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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

Noticed last night that first Whippersnapper is blushing :D
image.jpg
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

I like this timing. We had 2 hard frosts and the tomatoes outside are done, while the Indoor tomatoes are ripening and ready to start harvesting. :()

Maglia Rosa #2, Whippersnapper #1
image.jpg
Coyote #2, Whippersnapper #2
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

I asked DD to provide a taste review of these four little beauties:
image.jpg
Maglia Rosa, Coyote, Yellow Dwarf, and Whippersnapper

She started with the Yellow Dwarf and said it "tasted like the big tomatoes" -- now that's pretty significant considering that she's comparing it to the top flavor picks like Terhune, Captain Lucky, Missouri Rose, Ananas Noire, Grandma Oliver's Chocolate, Faelan's First Snow (Cherokee Purple type), etc.

Then she had Whippersnapper and said it tasted sweet and she liked it.

The Coyote which she said was sweeter and yummier.

She saved the Maglia Rosa for last, saying she had this before. She paused a minute to clear her palate and explained that her mouth was full of "tomato flavor" -- which I think can be ascribed to the Coyote's strong lingering finish. Then she had the first bite and her eyes widened -- REALLY SWEET! She declared Maglia Rosa the best out of the four. :D
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

I'm running into problems with TRM (tomato russet mite) infestation again. Without the mite predators to rescue them like they did outside this summer, Maglia Rosa#1, Dwarf Arctic Rose#1, Sweet N Neat (pink OP) #1, and Manö #1 and #2 on top of the Winter Paradise indoor greenhouse shelves are toast, though some of them did produce a couple of clusters of mature tomatoes before they went down.

I'm thinking of trying to grow dwarf snap peas there to see if it can be done (trying to think of something that won't be affected by TRM that will grow well in the coming couple of months since the temperature will continue to descend at this north-facing window location -- looking at mid-60's at most and as low as low 50's with blasts of freezing drafts from the front foyer and door. With the front flap down and even zipped closed, it should stay warm enough (upper 60's to 70's) INSIDE the Winter Paradise for the basils, orchids, peppers, curry plant, etc.

In this photo, you can see the Yellow Dwarf starting to go down :(

Yellow Dwarf ....... (Maglia Rosa#1 and Coyote#2 in the back) Whippersnapper#1, Coyote#1 close up
image.jpg
Whippersnapper#2 ...... Maglia Rosa#1 close up with super variegated Fish pepper

Dwarf Arctic Rose#2
image.jpg
Sweet N Neat (pink OP)#2 ....... Orange Pixie

I just brought the Dwarf Arctic Rose#2 and Sweet N Neat#2 -- as well as a few more -- inside from the garage V8 Nursery yesterday because the temp there dropped to 38°F. So these are suffering from the cold and somewhat stunted from the slow growth in the cooler fall garage temps. I was going to use them to replace the determinate varieties as they finished up deteriorated, but since top of WP appear too hazardous for tomatoes, I'll have to think of other locations to distribute them.

(I fully expect the TRM to spread to other tomato plants around the house on me and my clothing, so it's probably just a matter of time until we have a full blown pandemic.... :? )
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

I'm going to post some updates today, starting with ones that are doing well. :D

Here' s Orange Pixie as of yesterday.... Waiting for the first truss to ripen :)

It's in one of my "crazy idea" winter container experiments - identical OJ jugs used to EXPAND rather than uppot into a larger container. I tried similar ideas by stacking containers last winter.
image.jpg
image.jpg (33.79 KiB) Viewed 2793 times
...it started with the shorter jug, then I cut matching openings in the side walls and added the "external container expansion" I was REALLY pleased to see the roots growing into and starting to fill the 2nd container within a couple of weeks. I got the idea from external drives and battery packs while perusing a geeky gadget catalog. :()
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

More photos :wink:
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image.jpg
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

Now, HERE is a sad photo of the Maglia Rosa in the KFC bucket. It has mostly succumbed to the TRM attack. I've given up on it and am trying some Sugar Sprint snap peas and Solstice broccoli, as well as a scattering on cilantro in the container (I'll prick out the broccoli once they grow true leaves though it looks as though they needed to be closer to the light :roll: ). You can see the white container that contained the a Yellow Dwarf in the back after the fruits were harvested. The right hand photo shows the Dwarf Arctic Rose with the small fruits, also going down after ripening this tiny harvest.... :|
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...but I'm hoping to turn things around for the rest of the struggling and still healthy Winter Indoor Tomatoes by releasing ladybugs and -hopefully- green lacewings (GLWs). Documenting the process in this other thread: Subject: Embrace Your INNER APE –dealing with APHIDS >> got ladybugs

The small paper bags and folded papers in the above photos contain some of the GLW eggs that are expected to hatch out the voracious mite-eating GLW larvae.
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

Here's another look at the two Dwarf Arctic Rose plants. One put out a megabloom while still small and set a single fruit very early on, then stayed out in the cooling garage V8 Nursery and took a long time to mature the fruit, but when the garage temp fell into 40's it was brought inside while the large fruit still green. The other plant was brought indoors relatively early on, but became infested by TRM and struggled to mature the first cluster of three fruits.

They are both still in the 1/2 gallon rice milk cartons.
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The three smaller fruits are 1.5", 1.75" and 2" at widest diameter. The mega fruit is 3"

Oh yeah, and the two Orange Pixie are ready to harvest :()
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...huh? It's strange but I can't seem to get the fruit color to be what my eye are seeing...
They look more like THIS
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

A "clinical" summary of things that have been happening with my Winter Indoor Tomatoes so far -- a progress review of sorts :wink:

Some of my Winter Indoor Tomatoes have failed completely, while others are struggling, and yet others are looking quite well still, and I have hopes for one plant that was down to sticks but is now growing a healthy-looking shoot even though it is touching another plant that has recently declined to "the sticks" state. I'll post photos of these later to illustrate their conditions better.

After doing this for the last few years, I know my main issue is with TRM -- tomato russet mites. I haven't even set up the microscope to verify it this time. They need to be magnified to 60x to 100x to see clearly. They can easily be transferred from one plant to another by handling infested plants. I really think on occasion, I have spread them with my E toothbrush. They can also be blown from one plant to the next on air currents.

In my case, progress of infestations can be readily observed because I have several discreet growing areas. Some areas escape infestation for a long time, but eventually show that I have not been as careful as I should -- I grow too many and get careless.

I have heard and read about many different possible sprays and treatments for TRM, but I really prefer to not use any broad spectrum killing agents. Also, indoors and packed, it's very difficult to spray anything sticky or stinky and certainly nothing toxic. I won't get into all the details right now.

Related to the mite issue is the rapid decline in humidity as soon as the outside temperature has dropped to the point that the central heating kicks in almost around the clock.

My other indoor garden nemesis are aphids and scale insects. Tomatoes are not particularly affected by scale insects though. It's the aphids that can get out of hand because ants that pasture them around and protect them find their way in -- either during periods of thaw from outside, or because they have actually moved INTO one or more of the containers.

Oh! I forgot to mention because I have been fortunate not to see too much of this so far -- tomato leaf miner moths can also devastate the Winter Indoor Tomatoes. I think I did see a couple fluttering around in the lights in the last week, and found one infested leaf so far. If I'm careful about inspecting the leaves, I may be able to stop a general explosive infestation by the next generation of hatched moths.

Finally, another critical turning point, I feel, is when the soil nutrients in the containers are depleted. Sometimes, if I'm not ready, they first to suffer the nutrient deficiency is too stressed to recover well, especially because they are at the point when they are blooming and fruiting and needing the next level and balance in nutrients.
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

L1. Whippersnapper in the hanging basket in Winter Wonderland is rapidly yellowing -- combination, I think, of TRM infestation and premature senescence due to being a Determinate.
L2. Sweet n Neat (pink OP) is ripening the first fruit, but it looks as though I managed to transfer some TRM on this otherwise unaffected plant in the Green Room which is isolated from the other, more heavily infested Winter Indoor Tomato growing areas
L3. A couple more Maglia Rosa ripening in Winter Wonderland, but this plant may bite the dust! The upright vine in the center is a Coyote plant and although it is also infested, they haven't managed to get to the upper vines where new green fruit clusters are maturing... Yet.
image.jpg
R. This area was first to be infested by the TRM (some dead plants have already been removed). If you look closely, there are three tomato plants in this photo from top of Winter Paradise. (1) the last pink Dwarf Arctic Rose fruit is basically hanging on dried up stick, (2) mostly dead Manö in the right foreground, and (3) fresh looking new shoot from the Maglia Rose in the KFC bucket that otherwise looks like dead sticks -- infestation level is somewhere between DAR and Manö. Although there are some yellowing and the new shoot may end up like the others, I'm hoping for a miracle recovery, which would indicate presence of predatory mites.
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

WHY am I posting about growing peas in the Winter Indoor Tomato growing thread? ...because if this experiment is successful, I think I'll succession plant dwarf peas during this coldest period -end of Nov to beginning of Feb- after the first string tomatoes have gone down. 8)

...but let's not count the eggs yet... Here they are, just starting to grow:
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...I'm also trying to grow the Littleleaf H-19 parthenocarpic cucumber again, but it requires growing in the Winter Paradise where temps can be maintained in the 70's:
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

OK I'll add a review of things that I've been doing that I think makes a positive difference

I find spider mites and the TRM to be particularly difficult to deal with. A couple of winters ago, I had an outbreak of two-spotted mites on a tomato plant that was completely isolated from others. I decided to try to rescue it by soap and oil solution spray and dip. I'm talking dedicated and tedious process of dipping every single leaf and transporting the plant in a 3 gal container to the bathtub on almost daily basis to spray and shower.

Despite the demanding work, the spidermites were hardly reduced while the leaves themselves suffered and deteriorated from excessive treatment and handling.

I combed the web for references and treatment options, and most say the mites may or may not respond to sulfur, possibly neem, but they are very resistant. My conclusion at that time is that predatory mites are the only effective control -- but they are expensive to purchase and most sources are too distant to reliably obtain without express shipping (nearly doubling the already high cost). If you have the budget for them, I would recommend just going straight for predatory mites.

I know from this summers experience -- the way infested plants grew new shoots that were completely clear of the mites -- that they ARE out there... i.e. Some species of Garden Patrol (natural predators) that can control the TRM. Normal infestation of red spider mites usually doesn't happen until very late in the winter -- nearly spring, and my solution has always been put them out in the garden as soon as temperature permits. Sometimes out of control scale insect outbreak can also be remedied by putting them outside under the auspices of the Garden Patrol.

I simply can't do the isolated "clean room" -- too many plants to being back inside. Also, I have found that I really have less problems if I bring in the plants with their phytosphere intact, rather than the traditionally recommended antiseptic treatment to thoroughly debug foliage and soil before bringing them in.

So as crazy as this may sound, I don't. In fact, I introduce earthworms and compost into the rhizosphere, and spiders and ladybugs into the phyllosphere. Especially in the beginning, I sometimes still see beneficial wasps and flies buzzing among them and in the lights, emerging from the soil, etc. I'm hoping to see if by some luck, the TRM predator has come inside as well. In the future I want to try to work out a way to encourage/ensure that the predatory mites will be brought inside for the indoor garden.

AACT or some equivalent has been exceedingly beneficial -- I can't dedicate my efforts to strictly controlled brews -- I maintain a 2 gallon bucket of mixed compost tea, reconstituted alfalfa pellet tea (for extra N), UCG (used coffee grounds) and UTB (used tea bags), rice washing rinse water, beverage container rinse out water, etc. with 24 hour aeration. To this, I sometimes add a pinch of dolomitic lime or Epsom salts (my only concession to salt "fertilizer"). My usual practice is to start watering with this at some level of dilution on regular basis after the container nutrients are estimated to be depleted. The water is always left out overnight at least to outgas chlorination before added to the "tea" and for using on the plants.

This year, I'm also keeping a jug stuffed with willow bark and leaves to which I add water to steep. I water with this when I think some plants need encouragement to grow more roots or are suffering an ailment.

For the humidity issues, I have found the single most important routine is to spray with filtered water every morning until the plants are dripping with the simulated "dew". Using a hygrometer, I've measured that the ambient humidity can be raised by 20 to 30% sometimes to near 100% for the moment! and then the RH slowly dropped back to the room average over the course of 2-3 hours. For my situation -- not in a damp basement where many people,s grow areas are located but in regular living areas -- this has been critical. I try to spray every morning or at least every other morning. Neglecting this has shown clear decline in the plants' health. I sometimes add a little milk or whey in areas that can handle the overspray (or if the plants can be brought to the sink or bath tub), a pinch of Epsom salts, or spray with the willow water.

There is a lowest threashold for light/supplemental light that must be met or the tomatoes won't thrive enough to bloom and fruit. I've been trying to identify varieties that are more likely to tolerate -fruit in spite of- lower light levels.

..more tomorrow...
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

...more thoughts and reviews...

CHOICE OF VARIETIES

I concentrate on varieties that are extra early to early maturing, productive and extra tasty.
I have been concentrating on genetically dwarf varieties that have short internodes, which compensates for the diminished light levels and won't waste space or grow too lanky. And will start fruiting on trusses that are closer to the soil than than most standard indeterminates.

I prefer varieties that won't grow any more than about 30" max which is as high as my main tomato growing shop light can go -- and that grow well in container size of 3 gal max.

FLAVOR is important. The variety needs to start with exceptional flavor profile because the lower light and temperature are going to diminish the intensity. Already insipid lay flavored tomato will not be much better than supermarket tomatoes and not worth the time/effort/space. Varieties that are lacking in fairly strong sweetness will be tangy and astringent.

Large fruited varieties will grow but the fruit size is sometimes reduced in a small container, or else the plant itself will only grow to a certain point, then lose vigor due to constricted root space. I need to research more and trial more varieties because I ran into an interesting lucky find with Spudakee that would grow and grow in a tiny one gallon container and produce cherry-saladette sized, extra yummy fruits (split like crazy though). But another variety I trialed couldn't get over the small, restricted root space and would drop and shrivel blossoms, never setting fruit.

Maglia Rosa -- EXACTLY matches the criteria -- dwarf growth, early, tasty, larger than a cherry and sweet. Hopefully more productive when not suffering from TRM.

But this year's two exceptions have been --

(1) Whippersnapper, which was described as good for hanging baskets -- it sprawls and does not have the strong tendency to grow upwards, rather, willing to hang sideways and down without breaking. Whippersnapper's disadvantage is that it's a Determinate. So early to fruit, but it looks like what I would need to do is lavish care on this variety from the beginning to ensure good production, then possibly have a replacement growing to take it's place, or allow another, later maturing variety to take over it's space in "changing of the guard" succession.

(2) Coyote, which is, in the garden, a MASSIVE and tall indeterminate vine. It has lengthy internodes and insists on growing upwards. It prefers to have a massive root growing space. None of which fit my previously established criteria for Winter Indoor Growing. But what it does have going for it is disposition to start fruiting extremely early, and fruiting in clusters of at least 5-7 and THE SUPERB FLAVOR. Because of it's early fruiting tendencies, I'm considering clone-replacement of overgrown vines several times during the winter as a viable option.

VARIETIES I had success with so far:

Totally Recommended: Coyote, Maglia Rosa, Whippersnapper, Kootenai, Sweet n Neat (pink OP), Yellow Dwarf

Dwarf Arctic Rose (needs at least another season's trial), Sophie's Choice (almost too tangy but strong tomato flavor), Orange Pixie (dwarf OP but growing taller than strictly desired), Spudukee (not as productive as I would like, splits), Donomater (not stable yet though)


STARTING THE SEEDS

For Winter Indoor Tomatoes. I've decided that August 1 or as close to that as possible is the best timing to start the seeds. This allows them to grow in warm conditions for rapid maturity, blossoming and fruit set in ideal conditions before it gets too cold. Then the green fruits will ripen by the holidays to supply a bit of cheer. This year, first of the extra early Coyote and Whippersnapper were ripe before Thanksgiving.

I've tried starting some of the seeds and growing the seedlings outside twice so far, and both times, they became heavily infected by overwhelmingly rampant septoria. Diseased plants won't stand up to the diminished indoor conditions... not to mention the danger of spreading the disease to other plants in the close quarters. So it's best to start the seeds indoors in a better controlled environment.

The seedlings should not be provided with plenty of light and should not be allowed to get stunted -- they should be uppotted in 10-14 day intervals during the first month, then final or near final container by 2nd month... and provided with further enlarged root growing space as needed. I'm experimenting with "adding on" and expanding growing space with sidecar/"external battery" arrangement described earlier in this thread.

... To be continued ...
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

... Continued ...

FUNGUS GNATS is an oft cited problem when growing indoors. When infestation is serious, the larvae will proceed to eat tender root hairs of seedlings and stunt or kill them. Even more mature plants can be affected due to lack of vigor making them susceptible to other infections and infestations, I had a SERIOUS problem with them delaying and stunting growth of my pepper seedlings last year. I've done the blowing them away while outside -- I used a hand air pump for inflating party balloons. Indoors, I use the vacuum cleaner hose to suck up as many flying and crawling gnats as I can, each time, recalling Edna Mose's strict injunction: "Noooo CAPE! No CAPE!" (Incredibles)as the gnats, clinging literally for their live's worth, are vacuumed up by the betraying wings caught up in the airstream. :twisted:

I decided to trust that Bt var. israelensis is not harmful to human beings
https://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/BTgen.pdf

...and that the Mosquito Bits which contain Bti impregnated in ground corn cob bedding do not contain any additional toxic or chemical ingredients in the inactive "Other Ingredients" It has been approved for organic use, FWIW.

I mix a small amount into potting mix, a spoonful in a jug of water, and/or scratch some into the surface. I also sprinkle some in the catch trays so that excess water from the bottom is inoculated and re-absorbed into the bottom of the container soil.

For dealing with the adults, best and least stressful method for me is to set out containers of soapy water to dive into. Flowery or fruity scented suds work the best -- I use a scented children's bubble bath that I bought accidentally. I can't take the smell in a bathtub -- too strong, but a small container can be tolerated. They are best placed near the soil surface level or around the base of the pots. Bright white containers and surfaces attract them very well.
image.jpg
When I come across them, I catch and put centipedes in my containers. They will eat earthworm eggs and babies, which can be a negative, but I believe superior control of fungus gnat larvae by the centipedes supersedes this concern.

I used to try controlling fungus gnat adults and larvae on the soil surface by sprinkling ag/hort quality (i.e. NOT heat processed NOT pool filter) diatomaceous powder. But even thorough dusting did not phase the adult gnats -- they simply crawled out covered in white dust and flew off. The powders become useless when dampened.

However, in trying to find a good alternative to perlite -- dry dust from perlite makes me retch and have constricted dry throat, leading to asthma. I feel it's likely to be nearly as dangerous as asbestos when inhaled. And finding pumice gravel to be too heavy in potting mixes and overall expensive. I settled on UltraSorb, which is diatomaceous earth pulverized to perlite size sharp gravel. I get the "plain" kind with no other additives. This is a product often recommended by Bonsai folk for inorganic growing medium. I incorporate something like 1/3 C to 2 cups of potting mix. Sometimes more.

I believe when dry, the DE gravel form dangerously moisture robbing surfaces that help to dry up the gnat larvae and eggs. As they wear down to powder with use, they become like the DE powder. The ag quality DE powders are added to grain and feed and sometimes fed to farm animals as internal vermicide, so I assume they are less harmful -- in any case, they do not cause the respiratory reaction I get from perlite dust.

Combined use of all of these this year has been helping to control the fungus gnats.

...more to follow...
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

Remember the Tatjana I gave up on? I don't know if you would remember it as such, but I sowed some snap pea seeds around it and posted the photo.

Well, a new shoot started to grow from the cut off stick that was all that was left of the Tatjana.... so I decided to expand the root space for them a bit in case the new shoot will be able to resist the TRM (I'm hoping predatory mite population will emerge -- Mt theory is that if the new shoot remains healthy that would be an indication):
image.jpg
...this will only add 1/2 gallon, so I may have to do something more later, but -hey- it's a chance to experiment with my crazy ideas. nutz:

The 1/2 gallon grape juice carton contained the Manö that died from the TRM infestation... Or so I thought. When I cut the remaining stick off at the soil level to do this, the stem turned out to be solid green and alive inside. -- but I don't think it's going to be able to recover from being buried by having a bottomless container stuck on top of it. :|
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

image.jpg
L. Another round of Maglia Rosa with super variegated Fish pepper ripening some small fruits in the foreground. Fish is recovering from mites and aphids infestation.
R. Last show of fruits and a hurrah by this hanging basket Whippersnapper. In the background, Bolivian Rainbow pepper is starting to wake up and leaf out. It was struggling due to aphid infestation, but the indoor ladybug patrol has been working double time , and it is looking great now with fresh new leaves.
:()
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

First Sugar Sprint blossom -- now we will find out if this will work :-()
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Re: 2014-15 Who's growing Winter Indoor Tomatoes this year?

Cucumber has male blossoms now 8)
image.jpg
...I didn't make special effort to photo them, but both the pea (with two blossoms open today) and the cuke each had a ladybug on guard duty on one of the upper leaves. :()
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Third blossom opened on the Sugar Sprint peas -- can you see the finished two blossoms on the lower left?
Do they look like tiny pods to you?
image.jpg
This other KFC bucket needs to be divided or uppotted (if I still can....

...And the Solstice and Limba broccoli need to be coaxed out from both of them and potted individually. :bouncey:

ETA: Look! found this pod hiding :clap: when I turned and rearranged after stringing up another wire trellis (actually a broken power charger cord)
Image
Last edited by applestar on Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: !!! FOUND THE FIRST SNAP PEA POD !!!
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

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Coyote and Maglia Rosa are going to be keepers for my Winter Indoor Tomatoes lineup. More than anything else, they taste great despite the limited conditions. They also meet three of the important criteria which are (1) very early (2) productive (3) cooler temp tolerant. They are also apparently managing to outpace the TRM Infestation.
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applestar
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Okay, divided the sugar sprint into two buckets and uppotted the Limba broccoli. There's a 1qt rice milk carton community of 4 sturdy but small seedlings which I relegated to the currently near freezing garage V8 Nursery that is not in these photos, but that's the best light setup spot for short seedlings.
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Tried putting together another collage of the Coyote before picking all the ripe fruits -- it's a single plant in a 3 gal container that is only 3/4 full (planted in the bottom and added/mounded fresh soilmix twice so far with room for one more. It is growing three rambling, fruiting vines.
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

The upstairs Coyote finally bit the dust. I'm pretty sure upstairs is not as suitable for Winter Indoor Tomato growing because it's warmer = drier.

But I had some Utyonok seedlings in reserve, so I uppotted it after doubling the container capacity to 2 gallons:
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This window gets the sun from sunrise until the sun turns the house corner. Amount of sun exposure will increase every day now as the sun rises a little earlier and further east every day. 8)
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

So, DD ate that first pod -- she said it was sweet and yummy :D

...and we have the next pod developing 8) (Do you see it?)
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Now, this is small scale. I may try to uppot the Maglia Rosa KFC bucket since it's starting to fall apart. ... Then again, I may not.

-- but I think I will plan on growing a larger "pea patch" in next year's Winter Indoor Garden. :()
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Voices30
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Are those Kentucky Fried Chicken Containers? If they are, that's a creative use of leftover trash! Talk about recycling. How do they stand up to being watered though? I can see that they look like they are getting a bit damaged (at least the one on the right). I don't like using paper containers, because I am always scared that they will wick the water away from the soil, and if I really saturate them, they wind up falling apart of course.
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applestar
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

It's not too bad considering the KFC bucket that's falling apart now has been in use since 9/22/14.
I really like re-using the paper products for interim uppotting of seedlings that will be uppotted or transplanted out.
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Voices30
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Wow, it has been in use a long time. I do applaud you for recycling. I just happen to have the plastic pots that I have gathered over the years from people that had nurseries, or serious plant growers. I use the utility sink and mix in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water to sterilize. But I can admit that if I had not had all the pots gifted to me, I would be using a KFC bucket or equivalent as well. I hate spending money on anything. My wife hates me! LOL.

Your tomatoes in the winter are pretty impressive. If I was more motivated I could do something similar, but I don't really have the room to set up correctly. How much space do you typically use?
Robert Leavitt
Putnam County, Florida (Zone 8b)

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digitS'
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

I like the orange juice jugs :).

Here's a container question, also ...

How well or poorly would a small pepper variety like Thai Hot do in a half gallon of good potting soil? Does that seem like an adequate size for a season of growing, plus moving in for winter? Half gallon is not only a common pot size from nurseries but common at the supermarket.

Steve
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applestar
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

:oops: I have to admit to slowly expanding - or trying to - every year, but by my calculation, I can fit 8 2-3 gallon containers of 32" or shorter tomato varieties under the 4-tube T8 shoplight fixture, especially if in front of my good southeast-facing window to supply the winter's side/slanting direct sunlight for the lower foliages under the canopy. This winter, I've also allocated the space directly in front of the window to the Coyote, which is sprawling up and sideways but not so lush as to block the sunlight completely.

As for the peppers, I find that by the time I bring the dug up and grocery-bagged plants inside after letting them go dormant -- leaves shrivel and dry up as the temp in the garage fall below 50's to steady 40's and 30's, then I start bringing them inside when the winter extreme low (below freezing down to mid-20's or less in the garage) begins in late December-January. If it stays above mid-20's many of them will survive in the grocery bags as long as I give them a bit of water now and then to keep from completely drying out. -- Well, that was a long preamble -- ...Anyway, I pot them up in fresh well draining and enriched potting mix to bring in (including any earthworms I find in the rootball) and the the plants will have lost 2/3 to 3/4 of their root ball mass. I prune off dried up and/or twiggy branches down to leaf joints and branch knobs or just above new leaf buds that are sometimes already starting to peek out, and even the biggest of them really don't need much more than an 8" container until spring.

The smallest dwarf pepper I've grown so far is Peru White Hab, and that one grew pretty well in a 1/2 gal container all last winter and summer, and many of my overwintering pruned peppers were put in 1/2 gal containers but I think that's kind of small for most peppers to grow in during the summer. At least 1 gallon for the smallest ones, and 2-3 gallon for medium, but I would provide 5 gallon for the 4 footers. (In my garden, they don't get any bigger than that but in the South, you might go even bigger.)

I think 1/2 gal is a bit small even for overwintering the largest pepper varieties especially after they start leafing out.
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Orange Pixie Dwarf
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Such GORGEOUS orange!
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Look how well these are doing!!! I've been away too long... :oops:

Looks so nice! Congrats on your winter tomatoes!!!
Lindsay
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applestar
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Thanks, Lindsay. Missed you, too! :wink:
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Did I already say I'm sold on growing dwarf snap peas in my winter garden? I'm LOVING IT! :-()
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These Solstice broccoli are getting way huge. I'm going to try to either add an extension to the container or just plop it on top of a larger container of potting mix and remove the bottom from the KFC bucket which is already falling apart.
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

I noticed this evening how much this Tatjana that I had given up on had re-grown. It has two floral trusses that are almost ready to bloom. 8)

The Sugar Sprint in the same container had two pods ready to pick :()
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Subject: Embrace Your INNER APE –dealing with APHIDS >> got ladybugs
applestar wrote:Look what I found yesterday! :D
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There were a few more but I think I accidentally brushed against them :x

I hope there are some other mated couples laying eggs. This is one of the last green fruits on top of a rapidly declining Orange Pixie in Cool Gang -- it's been down to 50's°F here at tabletop level, so on the floor it's probably even colder and stressing the already TRM infested plant. It gave us about half dozen tasty fruits. Since it's a prime spot in front of the vertical double T-12 shop light fixture, I'll probably replace it with one of the overwintered peppers that I'm going to try to revive by bringing inside.
^^^
Actually more since I gave some of the fruits away. :-()
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

Can you believe this is the Dwarf Arctic Rose that had the mega fruit on terminating main trunk?
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I kept it in an isolated but less ideal location, so it's a bit spindly but the new sucker is free of TRM. I buried the rootball that was in the 1/2 gal rice milk container all the way at the bottom of this 2 gal bucket, so I think it will sit and take stock, then take off in this new location in the upstairs SE facing window. I'll top the container with additional fresh potting mix in another month or so.

You can also see the double-OJ containers planted with Utyonok which has replaced the Coyote. It has two tiny floral trusses starting to grow.

...and perhaps you can also see that the outer window is frosted this 14°F morning and there is snow on the ground outside. :o
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

I've double-deckered the first Sugar Sprint peas/Solstice broccoli growing in the former Maglia Rose tomato's KFC bucket by simple expedient of (easily) pulling the bottom panel off. The container was full of roots and root mass was pretty solid. They should be happy to make their way down into the new basement level of rich potting mix :()
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

That was a GREAT idea!
Lindsay
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

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...I think the roots found the new soil. Sugar Sprint snap peas are blooming all over! :()
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Now I thought I should post an update about the Winter Indoor Tomatoes. I have about a dozen Coyote cherry tomatoes ripening or developing on the vines. The Coyote lost a couple of the vines to the TRMS but the two other vines have nearly reached the ceiling and are growing THICK side shoots with floral clusters that have just finished blooming. I expect less blossoms (and fruits) if the lower leaves continue to dry up from the TRM's since it's getting to the point where lower vines have no leaves and the healthy leaves are ABOVE the light fixture where it's not so bright :roll: On the other hand, the room temperature has been dropping to 50's at night at sofa table level, so the Coyote might be finding warmer conditions up there near the ceiling.

The Dwarf Arctic Rose and Utyonok that were moved upstairs have settled into their uppotted 2 gallon containers and are blooming.

Utyonok:
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Dwarf Arctic Rose:
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I also have a smaller Utyonok growing in a 1/2 gallon Rice Milk container, and the Tatjana has resurrected downstairs despite what must be even cooler temperature on the Cool Gang floor level and are sporting about a half dozen green fruits.

In the mean time, those Dwarf Orange Pixie seeds that had started to germinate in the seed fermentation cup have been growing and I uppotted them today to 2L soda bottle SWC's (effectively approx. 1L soil capacity):
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Re: 2014-15 Winter Indoor Tomatoes... + sugar snaps and cucu

They're stocky! These newbies don't look even a bit bronzed either! TRM must be suffering!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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