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applestar
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

So, this year's Winter Indoor Tomatoes have been a rather sad sight. :(

It all seemed to have started out well, but the TRM'S (Tomato Russet Mites) have been rampantly taking over. I'm not sure what is to blame....

-- I'm sure now that it is partly due to the late start. I had decided a couple of years ago that it was best to start them by August 1, using the earliest, cool weather tolerant varieties, and doing so had the best results, with blossoms setting Indoors within a month after frost, and green fruits starting to ripen by end of November and through December.

-- I did NOT limit myself to the varieties I have already identified as known performers.

-- Late December through January seems to be when the plants get stressed the most. They don't really think it's time to grow, and are susceptible to significant pest infestations.

-- This year, we had a rather warm fall. I wonder that's why the Winter Paradise indoor greenhouse shelves which is in the North West window is the worst affected by the TRM's? It kept getting way hot in there, even with the front flap open.

--

So far, out of all if them, only ones to manage to reach fruiting and mature harvest stage were the Dwarf Arctic Rose x Utyonok (F1)'s which were super early to mature. One of the Dwarf Yellow x Sun Gold (F3) and Whipper Snapper x Faelan's First Snow (F2) have green fruits on right now. So really, not much harvest to eat at all, though these crosses were advanced to next generation for growing out in the main season this summer, and that in itself is very satisfying. 8)

...

The others have fallen victim to TRM's. Right now, it's turned into an interesting trial to see which ones will manage to recover --- Here are some...but by no means all...of them:
image.jpg
In the past, I have noted that many of the ones that are infested and overwhelmed all the way to the top, then grow new fresh green shoots from lower down like these will go on to grow without further problems. I don't know if that means they develop some kind of resistance to TRMs or that the original growths act as incubator for predatorial mites and now the plant has sufficient resident population of predators to keep new infestation at bay.


To my way of thinking, it's all good, because this year's experience seems to have confirmed some of my prior suspicions, and, for next year, I'm can try to follow what I think are the key steps for success and see if the process will turn out better. :-()

And FWIW, this winter's Indoor Garden hasn't been a total disappointment since ---
- Almost all of peppers are doing great and have been taking turns producing green and mature fruits to harvest
- Some of the eggplants I'm trying to overwinter seem to be starting to recover from the TRM infestation.
- Some of the herb cuttings, especially stevia, have rooted and are growing really well (last time they struggled in an upstairs window -- I think they like it better in the cold/cooler garage and downstairs)
- I had success with a couple of the avocados I tried to graft :clap:.
- Alpine strawberries are growing well and even fruiting sporadically even now.
- Other minor successes, too. :()
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Whippersnapper X Faelan's First Snow F2 -- although it had many more fruit clusters that started to form on the 4-5 upper branches, none of them opened enough to set fruits. I'm not sure if that was because of the sudden dip in temperature we experienced, the darkest days of the year, or what.

Now the lower cluster of fruits are finally starting to blush and the entire plant is starting to yellow, but this looks more like Determinate senescence that the Whippersnapper mother went through when I grew them last year. So it might just be that its time is up. :|
image.jpg
One other possibility that I can think of is that one of my DD's has been using the nearby computer every night and staying up until the morning sometimes, leaving the plant lights on all night -- I wonder if that could affect a determinate variety tomato to burn through its lifespan faster...?

Sure hasn't adversely affected the Orchid, though. :D


Here are some of the other eggplants:
image.jpg
...and these peppers are doing great! :()
image.jpg
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

In the eggplant photo, maybe you can see that one of the two plants in the nearest "quart" size ice cream tub has browned and died.

This is my 3rd year trying to over-winter eggplants, and each year some of them do this. I now suspect TRM's, though first year, insufficient light and tomato leafminers also contributed to their demise and wiped them out. last year, I had a lone survivor that *almost* made it all the way to last frost. Eggplants that go all the way down and dry up to the tip rapidly lose life in their main trunk and have not come back like some of the tomatoes.

I'm pushing my hypothesis about the dying old growth acting as predatory mite incubator because it feels/seems like if I cut the upper portion off too soon, the TRM's proceed to swarm the lower fresh growths and sometimes manage to take the plant down for the second time. Last year, I had a Tatjana plant that went through this cycle during the winter and into the summer, growing and fruiting once or twice, then getting wiped out, then re-growing from the base -- I don't remember exactly how many cycles -- maybe twice during the winter and three times during the summer -- before finally kicking the bucket.
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

More signs of recovery after TRM infestation :-()
image.jpg
(If you look closely there are bottom halves of Yellow Dwarf x Sungold F3 fruits in one if those photos)

Whippersnapper x Faelan's First Snow F2
image.jpg
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

I was starting to see THESE on the leaves of two avocados by the Green Room window.
image.jpg
...the first time I saw one, I thought it was a mouse turd, but was confused because the kitties haven't brought a mouse in the house for a while now... And stuck on an avocado leaf, 4 feet in the air?

Then I started seeing more of them, and realized it must be Squeaky's poop. -- "Squeaky" is what my kids named the tree frog that is still alive and calling several times a day in the Green Room. :lol:
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Sqeaky was out on the top of an Avo today ... "Sunbathing"? In the light from the high intensity photographer's True Daylight spectrum CFL :cool:
image.jpg
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Found this. Hopefully Squeaky is getting the wavelengths needed from the CFL bulb light....
How to Care for a Gray Tree Frog: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
https://m.wikihow.com/Care-for-a-Gray-Tree-Frog

Provide a UVA/UVB FULL SPECTRUM sunlight bulb during the day, when the frog is sleeping. You can also use a night bulb to watch your frog hunt. You can change the bulbs by hand or get a dual light fixture.
Without a UVB bulb, your frog can get a vitamin deficiency called Metabolic Bone Disease that supplements alone cannot help! UVB light cannot pass through glass. You should still supplement your frog's food with Calcium WITHOUT D3. You do not want to overdose your frog with D3. It can cause kidney failure. That is why the Full spectrum light is best. The UVB light will help with D3 production naturally. Also be sure that the Multi vitamin and Multi Mineral is D3 free as well. (Only if you are using a UVB light bulb!) Otherwise, only one supplement should have D3, But in the long run, Full spectrum UVA/UVB light is best. No captive creature can live in full health without UVB "sunlight" Make sure the light passes through a screen top. Again UVB rays cannot pass through glass. Never put your frog's tank in front of the window! The sudden rises in temperature will kill your pet!
It's hard to tell -- a frog generally looks content.... :>
image.jpg
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Hahaha. Here I am again with more pictures :> I can't help it. Squeaky often disappears for days but has been out in the open for several days in a row. I actually ran back upstairs to get my iPad so I could take a picture of the camo pattern :lol:

-- made a new collage :()
image.jpg
I called DD over to see, and while she was watching, Squeaky did the treefrog thing and hopped from the branch crotch of this Avo to a blade of pineapple, then onto an Avo leaf beyond. It really made me happy to think this window side part of the Green Room is "jungle" enough to be a treefrog habitat. :mrgreen:
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

TRM Survivors. Some of the ones that came back got overwhelmed again. :?

A few that I "cleaned up" the dead dried up leaves and pruned the tops early on definitely went down for the second time. Some of these are having aphid issues. Ones that are clear of aphids have resident Lady Patrol roaming around the container rim or foliage.
image.jpg
-- I realize you wouldn't be able to leave the dead debris on or at the base of the plants if they were in a high humidity fungal disease prone areas like basement or greenhouse....
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

BTW and FYI -- In my photos, containers that are marked with a "V" have been "Verm'ed" (as in "vermi"composted aka "1 or more worm/verm aka earthworm/red wiggler has been introduced") Image
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

White Soul Strawberries are still producing in the Garage V8 Nursery :-()
image.jpg
DEFINITELY doing this again next winter with more plants. Image
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Time to give this marjoram a good trim again! :()
image.jpeg
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

SQUEAKY SIGHTING! :-()
image.jpeg
image.jpeg (37.01 KiB) Viewed 2201 times
...spotted on one of the seed-grown Afourer Mandarin trunk, ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE GREEN ROOM from the smaller avo he/she used to be on. It IS in the large avocado jungle grouping though, so plenty of light up above and lots of places to hide. :mrgreen:

...I thought he/she looked a little dehydrated, so I spritzed the entire area with my misting bottle...
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Love that frog, and amazing indoor operation!

Did you ever try the dwarfbush tomato Florida Petit? It doesnt get taller than 20-25cm and pretty good producing for its size, the tomatoes taste really good as well. They are good indoors also quite quick atleast when i grew them outdoors, its the only tomato i have gotten 2 flushes in one season with the second being slightly smaller tomatoes but still.
I usually pack them quite tight for being tomatoes 3 or 4 in the same space as ordinary tomatoes and alot shallower pots too.
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

I hadn't heard of Florida Petite. Thanks for pointing it out. I'll see if I can get that one. In the mean time, it looks like I have seeds for what might be a sibling if from same cross ( released at the same time by same people) -- Florida Basket, but haven't tried growing it yet. Flavor report was meh.
image.jpeg
This season, I'm growing a newer release by U of FL by another breeder called Floragold Basket. If it's a good one, I'll add to next Winter's Indoor Tomato line up. :D


This year's Winter Indoor Tomatoes took a devastating hit from TRM's (Tomato Russet Mites) These are the only survivors, and I will be adding them to TRM Survivor Hall of Fame along with Tatjana and Dwarf Arctic Rose. :-()
image.jpeg
Believe It or Not in community 4" pots [garage v8]
(Applestar's) Maglia Rose x (Coyote+Faelan's First Snow less variegated) F2-1F in group tray [garage v8]

(CNinNC's) Red Robin x Rose Quartz Multiflora F5 #8 and #10 [garag v8 moved to cool gang]

(Applestar's) Whippersnapper x Faelan's First Snow less variegated F2-7 in white square 3 gallon [winter wonderland]

(Applestar's) Maglia Rose x (Coyote+Faelan's First Snow less variegated) F2-1F [winter paradise 1]
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

It's spring now... Or so they say. We have snow in the forecast for this week, though no accumulation, and low in the mid-to-upper 20's °F, and my plants will be staying indoors for another month or more.

Right now, the four orchids are simultaneously in bloom, though peak has passed for some of them. :D
image.jpeg
Unlike the other three, the one on the bottom-left is in an upstairs bedroom where, for some reason, it was the ONLY room in which stink bugs appeared all winter. The holes in the blossom are their work :evil: All of the blossoms have this. :(
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Oh my the one with a little bit of pink and bright "stains" is amazing!
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Almost there! I'm starting to move out plants that can take a bit of cold like lemon, fuchsia, lemon verbena, stevia, jalapeño, ...etc. In another couple of weeks, we should be frost free.

In the mean time, we had another Squeaky Sighting Image
image.jpeg
This was a fun one because DD was with me holding one of the kitties and she spotted Squeaky, too. Every time the cat focused, Squeaky got fidgety and moved further and further up and into cover, generally "squirreling" around avocado trunk and branch to the other side until finally hopping over to the mango. Not so much when we humans looked. Kitty sat balancing on a pot rim for a long time looking up. Image
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

We're so conditioned to think peppers are the finicky ones needing warmth, etc. but MATURE pepper plants have done far better in the average winter house conditions than tomatoes. Tomatoes bloom and set fruits well in late fall and then not until late winter/early spring.

For me it's a matter of timing and I guess I'm essentially growing TOMATOES in the FALL that slowly ripen for the holidays and winter consumption, then some more in spring before the summer tomatoes are ready. I think my new thinking is to grow extra early determinates for the fall/winter harvesting, and nurse along some exceptional Indeterminates for spring. (They can grow into/have the space vacated by the determinates) Looking forward to trying some of the newer larger fruited indeterminate dwarfs for that slot, and I'll be trialing some of them this summer.
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

I have sad news. :cry:

One of our kitties captured Squeaky and ... ate him/her.

Image
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

applestar wrote:I have sad news. :cry:

One of our kitties captured Squeaky and ... ate him/her.

Image
RIP sweet frog!

Hope your children didn't witness that!
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Thanks, Lindsay. O:)
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Re: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor (Tomatoes, etc.) Garden

Here are the overwintered eggplants. They are trying to bloom already and desperately need to be planted. One of the white comets set a small fruit that I picked and ate already. :lol:

Image
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