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.
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:
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 .
- Alpine strawberries are growing well and even fruiting sporadically even now.
- Other minor successes, too.