. It was a Medovaya Kaplya cross F1, with red very sweet fruit, and symmetrical ovate fruit.)
* Morsel_ (Morsel_A F1 is my fourth Napoli cross. It's a large cherry plum/grape tomato with a good taste for snacking and salads. The seed it came from was saved in 2020. Morsel_B appears to have traits similar to Galapagos Island and Matt's Wild Cherry--rather than a regular Lycopersicon lycopersicum tomato; also, it seems much earlier and more vigorous than Morsel_A, and much less like Napoli; Morsel_B has longer internodes than Morsel_A.)
* Nax_ (This is the project for my third Napoli cross. It has roundish, ribbed fruit. The parent is probably my Purple Calabash cross F1 from 2020.)
* Nina_ (This is a variety that is being bred out of an Early Girl F1 with bonnieplants.com tags grown in 2014. Nina_A was an F3 or F4 grown in 2017, and was an RL plant--the most productive plant among it and its siblings.)
* Pearler_ (Select for production, taste, early maturity and larger fruit-size; parent was very prolific with maybe 5-6oz fruits; RL; red; mix between ovate and round; in 2021, some of the plants are looking quite big; this is the project for my first Napoli cross. I only saved seeds from Pearler_A in 2021, and am growing four plants from its seed in 2022. Pearler_A had the largest fruit of if and all its siblings, in 2021, and it felt healthy to eat; they looked like fat Roma tomatoes.)
* Picnic_ (Basically seeking to stabilize and select for general awesome things, like earlier fruit, more fruit, tastier fruit, and bigger fruit. Also, I'm interested in crosses with it. This is a certain Brandy Boy cross line. Picnic_A's parent was a multiflora, and that one's parent was extremely tasty; that one's parent was the F1.)
* Snacker_ (Snacker_A was a Medovaya Kaplya cross F2 grown in 2020 that happened to have mostly stable traits: PL, yellow fruit, round, large cherry; the F1 was a very sweet plum-shaped red tomato)
* v21_ (This was the project for my 2021 volunteer tomatoes.)
* wm21_ (This is the project for my 2021 watermelons.)
[[TypeLetter+][yearNumber+]_+[sourceNumber]+]generationLetter[+siblingNumber[+generationLetter][+. . .]]
* p is for plant; 21 is for 2021; _ is just there to divide and indicate it's my own project; 3 means it's the fourth plant source (since we start with 0); you can figure out what A10F means.
* Frittata Kitchen doesn't use this naming system, because due to being a sport (rather than a hybrid), it's probably not terribly unstable.