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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 28 Entries.
Sunday, January 1 View Page
Giant Tomato Growing, Season 3 Primary Goal: New Personal Best, >5.48 lbs Secondary Goal: New CA Record, >6.20 lbs Stretch Goal: >7 lbs
Wednesday, January 18 View Page
Ended up shutting down my indoor tomato grow experiment. Plant looked sickly and the blossom's keep aborting after dropping pollen. Still not quite sure what the cause was as I *thought* I was pretty meticulous. Very humbling experience. Nonetheless, it'll be nice to take a forced breather while awaiting the new season.
Sunday, February 26 View Page
The gnarly SoCal storm finally cleared out. Had a sunny, warmish afternoon. Choose today to apply amendments according to the Langley calculator, after weeks of playing with the #s. Primary goal is to begin the process of lowering my soil pH (currently 7.9) which will likely be a multi-year process and along with tuning the elemental ratios. Gotta be very precise as many of these elements are toxic, even in small quantities. Hope i don't screw things up. Note to self, next time wear rubber gloves when applying elemental sulfur. I can't seem to wash that rotten egg stink off, yuck. Will be an interesting day in the office tomorrow, lol. Slowly narrow down my tomato seed starting line-up. Great options this year.
Wednesday, March 1 View Page
About a month away from the official start of the my grow season. Testing out and tuning my upgraded germ chamber setup along with checking the viability of tomato seeds I harvest last season. Still pretty cold in the garage, 40s at night. Added an extra heat mat and a heating element to increase the ambient air temp to mid-70s.
Wednesday, March 8 View Page
Small sample sized, but had 100% germ rate. So far I'm loving the new LED grow light. Last year my seedling were pretty leggy, these are looking much healthier. I exercised extreme patience and left the front right sprout alone while it struggled to break free of the seed coat which held together the cotyledons. Wile Coyote taught me to be patient with the process. Oh how badly I wanted to intervene. Just potted up the test seedlings to straight 707 soil, true leaves are just showing. No amendments yet except for some microbes that have trace NPK. Will introduce them to a diluted NPK solution in a few days when the true leaves get a bit bigger.
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Transplanted and moved my test seedlings outside yesterday. Still pretty chilly here, daytime highs in the 60, nighttime lows in the 40s-50s. Put the seedlings into 5-gallons of my "Langley" adjusted soil. Kinda doin' a canary in the coal mine test. Thank you to Materdoc and Joe Ailts for the amendment advice. If they survive this next phase of testing AND get T1 megas, they could become default candidates for the 5-gallon challenge. I think I've got my upgraded germ/seedling chamber dialed in now. Happy with the results except for the purple hue on the leaf undersides. I'm told its a pretty common occurrence. Ready to start my competition seeds next week.
Thursday, March 30 View Page
A wake up call cocktail for a few older VIPs and the WR.
Saturday, April 8 View Page
Potted up my competition plants today & put them into fresh potting mix. They'll reside in these nursery pots & in the chamber for ~2 weeks before moving them outside. The four test plants I put outside two weeks ago are looking healthy, but they're very slow growing due to the cold (40s) nighttime temps. Amended soil seems to be okay so far. Looks like 2-of-4 Truss 1 megas.
Wednesday, April 12 View Page
Received this awesome package today from Porkchop. Wow, very generous... he self-funds the awards and donates his time. Such a great contest & a really neat way to connect with growers that share the same passion. Also, a big thank you to Ron Wallace for the WoW stuff. BTW, the candy was a nice touch!
Friday, April 14 View Page
Comp seedlings are now ~1.5 weeks old and looking good. This is half of them. Giving them their first afternoon sun w/ a light SoCal breeze and their first taste of diluted NPK and microbials today. Plan to move my favorite 8 to their final destination next weekend, which are large fabric pots. Will "call up" a few runner-ups to go to 5-gallon pots and then give the remainder away to friends/neighbors. I've got a great looking T1 mega on an early 5-gallon plant from my own 5.54 seed. Also culled a underwhelming Big Zac plant w/o no T1 mega and replaced it with a perky 5.42 Faust that earned a spot.
Sunday, April 16 View Page
Got a nice T1 mega developing on a 5-gallon 5.54 Greene. Still in the low 50s at night here. My new soil test showed my pH went from 7.9 to 6.7, stoked! Happily surprised it dropped so quickly. I had added elemental sulfur and drenched regularly with 6.5 pH treated water. Just finished making my round two soil tweaks. Soil will rest for a 5 days before my seedlings go in.
Sunday, April 16 View Page
Here's that 5.54 Greene mega...
Tuesday, April 18 View Page
Conscripted a few more plants for the 5-gallon challenge. Surely Murphy's Law is bound to kick in... they'll have the best megas of the bunch and no root system to support the fruit.
Tuesday, April 18 View Page
Unfortunately, the lone 5.71 Lamphop I started didn't germ.  I fished it out of the plug and let it dry out for a few days.  Now trying a Hail Mary by soaking in a 40/60 bleach/water solution for 1 hour and will try to germ again.  Thanks Materdoc for the suggestion.  Nothing to lose. My hopes of making a 5.71 Lambchop x 5.95 Konieczny cross are fading.  The 5.95 Konie germ'd, so maybe I'll cross it with the 11.65 Faust or the 9.06 Brown or something else, it'll all be dependent on the bloom timing.  I have two seeds left of the 5.71 & 5.95 and might try again later in the season.
Tuesday, April 18 View Page
Lamphop, lol. My bad... Lambchop.
Wednesday, April 19 View Page
So I asked ChatGPT how to grow a world record tomato & its response below... bruh, this is going to be sooooooo easy now! Looks like my only change is adding in some 10-10-10. My favorite part is the pruning, "remove the suckers that grow in the crotch", hahahaha. ******************************** Growing a world-record tomato requires a combination of factors such as selecting the right tomato variety, providing optimal growing conditions, and careful cultivation techniques. Here are some tips to help you grow a heavy world-record tomato: 1. Choose the right variety: Choose a variety of tomato that is known for producing large fruit, such as Beefsteak, Brandywine, or Mortgage Lifter. 2. Soil preparation: Ensure that the soil is well-draining, nutrient-rich, and has a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Mix in organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve soil fertility. 3. Location: Choose a sunny spot that receives at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Tomatoes need plenty of sunlight to grow and produce fruit. 4. Planting: Plant the tomato seedlings deep in the soil, burying the stem up to the first set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to develop a strong root system. 5. Watering: Water the tomato plants deeply and consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other problems. 6. Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, every 2-3 weeks to provide the plants with essential nutrients. 7. Pruning: Remove the suckers that grow in the crotch between the main stem and branches. This will help the plant focus its energy on producing fruit. 8. Support: Use a sturdy stake or trellis to support the plant as it grows. This will help prevent the fruit from touching the ground and reduce the risk of disease. 9. Pest control: Monitor the plants regularly for signs of pests and diseases, and take action promptly to prevent damage. 10. Patience: Growing a world-record tomato takes time and patience. Be diligent in caring for your plants, and don't be afraid to experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. Remember, growing a world-record tomato requires a combination of factors, and even with the best care, there is no guarantee that you will achieve a record-breaking tomato. However, by following these tips, you can increase your chances of growing a healthy, productive plant with large, delicious fruit.
Tuesday, April 25 View Page
Pulled the plug on the 5.71 Lambchop seed. Wasn't meant to be. Only two left now.
Thursday, April 27 View Page
First mega of the season that's worthy of posting. This is a test plant from my 5.54 Greene that's in a 5-gal grow bag. Got another 5.54 plant w/ another mega that looks identical that's ~2 days behind, also in a 5-gal grow bag. So far my soil amendments seem to be on target, plants look great. We'll see if these megas set.
Friday, May 5 View Page
5-gallon plant.... 1st mega of the season to set. Seems to be a triple or maybe even a quad. It's from the 5.54 Greene (DMG/UOW). I have several 5.54s going and they all have big T1 megas. Will def' grow these again.
Monday, May 8 View Page
A fruit from my 2nd 5.54 test plant. It's two days behind the fruit that set on my other 5.54 test plant, but already 4x bigger. The picture shows a 24hr diff' between today & yesterday. Today is DAP 3, wow. This one is a real go-getter, unfortunately it's also in a 5-gallon pot as they both were germ/seedling chamber & soil test plants. Hope this trend translates to my competition plants. I can now see that 80% of those competition plants have T1 megas, some are looking very promising.
Sunday, May 14 View Page
Here's an interest double-barrel mega also from a 5.54 Greene. Prob not conjoined twins though. I'll let it ride until I can get a better look.
Sunday, May 14 View Page
A Truss 1 9.06 Brown mega that has got my full attention. Actually, both of my 9.06 Brown plants have fantastic looking megas. Go figure, last year the 9.06s only pushed out singles for me. Fingers crossed.
Thursday, May 18 View Page
Another 5-gallon update since not much else to share yet. The two 5.54s are still chugging along, both approx DAP 14. Growth is pretty slow as night temps are still in the mid-50s. Plants look great anyway, lots of healthy foliage to push the fruits when it warms up. A handful of my competition plants have been dropping pollen the past few days so hopefully things will pick up soon.
Tuesday, May 30 View Page
A very nice Truss 1 mega set on a 6.23 Konieczny (Domingo), DAP 3. Unfortunately, it's in a 5-gallon grow bag limiting its potential. I suppose it's good news for the 5-gallon contest, but gosh dang it.
Friday, June 2 View Page
DAP 3 fruit from a gigantic Truss 1 mega on a 9.06 Brown. This plant was originally in a 5-gallon grow bag, but the baby mega looked so promising that I transplanted it to a starting spot. Made room for it by culling an underwhelming plant that had no T1 or T2 megas.
Sunday, June 4 View Page
From one of OG 5-gal 5.54 plants. ~30 DAP, taping at 15.5" [big yawn]. No BER, so that's a good thing. Are Warblie26 & I the only ones doing the 5g contest??
Tuesday, June 6 View Page
My 8 Zeke Team Challenge plants have reached the height (~48"), girth and fullness I was seeking. They're all in 45-gallon fabric grow bags. The past 2 years I've obsessively pruned every single sucker except letting one sucker just above Truss 1 grow. Some call this the "two leader" approach. This resulted in a very lean plant with modest foliage. This season, I'm trying a hands off approach. Until now that is. Over the next few days I'll be snipping ALL growth tips and eliminating any small suckers. 6 of 8 plants have T1 megas that have set and are buried within foliage on what was once the "main vine". Two plants didn't have T1 megas, a 6.32 La Rue and a 11.65 Faust, but I'm letting those plants go for now in hopes something shows up higher (still not pruning these 2 plants just yet).
Thursday, June 8 View Page
1st cull of the season from one of the OG 5.54 plants. Didn't like the boring growth rate & needed the valuable space. Been gray and cool here seemingly forever. It's what we here call lovingly call May Gray & June Gloom.... but dang, really? The coastal marine layer has never been this prevalent. Come on already sun, I've been paying exorbitant dollars into my sunshine taxes. Whatever & wherever you're growing, I wish those of you impacted by the Canadian wildfires/smoke the best.


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