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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 146 Entries.
Monday, January 2 View Page
6.23 Konieczny MegaZac- 2nd blossom is open. It is dropping loads of pollen...touched it with the vegibee and it looked like miniature snow storm. In comparison the first blossom had little to no pollen and so was polinated with another plant. I was going to cull this one since the first is at 12 inches and growing 1/2 per day but now I am not sure which to keep.
 
Monday, January 2 View Page
Busy vacation weekend. In the past two days have had the coco twice wash out of the net pots and clog the return lines. I spent hours today cleaning all the pots and lines and replacing the coco media with clay pellets. I am sure lost some growth with root stress but the plants seem like they will recover. Will have to use a better method for the hydro carrot...hard to grow giant carrot in rocks. During the weekend set up the chiller system. Beer wort coil seems to be working..reservoir temp at 67 degrees.Today after changing the grow media I made some DIY 3 inch drip rings. Still more tweaking to go...goal is to be able to compete with the outdoor maters for next fall weighoffs.
 
Monday, January 2 View Page
I have to keep telling myself to take it easy and dont push this carrot to seed. Still 10 months to go to weigh-off. Probably will be my last carrot in soil. Sorry guys, the shipment package that I thought had gone to the UK for carrot seeds has been sitting in my wife's car for the past two weeks. It is going into the mail tomorrow. I feel bad..just as soon as I get the seeds I will post them.
 
Tuesday, January 3 View Page
I am very happy for this blossom to show up in my winter grow. It is the 6.23 megazac. Still dropping a snowstorm of pollen. The leaves look terrible, another tomato set lower but I think I am going to go with this one. Every day this blossom keeps getting bigger..have to think it will be my biggest entry for winter grow challenge. If I am wrong still have a bunch of mega's opening on other plants...and maybe the hydro's will finish in time.
 
Tuesday, January 3 View Page
Yep qtip, i think our indoor grow setups are close. Looks like you are close to 4000 watts, 12 timers of light. Not the best picture of the upper level of the grow room but might give an idea of how crazy i have gone. All lights are now either Platinum LED or Sun System 315 watt LEC. Without a doubt my favorite is the LEC. Wish they weren't so expensive..it will take a few years before I am all LEC. My two 600 watt Metal Halide/Hps lights are sitting in storage. Maybe there is a minnesota grower interested in taking them off my hands.
 
Thursday, January 5 View Page
I am liking hydroponics. Two weeks after germination all the plants are sinking roots past the 6 inch net pots into the oxygenated nutrient solution. One of my biggest problems with soil growing was over or under watering. Now I don't have to think about it..the roots are always in water. This picture is not real good but I am encouraged by the feathering of the roots. I am using a week nutrient solution but have added rooting hormones. By next week am hoping for much more in root volume.
 
Friday, January 6 View Page
It looks like the big blossom on the 6.23 has set. I know the plant isn't the healthiest but still have to see what can get out of a blossom this size. I made the decision to go all in on the big blossom so this is a picture of the cull. I think it might be the current leader of the winter challenge. Early lead is set low...all you have to break to take the lead is .614 pounds.
 
Saturday, January 7 View Page
My first round of germination didn't produce well. Problems with intumescence, then overdose of uv-b light to solve that issue, then blossom end rot. Still have this little tomato and maybe another coming on the megazac. Biggest now for the winter challenge .864 pounds. I expect to see mucher bigger from the growers before spring.
 
Saturday, January 7 View Page
Round two of germination. Have solved the intumescence problem and uv-b light levels. The leaves look much better. Have 8 plants in this group putting out mega's right now. Should be plenty of time left for full fruit growth.
 
Saturday, January 7 View Page
Round three of germination. The hydro tomatoes are really starting to kick up the growth rate. It will be close for timing but my best for this winter might come from this group.
 
Saturday, January 7 View Page
tomato set on the 6.23 megazac 1 dap
 
Saturday, January 7 View Page
This is what I like to see on my pollinating spoon. So far when have had this much pollen the tomato has set. This is from a tomato of the 6.83 Fulk delicious line.
 
Sunday, January 8 View Page
8.41 MacCoy, after having 14 single blossoms trimmed off the same ribbon the plant is trying something new. Finally a mega and in perfect position right at the end of the ribbon. I think it might be a contender.
 
Monday, January 9 View Page
I have a problem...As I have shuffled the tomato pots around I lost track of which is from which seed.. These 15 gallon pots contain 1 delicious, 1 wixom slammer and 1 big zac. They all have had similar grow environment, I cant see any differences. They all have mega's that are in about the same place and even have the same curl down around the ribbon. So someone tell me how do you tell the difference between the strains..If there is no difference why are we keeping track.
 
Tuesday, January 10 View Page
I am getting worried. Qtip is making a last minute run for the championship. Look how much better his tomato plant looks than mine and I had a one day head start. Magic soil...that has to be his secret.
 
Tuesday, January 10 View Page
The only way to compete with magic soil is with magic water. Watch out qtip-i might have some potent stew brewing.
 
Wednesday, January 11 View Page
Hey qtip...don't want to put any pressure on you but the first of my hydro tomatoes is forming flowers. I think I will have a first truss set before Feb 1. The wixom slammer hydro challenge-first to germinate 4.80 Konieczny, most interesting seedling 4.24 Spaziani (3 cots), first to form a flower 3.77 Borgers. Current leader in root mass 3.77 second 4.80 third 4.24. I am suprised by the 3 cot tomato. I was predicting that extra cot would be an advantage in early growth but that plant is lagging in all respects. The final winner will be the plant that grows the biggest tomato. Since I have never grown anything hydro before there is a good chance none of them will survive.
 
Friday, January 13 View Page
The hydro tomatoes have roots. Making plans for the weekend project. I expect to do a flush of the system, then refill the nutrient reservoir to about 1.5 EC. I am going to add some hydroguard to the solution to avoid root rot. I am also considering adding another return line to each pot and then connecting another pump to create an underwater flow thru the pots. Reservoir temp is lower than the individul pots...ideally the all should be 67 degrees. Also looking at misters to set up a timed spray above water level. I don't expect to get done this weekend nearly as much as I would like but each little step will put me in better position for next round of hydro. Starting to see signs of flowering on all the plants and it looks like at least one is going to put out a super mega.
 
Saturday, January 14 View Page
High dollar setups are not required for winter indoor tomato grow. This is proof that a 2 foot x 2 foot 200 watt 6200k t-5 flourescent can set a tomato in a 15 gallon pot. Will be interested to see what size it can get to. I have another tomato in a 3 gallon pot that is under a 7 inch COB led. That will be the under $70 plant.
 
Saturday, January 14 View Page
Looking back at my diary I can see what a difference a week has made in the hydro plants. As of today I am at full strength nutrient solution. 4 weeks ago the seeds were started.
 
Saturday, January 14 View Page
Round two of germination is looking good. Have 3 tomatoes set from what i consider super-megas (3 or more fused blossoms). The 6.23 had the best blossom so far but plant health will keep growth down. This tomato from the "Bnot is confused" seed or the tomato from the 8.41 MacCoy is probably the leader now in my winter indoor grow.
 
Saturday, January 14 View Page
Not all of the second round of germination was successful. This plant I had high hopes for. It went ribbon and had ribbons growing off from those ribbons. Has way more foliage than any of my other plants. Unfortunately it has formed only single blossoms. It is going to be painful but soon I think I will pull this plant.
 
Monday, January 16 View Page
This is one of the blossoms on the hydro 3.77 Borgers Wixom Slammer plant. Notice the purplish tint of the stems and veins of the leaves. This has me stumped. When I have had this issue in soil it has usually been because of overwatering. Since this is deep water hydro that can not be the solution. Another cause can be cold temps. I am running at 67 degrees reservoir temp,80 degrees day air temp and 72 degrees night air temp. I dont think I want to mess with that. Another cause could be low phosporous levels. I boosted the P level in the nutrient solution two days ago..no improvement seen on the purple. Unless someone emails me with a better suggestion I might try doubling the airstones in the system and see if I can raise the dissolved oxygen levels. I am thinking low oxygen might give the same symptoms of overwatering. I have started to look at DO meters. Looks like the manufacturers are really proud of them...$500 for a very accurate one. Not going to happen this round of growing.
 
Thursday, January 19 View Page
The hydro root system keeps getting bigger. I don't know if it is because of the plants being in hydro or the effect of the rooting hormone but they are forming differently than what i have seen in soil. With two more months to go..i might not have big enough bucket.
 
Friday, January 20 View Page
Making plans for the weekend. I just received email from the UK that carrot seeds are being shipped today. Hopefully they make thru USDA inspection and the paperwork is all correct. I am hoping to soon have the seeds in the mail to those of you that requested them. Sorry about the delay but better a bit late than never. This weekend i am planning to assemble my hydro carrot system. Should be able to have the flows set and running for a few days before seeds arrive.
 
Saturday, January 21 View Page
After a trip the hydro store have an all day project modifying my hydro tomato setup. Bigger return lines, monster air pump, and a bigger water pump to double the recirculating flow. Then comes flush and finally refill with nutrient solution mixed for flowering and fruit production. I had to take break from all this work to snap a picture of what is going to be my last indoor soil grow. As you can see might have a mega or two growing.
 
Sunday, January 22 View Page
My hydro system been in a state of modification for the past day. Unfortunately did not buy enough fittings yesterday so the lines have been disconnected for 24 hours. They still are in aerated deep water but don't have chiller or recirculation connected. I happened to notice that the hydro plants were as big or bigger than the soil plants that were started 3 weeks earlier. Qtip sent an email to me and brought up an interesting question..how is the faster young plant growth going to affect the time for fruit to mature. I hope to find out soon.
 
Monday, January 23 View Page
Bad news.. My long duration hydro modification has stressed the plants badly. This morning they were looking quite unhappy. I have heard that hydro is less forgiving of mistakes than soil. I hope that is not the case here.
 
Monday, January 23 View Page
I think you can take my hydro plants out of the winter competition. Before I went to work they looked unhappy. After i came home from I realised that I need to find a word that describes something way more miserable. Hydro can grow faster than soil but it sure crashes quick. I expect to spend the next day trying to figure out the different variables that caused the downfall. If no improvement is evident I expect to start a new batch of seeds, sanitize the system and give it another try. This try has really convinced me that hydro can outperform soil..just it is much more finicky.
 
Tuesday, January 24 View Page
I haven't given up completely yet on the hydro's. When the system crashed the ph of the nutrient solution kept dropping.. It got to 5.3. As some of the plants started to recover the ph started climb back rapidly until it hit 6.8. I am adding ph down to the solution every few hours to try to slowly bring it back to stable 5.8. I pulled three plants that were worst affected. The other four have blossoms and are still dropping pollen. I noticed on two of the plants pulled some signs of root rot. More hydroguard added. In the nutrient solution I can tell there are small solid white chunks floating... somehow I think there has been some chemical reaction that has occurred. I want to do a complete flush of the system but have to wait 8 hours before reverse osmosis tank is full again. This crash really has not made me sad. If I only could grow one crop per year I would be really disappointed. But since I am indoors it is always the third week of May. The next season can always start tomorrow.
 
Tuesday, January 24 View Page
I am getting more clueless. When the hydro nutrient solution was at a ph of 6.8 there was what appeared to be a white solidified powder floating in the solution. The addition of ph down which is mainly phosphoric acid has brought the ph down to 6.2 but also the floating white particles have disappeared. I might have to be nice to my wife..she does have a degree in chemistry to tell me what is happening.
 
Thursday, January 26 View Page
The four remaining hydro plants look like they have recovered. System is holding stable. Have one 4.8,one 4.24 and two 3.77 left. Wixom slammer showdown still on. The first of the mega's is open and dropping pollen. It is from a 3.77 seed. On the soil side still have 6 mega's set and growing. Indoor pb still within reach.
 
Friday, January 27 View Page
I hope to make it difficult for the rest of you winter tomato growers. Using wixoms DAP start we will call this one 17 DAP, 14 inches and growing quick. Last year Bisquitridge (Dan Sutherland) took first at 3 pounds 11 oz (3.69 lbs). That is the number i am aiming for. Still a very long ways away. Keep growing little piglet.
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
I have been informed that last year, Dan's indoor winning weight was 3lbs 11oz (3.69 lbs) and his second best of the winter was 3 lbs 4 1/4 oz (3.27 lbs).In reality if I can get to 1/2 of those numbers I will consider the season successful.
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
No more problems with low dissolved oxygen in the hydro solution. Hooked up an air pump that moves 110 liters per minute. The reservoir and every bucket is bubbling vigorously. Unfortunately it is somewhat noisy. It probably will end up outside for summer outdoor hydro growing.
 
Sunday, January 29 View Page
3 of 4 of the remaining hydro plants have sets of 3+ fused blossoms. Unfortunately only one of them is on a ribbon. Since I have 3 buckets empty it is time to start more seeds. I have chosen these three...1.68 UOW Spaziani. Check out Garden Rebels July 17th 2016 diary. That is what I want to see, big blossom with a ribbon. Next choice is the 3.0 Johnston/Butler 2010. I do not know much about this seed but I will be trying seeds next summer from 2009. I need experience germinating older seeds. And finally another try at the 3.37 Rakkas 2013.The one seed I tried last year was growing beautifully until rookie grower error took over. Still do not know for sure what variety it is..I have had some feedback that think it is from 7.3 hunt lineage. It doesn't matter to me...it deserves another chance.
 
Sunday, January 29 View Page
Started soaking the next round of hydro plants in reverse osmosis water this afternoon. Going to try something different with these. Since I am planning on eventually expanding into aeroponics i am going to start these in rockwool cubes. The nutrient solution in my main system is too strong for a young seedling so i am assembling a mini-hydro system. It will hold 6 three inch net pots. I am planning to use the beer wort coil method to keep the baby hydro solution cool. Nutrient recirculation is going to be full time to begin with but will eventually add a short cycle timer to it. For aeroponics will need an on time of only a few seconds followed by minutes of off. It may be a little obsessive but at least I am not bored.
 
Monday, January 30 View Page
Qtip.. I see that you are close to discovering the formula for "magic water". It is truly impressive how quickly you found out about the benefits of Gatorade. The ingredient monopotassium phosphate has to help the fruiting stage of the plant immensely. No worries...I thought this moment might come so I prepared for the next level - "magic gas"! Only one small obstacle remains to implementing this emergency plan....."honey this gas mask matches your outfit perfectly and look how it highlights your beautiful eyes..."
 
Tuesday, January 31 View Page
I can't wait to see qtip's baby tomato. I hope he is spending hours talking to his plant and explaining how minnesota pride is on the line. This is a picture of one of my non-ribbon hydro sets (2 DAP ?) Resisting the urge to kick up the EC of the solution but if Qtip shows off his magic soil i might push it.
 
Wednesday, February 1 View Page
Looks like the soil tomatoes are not going to leave my indoor grow area without a fight. Have 3 of them in 15 gallon pots that are measuring between 15 and 16 inches at 22 DAP. They are under 300 watts of LED lighting with nothing really special about their environment. Really curious to compare hydro growth rates against the soils. "cute baby Qtip...grow it big"
 
Wednesday, February 1 View Page
Have new tracking info for carrot seeds to the USA If you are expecting carrot seeds you can track using this number: RN294785623GB The website to check it at is: https://m.royalmail.com/h5/track_item Hope this batch gets thru....I am a month behind on starting
 
Thursday, February 2 View Page
The best time of my day is when I get home and can watch the tomato plants grow. Hydro really seems to be working for me. Even after two system crashes these plants are still looking healthier than any indoor soil plant that I have had at this stage of growth. I am thinking on the soil side that my best this winter might be about two pounds. I really think that these hydro plants will better that. I am already formulating plans for this summer..outdoor hydro. Will have to see how many dollars I have available.. first plan for 20 outdoor hydro tomato plants done the way that I think would work best would cost $1000 for initial setup cost. Or should I spend more to grow the pumpkins and give qtip a good challenge. I need to win a lottery....
 
Friday, February 3 View Page
I can get 2010 seeds to germinate..3.0 Johnson/Butler. This spring will see if I can get an older seed to grow. The 7.18 Harp was an awesome weight back in 2009, five years before the MacCoy technique. I will try to do my best with these genetics. I think they might be something really special. Thank you Christy and Nick for giving me this chance.
 
Saturday, February 4 View Page
Woke up at 4am to work on the indoor garden. Success in setting up the mini-hydro system. Initial EC is set at 1.1 with cal-mg accounting for .3 of that number. I am wondering if I should set up a mid-level system...my full system is now at 1.7 EC. That would be a big jump for a young plant. My streak of consecutive of succesful germinations stays intact..3 for 3 this round.
 
Saturday, February 4 View Page
If i were to predict right now I think this might be the biggest of the winter. It on the 3.77 Borgers hydro. 6 DAP. Notice the vine the below the tomato.. it is the size of the main stem and feeding nothing but this tomato. I have another 3.77 that was pollinated the same day but not on a ribbon. So far it looks like it makes a big difference.
 
Thursday, February 9 View Page
30 DAP.. first of the indoor tomatoes is over 18 inches. It has grown 2 inches in eight days. Wondering how more days left until it starts to color.
 
Friday, February 10 View Page
6.23 Konieczny update..After burning the first level of foliage badly with UV-B light the plant was nearly defoliated. The set tomato kept growing,slowly but enough to get seeds. So I now have 6.23 x self seeds for my gene pool. The plant finally started to send out new growth from a previous terminated node. Last weekend I trimmed off all lower growth and had just enough height to add another 40 gallon bottomless pot. Have 3 new mega's set on it right now. Not many indoor plants have had a chance of growing in 80 gallons of soil with 3 foot long roots. Hope that one of 3 blossom will be happy enough to grow really big.
 
Friday, February 10 View Page
Here is picture for you Marv. This a picture of the ribbon to blossom on my current 3.77 hydro plant. It appears the main stem ribboned just before the 1st truss. The ribbon on the left goes to nothing but the blossom which is at least 5 fused.
 
Saturday, February 11 View Page
Uh oh...one of the soil tomatoes started changing color last night. It is only at 32 DAP. I was hoping this one would get to 18 inches. At least I thought of a new project to consider...how to construct some type of scale to really decide the heaviest time to cut it.
 
Saturday, February 11 View Page
I have chosen which of the new blossoms on the 6.23 megazac I am going to keep. The first tomato I culled. The second I will be picking in a few days. If I am not mistaken that will have the first F2 megazac seeds. For the third tomato on this plant I am going to play. I am interested to see how the weight changes as it is grown on a scale. Really important to me is seeing at what point when it starts to ripen it is heaviest.
 
Sunday, February 12 View Page
I cut off the tomato from the 6.23 Konieczny. It weighed a bit heavier than I expected at 1.23 pounds. Not bad for a plant with no leaves. Should be the new winter leader. Bigger ones are yet to come.
 
Sunday, February 12 View Page
I have a few choices for tomato seeds to plant with seeds still arriving. Will be working on entering the info for seeds that I have grown and sent to other growers into the tomato.giantstogrow.com database. Going forward I will not send a seed I have grown unless it is entered with the best info that I know. Some of the info that I have is very vague...especially on the really old seeds. The tools to bring genetics to a higher level are there..we just have to use them.
 
Monday, February 13 View Page
I tried to save this one without success.. 1.56 damaged. The winter lead is still 1.23. Have two bigger tomatoes still on the vine in soil and all of the hydro's yet to go.
 
Tuesday, February 14 View Page
I may never be starting my hydro carrot. Every day I look to see where the seeds are. I had hope once...it said that it had gone from new york to minneapolis. Only miles from my house...I rushed home..no seeds in the mailbox. Went to check the tracking info...minneapolis had disappeared on their tracking info. Off to florida...ok, i guess the post office realised they missed a step, and it was suppose to be inspected by aphis, US dept of agriculture..no problem I can wait a few more days. Sigh...i am getting bored watching them play ping pong between Miami and Opa Locka Fl. Come on post office...minnesota is north.
 
Tuesday, February 14 View Page
hydro roots... i think i have more roots in the buckets now than water. This summer might have to modify things to give the roots a bit more area. Plants are still growing. They dont look as healthy as they were but have tomatoes set and the cc/day is above the best of my soils this winter. Will be taking a break this summer to bring my indoor grow area up to the next level.
 
Tuesday, February 14 View Page
This is my best in soil right now. In a 15 gallon pot under a 300 watt LED. It is measuring 19.5 inches 35 DAP...can I break the 3 lb indoor level? I am very happy. Last winter was my first try at indoor tomatoes..grew a 8.05 oz (.50 lb)slammer. I might have learned a little in the past year. Hoping to improve even more for next year.
 
Wednesday, February 15 View Page
I couldnt wait any longer...had to weigh it. It had stopped growing at 17 1/4 inches. It is my new personal best indoor and the current leader of the winter challenge at 1.98 pounds. One soil tomato left to go in my basement.
 
Wednesday, February 15 View Page
The three inch net pots are working. I am going to start to study the early growth characterics of the plants. Using these three inch pots should be able to start many plants in a small area. If I can learn to read the characteristics that lead to better full size plants it will possible to cross a plant and then grow out to first evaluation stage without having to dedicate full size greenhouse. Root formation is one quality that can be evaluated. This 3.37 Rakkas has 18 inches of root for 3 inches above ground. This is double the root length of the other two. The one Rakkas seed I tried before was great fun. This one is looking just as fun. It is variety unknown.
 
Thursday, February 16 View Page
My biggest indoor soil tomato started changing colors this morning. I am thinking sunday or monday will be weighing it. I am going to predict 2.37 pounds. Looking at it closely the cc measurement is going to show higher than what it is. The tomato made a big loop..there is a void in the middle. This is a picture of an 18 DAP hydro tomato. I can not tell how many fused blossoms but it is many. It also is on a medium ribbon..maybe 3 or 4 fused. Unfortunately the leaves are showing signs of a nutrient imbalance. It looked to me like mg deficiency, but raising the level of mg in the solution did not help.Going to have to consider other things that have similar appearance. Wish I could do leaf nutient analysis at home. I am confident I will get seeds from this one to grow it next generation in a healthier environment.
 
Sunday, February 19 View Page
Picked the last of my winter indoor soil tomatoes. I knew that the cc was going to give a false number for estimated weight because of the way the tomato formed. It measured 19 3/4 inches but weighed only 2.51 pounds. Havent made the 3 pound indoor club yet but getting closer. This is my new personal best indoor.
 
Sunday, February 19 View Page
I picked the last one a few days early because i wanted a picture of this winter's soil results. I am going to start harvesting seeds today. Hope the hydro lineup will be as good.
 
Sunday, February 19 View Page
This is probably the messiest my indoor grow area has ever been. Working on getting the soil pots outdoors and cleaning everything else up for the summer modifications. Next winter I will be ready. If you look on the right side still have a couple set on the hydro plants that will ripen in time for the spring cutoff date for the winter challenge. Come on qtip..hope you have something to make it a close finish.
 
Tuesday, February 28 View Page
I came home from work to find one of the hydro plants tipped over with a split vine. Unfortunately it was my only hydro ribbon to blossom plant. I will have to figure out a new way to stake the hydro plants up. Right now I have angle brackets screwed to the top of the pails with a post connected to the bracket. The problem is when the tomatoes get big enough they tilt the whole top. I have two other plants now resting against the basement wall. Always something different to improve on.
 
Tuesday, March 7 View Page
Is this going to be the winning tomato from this winter's indoor grow challenge? It is now measuring 18 1/4 inches not counting the two extra protrusions. Every time I look at it i think it is a female plant. 2.51 is current leader. Only 13 days left to go. It is being grown hydro. It is rootbound in a 5 gallon bucket. Nutrient solution has been raised now up to 3.5 EC. I am very happy with the results from my first try at hydro.
 
Saturday, March 11 View Page
Picked the last of my winter indoor tomatoes this morning. Not big enough to take the lead..only 2.20 pounds. Still pleased with it for my first try at hydro.
 
Saturday, March 11 View Page
Next winter will be making some changes to the hydro system. One of the changes has to be bigger buckets. Every plant that I have pulled has been close to being rootbound. 5 gallons just is not big enough. I am thinking about changing nutrient solution too. My current solution is so dark that it stains the roots. I have to wonder how that is affecting them.
 
Saturday, March 11 View Page
I cut this one off too. It wasn't going to get big enough to take over the lead. I need room to work on redoing the grow room this weekend. Adding a hydro NFT channel system for my wife to grow lettuce and spinach year round. My final weights for this winter..soil 2.51,1.98 and 1.23 In hydro..2.20, 1.72 and 1.59 Looking forward to next years competition.
 
Monday, March 13 View Page
I think my current experimental hydro nutrient solution might need a bit of correction. Bottom vines are growing really wide ,2 1/2 feet wide. The plant is only 18 inches tall. The top of the plant is a tangled mess with 1/2 inch diameter vines curled down. More vine on top than leaves. This is a fun time for me..as I can push limits with nothing to lose and knowledge to gain. I am planning on experimenting all summer in preparation for next years winter challenge. I am expecting some stiff competition next indoor grow season.
 
Thursday, March 23 View Page
Congratulations to this years winter indoor challenge winners. Ribbons arrived today and they should be in the mail to you on Saturday. Indoors is much more difficult than outdoors and you persevered..great job. Next winter lets grow even bigger.
 
Friday, March 24 View Page
I am all excited about the 10 pound challenge. First step..taking inventory of what tech I already have and can use. This 55 gallon drum will work nicely for the hydro pot. No more rootbound in 5 gallons. Have picked the seed to go in this pot. How can I go wrong growing a 5.85 Boudyo. It has had offspring of two eight pounders already. I really would like to use wow supers starter paks for this ultimate tomato but the instuctions are a little confusing to me. "simply dig hole for planting, place plant in center of hole and place pak on sides of plant near root ball" I can do that as long as i can dig my hole with a hole saw. The next section is a problem though... "Backfill planting hole with soil..." That has to make a lot of mud... Maybe I should stick to using the super starter paks on all the rest of my tomatoes and find an alternative for the super hydro ten pounder. Thanks Ron to contributing to the ten pound award.
 
Saturday, April 1 View Page
After much thought and changing my mind 20 times on how many pumpkins I was going to attempt this year I have finally decided. This is my intended line-up. The plan is: 1385 h/j 600 sq ft community garden crossed with 1625.5 Gantner grown in 150 sq ft at home. 2096 Meier grown at in 600 sq ft at home and finally a 2252 Paton at home in 800 sq ft at risk of being poisoned by yard service. Have plenty of options for backups. Temp was mid 60's today. Cleaned out the patches,tilled and took soil samples. I would be so much further ahead if I didn't hate cold.
 
Saturday, April 15 View Page
I finished my weekend projects already and it is only saturday. One of the projects was to get the boat out from next to the garage. It has been parked there for the past few years while I have been distracted with growing pumpkins. Not this year..have 3 new batteries, new line on the reels and fishing license purchased. My pumpkin plants will have to learn how to survive without me one day per week. Will be starting the seeds next weekend.
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
After seeing Qtips post, I have to look. Which one should I open?
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
I chose the package that looked the worst. It is questionable. It has deep cracks on both sides of the growing tip. Looking at under magnification..much of the growing tip is smashed. I will still try to start it today.
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
I opened the second package...no cracks showing. Yes i still might be growing the 2096. Maybe I can get lucky and both will sprout.
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
Change of plans..going to hold off on making the 1385 h/j 1625 gantner cross for 1 year. Choice of seed for the 150 sq ft patch will be the 1916 Barron. This seed has gone from my possession to michigan for the wixom slammer contest. Then winner Dan Sutherland donated it to the winner of the winter grow challenge so back to me. It has enough miles on it to deserve to be planted. Maybe it can grow an Howard Dill 20% heavy 150 sq ft winner.
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
Since the 1385 h/j x 1625 Gantner has been delayed by a year I have to choose what to plant in the community garden. Right now I am leaning towards my own seed the 719. It is my dream cross from last season. 552 Minor x 356 Borgers(pollinator grew 1109 lb HD winner Stillwater). If this cross would get the color from the 552 and shape and growth characteristics of the 356 it could be an awesome HD award seed. I only have 8 seeds from this cross but am thinking that I should grow one of my own seeds. It might not be big (the community garden soil looks really lacking) but it might be really pretty. Guess an orange grower can't get over pretty that easily.
 
Tuesday, April 18 View Page
I am sure some of the readers here thought I might be joking about trying a seed soak in a rooting hormone. I have nothing to lose..have way more seeds than I can ever grow. This could be interesting. Tomato plants that I have exposed this to in hydro setup have rootbound in 5 gallon buckets. They set root nodes on the stem 24 inches up above ground level. I want to know how it affects seed development. One of the ingredients in this product is willow extract.
 
Tuesday, April 18 View Page
I have been ignoring my indoor garden since the end of the winter challenge. No pruning..no nutrient changes for a month. I was surprised when I measured the tomatoes today, I have my first indoor tomato that measures bigger than it's parent. I have to wonder what it could have been if it had any attention for the past month.
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
Started to clear out my indoor tomatoes to make room for summer starts. Finally, broke 4 pounds on one indoor plant. All 4 of these were on one plant grown from the 3.37 Rakkas seed. Maybe next winter can get one tomato over 4 pounds on one plant. I have only 1 tomato plant left to pick...the 1.68 Spaziani.
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
This is what happens when you ignore a plant for a month. It still has an 18.5 inch cc tomato waiting to turn colors. I have to wonder what it could have been if all the new growth had been pruned. After the tomato turns I am thinking about burying the whole plant in my garden and drenching it with rooting hormone. If the shock of going from hydro to soil doesn't kill it, it could have a huge root system.
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
It has been a rough start to the 2017 pumpkin season. Both 2096's are now above ground. The one on the right had the smashed seed. Only about a third of each cot leaf is still there. The one on the left was not doing much. I dug down and discovered some signs of rot with the seed underground. After some careful surgery with shell removal etc..it is starting to look better now that it has some light. Hopefully one the seeds will show their genetic potential by about first true leaf. In the last few days have also tried to start two 2252 Patons, a 1916 Barron, a 1929.5 Barlow(my new top choice for the 150 plant) and a few of my 719 orange seeds. Depending on germination rates I may try to start a few more for my four spots.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
It is going to be biological competition in my gardens this summer from four products.Residual from years of use of Hollands Biogrow Endo Plus (4 species at 132 prop/gram). WoW Pumpkin Pro one species (Rhizophagus intraradices) at 300 prop/gram and Happy Frog by Fox Farm for seed starting and vine burying. What a mistake....Fox Farm prints their secret formula right on the bag...
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
Well I did say four in competition..the final one is Great White which I have really come to like in my indoor growing. Wonder if their secret blend is available...
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
It takes a magnifying glass for my tired eyes to read but yes they reveal the secret mix. This stuff is potent. 219,000 prop/gram! But endo myco is only 387 props/gram the rest is ecto.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
In fact it takes two pictures to reveal the biological mixture. I like this product...wish it was cheaper. If i start to figure the number of props/dollar it might not be so expensive. Don't hate me-qtip started it...
 
Tuesday, April 25 View Page
This is my 719 that was started in a rooting hormone soak.Two days after emerging it already has multiple roots touching the 6 inch bottom. I am going to have to transplant it already tonight. Getting worried, It is planned for the community garden that might not be open until the end of May.
 
Wednesday, April 26 View Page
So far this year my germination percentage is way down. Have two 2096's, a 1916 Barron and a 719 up. I just dug down into the dirt after four days and so far no sign of life yet from two 2252's and one 1929.5. I will put them back into the dirt and give them a few more days but I think should try starting some other seeds. I have seeds spread out all over my desk trying to decide the next ones to try. I am glad that i was active in the auctions for the past few years. Choice is good for how much time we put into growing these things.
 
Thursday, April 27 View Page
I think this might be my lucky plant. Every time I look at it I am reminded of a four leaf clover. If it was growing from a complete seed I would be worried. But considering how badly the seed was smashed I think it is doing quite well. Starting final round of seeds tonight. Will decide which spot in the garden the plants go next week.
 
Thursday, April 27 View Page
Plants are up and looking good...Sorry Bubba, Minnesota is growing to break 2k before Michigan.
 
Friday, April 28 View Page
I cut the last of my indoor tomatoes off today. It stopped growing at 18.5 inches. It weighed 2.22 pounds and broke my personal best indoor hydro tomato by .02 pounds. Not bad for being neglected for the past 1 1/2 months. Made a change of plans and am going to tear down the indoor set-up this weekend.Hopefully this will free up time to concentrate on the outdoor growing. Will be back under lights for the next winter challenge.
 
Saturday, April 29 View Page
The fastest growing seedling to my surprise is the 719 Borgers(552 Minor x 356 Borgers), outgrowing two 2096's and a 1916 even though it was started later and came up with only one cot leaf.Is it getting the energy because of genetics (it has only 2 pumpkins in its family line over 1k, 1161 Rodonis and 1610 Lieber). Or is it from the effect of heterosis (it is the product of crossing multi-generation selfed lines. Or is the benefit from soaking the seed in rooting hormone. I am thinking that if it continues to grow faster than the rest it will be put in a better location than originally planned.
 
Saturday, April 29 View Page
For further discussion on the message board thread...general discussion...Manufacter of Marks Products. This is the label on the back of RhinoSkin.
 
Tuesday, May 2 View Page
It is finally warm enough for me to start to think about outdoor growing. My co-grower has been wondering what has taken so long. Sorry, I don't have the insulation of a fur coat. First step..get the soil temp up. Two days ago it measured 45 degrees at 6 inches.The forecast for the next ten days is highs in the 60's and sunny. Should warm things up quickly.
 
Tuesday, May 2 View Page
I received the soil test for the community garden today. It confirmed my impresssion. I certainly don't have to worry about excess nutrient levels of anything. It is going to be a challenge..how to boost from nothing to pumpkin growing soil in a matter of weeks. Photo credit goes to pinterest.com.
 
Thursday, May 4 View Page
Giving my babies their first sunshine. Home garden soil temp is up to 64 degrees and warming fast. Called the community garden..after talking with them they opened it up for planting as of now. Heading over to spread plastic should have plants in there before the end of the weekend.
 
Thursday, May 4 View Page
Here is this years community garden spot. I have a double plot at at end of the garden. Much better shape than I had last year. Surprise..i am the first grower to do anything with their plot this year. Hoping by the weekend to have a plant in the ground. Current soil temp 57 degrees. The plastic covering should help it warm quickly.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
This is the smashed seed from 2096 Meier. It is starting to show its potential. I was curious how my lighting downstairs was different than the outside. I thought that I had strong intensity indoors at 700 uMols PAR light but checking it against 3 pm sunshine I am not even at 1/2 intensity. Too late for this year (plants are going in the patch on Sunday) but next year I will double my light intensity. Soil temp at 6 inches is up to 68 degrees. Getting really close.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
Two of my co-workers decided that they wanted to have a pumpkin growing competition between themselves. I agreed to start some seeds even though they said I wasn't eligible to compete. To make it even I am starting seeds that grew my 1109 HD winner last year. Most of the seeds are immature but I have so many of them that can get a good number of sprouts for the company competition. It should be fun listening to the progress of their grows.
 
Saturday, May 6 View Page
The transformation of the community garden has started. Picked up 1200 pounds of composted cow manure ( bag says .5-.5-.5 ) to spread over the 600 sq ft. I prefer not to use bagged manure but made an exception due to lack of time to get this patch ready to plant. 3 days is just not enough time to do it right. After tilling this in, I will get another soil test done and balance as it grows.
 
Sunday, May 7 View Page
Today is 150 sq foot day. Made the final drawing for this years patch. Similar to last year with a few slight changes. Hoping to get a few more root nodes. I think I can grow a pumpkin 1.7 pounds heavier than last year.. Flatnorm, I am going to get to average in the top ten this year.
 
Sunday, May 7 View Page
Tilled the community garden yesterday, added fencing and this morning transplanted a 1916 Barron to the spot that it will hopefully grow to be a big,heavy orange pumpkin. Digging the planting hole I discovered something new about this soil. It has about 8 inches of sand on top of a really hard clay. Clay is something I am not familiar with growing in.
 
Sunday, May 7 View Page
150 sq ft border is built. Last year I used 2x2 wood to make my border. By the end of the season it was rotted. This year, I used 3/4 inch pvc pipe. If i decide that I like the shape, next year I might use the border as part of the 150 irrigation system. Delay of plan as far as planting...to maximize my space I am taking out part of planter next to the garage to be able to move the border over. Losing 3 feet of planter will give 75 extra sq ft for the plant next to the 150. If it sounds confusing you will understand when you see the final position of the border.
 
Sunday, May 7 View Page
150 sq ft contest. Here is the first of the required diary entries. The smashed seed from the 2096 Meier is my entry in the 150 this year. I didn't expect it to sprout when I germinated it. Can't bring myself to cull such a good seed. It will be growing next to its brother who will have at least 600 sq ft to grow. It will be interesting to compare the plants thru the summer.
 
Monday, May 8 View Page
Uh oh, I remembered the seeds that I was starting for my coworkers. It has been three days since soak and oops I miscalculated. I expected about 20 % germination, instead I had 100% germination. Now I have to find homes for 22 orange babies. At least I can tell the adoptive parents that every baby has a chance to win prettiest pumpkin award.. Mom won a co-Howard Dill award at Harrisburg, SD and the only seed grown from mom won HD at Stillwater (1109 pounds). I never distributed these seeds because I though they were too immature but after 22/22 germination, maybe i will. I have hundreds of these.
 
Monday, May 8 View Page
I am feeling sorry for my little 719. All the spots in my four plant patches have been claimed by parentage bigger seeds. It will be hard to let this one go.. I really want to know the shape and color of the fruit of the 719 (552 Minor x 356 Borgers). If this was an orange year it would already be in the ground. I still have 4 seeds left so someday I will find out how pretty it can go.
 
Monday, May 8 View Page
This entry is for matt-man. I am way ahead on the 150 from previous years. The rabbits didn't eat the 1/2 of the plant on the first night out. You might regret putting this 2096 seed up for auction just before the GPC convention of 2016. I still think you should have required me to pay in peseta's. A 2328 meier x 2328 meier has to beat a 2145.5 Mcmullen x 2145.5. I already have taken vacation to come show you how big a 150 pumpkin can grow. See you in the black hills on the last saturday in September.
 
Tuesday, May 9 View Page
The rest of the country has been complaining about rain and cold. Not here...this has been the best May weather ever in my pumpkin growing years. We are going big this year in Minnesota. Here is the weather forecast for the next 10 days, same as it has been for the past week.
 
Tuesday, May 9 View Page
The second 2096 Meier is in the ground. This is the planned plant to beat Qtip and BillF at Gales Woods Farm. Don't tell my wife but I had trouble driving the tiller straight. Somehow I ended up tilling 4 ft past last years boundary. Guess I have to go with it. This plant will now have a 25x24 (600 sq ft) area to grow in. Looking forward to Oct 7th.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
The pretty orange babies are already outgrowing their starting containers. Still a few days before they go to their adoptive parents so it is transplant day and time to start getting them exposed to real sunshine.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
All repotted with some good stuff added. These are the eighteen that are going to new homes. I am culling the two weakest and am keeping two. One planted opposite side of 2096 as a backup. And one in my biggest spots next to the 2075 that is showing to be a slow grower. If the 356 can catch up I might go with it and see if it can improve on 1109 HD.
 
Sunday, May 14 View Page
I have diagnosed my backyard lawn as having a rare turf disease... pumpkinitis obsessiveness. What started as an innocent planting 6 years ago in 300 sq ft has slowly spread. Not only into my yard but also into my neighbors. The invasive curcubit has now taken over 2000 sq ft of beautiful grass. Next year a shed and two ash trees might fall victim to this powerful invasive species. My wife has researched to find a cure, but as now there is none known...wish me luck.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
I lost the 1916 Baron in the community garden either to cut worms or corn maggots or both. Sometime Sunday evening the plant dropped like it hadn't been watered for two weeks. It started coming back but today the stem was chewed off right at ground level. It is still early enough for backup plans. Here is a 356 Borgers ready to go in after some warfare. Last night I also started soaking a 1998.5 Jutras. Might start another seed too...I am getting a pumpkin out of that plot this year. Glad this issue is not at home plot.
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Community garden troubles continue. 1st round eaten by cutworms. 2nd round is now underwater after 4 days of heavy rain. Round 3 is warm and comfortable under grow lights. Here is a picture of Minnesota's newest lake..I think I will call it Lake Bnot. Minnesota is now land of 10,001 lakes.
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Today is round one of the tomato starts. Will be soaking one seed each out of each package. This is 10 seeds from the top 11 listed on tomato.giantstogrow. Next round will have 4 of the 5 next biggest and 6 others. Looking at a total of 20 plants for "early tomato". Weighoff tomatoes will be started in June.
 
Saturday, May 27 View Page
Back to growing in the community garden. Earlier this week I moved my 719 plant from an edge where I was going to grow a single vine genetic pumpkin to center stage in the community garden plot. I was worried that the transplant shock would take it down but it seems it didn't even phase it. Maybe it has some of the tough genetics from the 356...
 
Saturday, May 27 View Page
Since the transplant of the 719 appeared to be succesful I had to decide where to put my 356. I decided to pull a very slow growing 2075 to make room for the little orange. This was supposed to be a non-orange year but now 50% of my plants are HD possible. My final lineup --719 Borgers in 600 sq ft community garden, 356 Borgers in 800 sq ft, 2096 Meier in 600 sq ft and 2096 Meier in 150 sq ft. Should be a fun year.
 
Monday, May 29 View Page
1st round score of summer tomatoes is only 70%. Up and looking normal are the 8.61 Sutherland, 8.41 McCoy, 8.36 Boudyo,7.33 Hunt, 7.18 Harp, and the 7.10 Foss. Up but with 4 cots is the 7.19 LaRue. No shows were the 7.45 Martin,7.15 White and the 7.05 Porkchop. Started soaking sibling replacements for the no shows. I am glad that the 7.33 and 7.18 sprouted. Was concerned considering their age. In a few days when germination chamber is empty will be starting another round..still deciding on which seeds will be in that round.
 
Wednesday, May 31 View Page
150 sq ft plant. Ok tigergirl, last year you beat me by a liitle bit to take second. Due to weather I am behind last year by about a week.. But the next 10 day forecast is looking good. And this year I have better genetics going. You better grow bigger this year or I will overtake you.
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
Watching, from my kitchen as my season goes to hail. I see some pieces up to about an inch in diameter. Will know the extent of damage soon after it stops.
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
First damage noticed...20 tomato plants with all leaves shredded off from them. I can start some more but some of these seeds I will be down to my last one.
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
Upon further inspection, I am out of the 150 contest. The main vine is shredded about a foot from the tip. If I can get a secondary to go it will be beyond the borders. I may give this plant and the one next to it a few weeks to see if can get a little genetic pumpkin. Both of these plants are in similar condition and both were grown from the 2096 Meier. I would like a seed for next year. To replace the pumpkins and shredded tomatoes will be starting seeds today. Trying to decide how many tomato plants I will have room for. Maybe 50...off to go check the condition of the community garden.
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
I guess I was unlucky. Drove to the community garden that is only a mile from my house. Only damage is a few small holes in the leaves. Unfortunately, the plant that is there was my weakest one. On the way home stopped by a store 3 blocks from my house. This is what their parking lot looked like 1 1/2 hours after the storm...is it June?
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
Time to concentrate on tomatoes. Started soaking seeds today. Each cup contains one seed from a different tomato. There are 3 from 8lbs,7 from 7lbs, 11 from 6lbs, and 26 from 5lbs. 47 seeds so far..still have to soak the special 4 lb seeds (4.57 and 4.94 porkchop etc),megamutt seeds, and my own seeds. By next winter tomato challenge should have a huge pile of genetics to choose from. The one seed 5 pounds and over that is in my possession that has not been soaked yet is the 5.85 Boudyo. I have special plans for it.
 
Wednesday, June 14 View Page
Mid season shift gear time. After the hail storm on sunday started 72 tomato plants. The 8.36 wins the germination challenge..first up. It will get one of the prime spots. Yesterday I pulled the two most damaged pumpkins and now will devote that space to tomatoes. I still have two pumpkins but considering their condition,I do not expect either to be competitive for anything other than potential HD award. Focusing the rest of the year on growing the biggest mater. Placed an order for more WoW starter paks. They arrived today. Now have about 200 paks to plant the maters with. Thanks Ron, you have great service. Hopefully one of these plants will go really big and I can give an endorsement for your product. It is crunch time for the Minnesota Tomato Challenge. Time to start your plants for Gale Woods weigh-off if you haven't already.
 
Thursday, June 15 View Page
I am hot and sweaty but I am slowly making progress. Did I mention that I had special plans for the 5.85 Boudyo seed. I got these seeds directly from Fabrice and figure that the seed that has grown the number 1 and the number 3 biggest in the world deserves the best I can give it. Didn't expect it to be so difficult though. It is taking me a beer per inch to sink this 55 gallon drum. 90 degrees is not helping. You can see in the backround the 7.33 hunt and the 7.19 LaRue. Of 20 plants i think these are the only ones to survive the hail. With the seeds started sunday should be able to fill this space with tomatoes aimed for Gale Woods Farm weighoff. My focus will be the one in the blue barrel though.
 
Saturday, June 17 View Page
To add insult to injury this growing season, On friday some critter got to my one remaining pumpkin at home plot and snapped the main in multiple places. I gave up and pulled the plant. More area now for maters. If i don't set personal best this year for tomatoes it won't be because of lack of quantity.
 
Sunday, June 18 View Page
Lasts weeks germination was only about 75%. With the two plants surving hail damage I have 58 plants. Not quite enough. Started today another 24 to fill more space in my empty garden. Will be looking for pollination the first week of August. Hoping timing is right for the fall weighoffs.
 
Sunday, June 18 View Page
With the soil maters all started it is time to start the plant that will grow the first 10 pounder (at least in my dreams). The 5.85 Boudyo seed is soaking. The small rockwool plug is in ph stabilization liquid. Now I need to put this square cube into a round hole. I don't understand why the grow store sells square rockwool cubes and round net pots? After sprouting this will go into an indoor 5 gallon hydroponic bucket for a few weeks until it is ready for the 55 gallon drum. Should be fun throwing everything I have at this plant.
 
Friday, June 23 View Page
Today is tomato transplant day. Have 75 seedlings to go into 2000 sq feet. The exciting news for me though is my special mater baby has popped above rockwool in the past 3 hours. Look really carefully..isn't she beautiful. She will be in the indoor nursery until after July 4th when her penthouse will be ready.
 
Friday, June 23 View Page
I am liking this 7.33 Hunt plant. Two weeks after losing all leaves but one it has come back. As a bonus it is throwing a first truss mega. First goal with this plant is to get seeds. Probably will not terminate new growth until sure that the genetics are captured.
 
Friday, June 30 View Page
Bonus tomato plant...I found this little baby growing between my carefully marked competition maters. It has to be growing either from one of my winter or summer tomatoes that I didn't save seeds from. Purists would say pull this plant because I don't know the parentage. I think I will let it grow. It has survived hail and being tilled twice. If it grows over a 3 pounder I might cross it with the best of the offspring of my unknown winter best 2.51 plants. I have three of these growing. I have 2 of the unknown variety 3.37 Rakkas seeds growing too. I intend to keep crossing the best of the unknowns. In time should have a really mixed mutt of a variety. Don't expect anyone else to grow this unknown line. It is for my personal fun.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Busy day today, started cutting down neighbors tree...yes he gave me permission. I also finished transplanting the mater seedlings to the outdoors. Have 58 plants in pumpkin soil, 1 plant in a 55 gallon hydro drum and 13 plants in pots (8 forty gallon,1 twenty five gallon and 4 fifteen gallon). Included in the potted maters is a 8.61 Sutherland, a 8.36 Boudyo and a 6.23 Konieczny. The plan is when it starts to get cold in September I will bring these into my garage and put them under lights. It will be awhile before I know what mega's I will have. All 72 plants should be pollinated around the first week of August for the fall weighoffs. Hoping for personal best this year.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
I enjoy having all these extra days to work on gardening. The project for today was to move my hydro tomato outside. The 55 gallon drum is buried but i dont want to move the plant from the five gallon bucket until the roots are growing past the 6 inch net pot filled with rockwool. First problem that I have..temp inthe rockwool is climbing close to 100 degrees even though it is only 80 outside. The chiller is keeping the reservoir at 68 degrees but that isn't helping higher up. I added 4 drip lines to cool the rockwool but when i did this inside I was flooding the roots and causing purple. To try to avoid drowning the young roots I now have four airstones in the reservoir. Temp at root zone is back to 70 degrees but will evaluate if I am drowning the roots after a day. This was easier with a 2 inch net pot but i wanted more spread of roots. This is an outdoor hydro learning year for me. If I can get the plant healthy in open environment then will add the mini greenhouse with co2, humidity and temp control. By the time I am done might have a $2000 tomato that weighs 2 pounds. The fun of hobby is priceless though.
 
Monday, July 10 View Page
Here is my baby. Over the weekend moved the 5.85 seedling to the 55 gallon drum. Early growth was not great. I finally found information that growing in 6 inches of rockwool is not the same as growing in 6 inches of coco pebbles. My constant flood of aerated nutrient solution was drowning the roots. I will need to set up a timed distubution for the future. The roots finally made it down the 8 inches needed to make it into the 55 gallon DWC tank. I am initially starting this setup with 1500 ppm 7-4-10 +micro solution with rooting hormone and hydroguard chilled to 68 degrees set at 6.0 ph with 8 airstones. Depending on how the plant responds will determine if I invest in the miniature greenhouse this year or wait for next year. I am not going to invest another $1000 until i am confident the basic is working.
 
Wednesday, July 12 View Page
I am getting impatient after seeing the diary entries of maters already set. I am starting to see first truss blossoms on my plants that were started in the middle of June. The most vigorous early growers of the 70 plants I have growing are: the 3.77 Borgers(wixom slammer, grew my biggest last summer and won my wixom slammer hydro challenge over the winter), the 6.23 Konieczny (megazac still hoping for that ribbon to blossom), the 5.87 White (big zac..started two weeks after most of the rest and the plant is all ready bigger than most, the 6.88 MacCoy (big zac..good looking plant) and the 5.39 Reinhard (big zac...It is way ahead if the two 5.05 Reinhard plants. Amazing how an offspring can be so much better than a aunt/uncle seed). All these plants look stronger than the 7 and 8 pounders I have growing but we know foliage is not what is weighed. This is a picture of a 3.77 in 40 gallon pot. With magnifying glass I can see a 1st truss mega forming. Unfortunately it will be about 3 weeks early for fall weighoff.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Hey qtip...i need to slow my plants down. 86 days left until Oct 7th. Anything set now wont make it even with 3 weeks of refrigeration. I did set a 1st truss mega on a 7.19 LaRue yesterday but right now every plant I set is one less chance for weighoff. i don't think I will have to worry about this 8.41 MacCoy. At the rate it is growing it might be ready for 2018 season. It was my last 8.41 seed so I have struggled with below ground surgery to get it to this point. It was a seed that I never expected to germinate. I started this plant nearly a month ago. I am curious if a weak seedling can grow a tomato that has seeds that can grow a competitve plant. Maybe this winter it will be one of my indoor experiments.
 
Sunday, July 16 View Page
Both 8.61 Sutherland plants that I have growing are showing ribbon vine tendencies. Since these are not pumpkins I am thinking this a good thing. Has anyone else noticed this trait from a 8.61?
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
After work it took me about two hours to prune and tie up all 70 of my mater plants. About the right number of plants for me without growing pumpkins. Maybe next year I won't even plant a pumpkin.I am seeing first truss mega's on about 50% of the plants. Unfortunately, they are 1 to 2 weeks early. I am hoping some of the single first trussers will throw a mega on the second. Growing for a specific date is difficult. Over the weekend mulched all the plants with about 8 inches of Rye straw. Hoping this will help with late August-September disease pressures. It looks rather pretty..too bad I-phone can't capture the effect of green mater plants surrounded by bright yellow straw.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
The 5.85 Boudyo in the 55 gallon hydro drum is not exciting me. It is barely under the average of the plants started at the same date. it has a first truss mega blossom but it will not be a big one. There is a chance that it might start to move up in the ranking since it only started dropping roots into the full strength nutrient solution a few days ago. Hoping to dial it in before winter..for the winter challenge I will be all hydro. In my basement I probably won't be mulching the hydro plants...I hate weeding...
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
You are right Qtip, you have one ugly tomato...here is my first set of the summer. It is on the 7.19 LaRue that survive the hail. I am playing a new game with myself this year...predict final weight after choosing a set mater. Will have to make my guess based on shape and size of blossom, condition of plant, time of season etc. I am going to predict 3.27 on this triple. Will probably be way off intiatially but after a few years should be able to guess much closer.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
I am encouraged this year. All of my mater plants are looking healthy to me. I am not seeing any sign of nutrient deficiency. 3 WoW starter paks per plant seems to have been beneficial.Over the weekend started a heavy fungicide rotation. Growing for late season competition means will have much more blight and powdery mildew possibilities. The more I have learned about competition maters the more I like growing them.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
My tomato plants growing in winter 40 gallon soil pots are taller with stretched out nodal lengths compared to the garden plants. In the front is from my 3.77 Wixom Slammer personal best. It has a nice mega on it and new growth has been terminated even though the blossom has not even opened yet. Behind it is a 6.23 Konieczny. So far this plant has thrown only single blossom, single stem. It has 3 weeks left to throw a big one. Behind that is the ribboning 8.61 Sutherland. I think I will mess up the pruning on this one. When you have a 7 fused vine with a mega in the middle..how do you trim? I am curious how these plants do. How big of a container is needed to be equal grow environment to garden plants. I say the number right now is between 25 gallons and 1000 gallons.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
I have all this extra pollen from a 8.61 nice mega, double ribbon to blossom but no other open blossoms to dirty pollinate with. Guess I will put it back into the 8.61 aiming for the smallest end of the blossom. That seems to be where I have the most trouble getting a complete set.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
Hey, Tyler...the Ohio melon keeps getting bigger. It is already way over personal best. Thank you again.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Did my first nutrient change in the 55 gallon drum today. Roots on the plant would already by on the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. PPM of the solution had dropped from 1500 to 1100. The new solution is a bit different...kicking up the phosphorous and potasium levels a bit. The plant is still midrange of the group of plants started about the same date... need to see if I can improve upon that. It is a learning experience for me. I need a faster pump to empty the tank. The roots were out of water for way too long. Next year my goal is to have 6 maters in 55 gallon hydro drums.
 

 

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