GardenFresh
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Juliuskitty wrote:I am not Applestar, but if it is OK, I can illuminate on that issue somewhat. In general, you should never let the aggregate get completely dry. Drip irrigation systems offer consistant watering, can be set up for containers, but might not be necessary for your needs.
Some questions before answering, please. First, what is in your potting mix? Is it potting soil, or potting mix? Did you add any dolomite lime, or garden lime( basically same thing)? What type of fetilizer, and whats your schedule for it, or did you place a "strip"at the beginning? Is your 5 gallon bucket a single bucket, or a self watering type of system?
A lot of the BER writing pertained to planting in soil, which is very different than container gardening.
Juliuskitty-

Sorry about that...I did not mean just Applestar specific...and yes I appreciate your assistance or anyone's for that matter:)

Just to answer some of your questions:

First, what is in your potting mix? (I simply use topsoil and mushroom soil...trying to keep things as organic as possible)

Did you add any dolomite lime, or garden lime( basically same thing)? (No)

What type of fertilizer, and whats your schedule for it, or did you place a "strip"at the beginning? (No, figured the mushroom soil would give it enough fertilizer for now).

Is your 5 gallon bucket a single bucket, or a self watering type of system? (I use a 2 bucket system..I drill holes in the top bucket and let it drain into the second bucket.)

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

applestar wrote:Yep. Thanks juliuskitty :D -- or anyone else -- please do post answers to any questions posted if you know the answer. :wink:

Watering IS the issue. I usually do the "stick finger in the soil" test. But actual amount and frequency to water will depend on the size of the container, how moisture retentive the growing medium is, and the number and size of drain holes in the bucket -- how well the water drains out.

In a tall container like 5 gal buckets, the bottom can remain wet/moist while the top has dried out. There would be a gradual level of dryness from top to bottom. I would let the surface dry (putting finger on the surface of the mix feels dry) and water when a finger pushed into the mix about 1 inch still feels little or no moisture (for me that's first two joints of the forefinger) --- but I wouldn't want to let the 2nd inch layer to become dry (first two joints of *my* middle finger).

I have started drilling holes in the SIDES of containers. My two gal buckets get a series of holes at the bottom rim and halfway up. I would drill holes at bottom then 1/3 and 2/3 of the way up the sides of 5 gal buckets.

Temperature and humidity will affect how quickly the mix dries out. Also, when it's colder OUTSIDE, the heater runs more often to maintain the thermostat temp, so the air dries out more.

INDIVIDUALLY, the plants will need water more or less depending on their developmental stage. Once they start setting fruits, they drink a lot more than when they are just foliage. So you need to check them individually and water accordingly. Unlike outside on the ground where the moisture levels will even out somewhat, each container is it's own little world.

I have heard, though not confirmed, that although the term is "foliar" (leaf) feeding, the developing fruits can absorb calcium through their skin while they are still small/tiny. But by the time you actually notice BER on larger green fruits, it's too late.

You do need some calcium in the growing medium to begin with and commercial potting mix --especially peat and perlite type potting mix-- are not likely to have any (or very little). I like organic potting mix that contain compost and mycos (mycorrhizae) when I'm buying them, and use my own home made compost, vermicompost and under the woodpile or leaf pile topsoil when mixing my own. Other stuff I add also provide macro and micro nutrients and minerals -- rock phosphate, greensand, dolomitic lime, Kelp meal, pelleted alfalfa, and sand. I do sometimes add eggshells at time of planting in the bottom of the container, but rarely later on.

Whenever possible, I also add earthworms to the plant pots. On Christmas, I came home with two 1/2 pt containers of "baby crawlers" after visiting with BIL who went fishing and got me extra from the baits shop. ("Whatcha getting your SIL for Christmas?" ... "A couple of boxes of worms." :lol: ) He's promised to get me redworms (red wigglers) for my vermicomposter next time -- which may be today since he and DH went fishing for lake trout early this morning 8)
Applestar-

Thanks for the detailed post. I will start practicing the finger soil test. Usually when I water the top is fairly dry. I have about 5 holes in the bottom about 7/8 in diameter each I think (if I remember correctly). I just figured the bottom layer was dry as well. I hear it drain after I get done watering.

I might start drilling holes in the sides like you mentioned. Of course that will have to wait until next year. I went ahead and picked off the tomatoes with BER and hoping that new fruit may turn out ok.

Not sure what else to do at this point...maybe adding some lime...I assume that is organic (trying to keep things as natural and organic as possible).

Thanks.....

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Gardenfresh, I sent you a PM.
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Quick update pics:

Sweet N Neat is looking good. I'll pick one or more fruits tomorrow:
Sweet N Neat pink
Sweet N Neat pink
This Kootenai is going down, but the fruits can be saved:
Sorry looking Kootenai
Sorry looking Kootenai
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Juliuskitty wrote:Gardenfresh, I sent you a PM.
Sorry for the late response...yes I got your PM and will reply when I get a chance....with the holidays and a 7 month old, time is def not on my side....LOL

Applestar-

Nice pics...I may need to drive up there and buy some tomatoes from you...mine are not looking to hot!

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Applestar, just because I'm curious and I so admire what you are doing, why is the Kootenai going down, what is killing it? I looked back at the beginning of this thread and it was planted the beginning of Aug. That makes it 5 months old now. When I start tomatoes in Feb and grow them in the ground, they (usually) have no trouble producing until frost killed in Oct.

Is it disease? Is it the difference between growing in ground and growing in buckets (e.g. roots too crowded, using up the soil nutrients)? OR?

thanks for your reply and your awesome example! :)
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Primarily, Kootenai is a determinate.
:arrow: https://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/Kootenai

But I did drown it :oops: -- probably at a critical juncture. It was sucking up water really fast with so many fruits to support, then one day all of a sudden it stopped, and I didn't realize it so that it sat soaking in water filled drip tray for over 36 hours. :eek:

For what this may indicate, the other plant that has been following parallel growth rate has been yellowing as well even though it doesn't have/has not produced as many fruits.

I'll have to go back and check my notes, but I think in the summer Winter Trial garden, Kootenai grew to be about 28" tall and produced smatterings of small fruits even after the first numerous lump mass production until something like late July/early August. It was exceedingly drought and shade tolerant even growing in the willow oak root zone, though it was not as flavorful as Manö. (I was also going to grow Manö this winter but the seeds failed at the very start).
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

nice to see you are still going Applestar. My plants are all gone they were taken down by the mysterous evil that took over. Now I think i have a mouse eating my drying seeds. I can't win for loosing.

Keep it going, won't be long till we shift gears for spring.

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum is starting to color break :D
Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum
Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum
image.jpg (59.62 KiB) Viewed 1998 times
Another Coyote (?) almost ripe 8)
image.jpg
Have been harvesting the Sweet n Neat as they ripen. Not really sweet like the summer harvest, but juicy and nice tangy good tomato flavor burst. :()
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

applestar wrote:Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum is starting to color break :D
image.jpg
Another Coyote (?) almost ripe 8)
image.jpg
Have been harvesting the Sweet n Neat as they ripen. Not really sweet like the summer harvest, but juicy and nice tangy good tomato flavor burst. :()
Very much looking forward to a photo of CTSP when it colors up. 8)
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Me too! :D

...also realized Cherokee Purple Variegated clone which had NO variegation when I brought it in this fall is starting to show a bit of variegation. So temp dependency may be involved?
image.jpg
:oops: not looking as good as it could be :oops:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Wow, interesting. Seems like variegation is showing up more and more. I have a variegated branch on my cherry roma plant. Someone on a different forum thinks it is a virus with an insect vector. I like the look though. :lol:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Cherry Roma? Is that seed grown and expressed variegation? Is it a determinate? 8)

Here are update photos of CT Striped Plum and also CT Large Red
CTSP
CTSP
CTLR
CTLR
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Amazing.

Nuff Said.

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

applestar wrote:Cherry Roma? Is that seed grown and expressed variegation? Is it a determinate? 8)

Here are update photos of CT Striped Plum and also CT Large Red
image.jpg
image.jpg
Yes, grown from seed. It is a regular leaf, indeterminate, red grape shaped cherry, open pollinated, DTM in my garden were in the 70s. PM me with your addy if you want some seeds. :D
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

PM sent. Thanks, Juliuskitty! :()
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Just HAD to share this picture of the second ripening Cherokee Tiger Large Red 8)
Cherokee Tiger Large Red behind the sofa
Cherokee Tiger Large Red behind the sofa
Jack'ss Yellow is finally starting to bloom at 40" above soil level in a 7" container. I buzzed them with the electric toothbrush and they generated a cloud of pollen so they should set fruit. But I think this variety is too tall and later maturing for ideal winter indoor grow. The flavor should be outstanding though, so it might be worth the effort if room to grow is available.
Jack'ss Yellow blossoms
Jack'ss Yellow blossoms
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum before harvesting:
Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum
Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum
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Today's assortment :()
Cherokee Tiger Large Red
Cherokee Tiger Striped Plum ___ Kootenai
Sweet N Neat Pink
image.jpg
Note that the fruit sizes are small... But CTSP is growing in a 1/2 gal milk carton. CTLR is in a 3 gal container but it is behind the sofa -- an interior location 18" from the wall -- and is only getting light from a double CFL bulb utility light and what natural light (not direct sunlight) gets through from a window, one edge of which is about 18" to the side of it (18"x18" away from the side of the window) PAST the avocado, another tomato plant and a jasmine plant. Kootenai and SnN are growing in the double decker udon bowls.

I would say Sweet N Neat is true to its small cherry size, and Kootenai is maybe 75% of the true size.
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Pit Vipers didn't want to grow for some reason. They STILL look like this and they were dropped in early October. I uppotted them today into these 4" pots to see if they will try to grow more.
image.jpg
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Cherokee Tiger Large Red
image.jpg
image.jpg
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

nice pics but your killing me here smalls. :D :P

Though I do have 9 dwarfs all up just today, so it's on people. :-()

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Says you -- you'll be posting jungle pics of your own soon enough. :lol:

The Pit Vipers are feeling much better -- so weird that they didn't grow at all in that other container but was not exactly stunted or anything -- and have grown quite a bit. Now that they are growing more, you can definitely see they are dwarfs by the short internodes.

With any luck, these will be my first extra early harvests this growing season. The parent of these had green when ripe fruits with red bi-color flesh at blossom end and up the center. 8) I believe it's still segregating so no guarantee that mine will fruit the same way, but one can hope. :mrgreen:
Pit Viper
Pit Viper
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Here are first fruits on this Jackass Yellow -- at approx 4 feet above the soil level, growing in a 1 gallon container. It tried to bloom and set fruits a little earlier and lower to the ground on the vine but failed, probably due to the cold temp since it's sitting on the floor with the Cool Gang:
Jackass Yellow
Jackass Yellow
...and some more Coyote:
Coyote
Coyote
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Applestar-

Since we both are in similar zones (NJ and DE), when are you planning to start your outside tomato seedlings? I just started some cool crop early spring stuff in the beginning of Feb (broc, caul, lettuce, kale, etc).

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

I start sowing my main tomato seeds around end of February - beginning of March. Like last year, I'm going to start the slow to get going dwarfs and very late to mature varieties this week after sowing the peppers ("after Valentines Day" is how I schedule it) :mrgreen:

I started and currently am starting the slow to germinate as well as the extra cold and cool temp hardy stuff right now as well. :arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 06#p323006 :wink:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Applestar, please share your grow list for this year. :D
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Believe me I'm working on it -- I printed out my entire inventory master list (almost 300 varieties), cut them into narrow paper strips of names with two DD's help, and then we took turns drawing the names out of a box. :() (OK OK I first put check marks next to varieties that were particularly recommended ...and the rule was to pick from the recommended names :wink: )

I now have 75+ varieties on the tentative grow list (the ones you sent/offered made the first cut, juliuskitty :D )... Struggling to bring the number down to under 50. :roll:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Update on these two:
Jackass Yellow
Jackass Yellow
image.jpg (33.02 KiB) Viewed 1981 times
...I just went downstairs to measure and confirm because it doesn't look it in the photo, but this fruit is about 3-1/2 inches across the long elliptical axis.
Coyote
Coyote
I don't have a picture, but the one Utyonok produced a fruit then bit the dust. The poor thing was struggling and then got totally infested by aphids. I might take a picture of the fruit.
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

applestar wrote:Believe me I'm working on it -- I printed out my entire inventory master list (almost 300 varieties), cut them into narrow paper strips of names with two DD's help, and then we took turns drawing the names out of a box. :() (OK OK I first put check marks next to varieties that were particularly recommended ...and the rule was to pick from the recommended names :wink: )

I now have 75+ varieties on the tentative grow list (the ones you sent/offered made the first cut, juliuskitty :D )... Struggling to bring the number down to under 50. :roll:
So many plants.... So little room, sigh! :lol:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

I have always heard you don't grow tomatoes in clay pots ..they dry out too much . Is that an old wives tale or true and yet I see this picture posted on here and your seedling looks good . can anyone give me some insight to this ?

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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

phonelady61 wrote:I have always heard you don't grow tomatoes in clay pots ..they dry out too much . Is that an old wives tale or true and yet I see this picture posted on here and your seedling looks good . can anyone give me some insight to this ?
As long as humidity is high enough and there is no drought, I find clay pots grow better seedlings than plastic. I think the roots can get more air. I would grow everything in clay pots if I could -- weight, space, winter freeze/crack requiring extra attention to clean up and storage being negative aspects.

My solution has been to turn to soil blocks for seed starting, but I don't have the dirt space -- like a greenhouse -- to grow them to larger soil block size so. I uppot to containers after the 2" mini block. I might spring for a larger soil block maker at some point but not the 4" one.



I suspect that once they are fruiting size, the water requirements may make it difficult to grow tomatoes in clay pots unless you have automatic or self watering set up of some sort. Clay pots large enough for full production of even small dwarfs (2-3 gallon) can be heavy too.

Outside on the patio, I have been using wooden planters with good results.
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

I went to look at those Pit Vipers and noticed that the clay pot one is growing out of the pot.
Look at the difference in the root development :D
Pit Viper seedlings in plastic vs. clay pots
Pit Viper seedlings in plastic vs. clay pots
The leaves are curled because they are having aphid issues and also I overwatered by accident. :oops:
The dwarf growth pattern with the short internodes is always a surprise. I'm also intrigued by the purple (high antho) stems 8)
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Blossoms almost open on the first truss of the uppotted Pit Viper:
Image

The other Pit Viper that was in the green plastic pot was moved to the clay pot as you can see behind the CT Striped Plum which I'm counting as part of my 2014 tomatoes :wink:
Image

Both -- well, ALL -- of them have received some attention from the ladybugs in the new Indoor Garden Patrol. So I can rest easy. :mrgreen:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Here is a picture of fruits from the latest truss of what I'm calling "Coyote (Not)". There are three more green and just blushed fruits on the same truss.

It is a very rambling vine (no doubt inherited from the Coyote mother) that is being tied onto trunk and branches of a 5 ft avocado. Only sparsely forming trusses but that's probably because it's about a foot or more away from the 4 ft T-12 shoplight standing vertically. The pot is ON the surface of the avocado pot so maybe a foot above the floor which is still kind of cold (cold enough that therosemary and tea plants are happy) in the Cool Gang area.

Image
- clear skinned smallish Coyote-sized cherries with blush reminiscent of Jaune Flammée that was growing next to the Coyote.
- intense tomato flavor but not sweet at all, not even fully ripened. Super acid. But I have to admit even de-seeded they tasted kind of good.
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Yet ANOTHER picture of the Jackass Yellow fruit.... 8)
(I know, I know... :> ...but this is the biggest fruit I've seen on a Winter indoor tomato plant :flower:)

Ooh! I LOVE posting because I think of something practically every time I do -- I think I should tie up this fruit more securely before the entire vine collapses. :eek:
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

:evil: RUSSET MITES :evil:

...I had my suspicions after lower leaves of some of the plants started to wither, so I finally broke out the kids' "toy" digital microscope. Very old model and lousy quality, but you can see them. :x
60X
Image

200X
Image

...now to go retrieve the license serial number from my old computer so I can use this updated software properly (the trial copy only let me use pixels as measurement unit). The 200X was actually a video clip but flickr only uploaded a photo :? --- guess I'll have to figure that out later.
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

Gosh Applestar, those are horrible! I was looking around and some of the older sprays that were effective had Canola oil around 80% with a small amount of pyrethrins. There is also a man here from South Africa who used Canola oil mixed with garlic, and said it was very effective. So I think the common denominator is the Canola oil. :) The first source said they sprayed an over and under leaf, and stem spray ( very thorough)every 5 days for 2 weeks, and problem solved. Makes sense to me, because all the soft bodied parasites are susceptible to the smothering action of the oil. Also, they can't build up a resistance to pass along to future generations from being smothered, because they are always going to be soft bodied.
I suspect I may have them, I feel the powderyness( is that a word?) and I see the lower leafs on some going brown. My magnification isn't good enough. I am going to mix about 2 TBSP per gallon canola oil, and 1/2 tsp per gallon of dish soap liquid as a means of lowering the surface tension( wetting agent) and spray in the cool late afternoon hours, we'll see what happens... After all, if the plants are dying anyway, what do
I have to lose?

Many thanks for posting this and the other thread's mite pictures. I really appreciate that you did this. :D
My definition of insanity; trying to grow heirloom tomatoes in South Florida!

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applestar
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

You are welcome and thanks for the info :D I may have to go the oil spray route, but for now, I got more ladybugs out of the refrigerator in hopes that they do eat russet mites -- internet search results were unclear... No reliable source to cite from though some people said they were effective predators of (russet) mites. I think it's more likely that the youngest larvae would prey on such small prey so the adults may not be the answer.

IF I were to get predatory mites, the ladybugs may eat THEM :|

Here, I found some more :evil:
These were on Red House Freestanding in another area of the house.
60X
Image
200X
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It turned out that the Red house Freestanding plant is more heavily infested as you can see. (Lower humidity in this area maybe part of the problem.) I'm concerned now that our cats who like to sit on the windowsill where this plant is, could be transporting and spreading them on their fur.

I tried looking at the pruners and scissors I used to cut the leaves to see if any got on the tools! but I only saw one or two that *may* have been mites. I also tried using the clear tape on all the surfaces nearby to see if any mites get lifted off by the sticky tape, but I really didn't see any.

Here's how I make my samples -- I sandwich the piece of leaf between a long piece of clear shipping tape and seal the edges shut:
image.jpg
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Juliuskitty
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Location: South Florida

Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

That's just a little bit of pure genius IMHO. You know I am reading this with great interest. I gots to gets me a microscope! :lol:
My definition of insanity; trying to grow heirloom tomatoes in South Florida!

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applestar
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Re: WHO WILL BE GROWING WINTER TOMATOES INSIDE THIS YEAR?

So have you observed any russet mites on your plants?

They are insidious and difficult to control. I have one plant (Variegated Cherokee Purple) that I am trying to basically scrub clean of all inhabitants to see what happens, but the ladybugs -despite obvious piggyback rides- I think are finding the house temp to be too low. However, I HAVE seen one and two (meaning very small number of) larval forms that have grown into adults from the previously released group (different species) so it's not entirely impossible it seems. I'm considering getting green lacewings or predatory mites now.

Since last posting, I have given up on a handful of plants and put them outside to freeze off. (I actually sowed some halesia (silverbell) tree seeds in those pots to see if they will cold stratefy and sprout later 8) -- no biggie if they don't. ). I'm also attempting to keep alive two indeterminate varieties by rooting cuttings.

It's snowing outside now -since overnight and still- and accumulation on the patio table looks like 6 inches or more. Temp in the 20's. (sigh)

But really, this -mid March- is typically the most difficult period of the winter indoor growing every year. Stressed from low humidity, low temp, occasional overwatering, and the usual indoor gardening pests like mites and aphids, scale insects, fungus gnats.... Too freezing cold to let anything out except on day to day basis -- which for me with so many plants is near impossible to manage for all. So only the select few gets the VIP shuttle ride treatment. If you only have a small number of plants, I think it's worth doing.

This Jackass Yellow took all winter to produce a single ripening fruit, albeit a big one. Due to nature of gradual pollen set in a mega/fused bloom, it is already ripe on the far side while the near side lobes are still hard and green/barely color breaking. Unless growing for giant tomatoes, this kind of characteristic is actually undesirable. :roll: -- no doubt this is why the breeder of this variety is now selecting for single blossom fruit characteristic. It's a dwarf plant growing only to about 4 feet tall. If it had been provided with much more favorable growing conditions -- full exposure supplemental light (instead of one sided vertical twin 4' t-12) warmer (70's instead of 60's/50's) and in larger container (5 gal bucket instead of a measly 6-1/2" pot) -- I would think it would have produced more and likely earlier.
Ripening Jackass Yellow
Ripening Jackass Yellow
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.



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