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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 347 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.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Right or wrong I made my pruning decision on the ribboned 8.61 Sutherland. This blossom was right in the middle of 6 to 7 fused vines. Thru the past few days I have been snipping the vines off to give the blossom some place to grow. If the blossom can develop now and set it will have a huge hose to feed it. All new growth is now terminated. If it doesn't set, I will let the plant go without pruning to see if it can put out some seeds. At this point it is in the time window when it could be a fall weighoff contender.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
My new toy. It is an 18V battery, one gallon sprayer. After struggling with pump sprayers for the past 5 years I am hoping this will be so much easier. I thought about a backpack sprayer but decided that would be overkill for all the tomato plants. Will probably be doing much more spraying this year than I ever done before.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
As of today,my prediction as to what plant will grow my peronal best this summer is this 8.61 Sutherland. Nice blossom in the sunniest part of my garden. It has been dropping pollen now for four days.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
I have been approaching the growing this summer with extreme pruning. This is my 8.61 favorite. Right now there are only 2 branches below the blossom. The blossom is at 15 inches above ground. Total plant height 24 inches. As soon as I see the blossom is set I will terminate the top growth.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
Upon close inspection of the tomato leaves I am noticing signs on a few leaves that I might be having problems. First thought is that there may be a magnesium deficiency. This could be easy to correct.. I have a big bag of magnesium sulfate (epsom salt). The problem is the soil is already moist. I would like to do a nutrient drench but do not want to drown the plants doing so. Rain is a bad thing..means I can do less for the plants.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
Spending sunday afternoon watching the plants from the deck making plans for the winter and next summer. This winter I want to try crossing four plants. This is the time for me to decide on the best possibilities for crossing. This 6.15 Ansems is a possibility. It's first truss is a cluster of 14 blossoms but only one double. I wonder if I can find a crossing partner that tends to fuse most of the 1st truss. A 14 fused blossom would be awesome...
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
This plant could be a candidate for a winter cross. It is the 4.94 Porkchop (grown off from a 7.27 Wiesli seed). Of 70 plants this is the only one to form two megas on the first truss.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
I really expect one of my 3.77 wixomslammers to make it to winter cross group. 3 of the 4 are showing double ribbon to triple mega or better. It is possible the double ribbon may be a genetic trait that can be locked in.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
Did a quick count this morning. I have 68 tomato plants growing. 6 plants have yet to form first truss blossom. Of the 62 that have shown formed blossoms, 43 have a first truss mega. There have been some disappointments...7.33 Hunt is up to third truss and still only singles. Finally a 6.23 has decided to join the party and toss a first truss mega. I still think I am a week to two weeks too fast but maybe some colder temps in late August and early September can slow them down.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
It is cocktail time. My soil is still moist but I am going to sneak in a drench before thunderstorms forecast for the next two days. Sorry Q..I am going for mixing by intuition..science is overrated. Looking at dropping 100 gallons on 1000 sq ft at a ppm of 1500. I am looking for ratios of 3N-5Ph-10K-4Ca-2.5Mg +micros. Will have a bit of humic acid and biologicals added to this mix too. If the plants die in the next two days I will surrender to science.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
I think I probably messed this one up on a 8.61 Sutherland. It was a seven fused vine with a mega right in the center. I did not know how to trim it. If I did nothing the vines would crush the mega. I tried the delayed trimming of vines but I think that was the wrong approach. The blossom seems to me to be too deep in the vine tissue to be able to grow out to bloom. As of now I am letting suckers grow to try to capture these genetics. It may be many years before I see something similar.
 
Tuesday, July 25 View Page
Maybe I didn't mess it up too badly. Looks like the 8.61 ribbon mega is making it out of the vine cluster. Still too early to determine how many fused blossoms and how big the ribbon will be. I wish the plant was in my garden and not in a 40 gallon pot but at least I will be able to bring it into a temp controlled garage under lights in September. 2 of my best 10 are in these pots.
 
Tuesday, July 25 View Page
Looks like this year might have a chance in the Megamutt competition. This is the blossom on Megamutt D. In the past four days it has been making good gains. It is in a fertile area of my garden, just on the edge of where my pb pumpkin grew last year. Hoping to have nearly all maters set in the next 7 to 10 days. My preferred set date for fall weighoffs will be the first week of August. Anything after August 20th I think will be pulled unless fo some reason I want the genetics.
 
Tuesday, July 25 View Page
Warning...if you grow competition tomatoes and use the extreme pruning method your neighbors are going to think you are not a very good grower. Look...their tomato plants are so much bigger than yours. Just smile and think to yourself how perfect your plants are.
 
Tuesday, July 25 View Page
I think I have chosen my winter crosses. First cross will be my best 3.77 wixom slammer crossed with the megamutt D. All these are showing triple blossom to triple ribbon or better. Any ideas for variety name. 2nd cross will be pure Big Zac. 8.61 megaribbon sutherland x 4.94 Porkchop double mega first truss. To make this happen...first step get these maters to seed. I think I am obsessed.
 
Wednesday, July 26 View Page
Things are going well in the bnot garden. You might be getting tired of blossom pictures but that is all I have right now. The super megas are starting to open. I am calculating about 2/3rds will be open during my desired time frame of the first week in August. Here is one open and dropping pollen on a 3.77 2nd generation Wixom Slammer. I love that ribbon to blossom. 3 of 4 of this seed is growing this way. Hoping to skip the 4 pound personal best and grow one of these over 5. I think this seed has way more potential than even that. Just need to improve grower technique.
 
Wednesday, July 26 View Page
Is this a sunflower ..no it is a tomato that had all new growth terminated while the mega was still forming. There is no plant above the mater. 7 branches below the blossom. To evaluate the results I am not sure how to handicap it for being in a 40 gallon container on my driveway that gets shade 50% of the day. I might have to figure out how to move it to a sunnier location but it is really heavy.
 
Thursday, July 27 View Page
Hey Bubba, I like your new label. I am a bit busy now but I am wondering if you can save me a fresh sample for the Fall. Maybe if I can figure out how to to best do staining I can get a good picture of the lil critters.
 
Friday, July 28 View Page
It is my weekend. I spent about 4 1/2 hours today getting caught up on pruning and tying of the maters. That works out to be about 4 minutes per plant. These are my main gardening tools. 1-pruning scissors...adequate but a bit too big. I think I should shop for some surgical scissors. 2- Vegibee and spoon. This is a big improvement over an electric toothbrush. Had a good set ratio last winter and this summer seems to be having the same success even though my neighborhood is somewhat lacking in bees. I might add some fine artist paint brushes to improve the technique of transfering the pollen back into the flower. 3- Jewelers tweezers. Meant to pick up diamonds it gives me the control to do blossom surgery without damage. I really dislike the errant sepals that grow into the middle of a blossom. 4- 8x magnifying visor. I am not saying I am getting old but a bit of vision assistance really makes a difference.
 
Friday, July 28 View Page
Starting to see the first of the sets. So far my big megas have a been a disapointment. I suspect that they are doubles + triples but I don't think that they are fused. Have bigger blossoms yet to set...fingers crossed. Have emailed Qtip and Bill Foss, they are both still in still in running for the Gale Woods tomato challenge. I have heard that Dan MacCoy did not grow. Wonder what Larry Hill (Frostbite has going in the frozen Minnesota north..has the ground even thawed there yet?). Maybe an out of stater will travel claim this prize. I better step up my game plan....
 
Friday, July 28 View Page
Thanks Frostbite for the update. Qtip and Bill, You need to kick it it up a notch...you are going to be fighting between yourselves for 3rd place. I thought a mega between 8 fused vines was strange. Guess what..I have my second one this year... this one is on a 5.31 Timm. It is only in a fifteen gallon container so I do not expect much. Have trimmed many of the extra vines already. Hopefully will improve on my trimming method of the 8.61 Sutherland megaribbon 40 gallon pot.
 
Saturday, July 29 View Page
The hydro mater is still growing even though I had an issue last week of the aeration hose blowing off the pump. The plant has only formed small doubles so far on two different trusses. Raised the P and K levels a bit to try to push for a bigger third truss mega. Nutrient solution is now at 1850 PPM. August 15th will make the final decision on which blossom set I will go with.
 
Saturday, July 29 View Page
Looks like Frostbite has a ribbon-blossom-periscope-tomato plant also. Hope it sets for you Larry. I have two plants showing these characteristics. The first looks like it took. I believe it is quintet and all sections are fused. Now to see what I can do with hydro solution into a 40 gallon soil pot.
 
Saturday, July 29 View Page
The moisture meter said it was time to water 6 inches down. So i mixed up a Bnot special potent hydro mixture. If you really want to know the secret formula...it is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. If it doesnt erupt like a baking soda-vinegar volcano it is good to go. Added a gallon to the 40 gallon pot..moisture meter shows good. Leaves curled up within an hour. Yep, I think it is potent enough....
 
Sunday, July 30 View Page
Here is the picture of my other periscope ribbon blossom. It is six inches long if you measure it from where the base of the stem starts. It stayed fused to the main for 3 inches and then split away. Both of these periscopes are from the same seed 3.77 Borgers wixom-slammer. With both plants being from the same seed with the same characteristic maybe it is genetic. This one started dropping pollen today. If it sets, it has a better chance of going big than the other..it is in the garden soil.
 
Sunday, July 30 View Page
Can you identify the 6.23 megazac in the picture. Yes,you are right it is the really tall one. I have seen taller plants with most of the wixom crosses. I have growing megazac,megadom,megamutt and wixom slammers. The wixom slammer are the shortest of the group. The tall lanky might be a characteristic coming from the megamarv.
 
Sunday, July 30 View Page
I also have an assortment of Big Zac, Domingo and Delicious plants. I messed up this year after a complete replant and did not use pollination nets. I do not have many bees but have been watching them travel plant to plant. The one plant that has best chance of being pure delicious 7.33 Hunt 2010 shows differences from some of the other purported delicious plants. I also have a bigzac from 7.18 Harp 2009 growing. It is still young but am interested to compare it with the rest of the BigZacs. After all these years of open pollinations in mixed gardens I think variety is a blurred mess. My future crosses will be by characteristic...variety name-competition.
 
Monday, July 31 View Page
My periscope 3.77 Is dropping pollen for the second day. She is beautiful but I really want to know how many fused. Patience, Bob, she is in prime time slot for fall weighoff. Wait what do I see...wowser check next diary entry.
 
Monday, July 31 View Page
What is this...Where is the magnifying visor. oh my goodness it is really what i thought it was. Not only is it a periscope ribbon but it has a megablossom coming out from a leaf node. Now I wonder if the 3.77 wixom slammer momma had an illicit affair with the Bigzarro Portuguese Monster that was a two plants away from her. If so, I could be in for a wild ride. That Bigzarro has been the only plant I ever surrended to. When the leaf node mega gets bigger I will post a clearer picture. I cant get my phone to focus at 8x magnification clarity.
 
Monday, July 31 View Page
Thanks porkchop for the suggestion of holding the magnifying glass in front of the phone. The is a bit clearer but I was having trouble with the reflections from the sun and holding the magnification and phone both steady. Another day or too will really make it clear.
 
Tuesday, August 1 View Page
Today is the first day of what I thought was ideal time frame for fall weighoffs. Everday I am seeing more sets that took. I am thinking that in the next week or so the majority of my plants will be set with megas and new growth terminated. Here is one of the ones today. I have a couple set that are this shape. What grows bigger..fused in a circle or fused in a line. This tomato is off from a 6.79 Sutherland. Maybe it can spread some of Biscuit's magic throughout the patch.
 
Tuesday, August 1 View Page
The runt of the garden. My last 8.41 MacCoy is sure taking it's sweet time to develop. Started 1 1/2 months ago it is only 12 inches tall. Today, I noticed that it finally forming a first truss, and yes there is a mega in there. Come on MacCoy this is Minnesota we can't grow into December.....hmmm, or maybe we can. Will this plant show enough to try....
 
Tuesday, August 1 View Page
Here is what the backside of my 40 gallon periscope looks like. It appears that each fused segment has it's own vine. As Dan pointed out the goal is to grow big tomatoes not big vines. Hoping the big vines will help as the focus changes now to feeding the fruit.
 
Friday, August 4 View Page
The 8.61 Sutherland that had 7 fused vines with the mega in the center reacted to extreme pruning as I had hoped. The blossom grew as a ribbon. Hopefully in a few days it will open and set. This plant is also in a 40 gallon pot. My garage might be full in September. For insurance I made a clone of this 8.61. Today will be getting it setup in the basement grow room. I have two other plants picked out to clone. My plan is to cross these three plants indoors in the next two months.
 
Friday, August 4 View Page
70 plants growing... nearly all plants are descended from a tomato over 5 pounds in the past two generations. 55 unique seeds. This will be probably be my most diverse year for genetics. As I start crossing and taking up space to grow out the crosses I will have less room left to introduce new genetics. Already making decisions for next year. Really need to modify the soil..I know my ph is about 7.3. Unless something changes my mind..next year I will grow only one pumpkin in a different section and this section will be all maters.
 
Friday, August 4 View Page
This is the second plant that I am going to try the clone-cross with. It is the 4.94 Porkchop grown from the 7.27 Wiesli. I like the double 1st truss megas with ribbon.
 
Friday, August 4 View Page
my third choice for the clone-cross group will be this one.One more day and i will know how many fused on the periscope. In the meantime, how long do I let its leaf node ribbon mega grow? I can take its picture now without magnification.
 
Friday, August 4 View Page
This is one of the reasons I am pursuing the ribbon blossoms. This 7.19 LaRue is only 12 1/2 inches cc but the single stem has already kinked. I was 4-5 days away from hammocking it.
 
Friday, August 4 View Page
I am not mad ESheel, just a little obsessed. This is the blossom on the 8.61 Sutherland that i made a clone of. If i was to predict right now, I will say it is going to be a 5 inline fused. The plant has good characteristics for crossing.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
My pollination season is winding down. Overall I am a bit disappointed in my success rate. My big blossoms were reduced by incomplete pollinations on some plants,damaged blossoms caused by handling on others,and sets that are not fused. I have many,many plants that I expect can grow three pounds but only 6 plants at last count that have the best chance of going over my pb. I have started culling some of the lower performing plants for better utilization of my time. I expect this reduction to go on for a few weeks. Have not yet decided on how many to keep. One of the 6 that I like is this 6.83 Boudyo.
 
Sunday, August 6 View Page
Do you think she looks hungry...I see some leaves not curled up. I am hitting this plant hard with hydro nutrients in the soil and chelated nutrients foliar. Way more grower "love" than I have ever exposed a plant to before. All she has to grow is bigger than 2.51 pounds to break my container best. I am hoping she will break her momma's 3.77 which is my personal best. A year ago I would have been really concerned about how bad this plant looks..now I just think of some of the comments I read on tomatoville about MacCoy's 8.41. Some of them wrote if they had seen a plant that looked like that they would have pulled it. Just remember it is no beauty contest.
 
Friday, August 11 View Page
I find this 5.07 Court interesting. It should be a Delicious...7.33 Hunt-4.32 Hunt- 4.83 Marshall- 5.07 Court. But the plant and fruit set looks nothing like the original 7.33 Hunt on the other side of the garden. It looks Big Zac to me.
 
Friday, August 11 View Page
Slowly making progress on the culling of plants. From 70 plants I am down to 52. Taking out about 2 plants per day. In the next 2 weeks I expect to be at about 35-40 plants to go for the October finish. My criteria for culling, do I think the mater has a chance to be competive for fall weighoff or is there a chance I might want to grow the seed. If the answer is no..the plant is gone.
 
Saturday, August 12 View Page
My seasons final blossoms are starting to open. My oldest sets are hitting the 15 inch hammock stage. Hoping this year I have my weighoff timing a little bit better. Last year every tomato I took to a weighoff was still very green. Cooler temps in September really slowed the maturity time. 56 days until Gale Woods. 35 days to the 3 week refrigeration time window. Next weekend will start setting up my tomato weighoff storage setup.
 
Saturday, August 12 View Page
I still have the 55 gallon hydro tomato growing. Was having trouble holding up the plant with one hand to show root structure and still manage to take a picture. The roots extend about 3 1/2 feet. Definately would be root bound in 5 gallon bucket. Raising the ppm of the solution did give some results for third truss blossom..I have 3 doubles on the third truss but it was at the expense of curly topping the plant. I am thinking I will go with a second truss double to get seeds from this 5.85 Boudyo and work on improving the hydro techniques over the winter. Right now my outdoor hydro is behind outdoor soil.
 
Monday, August 14 View Page
Wixom is showing pictures of 32 inch tomatoes (lol) and I am still showing off blossom pictures. Be thankful I am running out of plants that have yet to set. Newest one from today, I kind of like. It is a small plant,growing in a shady spot in the garden. The soil it is in was lawn grass last year. It is the only plant of 6 in that area that made the cut. I like it's first truss blossom, rather slow forming but nice considering it's growing environment. The seed was 5.13 LaRue. Any respectable fruit growth will find it's offspring in a better spot next year.
 
Monday, August 14 View Page
One of my favorites.. the 6.83 Boudyo. Check my diary entry from August 5th. The fruit has exploded with growth. 9 days later is is at 13 inches and started kinking the stem. I tried hammocks made from paint strainers but too hard to tie. I went to a local store and bought two pairs of pantyhose but when I tried to tell the cashier that I was buying them for slings for tomatoes she looked at me like "yeah right". Solution I ordered 24 pairs off the internet. Still a few days before delivery but I fixed the kink with plant ties. If it keeps gaining an inch cc per day..when do i try to contact the GPC?
 
Thursday, August 17 View Page
I have culled down to 48 plants. All but four are set. It is getting harder to choose plants to pull. I think all 48 have a chance for 3 pounds or better. Really difficult to decide which plant has the best chance for the fall weighoff. Is it going to be an earlier set with 3 weeks of refrigeration or one of the last sets. This 6.88 MacCoy may be it. I messed up the first truss mega so it gave me a another chance and tossed a nice second truss mega. Should be a verified set by the end of the weekend. Based on days to weighoff and slower maturity in September it might be able to stay on vine until the day of weighoff.
 
Saturday, August 19 View Page
I am starting to like thick stems even if they are not ribbons. I have two tomatoes that kinked their long skinny stems at only 12 inches cc.This megamutt has a nice strong connection to the fruit. It is now hammocked at 16 inches cc. I am guessing it is only about 16 DAP so there is a chance it can gain another 6 inches to beat that Wixom guy. As far as I can tell 3.88 is current leader in the Megamutt competition.
 
Sunday, August 20 View Page
Now that all my tomatoes are set..well almost all (the 8.41 MacCoy runt has yet to join the party..maybe it wants to go to Stillwater) I can now bore you with pictures of small tomatoes at hammock stage. On my time plan I hope to have the majority of the plants in slings at 15-16 inches by September 1st. I have divided my garden by environmental favorability. The winner of each area will have at least one seed planted in the full garden next year. Already,I know the winner of the 15 gallon semi-shaded group. This 2.50 Borgers (grown from the 6.83 Fulk) is the only surviving plant. Last summer it was my first weighed tomato. Was my personal best for a few days, beating my previous pb 1/2 pound winter tomato. Wonder if it will break 2.5. At 16 inches right now. There is a bit satisfaction in growing some of your own seeds.
 
Sunday, August 20 View Page
I don't understand why Qtip is so excited about 26 inches..see i have one that measures 49..oops you are right,I am suppose to use the other end of the tape. Hope you break 6 pounds Q. Here is an unofficial list of the top grown in Minnesota.. 1- 8.41 MacCoy 2014 2- 7.10 Foss 2014 3- 6.88 MacCoy 2014 4- 6.63 Foss 2014 5- 6.30 Steil 2016 . Put 2017 on the list
 
Monday, August 21 View Page
This is where it starts to get fun. 24 plants in slings. Seeing the first 18 inchers of the summer. Need to get to 22 inches for me to be in unknown teritory but I think this summer will get there. Both hail survivor plants are over 18. I am really liking this 7.33 Hunt. It was not a big blossom or a big stem on the tomato, but it has grown consistently in a nice round solid shape. Gaining about 1/2 inch per day. Hoping she has 2 1/2 weeks to go and will end up at the midpoint or better of progeny from this seed. Top progeny is 6.51 Meisner 2011. Second 5.2 Boudyo 2014. No listed progeny since 2014. This is my last 7.33...there can't be many left from 7 years ago.
 
Monday, August 21 View Page
The other old seed that i started,7.18 Harp 2009, had early problems. Had to do underground surgery to remove the seed coat. No doubt the seed lost some vigor after being stored for 8 years. It has come back and tossed this nice 1st truss set. I lost its stronger sibling from the hail but interested to see what this one will end up at. I still have more of these seeds left. I know i will slowly start them thru time.
 
Monday, August 21 View Page
I was proof reading my last post and I noticed something that I hadn't seen before. If you look closely there are three sections that look like they have little balls in it. My first though is some insect laid eggs in the tomato. Upon further inspection I am unsure. On two sections the balls come off easily with a tweezers. On the third section pictured below in the top right corner the balls are not fully formed yet. Could this be seeds forming. I have not seen this before. If someone knows what this is please email me.
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
It is painful to cut off 16 inch 1st truss sets to give a more promising higher set a better chance. I just have to keep reminding myself..three pounders was last year..need to push it harder. Hoping September weather will be kind.
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
This entry is for Porkchop. The 7.05 Porkchop at 16 inches. She probably has 30 more days to grow. So far there has been only one tomato over 7 pounds that grew from a seed that was over 7. Can this be number 2.
 
Thursday, August 24 View Page
It appears my three clones will survive. Planning for three rounds of crossing before next spring. This first round is to cross the best ribbon megas of the summer. Round two will be from seed. I have my eye on three plants and expect this round to be an effort to cross the best conglomerate megas. I have yet to decide what round three of crosses will be. 1/3 of my tomatoes garden next summer will be devoted to growing the crosses out.
 
Friday, August 25 View Page
My megamutt D. It took 6 days to gain 2 inches. 22 DAP. 2 weeks more and it should be bigger than that Wixom grower. This may not be my best megamutt..have two others that are younger but are showing some potential.
 
Sunday, August 27 View Page
I am down to 43 plants. 35 in hammocks. The biggest are only taping 20 inches. 41 days until weighoff. 20 days to refrigeration window. I am getting impatient.
 
Monday, August 28 View Page
My last blossom of the year. I probably should have clipped it 2 weeks ago but it looked so nice. Have a conglomerate set two trusses lower. This is on a 5.16 Daho. It is probable that this will not be a complete set. Rain for the past 3 days but it is still dropping pollen today. If she sets maybe I will try to grow her for Stillwater.
 
Thursday, August 31 View Page
The 7.33 Hunt on DAP 35. Still increasing in diameter but I think she will go light. The depth of the mater seems to me to be small as compared to the cc and there is a small pocket on the top. 2 more inches cc and i think that i will be close to my goal of 4 pounds. How long does it take for the Delicious strain to turn red?
 
Thursday, August 31 View Page
It is going to be close Wixom. Megamutt D at 28 DAP still gaining but slowing some. Using Biscuit's formula CC x diameter x diameter x .00055 I get 3.20 est weight. I can only hope that this one will exceed your estimate of 35-40 DAP to Color for the mega crosses. Come on MMD only .68 pound more to go to take the lead.
 
Thursday, August 31 View Page
Wonder what i will have to bring in to Gale Woods Farm on Oct 7th. 37 days to go, about two weeks for refrigerated storage. Is it going to be this one...
 
Thursday, August 31 View Page
Or this one...
 
Thursday, August 31 View Page
Or this one...or that one or that other one... It is going to be a blackout of posts of my good maters soon. Need to keep some suspense for the weighoff.
 
Friday, September 1 View Page
Here is one of my megazacs..from the 6.23. I wasn't excited about the shape or size of the blossom but after seeing the picture of Udo's 5.56 and Garden Rebels 47 DAP I am reevaluating the potential. This one is 27 DAP and measuring 20 inches cc. 20 more days of growth..she might be big.
 
Saturday, September 2 View Page
My clones for crossing are doing fine. This 8.61 clone is ahead of the other two in blossom formation. Timing will be the challenge. If I have to I will make a clone of a clone.This winter I will be working hard to improve the technique for controlled crosses.
 
Saturday, September 2 View Page
Going into the home stretch. I am thinking that I need to increase the feeding. Most of my plants do not have the extreme leaf curl up that I have seen on the largest grown. With the addition of mulch, the garden has not been dry enough to water for the past month. My prefered feeding method is soil drench. Will have to look thru my growing supplies to see what I have available for foliar. Probably have something in there that can overdose the plants.
 
Sunday, September 3 View Page
My garden is full of 3+ pound tomatoes. I am getting anxious..the biggest are almost to 4. Come on babies grow. Watch the tomato board on September 16th. That will be the start of another guess the weight contest..this one for the winning weight at Gale Woods Farm. I think you will like what the winning prediction will receive for a prize.
 
Monday, September 4 View Page
I am starting to see some tomato plants with the start of blight. By the end of September last year my garden looked terrible. This year have been spraying the plants every 2-3 days in rotation with these products:2 systemics - Eagle20ew and Garden Phos, 2 biologicals- Actinovate and Companion WP and finally Daconil. What else can i throw at it?
 
Monday, September 4 View Page
This was the plant that was showing the worst signs of blight. It is in a shady part of the garden that doesn't see sunlight until mid morning. I trimmed off any affected branches that I could see. All that is left is a 3 foot stem, the fruit and a small group of leaves on top. I would have pulled the plant but I want seeds from this genetic line. If the blight spreads this year like last I expect my garden will be very hacked up in a few weeks.Fortunately only 12 days to refrigeration window.
 
Monday, September 4 View Page
The good news..the 7.33 Hunt keeps gaining 1/4 inch per day 39 DAP. One more inch and I think she will be over 4 pounds. Of all the 7.33 seeds grown there have been 9 over 4 pounds. I want number ten. This one will not be saved for Gale Woods..don't want to risk rotting while waiting.
 
Wednesday, September 6 View Page
No new spread of blight for the past two days. Temps are really slowing tomato growth.. high today of 64 with lows in the 40's. All I can hope for is the past two days of lower temps will extend the time to flash colors by the same amount. Forecast for the next 8 days is better...highs mid 70's, sunny with lows mid 50's. Hopefully can see some good gains in the next week. Next year might try the easy method and just focus on early tomatoes.
 
Wednesday, September 6 View Page
Garden Rebel..your megamutt D looks way different from my megamutt D. Yours looks exactly like my best Domingo from last year. My megamutt D ,I think is showing more Big Zac characteristics. It is not showing the agressive foliage that my other mega crosses have shown (probably a characteristic of the MegaMarv) and also not showing the serated edges of the domingo. These seeds are mixed to the point that no doubt that we are going to see a lot of variety.
 
Thursday, September 7 View Page
I picked up my scale tonight after it has been calibrated. Doesn't everyone have their personal calibrated-certified scale. When my next tomato flashes color, I intend to take it to my workplace for the witness signatures. Will be interesting to see if GPC will accept it for early tomato entry.
 
Thursday, September 7 View Page
I am further away on reaching 4 pounds on this 7.33 Hunt than I thought I was a week ago. It is measuring 22.5x18x18. Using Biscuits multiplication factor of .00055 gives an estimated weight of 4.01 pounds. Using Materdocs multiplication factor of .000474 gives an estimated weight of 3.46. At DAP of 42 it might not have much longer to go. As I start to weigh my maters this year, I am thinking doing the three measurements on all of them. With a big enough sample we should be able to narrow down the multiplier factor.
 
Thursday, September 7 View Page
How to measure this one? This is my 3.77 Wixom Slammer in a 40 gallon pot that is starting to flash. It is so many fused that I don't know where to take the main cc measurement at. Unfortunately this plant was probably in my least healthy soil pot. I am expecting it to weigh only about 3 pounds, but it will be one of the seeds that I will be growing this winter. Given a healthier environment it could have grown really big.
 
Friday, September 8 View Page
My last set of the year is my gnarlist one yet. It will probably still be green on October 14th. It might be my green ticket in to the big show at Stillwater on that date.
 
Sunday, September 10 View Page
The clone from the 8.61 Sutherland seed...come on other two plants..put out some pollen. The 8.61 is two trusses ahead of you.
 
Sunday, September 10 View Page
It took a look into my seed vault to make sure but yes,there they are. I thought I had a few seeds left from Carina-Carl-Cosgrove 2016 ...WR 2017. Next January will have to start a few and see how close I can get to Q's giant numbers. Watch out Qtip...your going down...just as soon as I get some of your magic soil.
 
Monday, September 11 View Page
Lost another tomato today from rot. So far this year a few three pounders and BER. Not a good start. Fortunately my favorites are still looking like they might have chance. 6 days to storage time frame.
 
Monday, September 11 View Page
The 7.33 Hunt is starting to flash today. 4 pounds is still a possibility depending on which multiplier I use. Need to figure out Biscuit's secret. I ran the numbers on his 5.30...his multiplier number was .00062 Can it be the Walla Walla water?
 
Tuesday, September 12 View Page
If a solo sucker gets pruned off, send out 20. This MegaZac is stubborn. I love it.
 
Wednesday, September 13 View Page
This is not what I wanted to see..This was one of my favorites. I have been having trouble with hammocks shifting. I had hopes for this 5.07 Court.
 
Wednesday, September 13 View Page
The season is not looking promising. I have way too many tomatoes turning colors before they are big. I pulled this Megamutt D tonight. Early growth was great and then just stopped when the weather turned colder two weeks ago. I am begining to wonder if I will make it over 4 lbs.
 
Wednesday, September 13 View Page
This is the bottom of the Megamutt D. Its measurements were 21x20x16.5. With a weight of 3.24 the multiplication factor is .00046 . My 7.33 Hunt is going to be picked Friday morning. Wonder if I water it heavily on Thursday night if the m-factor will be higher?
 
Thursday, September 14 View Page
Tomorrow is the big day. I will finally get to see if i am a member of the 4 pound Hunt Delicious club. Best measurement tonight on vine is 23.5x19.25x18.25 = 8255. M-factor of .00046 (my best so far this year) gives est weight of 3.63 lbs. M-factor of .00055 ( Biscuits suggested factor) gives est weight of 4.54 pounds. M-factor of .00062 (the number Biscuit is actually getting) gives the est weight of 5.11 My coworkers are ready to be good tomato judges. Has anyone else ever had someone try measure their stem with a caliper to make sure it is not too long? This tomato might be mutilated by the time they are done as they probe crevices looking for soft spots. It is going to be fun.
 
Thursday, September 14 View Page
I cut off the 5.07 Court that had hammock shift and split the stem. Looking at it there was not enough connection left for any hope. She was a block of a tomato 21x20x20 Mfactor of .00043. Gale Woods competitors you can relax. This potential 4+ pounder is going to be a no show.
 
Thursday, September 14 View Page
I have a bunch of more three pound tomatoes coming. Sorry Qtip, I am going to take the record for number of three pounders grown in a season. i am going to let some of these 3 pounders turn really red and then see what the Mfactor is. I might be picking too early...even though there is no cc growth the inside might be retaining more water. The difference between .00044 and .00062 is huge.
 
Friday, September 15 View Page
The 7.33 Hunt weighed this morning. Missed the 4 pound mark. Final measurements are 23.5x19.5x18.5 for a Mfactor of .00044 . Still have 34 plants with a tomato on the vine. Most of these will not be very big. I am just hoping that one will grow big for Gale Woods.
 
Friday, September 15 View Page
The bottom side side of the 3.78. I thought it had a chance to be heavier, not much for air gaps showing. Really need to solve this riddle of low M.
 
Friday, September 15 View Page
I forget to mention that the 3.78 is my new pb..breaking it by .01 pounds. At this rate of improvement it will take only 622 more years to break the ten pound mark. I have to do something to improve these numbers. It might be all wrong but it might be time for the half court shot at the buzzer. I haven't been able to do the soil drenches because the moisture meter has not registered low enough. New plan...watering heavy with potassium for growth and calcium to reduce BER. I am going to have to rely on my sandy base to keep the roots from drowning. Hopefully will still have 3 pounder to take to the weighoff after trying an extreme last minute push.
 
Saturday, September 16 View Page
Go to the tomato board and make your guess for what the winning weight will be at Gale Woods Farm. The winner will receive these two packages of Wow Starter Paks. Thanks Ron...I like the changes you made on the label. Great product...I will surely be using it again next summer.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
Cut off a few more tomatoes today. Still have 20 plants in the garden. I think my hopes are riding on only 4 of them though. How many 3 pounders do I need to take qtip's title?
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
Since today is a seed harvesting day for me, I thought I would show the new growers how I do it. It is my 3.78 that I am getting seeds for next year. I start by slicing the tomato in half and scooping all the seed pockets with a little spoon into a bowl.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
Quite a pile of tomato mush out of this one. I use a fork to puree any big chunks down to size.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
Next I add one tablespoon of Trisodium Phosphate to one cup of warm water. I purchased this TSP from the internet. This 4.5 pound box will last me for many years. Since I had so much mush I made a double batch.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
I try to add equal amount of cleaner as puree. The next step is the hardest...I have to wait for 1/2 hour for the cleaner to remove the gel coating from the seeds.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
After the soak the mixture is put into a strainer. I run water over for a few minutes to wash away the caustic solution.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
After it is safe to touch..i dont like using gloves..I will rub the mixture against the strainer while the water is running.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
When most of the tomato flesh is gone it goes back into the bowl which is then filled with water. It takes a few seconds for the seeds to sink and then I can tilt the bowl and drain whatever is floating.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
After a few rinses to remove the floating material, it is nearly pure seeds that are left.
 
Sunday, September 17 View Page
The wet seeds are then moved to a disposable plate and left to dry at room temp. Since I started this seed saving method a year ago I have had about 95% germination rate. No smell, no fruit flies and the best thing about it..it takes less than an hour start to finish.
 
Tuesday, September 19 View Page
After spending a few weeks watching craigslist for a bargain wine cooler I finally came home with this one last night. It is big enough I can fit many 3 pounders. Still checking it out. This winter might turn it into a tinker toy and see how long of a storage time frame I can get.
 
Wednesday, September 20 View Page
Looks like I should turn it down just a hair. First of the Gale Woods potential entries (probably my second best hope)will probably be picked tomorrow. 2 1/2 weeks to weighoff. Should survive until then. This winter I can occupy my time on working to increase tomato storage time and reducing storage weight loss. Making plans for how to approach the indoor challenge. I like the winter season just as much as the summer.
 
Thursday, September 21 View Page
My first ever 24 inch cc tomato.
 
Thursday, September 21 View Page
On the scale..not a surprise still not over 4 pounds. I think I have successfully taken Qtips title as Mr 3 pounder. 3.77 pounds from 24 inch cc.
 
Thursday, September 21 View Page
Bottom side, you can see there is not much for air gaps. Final measurements 24x19.75x18.25 to give a Mfactor of .00043 Do I have to grow a 26 incher to break 4 pounds?
 
Thursday, September 21 View Page
75 % chance this will be my try at Gale Woods for third place. Still nice and green. And surprise.. it is Megamutt D. Thanks Chris,my best of the year might be from your crosses.
 
Friday, September 22 View Page
I am running out of things to drench with. Good thing there is only 2 weeks to go. High today of 93 degrees...three days from now will be an extended forecast of highs in the low 60's. More three pounders harvested every day. I will be disappointed if I don't break 4 this year. Come on megamutt...i think you can do it.
 
Saturday, September 23 View Page
This tomato is only going to be somewhere in the 3's but I like it. It is a 6.79 Sutherland grown in a 40 gallon pot. What I like about this plant is that it is showing no signs of blight when I have others almost decimated. Resistance to blight is a quality that could be important for late season growing. Next year seeds from this plant will be planted late in my full garden. Will be interested if the next generation will be as disease resistant.
 
Saturday, September 23 View Page
To answer some emails...No i am not being wiped out by blight. I have signs of it but my heavy rotation of fungicides has for the most part kept it in check. The garden is looking much better at this date this year than last. Still I can see signs of blight on nearly all plants with the exception of a few. Still 23 3 pounders yet to harvest.
 
Saturday, September 23 View Page
Hey ,Luke I remember 1987 fondly. Wow, I still have 30 year old sweatshirt.
 
Sunday, September 24 View Page
Yes..have broken 4 pounds. This is from a 6.83 Boudyo. Dimensions 22.5 x 20 x 20 for Mfactor of .00045. It is difficult to decide where to make the measurements on this one. Cut it early as backup for Gale Woods. Now I am thinking of maybe sending it in for Early Tomatoes. Wonder how much weight it will lose in 2 1/2 hours waiting for the grow store to open.
 
Sunday, September 24 View Page
All right qtip...game on for Gale Woods. This little baby is still really green and gaining almost 1/4 inch per day. 13 days to go. Bring your best..the competition is going to be fierce.
 
Thursday, September 28 View Page
Now that the topic of beauty tomato awards has been brought up I had to go out and try to decide which I thought was my most beautiful. i think the Megamutt Z is really nice. I am afraid it won't be red in time though.
 
Thursday, September 28 View Page
Maybe this 8.36 single will be bright red by weighoff time. Stay tuned email has been sent.
 
Saturday, September 30 View Page
I am expecting this tomato to be my Gale Woods entry. Should be a pb and hoping that it has a chance to take third. With the colder temps,it is turning color really slowly. I expect it to be on the vine until the morning of the weigh off. One week to go...it will seem like a really long week.
 
Friday, October 6 View Page
At the begining of the week we had 2 inches of rain in 24 hours. With the weather forecast calling for rain all night I did not want to take a chance of it splitting. I cut it off this afternoon. It is tucked into a nice 53 degree cooler ready for Gale Woods in the morning. I think the competiton could be really close.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
I knew the competition at Gale Woods was going to be close but I didn't think it would be this close. My megamuttD came in at 5.24 which beat qtips tomato by a mile. His weighed 5.22 but my 3 way measurements were so much bigger. Close behind was Larry Hill (frostbite) who brought in a 5.19 pound that was disqualified as damaged. He still took third with a 4.50. Counting Larry's damaged there was only .05 pounds separating the top 3 tomatoes. In addition qtip brought in an exhibition fruit that weighed 5.12 so a total of 4 tomatoes over 5 pounds. Great job everyone.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
The winner of the first ever Alexander Livingston award for prettiest tomato was taken by Larry Hill (frostbite) with this beauty 4.30 grown from a 6.88 McCoy. Congratulations!
 
Sunday, October 8 View Page
I visited the weigh off at Anoka,Minnesota today. As I was walking towards the pumpkins my eyes were captivated by this bright orange beauty. First question I asked..who grew this beauty? The answer...Mike Haan of Osceola,Wi. Next question..what seed did he grow it from.To my surprise, he grew it from my 1109 Borgers 2016 HD winner. And he also selfed it. There was no debate, Mike Haan headed home with the HD plaque. I feel like a proud parent. This line has now been selfed for so many generations,I think it nearly a sure bet that it will grow pretty orange. I talked with Joe Ailts..he still has some 1109 seeds available and seeds from Mike's HD winner will also probably become available.Contact the St Croix Growers Association if interested.
 
Sunday, October 8 View Page
My garden is starting to look a bit bare. I still have 11 plants growing 1/2 sideways in a volunteer cover crop of rye (oops my mulch started to grow). Next friday, I am going to pick all twelve tomatoes that remain (one plant has two on it) . The biggest will go to Stillwater for the finish of the outdoor grow season. Hoping for a third place, three must be my lucky number.
 
Monday, October 9 View Page
Change of plans..with a forecast tonight of chance of freezing I picked all my remaining tomatoes. Overall the results were disappointing but I saved what I thought was the best one for last. Sigh of relief, it might be competitive. I will be planting seed from this tomato. It was grown in a 40 gallon pot on a shady deck. It is a BigZac that showed mega-cross level blight resistance and off the vine it has my personal best multiplication factor of .00058 . Hope it doesn't lose too much weight in the next 5 days...Stillwater here we come...
 
Saturday, October 14 View Page
It was a sad day at Stillwater. Qtip reached into his crisper to pull out a 4.88 pound tomato to beat my 4.38 pounder for 1st place ribbon. Three minnesota weigh offs and three different growers going home with a first place ribbon. Congrats Chris and Chris. Next year will be more of a challenge as we keep getting more growers.Tomato growing is getting popular here. I am thinking that Qtip is just lucky..if Stillwater was a month later I am sure this little green one would win :) Don't worry indoor growers..this one will not be part of the winter challenge. Tomorrow, I will make the official anouncement for the start of the winter growing season. It will be fun..winter might be my favorite season.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
First day of the winter grow season. Going to start out slow. Made a trip to the grow store to pick up 4 of these 13 gallon square buckets. I am going to start the season with 4 hydroponic plants. Last year my hydro plants were root bound in 5 gallon buckets. It is going to be a difficult decision as to which seeds will be in these buckets. I have all these packages of seeds harvested from 2017 with seeds from another 15 tomatoes drying. I am planning on stagger starting the seeds. December 15th will be the last of my winter starts. The next two weeks I will be dividing my time between getting the outdoor garden ready for next year and getting the indoor grow room setup. As soon as it snows I will have hours per week to concentrate on growing indoors. I am excited..I like indoor growing.
 
Sunday, October 22 View Page
It is time to start some seeds for winter grow. Total seed harvest from summer 2017, one 5 pound, three 4 pound, twenty 3 pound, thirteen 2 pound and three 1 pound. Seeds from a total of 40 different genetics. First round of Winter Grow need to pick 3 for the 15 gallon soil pots. The winners for the soil start 2.64 2nd generation Delicious 6.83 Fulk grown in 15 gallon outdoor pot, 3.02 2nd generation wixom-slammer grown in 40 gallon outdoor pot and 3.19 grown from the 8.36 Boudyo that was late pollination picked early. I am leaving what I consider the best potential for the hydro pots..that start is next weekend.
 
Saturday, October 28 View Page
My winter grow is going at an impressive rate. I tried to start some seeds last weekend. They sprouted in paper towels but due to other issues I never got them into dirt. Maybe next weekend will try another start. I have been packaging seeds today and should finish tomorrow for sending seeds to the growers that requested them. Sorry guys..i am trying.
 
Saturday, November 11 View Page
It is finally winter grow time for me. Lifes distractions from growing are finally taken care of and now I can have fun. If you have waiting for seeds they all went into the mail today. Thank you for your patience. Evaluating my grow room. I am going to go with 5 fifteen gallon soil pots, 4 thirteen gallon hydroponic buckets and 1 thirteen gallon aeroponic bucket that I still have yet to buy components for. All this will be under 2100 watts LED and 900 watts of ceramic metal halide lighting. This picture is of a non-winter contender. It is a clone of a 8.61 Sutherland. I wish it would hurry up and turn red..i want it's seeds but I also want the pot for the winter grow. Wonder if this counts as extreme pruning technique?
 
Saturday, November 11 View Page
I have a bit of work to do. Last year my hydro setup was in 5 gallon buckets. Switching to 13 gallon.. need to plumb them all togethor, drill holes for the net pots, set up the nutrient recirculation system and clean up the mess. Soil is much easier. The aeroponic attempt is going to take even more time. Putting together a shopping list..high pressure pump, emitters, short cycle timer etc... work overtime took me out of growing for the past month but at least it will pay for the next level. This is going to be a fun winter.
 
Sunday, November 12 View Page
Making progress...seeds are soaking, 90 % done with shopping for the aeroponic bucket, lights repositioned and the grow room cleaned up a bit. Have about 5 days to get the hydro seedling bucket reworked. Going to go with 3 inch net pots with hydroton. The seedling bucket is going to be a LPA (low pressure aeroponic). The plants will stay there until the roots are long enough to reach the nutrient solution in a DWC (deep water culture) system. I am planning on boosting the DWC with LPA. This year will be running only one HPA (high pressure aeroponic)system. Anyone want to bet that the biggest tomato in bnot's garden will come from a soil pot?
 
Thursday, November 16 View Page
Winter grow update. Had 100% germination on the seeds started on Sunday. Moved some of the sprouted seeds to the soil pots..no problems..soil is easy. For the hydro DWC plants tried something new. Instead of using rock wool or starter cubes I tried placing the seeds directly into the clay pellets to try to avoid the drowning effect.A day later I am not impressed. I am not getting even saturation. Restarted more seeds tonight in rock wool..it is nice when you are growing your own seeds, no need to conserve.This weekend will redo the seedling chamber and add a root level LPA mister. Tuesday should have a short cycle timer delivered and by thanksgiving should have the Hydro system fully functional. Then it will be time to focus on aeroponics..
 
Thursday, November 16 View Page
Starting to see some color on the clone. It has about a week left before I pull it to harvest seeds. Have all the components ordered for the HPA system. Seeds from this tomato will be the first to test my highest tech planter. Sorry Biscuitridge, I am going to be growing your genetics in high tech to try to keep up with you. Don't stay awake at night though worrying...I can probably crash the Lamborghini in a lap or two.
 
Saturday, November 18 View Page
I made a trip to the grow store today. Way too much stuff there that interests me. Came home with a set of spray nozzles. Been playing around this afternoon with different pumps and comparing spray patterns between the 180 and 360 degree nozzles. The droplet size i am getting is more hydroponic than aeroponic. Still going to use these sprayers in my seedling bucket and in the DWC hydro setup. By next weekend the aero parts will be delivered...then I can get some real spray.
 
Monday, November 20 View Page
I am satisfied with my seed starting technique. 4 days and have sprouts above rock wool. I picked the strongest seedling from each of four genetics. They are my 5.24(megamutt D) my 4.38 from the 6.79 Sutherland, my 4.01 from the 6.83 Boudyo, and my 3.65 (should have been way over 4 if I hadn't let it's stem split) from the 5.07 Court. Since last year I had trouble with rock wool in DWC hydronics getting over saturated I am putting a barrier of clay pebbles between it and the nutrient solution. On top I am using a neoprene clone holder to block the light from the roots. For about a week I am going to hand water the seedlings from the top until roots get long enough to reach the solution. The plan then is to let the net pots dry and use a mid tank inlet to recirculate the nutrient solution. Hoping that can set these plants up for low maintenance...the aeroponic plant will take most of my time.
 
Tuesday, November 21 View Page
It feels good to be able to come home and check up on my babies as soon as I walk in the door. I do not see how you non-winter growers can make it thru the season. Received 6.13 Zappa Brutus Magnum seeds today...thank you Lee. Will be starting one plant, probably on Thanksgiving and one Delicious to cross with it. I have seeds from five different Delicious strains that I think have potential. It is going to be a difficult choice to decide which will the breeder. Running a bit late in the season to get my 2 generations of crossing done before spring but I will see how quick I can get seeds. 2nd generation cross ((Brutus Magnum x Delicious) x Megamutt D) might have to be grown for late season.
 
Thursday, November 23 View Page
Happy thanksgiving everybody! I have a four day weekend now to play with my garden. Lots of plans for the next few days. First up,time to harvest the seeds from this 8.61 clone. Perfect timing..they should be dry at the same time the aeroponic setup is complete.
 
Thursday, November 23 View Page
Truly surprising. This seed sat in a paper towel for two weeks while I didn't have time to plant it. After getting into dirt its growth has exploded. What is this I see..my first mega blossom of the year. Time to recharge the vegi-bee.
 
Thursday, November 23 View Page
I am going to do save clones next year from all my promising plants. Even though I lost the mother plant, I still have seeds for genetics. I am not convinced that I can grow clones for size..the root development is way behind the fruit on the first truss. These are the seeds from the 8.61 clone. The tomato weighed a whopping .87 . It broke 1/10 of the parent seed by a huge .01 .
 
Saturday, November 25 View Page
Now that Thanksgiving is over my daughter suggested we put up lights for Christmas. I thought that was a great idea but for some reason I don't think this is what she had in mind. Soil side is 95% done...project for today..hydro side
 
Saturday, November 25 View Page
Leaves are looking good in the glow of the purple LED light. Everything is great..but wait...see next diary entry.
 
Saturday, November 25 View Page
Under ceramic metal halide lighting the same leaves don't look quite so nice. I can see some nutrient deficiency now. This is one of the reasons I like CMH lights better than LED.
 
Sunday, November 26 View Page
I did not expect it take 1 1/2 days to setup my hydro system. Changes from last year...four 13 gallon buckets vs seven 5 gallon buckets, 1200 watts CMH lighting over 4 plant vs 900 watts over 7, inline pumps vs submersable, below net level spray vs 1/4 inch diameter top down drip. This is a picture of the first wet cycle. So far so good. No leaks. Running a solution of bleach and clearing solution. After my reverse osmosis tank refills, will drain the system and recharge with 600 ppm nutrient solution and transfer my seedling to the bigger pots. They are ready..already dropping roots to almost water level. Next weekend will be the high tech weekend, setting up the aeroponic system. I have a few extra days to get more deliveries.
 
Monday, November 27 View Page
Grower diary entries have been a little scarce lately. Guess you will have to settle with my indoor tomato pictures. Moved my four seedling pots to the big tanks this morning. We have touchdown..root in solution. The next few weeks will be fun for me to watch. If last year was an indication..the plants in nutrient solution will be twice the size of the same batch of seeds i put into soil. I have 5.24 and 4.38 both in soil and hydro. Same start date. I will post comparison pictures in two weeks.
 
Monday, November 27 View Page
I have 3 plants in soil forming their first blossoms. Two I like and one (looks like a boring double) that I may end up replacing with the mid December restart round. This is one I think I will keep. This is growing from my 3.02 which was about my 20th best last summer. The 3.02 was grown from my 3.77 PB of 2016 grown from the wixom slammer. The 3.02 was grown in a 40 gallon pot in less than ideal environment. What made me pick it to grow again...it tossed a ribbon mega first truss. Indoors in a fifteen gallon soil pot the first blossom cluster is showing potential to me. Will that be a ribbon to feed the mega? Looking at this picture, I am noticing all the hairs that I get on my plants. This year is the first for aeroponics..maybe next year will try above ground ultrasonic fogging. How many nutrients can those hairs take in? Now I will now spend the next two weeks reading about tomato trichomes...
 
Tuesday, November 28 View Page
I am going to take a chance tonight. I think I can get the aeroponic system ready to go by the end of next weekend. I am going to start seeds tonight for it. Not really risking much..have alot of seeds from my .87 slammer. Trying something new. I used a hole saw to cut the 1 1/2 inch rockwool cubes to 3/4 inch cylinders. I then used an Xacto knife to slice off the bottom 1/4 inch. Should have about 1/2 the volume of rockwool to hold the seeds. I want no sponge, zero water holding capability would be my ideal for a seed holder. Soaking eight seeds overnight in reverse osmosis water and 8 plugs in PH conditioning solution. Tomorrow morning they will go into my germination chamber. The top four sprouts will go into the aeroponic bucket and a few weeks later the top of those four will be the one chosen to grow fruit. I only give about 25 % chance of being succesful this first try but will learn much.
 
Wednesday, November 29 View Page
More indoor tomato posts. My breeder plants are up in ten gallon pots. 8 for 8 for germination, 2 in each pot. I have one pot with two seedlings from the largest Brutus Magnum ever grown, 6.13 Zappa. This will be the mother plant. In three other pots I have seedlings from my 3.96 which has a genetic line of 3.96 Bnot-6.83 Fulk-4.62 Fulk-6.51 Meisner-7.33 Hunt. My goal 1st round cross...biggest brutus magnum x biggest progeny Hunt strain Delicious. I am only going to emasculate the brutus magnum and use the three delicicious plants as pollinators. If round one yields seeds, round two will be crossing those seeds with both progeny from a wixom slammer and the biggest megamutt so far grown. Hoping next spring you can help me name this 4 and 5 variety gene scramble.
 
Saturday, December 2 View Page
All eight .87 seeds have sprouted. Now to assemble the aeroponic components. Hoping that by sometime tomorrow to have mist. I expect a few trips to the hardware store for fittings.
 
Saturday, December 2 View Page
Looks like pollination time is still about a day away. I will probably start vibrating it tonight anyway.
 
Saturday, December 2 View Page
Step one of setup is complete. I have mist. I have calculated that only one nozzle can be used in this size container based on the flow rate of the mister and the shortest on cycle from my timer which is one second. With only one nozzle I am worried that a clog will kill the plant so the intake is being pulled thru a 5 micron filter by a 100 psi pump. Next up...timing the mist.
 
Saturday, December 2 View Page
Step 2 complete. I have timed mist now. The solenoid is connected to the timer. Have it now set for one second on,two minutes off.This will adjusted based on plant observation. The accumulator has been added to keep pressure steady at the solenoid. I have installed valves to allow draining the pressure out of the system and installed a circuit for flushing.Next step- remove the bottom of the top container and install the drain to waste outlet on the bottom container. Then it will be mounting the components and making the setup look a bit more professional. Probably about two days before the seedlings will need their new home.
 
Sunday, December 3 View Page
Started vibrating the first of the blossoms last night. For the first year winter growers this is where I place the vibrating tip and spoon. Even before the blossom has fully opened I can start to see pollen dropping on to the spoon. I will vibrate the blossom a few times per day until I am sure it is set. From my experience, there will be one to two days where there is heavy dropping of pollen. On those days, I will take the pollen from the spoon and spread it back on to the stigma. I left every other blossom on this plant for now. I am also vibrating those...any extra pollen is good.
 
Sunday, December 3 View Page
About one to two days and will have this root group all in nutrient solution. Already this hydro plant is taller with more foliage than same start date soil plant. In one week I expect it to be further ahead..two weeks not even close. I am better at hydro than soil.
 
Sunday, December 3 View Page
It is an advantage to be flexible with plans when trying something new. I could not decide which seedlings to move to the aeroponic setup so I moved them all to this 8 gallon bucket. For now I am recirculating the solution. I am thinking that a seedling is not going to use enough nutrients to upset the balance. I am not liking the 1 nozzle setup..it seems to me that the mist dissipates too fast and does not reach all sections of the bucket. I raised the time to 10 seconds on, 1 minute off to try to compensate. Hoping the seedlings will survive until next weekend when I can make more modifications. Parts are on order.
 
Tuesday, December 5 View Page
It has been 2 days and my aeroponic seedlings are still alive. The seedlings closest to the mister are getting oversaturated, The rockwool drips when i pick it up,the ones at the far end of the bucket are in rockwool that is drying to crisp. I rotated some of them tonight. So far no roots past rockwool cube. Current timing, 3 seconds on, 2 minutes off. 4 more days to go to weekend modifications. My design plans are changing every day. Very new territory for me to explore, but I think could be really worthwhile to figure out.
 
Wednesday, December 6 View Page
I think it is time to show a comparison of plants between soil and hydro that had same start date. The is my 5.24 in soil. I really can not complain about how it is growing.
 
Wednesday, December 6 View Page
This is the 5.24 in hydro. It should be behind the soil because of tough love (top level dryness). This was done to get the plant to sink roots into the nutrient solution. Even with a week of no food and being almost dry it is bigger than the soil. The difference will soon start to get more pronounced as more roots reach the food. I think hydro is where I can grow the biggest if I can avoid crashing a finicky system. Hydro is not forgiving.
 
Wednesday, December 6 View Page
The flowers are starting to drop pollen in quantity. There are three open blossoms on this cluster. Collecting from all three to put into the mega. Sometimes it is difficult to expose the stigma without doing surgery. This blossom is one of those. It has a few small sepals that have grown over and are blocking the path to the stigma. Fixed with a small tweezers. This mega also consists a segment that is going to open a few days later than the rest. Looking at it's placement not promising. Very high chance it will not be fused.
 
Thursday, December 7 View Page
Yes, weird wint, 4.01's do sprout. Unfortunately, this is one of the plants I might replace. I really do not like the color of the lower leaves. Iphone camera doesnt really show it but they are more yellow green than the color that I would consider healthy. I am sure this has been caused by grower error. Then there is always the factor we are growing tomatoes not lettuce. The roots look healthy..maybe not enough nitrogen...could that be a good thing? I have about two weeks to decide if I will restart. If I am to grow a tomato in time for spring deadline Christmas is my cutoff date. That date requires early flowering and first truss set.
 
Friday, December 8 View Page
This morning saw that two of the blossoms have set.This one is a keeper. It also has mega's about to open on truss two and three.I might pollinate those just to see what they look like.
 
Friday, December 8 View Page
The second set was what I expected after inspection of blossom during pollination. It is a 3rd generation cross that tossed a periscope ribbon blossom first truss. Unfortunately this one was not completely fused. I am going to pull this plant and start a replacement seed this weekend. No reason for me to grow it out..3 pound fused is my goal for this winter.
 
Saturday, December 9 View Page
I pulled the non-fused first truss tomato plant today. Have replacement seeds soaking now. Also going to pull one plant from the hydro tanks. My 3.65 gives me the least joy to look at so it is going away. It will be replaced by one of these seeds. Thank you again,John for your generosity long ago. I have new world record to shoot for. I think should save the best seeds for next round of growing. It might take a round or two to learn how to grow giant bell peppers.
 
Sunday, December 10 View Page
Blossoms are starting to form on my hydro tomatoes. The seeds were started Nov 16. That makes 24 days start to blossom. Depending on how long it takes for the blossom to open, I might have to change my drop dead start date for winter competition. Could I start one in January and have a competive entry by 1st day spring? Maybe I will try.
 
Sunday, December 10 View Page
The aeroponic plants 5 days later. I have roots in air now. From what little information I have found on the internet now I need to start to adjust spray timing to get fuzzy roots. Too dry and the plants will wither, too wet and plant roots form like DWC hydro. At the the balance point the roots will form hundreds of fine hairs. Next weekend the best seedling will be moved to the final bucket. It is almost ready.
 
Tuesday, December 12 View Page
Here are breeding plants. The 6.13 Brutus Magnum and her 3 Hunt Delicious suitors. I have had a few emails asking about control of indoor pests such as fungus gnats and spider mites. I use merit 75wp which seems to control the fungus gnats. Spider mites seem immune to this so for those I use Azatrol for the hydro plants and Azamax for the soils. All of these are systemics that I do not have to spray. I really do not want to spray pesticide in my living space. If I was wanting to eat the tomatoes I might have to look for another method. I also tried to take a picture of how dry I will let the pots get. I can reach and grab a handful of soil and it is completely dry. After I harvest this plant I will find a majority of the roots in the bottom 3rd of the pot. Roots grow to where the most moisture is. If the top is perfect wetness the bottom will be drowning. I know some first attempt indoor growers have emailed me and said this a lot harder than they thought it would be. It is challenging but I think the problems can be solved.
 
Tuesday, December 12 View Page
Did an emergency interim bucket switch tonight. The roots were reaching the level of the nutrient solution in the eight gallon bucket. Switched to a taller 13 gallon with a 1/2 inch bulkhead drain. Now the system is using mist-to-drain. I have about 6 more inches of root growth for the rest of the components to arrive. At this rate it could be close.
 
Tuesday, December 12 View Page
Roots are getting the fish bones. If I was in hydro I would be very satisfied. Not good enough for aeroponics...looking for the fuzz. My timer is set to the shortest on cycle it can do, 1 second. The only thing I can do is increase off time, which is currently 2 minutes. I am being hurt by the rock wool holding too much moisture. Next round will use 1/2 inch rock wool cubes. I will have to carve them myself.
 
Thursday, December 14 View Page
I passed the first hurdle in growing giant bell peppers. I started them in the same way I start my tomato plants. When they were soaking I started to read about them. It seems that peppers can be difficult to start. All the sources I found said germination between 7 and 21 days. The roots showed this morning..hmmm, that was 4 1/2 days to germinate. I am going to take this as a good sign. Tonight one seed planted in soil and one seed set in a hydro starter system. Should I read more or just pretend they are a funny shaped tomato plant?
 
Thursday, December 14 View Page
I haven't forgot about my tomato plants in the excitement of starting a new vegetable. This is one ugly tomato! Perfect for testing limits of nutrient boosting. It survived last watering so I got out my calculator and mixed products from three different companies to come up with a NPK ratio of 14-20-29 + (20 Ca,8 Mg, 3 S). Mixed with water to an EC of 3. After I overdose this plant it might take all summer for the rains to flush the excess out. But at the same time..this may not be enough nutrients. Will have to see how the plant responds.
 
Thursday, December 14 View Page
Still solving the aeroponic method. This morning moved my second favorite seedling to a deep water hydro bucket. I am seeing the purple coloration on the leaves that signal to me overwatering in soil or lack of oxygen in hydro. These rock wool sponges are not helping. I think I have picked the seedling to go to the solo aero bucket (front left). Still no fuzz but am seeing more very fine hairs starting to form. For final bucket am still waiting for 2 3/8ths npt bulkhead fittings from china. I think they shipped by boat instead of air. I have noticed that my root chamber seems rather warm. My grow room runs about 85 degrees during the day. With the high intensity light shining on the blacks buckets I think I am too warm. I have a plan to solve this if I get a chance to go shopping this weekend. This year is a learning year. Hopefully will have it dialed in better for next winter.
 
Saturday, December 16 View Page
I am down to 5 aeroponic plants. By tomorrow morning will be down to one. I already know which is going to be the one. I know some of you are raising your eyebrows on how much my system is costing. It is my hobby...my calculation it is costing me a few dollars per hour of enjoyment to build the ultimate indoor grow enviroment. Cheaper than golf, cheaper than average Minneapolis fishing trip. This year is root chamber development. Solving one issue at a time. Early issues should be corrected with interim bucket two by tomorrow. Root temp is next focus. How to drop root air temp by 25 degrees. I have considered thermoelectric panels in the grow chamber, but for a quick fix I have ordered a water chiller that should be delivered next week. The problem will be what do I chill and does that transfer to the air temp in the rooting chamber. I have 4 potential solutions in mind. Have until christmas week to decide. My plan is to have root chamber at a high tech level by the end of winter..next year atmospheric control.
 
Saturday, December 16 View Page
My favorite aero plant from a week ago is still my favorite. It has been moved to center stage, within a few inches of it's final location. Hoping by the end of the weekend it will be the solo plant in the bucket and exposed to twin nozzles. Have a few other improvements to make this weekend. I need more time to get it the best I can.
 
Saturday, December 16 View Page
The solo aero lid (rev A) is done. It has a two inch net pot centered in the bucket. I glued a plastic bottle that is cut to hang just below the level of the net pot. Hoping this will stop the rock wool from receiving a direct shot of mist. I am trying eliminate over saturation points. I also installed the base for my home made modular plant support stake. Indoors there is a problem with using 4 and 5 foot stakes. They interfere with the height of the light above canopy. I am going to use square aluminum tubing that I can connect together as the plant grows. I might have to relocate the growing supplies that are being stored on my bridgeport mill out in the garage (it makes a really convenient shelf). I can then utilize it to fabricate more pieces for the the modular plant support. While i am at it, I should clean off the the lathe too.If the china bulkhead fittings don't arrive by christmas I will make my own.
 
Sunday, December 17 View Page
I am getting crazy looking super megas forming. These are what makes tomato growing fun for me. This one is on a periscope ribbon coming 5 inches off the top of this hydro plant. The first of the other hydro blossoms opened today. It will be about 35 days seed start to set. To give 45 days for fruit growth it looks like around January 1st will be my cutoff date for starting seeds for this years winter's competition. I think I will start a seed on New Years day just to keep a potential entry up to the final day.
 
Sunday, December 17 View Page
The previous entry was a 4.38 in hydro. This is the 4.38 in soil. I could get a tomato from this plant but it's first truss is nothing special...looks like a double. I think I will pull it and replace it with a 3.02 third generation wixom slammer that I have already started. I am curious what effect on blossom formation a nutrient blast has right before flowering. I might experiment myself to zero weight this winter.
 
Sunday, December 17 View Page
Thanks wixom for the encouragement. There is so much more I want to get done on the aero setup..extra misting nozzles with flip flops for alternating misting directions, auto flush cycles, peltier cooling etc..every day I spend on my indoor garden I think of two days of projects. What started for me three seasons ago in a 5 gallon bucket under a 150 watt LED light that grew my first indoor tomato at .50 pounds has evolved into this. I am just getting started, solving one issue at a time....wait until 5 years from now. Hoping for some really good competition to push indoor to world record.
 
Sunday, December 17 View Page
Weekend is almost over and I won't have time to overrun the diaries with my entries...be patient. I looked at the roots on the aero plant, by morning they would reach the puddles at the bottom of the bucket. From what I have read the roots would then form as DWC roots. I have some 300 mesh silk screen to block the roots from the puddles but havent had the time to make the barrier tray. It is hard with radiuses in the corners. As an emergency solution I have cut the lowest hanging roots..call it the bnot pruning method. Getting much closer to fuzzy roots..increasing the off time by 15 seconds per change. Current timing: one second on-3 minutes off. Next weekend have many more modifications planned.
 
Monday, December 18 View Page
I am starting to see the fuzzy root hairs. From initial research I believe these are called trichoblasts. Each hair is a single cell and very efficient at nutrient intake. With potentially thousands of these in the rooting area, I can see some really big tomatoes coming. I will be taking a look at them soon under the microscope. Aeroponics is not a system for plant and forget growers. It will take constant monitoring to maintain. As the plant grows and increases the intake of moisture will have to modify timing duration or blast volume to compensate. Ideally should modify the cycle for day night differences, plant growth stage and for atmospheric humidity changes. There is so much fine control of the roots that this system can provide but also there is very little tolerance for mistakes. I am sure I can spend the next decade trying to fine tune the setup. So many things to learn to improve it...how do you connect a computer to input the variables and control the timing of the mists and the nutrient ratios and strengths? In time I will be looking for the way to do it. Maybe extreme growing now, but I expect 20 years from now that some of the younger growers here will think that this is basic. Their extreme will be things not even thought of today.
 
Tuesday, December 19 View Page
I have been getting so frustrated with the rock wool and the peat based seed starting cubes holding too much moisture for my hydro and aero plants that I am trying something new. Floating these seedlings in aerated nutrient solution held by nothing but a thin foam collar. None of these originally started this way but if they survive it might be the way I proceed in the future.
 
Tuesday, December 19 View Page
This plant is making me nervous. At last count this periscope ribbon has 17 blossoms coming off from it including the supermega in the middle. It is in a very potent nutrient mixture...a lot of leaf curl up. Root structure is great..at the rate it is growing it might fill the 13 gallon bucket. The plant has self terminated new growth..i have nothing to pull a clone from. It is putting everything into this cluster...i hope I can get this almost golf ball size blossom to set.
 
Wednesday, December 20 View Page
Here is a picture of a failed nutrient blast. The rest of the winter I will have treat my plants nicely. Started my second to last rounds of seeds today. Last round I am thinking about New Years day start..8.22 Porkchop vs 7.07 Qtip in twin hydro buckets. I need to do some test germinations with some of my seeds to make sure I can get them ready for the bucket without using any starter cube.
 
Wednesday, December 20 View Page
Had to modify my floating seedlings today. The turbulence of the water was keeping the leaves much too wet. Fortunately I had a bit of styrofoam saved from a package delivery. This will keep the leaves dry and the roots always in full solution. Hmmm..I have a 4 ft x 4 ft reservoir out in the garage not being used. Wonder if I could float 4 tomato plants full term in it....I need more lights.
 
Thursday, December 21 View Page
I have already lost one of my sets to blossom end rot (BER). The rest of the winter I am not going to chance it. Rot stop has worked well for me in the past two years.But at $14 per bottle at the local garden store it is way too expensive. Rot stop is derived from calcium chloride. I can buy calcium chloride from a home brewing store locally. Mixed to the same TDS that same $14 bottle now costs pennies. I have 3 tomatoes set now..this is the oldest at 13 days. My monster dropped a few granules of pollen today.. It should be full opened before christmas.
 
Friday, December 22 View Page
The monster blossom is 1/3 open. Already dropping pollen with two other blossoms that are dropping heavy. Did some tweezer work tonight to expose a clear path to the stigmas. I am wanting to do a nutrient reservoir flush and recharge but am worried that potential shock to the plant could reduce chance of full set. I am going to hold off from the change for a few days until I know it is set. Trying to decide on nutrient ratios...I am really tempted to push it harder than I have ever before in hydro. What I don't understand is a medium level nutrient solution in hydro will kill a plant in soil. I should know in about 5 days if I have a full set..hopefully then will have the courage to push it to maximum. This is fun.
 
Saturday, December 23 View Page
It is amazing how much growth can occur in a couple of weeks. This is my 5.24 in hydro, check my diary entry from Dec 6th for a comparison. This seed for this plant was started Nov 16 making this plant 37 days old. It set a triple on the first truss 3 days ago. I think 80 days start to harvest is possible. Went to the hydro store last night and picked up some extra buckets. Need to think of something special to assemble for my last minute Jan 1st winter competition start.
 
Saturday, December 23 View Page
Aeroponic roots. I keep pruning and they just keep growing. Hoping by tomorrow will have the silk screen barrier up. It appears that aeroponic roots have more mass at this stage of growth than deep water hydro. I am somewhat fumbling trying to decide nutrient strengths and misting frequency. I had extended the cycle timing to 1 second on 3 1/2 minutes off. Now i am bringing it back the other way, 1 second on 3 minutes off. In the next two days will have twin nozzles each directly mounted to its own solenoid. Chance of success first try is going up..current predicted probability..35%.
 
Saturday, December 23 View Page
I have this .87 seed in soil, deep water hydro and aeroponics. Right now the hydro plant is in first, followed by the aero, with soil in last. Blossoms are forming on both the hydro and aero plants(picture is the aero). That makes 25 days seed start to first sign of blossom...one day more than my 5.24 hydro. I might be able to do 80 days in aero too.
 
Sunday, December 24 View Page
I might have a dozen or more tomatoes set on this cluster by the time pollination is done. Been vibrating the blossoms 3-4 times per day, collecting pollen from all of them to put back into the supermega. The supermega itself is dropping pollen at a slow rate. Having all these extra blossoms really helps in trying to get this monster to fully set.
 
Monday, December 25 View Page
While waiting for the rest of the family to wake up, I had time to finish assembling the Rev B aeroponic grow chamber. It is two buckets stacked with bottom cut off from the top bucket. 300 mesh silk screen has been glued to replace it. Water can drain but the roots can not reach the puddles. The other change is twin nozzles. Now, a clogged nozzle will not kill the plant. To compensate for the extra volume, a solenoid is directly connected each nozzle.This will shorten the on cycle time because the residual pressure between the nozzle and solenoid will drain faster.
 
Monday, December 25 View Page
I was having fun with the test runs. This might be a bit too long of a cycle.
 
Monday, December 25 View Page
I did the switch of the lines and buckets as quick as I could. It still took me about ten minutes to get it all done. The plant was not liking the delay. Rev C system is going to have to include a backup power plan. I think a 15 minute power outage might take the plant down.
 
Monday, December 25 View Page
Since I may never see another blossom like this,I have to keep taking pictures. On this whole ribbon there has never been one leaf. I used an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper to make it easier to see the arrangement of the blossoms. I have had a grower email me asking how I get the pollen from the spoon into the blossom. What I use requires a shopping trip into the womens section..to be more specific the make-up section. What I use is a smudge brush. It is small, stiff enough to gather the pollen from the spoon and black so it is easy to see that pollen is attached. My teen daughter gets the credit for suggesting this growing tool.
 
Tuesday, December 26 View Page
Winter grow challenge...we are 72 days into the competition. 84 days to go. I pulled the last of my extreme experimental plants today with a tomato set that was 10.5 inches but had stopped growing. I now know a number that is too much for nutrient boosting, but need to do more testing next winter to find the lower number. I also pulled my breeder plants. The Brutus Magnum did not form a first truss that I thought was sufficient to start a genetic cross from. I may start another crossing setup later this winter or wait until I have grown all the BM seeds I have this summer to be able to pick best of the group to cross. I have the space available now and two 300 watt CMH lights for my final winter starts. Still deciding method and seeds. Next winter, I would like to be able to tell growers that Jan 1st is not to late to start. This is a picture of one two sets I have remaining, one in hydro and one in soil. Both sets are about the same size, and they are seeds from the same tomato that were started the same day. The hydro plant is bigger but will it grow a bigger tomato. In about a month I will know. So far the only other grower that I have seen that has a set is Farmer Brown. You still have over a month to get a set for full growth. Post pictures of your babies when you get them.
 
Tuesday, December 26 View Page
Interesting observation I made tonight. Both of these plants were started on the same date, have spent all their time in the same environment..they are under the same light and share a hydro nutrient reservoir. The plant on the left is Megamutt D (50% MegaMarv, 25 % Domingo, 25% Big Zac). The plant on the right is all Big Zac. The plant on the right is looking like it is at maximum capability of nutrient strength...leaf curl up..and it is also the plant that has the monster ribbon blossom. The plant on the left has straight leaves and does not seem to be anywhere near max nutrients. Plant on the left was grown from my PB, plant on the right was from 2nd best PB. Next winter might have to divide the tanks to individual reservoirs for better control.
 
Wednesday, December 27 View Page
Back to work today but I am happy. It looks like all the pollen painting of the holiday weekend was successful. I believe my monster blossom is set. It is a bit over 1 inch long (more if it was straight) and completely fused. I have no idea how to determine the number of fused sections. I wish the foliage of the plant looked a bit healthier but will see how it grows. I did manage to clip a clone from this plant. If I lose this tomato it still may be possible to capture the genetics in seeds.
 
Friday, December 29 View Page
This funny shaped tomato plant seems to grow really slowly. At least it appears healthy. Goal for this first winter try is to get seeds. Then can experiment with those seeds to kick up the growth rates. This plant is growing from the 599g Nieuwenhoff. Maybe next year we might have to add a second category to winter challenge.
 
Friday, December 29 View Page
Onion seeds arrived today. Going to read Peter Glazebrooks diary really carefully this weekend. I probably will have to take out a few more tomato plants for January onion and carrot starts. My garden this summer might have more non GPC (green pepper,onion, carrot and cucumber) than GPC (pumpkin and tomato). Still a chance of adding long gourd,watermelon and squash to lineup. Two months ago I was going to take it easy this next summer. Now it is looking like the garden will be full.
 
Saturday, December 30 View Page
3 days later it is confirmed that my super mega is growing. If it was in a straight line it would be over 3 1/2 inches long now. Probably the biggest set I have ever had. I am letting some of the new growth remain. The older leaves look in such poor condition that replacements are needed. Nutrient reservoir change today or tomorrow. Due to the health of the plant, I will mix it to a very conservative strength.
 
Sunday, December 31 View Page
The hydro plants got very stressed last night. Roots had grown into the 3/4 inch return lines and blocked them. The recirculating pump kept pumping until it over filled the buckets and ran out the top. I did not notice until this morning. Glad I have a floor drain. The bucket with my super mega was hit worst. It was almost empty. I have moved the plant to a bucket by itself. I am waiting for the grow store to open..i am out of PH up to mix a new batch of solution. Unfortunately I am seeing brown specks on the fruit. From past experience this will turn into BER if left alone. I am spraying calcium chloride on the fruit and nearby foliage. I give about 50% chance of saving this set. Even with the trauma it still grew 1/4 inch or more on each end..over 4 inches long now. Should know in a few days if BER will take it down.
 
Sunday, December 31 View Page
Not all the news is bad news. After my system crash last night this megamutt D was in a overflowing bucket. It was the culprit that clogged the lines.Separating the buckets into individual reservoirs will allow me to raise the nutrient strength for this plant. It had been in about 3.4 EC. Going to push it a bit and raise it somewhere closer to 4.0 EC. Its set is twice the size of the same seed in soil right now. l am thinking this might be my winter best. Wonder what Dan S has growing?
 
Sunday, December 31 View Page
Aeroponic plant. It has as many leaves and branches as the same seed in hydro. The difference is the hydro leaves are bigger and more developed. I have to think I am not giving the aero plant enough nutrients. I am going to ignore some of the internet advice and raise things up. Changing the cycle timing to 2 seconds on, 3 minutes off and raising the EC of the nutrient solution to 2.8. Tomorrow should be starting to pollinate.
 

 

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