Sani
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How do my tomatoes look to you?

this is my first time gardening so Im not exactly sure of how Im doing?

my tomatoes were sown early october in containers. I had to throw the soil out (there was a resilient fungus gnat infestation).
I transplanted the tomatoes in this new potting soil that also has plant food and something I baught called 'urea' ? its small white circles that are supposed to add nitrogen? Im not sure what it is. I recently mulched vacuum fluff into the soil after reading about it online.

I water twice a day and the plants rest in an indoor pool facing the direct sunlight.

[img]http://i52.tinypic.com/162pg6.jpg[/img]


[img]http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/9165/garden9.jpg[/img]


[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/wwi6bo.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i51.tinypic.com/rhvn5z.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i54.tinypic.com/hvqosg.jpg[/img]

so here are my questions,

1- how long until my tomatoes flower?


2- how does the foliage look to you?


3- should I place the pots somewhere not as close to the glass as this?


4- Is this tomato on the left a potato leaf? its leaves look different from the rest.

[img]http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/1984/garden11.jpg[/img]

DoubleDogFarm
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I recently mulched vacuum fluff into the soil after reading about it online.
I have dogs, so I vacuum up a bit of hair. I put this in the compost and sometimes around the duck yard. I don't have carpets in the house.

I don't think it's a good idea to put this right into the soil. IMO. Do you use household cleaners? Are your carpets synthetic? I feel like this is as bad as street sweepers leaves. :? Carpets are like sponges, absorb many nasties.

Eric

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Garf
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The plants look remarkably healthy for indoor plants. Most tomatoes won't flower before 8 weeks. Be careful with the water. Too much water can be very harmful. I know. I drowned many plants when I was starting out. Where you are you might not have many tomato diseased. Here, they are rampant.

tedln
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Beautiful plants. The plant on the left does appear to be PL with the smooth edges, but I've seen many plants have smooth edges when very young, but develop into RL varieties with age. I would take a wild guess and say it probably is PL.

I've never heard of mulching with vacuum lint. As DoubleDog said, you get a lot of nasty stuff from your carpet. It probably wouldn't hurt anything, but it may. I think I would prefer to use the lint from the clothes dryer screen. At least it is sanitized. My problem with it is the fact that most of the fibers are synthetic and will not decompose in the soil or wick moisture.

The fungus gnats can be easily controlled with Thuricide in a weak solution. I believe it is also called BT, but it is a natural control of caterpillars in the garden. The fungus gnat larvae is an almost microscopic critter which lives in the potting mixes eating fungus. They usually do not harm the plant unless there is a shortage of fungus for them to eat. They will then start eating the small fibrous roots of the plant. The larvae is susceptible to the thuricide. It simply breaks the life cycle of the gnats and they are usually gone in a few days. If you apply a little every couple of weeks, you won't have the gnats.

Ted
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Sani
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Thanks tedin, Garf, and Doubledogfarm for the input,

I have two cats in my house so the fluff included mostly their shed fur,
I did see improvement in overall plant health after mulching it so I think it was a good thing. My fluff looked exactly like the one in this video where I learned this from.

[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wge_1U9NfX8[/url]


Also, with the help of fellow forum members, [url]http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=172574#172574[/url]

found out I never did have a fungus gnat problem. It turns out they were springtails (took care of them, they're now almost gone)



Here is how my tomatoes are looking today,

[img]http://i54.tinypic.com/i44lmd.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/6fnvkn.jpg[/img]

still waiting for flowers!

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rainbowgardener
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Be patient, your plants are still quite young!

If you are hoping to actually produce tomatoes, I'm thinking you may have to add some supplemental lighting. It takes a lot more energy to produce fruit than just to grow the seedling. And you really want your plants to be at least twice as big as they are before they even think about setting fruit. And those pots will become too small. They are fine for the plants now, but full size tomato plants are huge, like 6' tall and bushy, and need to be in pots the size of 5 gallon buckets.

Just to give you an idea of the time frame, I start my tomato seeds indoors about mid February. I plant them in the ground about mid April and I start having ripe tomatoes about mid June.
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tedln
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Are you growing the plants in pots near an indoor swimming pool? The tiles and architecture are typical of a pool room. If you are, you probably will see many organisms on the plants due to the high humidity. You probably will have a high chlorine concentration in the atmosphere from the water. If the outdoor temps in Kuwait are low enough, you can probably set the plants outside for short periods to remove them from the high humidity. Allow them to dry thoroughly before returning them to the pool room.

(never mind, I just reread your first post)

Ted
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Sani
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@ tedln - It doesnt get too humid in the pool since its air conditioned itself.
My plants are free of disease, as I can tell from the leaves.

I'm going to place a couple of pots outside to test what conditions are best.
its around 24-28 degrees Celsius these days and thats cool let me tell you! It reaches 50 in the summer. (maybe then indoor planting would me my only option?)

@ rainbowgardener - I cant believe I have to get even more pots, when should I repot? I was told at the nursery where I bought the pots that they can hold tomatoes. How insufficient are they?

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Garf
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I was going to suggest placing a container plant outside as an experiment, but you need to have them in a minimum of 5 gallon containers. I use a variety of sizes including one 18 gallon recycling tub and a rubbermaid 25 gallon tote. Make sure the plants don't come in contact with the glass.

tedln
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While it is true that tomato plants do best when their feet are in oversized shoes, I have successfully grown small, "patio" sized plants in containers as small as yours. They do require more attention for watering and feeding than they do when planted in larger containers. I don't know which variety you have planted, but if they are "patio" sized (three or four feet tall and under), they will probably do well in your current pots. That type of plant is normally a determinant variety and should produce small tomatoes which ripen in a short time frame after fruit growth and maturity.

I will be growing three varieties of small stature tomatoes next spring which remain under four feet tall, but produce medium sized fruits. They are Early Wonder, Harnas, and Siberian (if you search for the varieties, Siberian and Siberia are different varieties with Siberian being the preferred variety). I will also grow Matina which grows slightly larger. All four varieties are open pollinated and are early producers. With the exception of Harnas, seed is easily available from seed vendors. Those varieties are not heat tolerant, but should do okay in your air conditioned pool room.

Plant breeders are also working to develop open pollinated varieties called "dwarf" which remain under three feet tall, but produce full sized, high quality tomatoes. Many of the dwarf varieties are approaching a genetic stability which will allow the stabilized seed to be available within a year or two.

Do you know which variety or varieties you have planted? Did your seed or plant vendor tell you what the plant stature will be when mature?

Ted
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Sani
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Thanks tedln,
Im growing cherry tomatoes and san marzano. I have no idea whether they're determinant or indeterminant.
That dwarf variety sounds interesting!
I planted 25 pots so Im not planning to repot this time, but definitely next time!

tedln
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I grow a cherry tomato named Juliet. The plant attains a height of eight to ten feet in one growing season. I don't know which variety of cherry tomato you have planted, but it will probably also grow very tall requiring support like a an external cage. The San Marzano is also a tall plant and will probably require external support. See the following link. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-7934-san-marzano-168-f1.aspx

If your plants grow tall, I doubt if your pots will be able to sustain them for moisture or nutrients.

Ted
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Sani
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Wow! I didn't imagine that they'd reach such lengths!
I think I'll repot the 4 bigger ones for now (they're a little under 2ft)


Are these flowers I see? (sorry for the iphone quality)

[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/famtsh.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/2djccwk.jpg[/img]

if yes, isnt it too soon?

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Garf
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Those are the buds that will turn into flowers and hopefully tomatoes. When the plant is stressed by being rootbound in too small a pot, it forces the plant to reproduce early because the plant senses the end is near. You NEED bigger containers.

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Garf
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Why don't you visit this link to get some idea what the various varieties are like?
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/finder/index.php?sname=Tomatoes&submit=Go
Click on the tomato name and it will give you more information than you want.

Sani
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Repotting tomorrow! Is there anything I should do to not make the plant give up since it's already produced buds?

Thank you for the valuable input Garf!

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Garf
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Transplant shock is unavoidable, but can be minimized. Place some soil in the new pot, carefully remove the old pot without disturbing the roots more than necessary, Place the root ball in the new pot and fill in around the root ball. Finish with a thorough watering. Protect from direct sun for a few days. You will most likely lose most of the buds, but you will get more.

Sani
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thanks for the tips!
So Im buying more potting soil and I have a feeling it'll have gnats or other insects. should I treat the soil before planting my tomato? and with what?

I think It'll be Miracle gro moisture control, or the regular one. (Its my first time using Miracle gro, I always read about people getting gnats in their bags)

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applestar
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You need to be careful with pre-fertilized potting soil as the NPK ratio may not be the best for growing tomatoes. You may also have read about many people getting lush green growth without any flowers or fruits.

My current favorite bagged potting mixes are Pro-Mix ultimate Organic and Gardeners Gold Organic Potting Soil (make sure it says potting soil --they sell compost/soil amendment in bags with very similar packaging). I don't know if you can find those where you are, but I thought I'd mention it.

Personally, I wouldn't "treat" the soil, but that's because I believe in living soilfoodweb in the soil. When you have a complete community living in the soil, fungus gnats, as well as other pest bugs are minimized, and I put at least one earthworm in every container --more for larger ones -- my living soil gardeners to condition and keep the container soil from getting compacted and keep the plants fertilized. :-()

I suppose if it's fungus gnats alone that you are concerned with, in sterilized potting mix, then adding gnat controlling Bt to the initial moistening water (you do moisten your potting mix before using, don't you? :wink: ) might be the way to go.

To repot, lay the planted pot on it's side on a sheet of cardboard or --even bette for multiple uppotting-- flexible plexiglass or other waterproof stiff but bendable flat panel. Slide the plant and potting mix onto the panel. Put sufficient moistened soil mix in the bottom and one side of the larger container, then, rolling the sides of the panel to fit, gently slide the plant and soil into it, and while supporting it with the panel, add more potting mix on the other side. The plant should be sitting slightly higher than you want at this point. Now pull out the panel. Fill in and add more mix to the sides as necessary, then pick up the container slightly and drop it on the ground to thump and settle the mix. You may need to top with more mix.

When up potting tomatoes, I always barely line the bottom of the new pot and drop the plant and soil ball in so that at least some of the lower stem is buried. Clip off the lower leaves that will be buried or will touch the soil surface. I drop them in the bottom of the container to be buried and break down but you can throw them out or put them in the compost if you prefer (note that tomato leaves can be used to make pest repellant as well). Tomatoes will grow roots from the buried stem, establishing a larger root system. Be aware that this doesn't work with all plants and some plants are very sensitive to being buried above the original soil line.

Sani
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Oops!

I already repotted 5 plants in miracle gro (moisture control+original potting mix). I also added a little bone meal to each (I have no idea how it works though :( ) I should've waited to read this!

Miracle gro cant be that bad can it? :( my original soil is in there too, I think thats why my plants didn't wilt at all. The transplanting method I used is very similar to what you advised @ applestar, I'm really glad about that.
I will post photos of how my plants are doing in a while. I just hope I didnt do too many things wrong!

-Oh and the 'keeping the plants outdoors' thing isnt working out. I found bird bite marks all over the leaves, I think I'll keep planting indoors as if Im in a greenhouse with a pool in it. This is my first time growing anything so I'd like to play it safe.. for now.

Sani
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so an update on my tomatoes! (Im learning so much!)

They are two types :
San marzano 3 (indeterminant) and Principe Borghese (determinant)

I cant tell which is which but I have a feeling that the light green, tall ones with thin leaves are the cherry principe borghese and the low dark wide ones with thicker leaves are the san marzanos.

They are doing great and most of them started producing buds. I did a lot of research on whether to keep buds of tomatoes this young or not. So I ended up pinching some and leaving some; most of the plants had two sets of buds. (i removed the larger set so the plant can focus on getting bigger)

[img]http://i56.tinypic.com/1e5a2e.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i56.tinypic.com/122hn2e.jpg[/img] [img]http://i52.tinypic.com/34epx7t.jpg[/img]


San Marzanos?
[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/2ilbqtc.jpg[/img] [img]http://i52.tinypic.com/1tpxdi.jpg[/img]

tedln
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Sani,

You are doing wonderful. I'm envious. You should have happy and content tomato plants. I bet they are the only tomatoes in the world growing in a greenhouse with a swimming pool in the middle.

I am curious. I don't think the environment in Kuwait would be conducive to growing tomatoes outside. Are they typically grown in greenhouses commercially? Is tomato a common item in the daily diet of kuwaiti citizens?

Ted
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applestar
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If you do a Search the Forum for "principe borghes*" (I've spelled it both borghesi and borghese in the past :oops: ), you'll see a bunch of threads I've posted about them since I grew them last year and this year.

My avatar is a perfectly heart-shaped Principe Borghese. :wink:

Sani
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@ tedln Thank you so much! thats so encouraging!
Tomatoes are very common here and are grown in large industrial greenhouses in big farms along with most other veggies. but most commercial tomatoes that people buy are imported from neighboring countries with slightly better climates.
Most authentic Kuwaiti dishes include tomatoes in the dish itself like stews/tomato rice, or a tomato side sauce called daqoos (Made everyday for lunch in most homes)
[img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_YWzv7MwII3U/TJIAOCHCQnI/AAAAAAAAEIs/O6Pm48xagd0/s1600/Taal+Restaurant-+Kuwait-+BNDQ8.jpg[/img]



@ applestar I always wondered if your avatar was a tomato! I'ts a beautiful photo! I'll definitely search for your threads! thanks!


Can you guys tell which leaves from my photos make which plants? ( If Im right Im growing a lot more cherries than san marzanos)

Sani
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an update on my indoor garden!

everything is growing nicely, I had a minor setback the past two days as my toms got a mild leaf miner infestation. I picked out about two handfuls of leaves (with a heavy heart).
I do find a couple of leaves with squiggles now but nothing like what I had the first time.

My plants are recovering from the damage and look even better than before imo. I now have about 6 plants with flower buds.

[img]http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/4255/img2139h.jpg[/img] [img]http://img828.imageshack.us/img828/9969/img2142g.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img576.imageshack.us/img576/8809/img2146o.jpg[/img] [img]http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/1719/img2149x.jpg[/img]

Do you have any tips for me ?

tedln
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Sani,

Your tomato plants are looking good. I am curious about your soil in the pots. In the photos it looks like the plants are in a traditional potting soil with sand around the edges and maybe over the top of the soil. What is the sand for?

Now for the most important question. How do you prepare the dagoos sauce and how do you use it? Do you spoon it over other dishes or do you scoop it with a flat bread?

Ted
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Sani
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Its just a thin sandy potting soil mix on the top for protection/water conservation. under that lies my regular dark brown soil.

and about the daqoos, Im not sure about an exact recipe, everyone does it slightly different but it'll always include these ingredients: -red tomatoes -green chili peper - a black citrus fruit we call loumi - tomato paste - a dash of oil -garlic -salt and pepper with seasonings that differ from home to home.
Its spooned over rice dishes usually. It tastes good with everything!

tedln
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Sani,

Is the "Loumi" you use in your dagoos sauce the same as described in the recipes on this page?

http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/09/saras-loumi.html

If it is the same, do you simply cook the sauce with the Loumi in it and then remove the Loumi before serving?

Ted
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applestar
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I'm intrigued too. Can you post a generalized recipe -- maybe in the Recipe Forum for easier future retrieval? I work well with basic description for what to do with the tomatoes -- sliced, 1/2'd quartered, approx. 1 loumi/lime per 1 qt of tomatoes, etc. for example. Do you add the loumi whole? I assume chili peppers, salt, peppers, garlic (is it typically garlicky? the way you described didn't sound like it), could be to taste. What other seasonings could we consider adding?

Sani
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about loumi, I learned that its usually not a main component in our kuwaiti daqoos, maybe a little powdered loumi for acidity but I was surprised that its not needed.

daqoos does taste garlicy+a little sour+spicy.

a generalized recipe would be something like this:

4 or three large tomatoes chopped

3 cloves garlic -Water almost 2 cups

black pepper and salt -1 teaspoon oil

a bit of tomato paste -1 green chilli used whole.

here are photos I found online of random daqoos recipes


[img]http://up.arab-x.com/Aug09/AAV41518.jpg[/img] [img]http://forum.hawahome.com/nupload/98765_1242639635.jpg[/img]


Its usually served with rice dishes like this one, Machboos; 'The Kuwaiti dish' its served in my home every other day.

[img]http://i52.tinypic.com/wc0go8.jpg[/img]


I hope that answered your question. :)

tedln
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I've posted a recipe for the Machboos at the following link.

http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=173812#173812

It looks like a wonderful dish. I will probably try it once with grocery store tomatoes. I will try it again in the summer when some of my "Black" tomatoes ripen. I can't even imagine how good the dish will taste with the smoky flavor of the blacks or possibly the fruity flavor of orange tomatoes from my KBX or Sungold plants. The possibilities are endless.

Suni,
In one of the photos you furnished, the rice color seems to indicate saffron was added. Do you know if saffron is ever used in the rice?

Thanks

Ted
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Sani
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Ted, Saffron is always used! Machboos is never done with just plain white rice!
Maybe I can post a recipe of another yummy Kuwaiti dish that goes beautifully with daqoos. It's called "immawash"

back to my tomatoes, I'm uppotting 10 tomatoes to 5 gallon pots, I've been dreading it because I know the nursery where I'm getting my soil mix+pots is ripping me off a little. I've spent too much in the past. :(

tedln
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Sani wrote:Ted, Saffron is always used! Machboos is never done with just plain white rice!
Maybe I can post a recipe of another yummy Kuwaiti dish that goes beautifully with daqoos. It's called "immawash"

back to my tomatoes, I'm uppotting 10 tomatoes to 5 gallon pots, I've been dreading it because I know the nursery where I'm getting my soil mix+pots is ripping me off a little. I've spent too much in the past. :(
Sani'

Getting ripped off is just one of the feelings most gardeners probably feel. If someone had told me a few years ago, I would be paying $3.50 for bags of "dirt", I would have laughed at them. Someone once posted a thread asking what people use to mark/identify their seedlings and plants in the garden. The replies ranged from broken window blind slats to Popsicle sticks. If you buy the small white plastic markers sold for the purpose, they are outrageously priced for what you get. We always look to the future and say "the reward is worth it".

Ted
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Sani
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ted,
you're absolutely right, I always try to remind myself that its worth it. (Im having a blast anyway)
$3.50 a bag!! :o wow I filled my 10 new 5 gallon pots with $35.5 worth soil. and Im not sure I even like it! its a mixture of a sandy potting soil+manure+peatmoss. I think the mix is too sandy for my liking.
Im trying to make this first gardening experience almost like an experiment to find the best soil provider for me, thats why Im trying a bunch of mixes.
I just finished up-potting 10 tomato plants; a lot of effort for a 5'2 girl. :oops:

Sani
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[img]http://i56.tinypic.com/1qpf6t.jpg[/img]

These are the new pots! Im placing them in the area most shaded in the pool.

ps. I just realized that my cat Louie was curiously looking over through the glass as I was taking the photo. :)

Sani
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Im back!
and I got my first Principe Borghese tomato!
[img]http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/7438/zna8401.jpg[/img]

Since my last update I had a brief whitefly 'attack' on the leaves of my larger plants, that caused some chlorosis and cuts, so I dusted them all with Diotemacious Earth and I've been regularly spraying Neem Oil.
I am pruning most suckers. I also added mulch to all pots.

[img]http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/8631/zna8388.jpg[/img]

All my plants are flowering nicely

[img]http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/6805/zna8406.jpg[/img]

The determinant Principe Borghese much ahead of the indeterminant San Marzanos (they're the short ones)

[img]http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/8297/zna8390.jpg[/img]

I have one concern, the stems of the larger plants have these purplish/dark dots. Here is the stem with a close-up next to it.

[img]http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/2928/zna8410.jpg[/img]

Sani
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I know this is nothing to you guys, but getting about a hundred of these for the first time is beyond my wildest gardening-dreams! :D

[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/34tewbm.jpg[/img]

Thanks for the tips everyone!

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Garf
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I just found a worm in one of my Red Brandywine babys. Time for BT.

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Garf
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[quote="Sani"]I know this is nothing to you guys, but getting about a hundred of these for the first time is beyond my wildest gardening-dreams! :D

[img]http://i55.tinypic.com/34tewbm.jpg[/img]

Thanks for the tips everyone![/quote]
Remember, this is only the beginning.

Sani
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Garf, what do you mean?

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