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aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
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reply to stev32k

Re: Tomato planting time

Wow! It would be a bit hard to believe without the pictures. Mine usually go up to 6 - 7 ft, and I consider that too much, although at the end of the season I take them inside the house for cold nights, and put them out for the day, and if they were any taller, they just wouldn't fit.

I have some plants every year, but haven't had much luck lately -- relatively short growing seasons and sucky weather, even by Seattle standards.

Interestingly, I had much better luck in Vancouver, WA, only about 200 miles south.
--
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Customerserv

@optonline.net
reply to Xioden
What size wire mesh did you consider to be "heavier" here?

Would it be something like the 2 x 2 wire mesh or 4 x 4 wire mesh that is shown here on this website? What size wire diameter?

»www.bwire.com/

Thanks,

C


Drex
Beer...The other white meat.
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Not There
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reply to stev32k
Click for full size
Damn you Tomato Horn Worm
I had a couple of these damn things on my plants. I made a batch of pepper spray and that seemed to alleviate that problem.
--
Not only does Jesus save, but he makes nightly off-site backups.


stev32k
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Mobile, AL
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reply to Customerserv
said by Customerserv :

What size wire mesh did you consider to be "heavier" here?

Would it be something like the 2 x 2 wire mesh or 4 x 4 wire mesh that is shown here on this website? What size wire diameter?

»www.bwire.com/

Thanks,

C

If you are wanting tomato cages I would suggest using 6 X 6 welded hog wire like this:»www.flfencepost.com/fieldfence.htm Anything smaller will not allow your hand to go though and pull out the ripe ones.


stev32k
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reply to Drex
said by Drex:

I had a couple of these damn things on my plants. I made a batch of pepper spray and that seemed to alleviate that problem.

I fight horn worm caterpillars every year also, but they are not the worst these are:

They are nymphs of the leaf footed bug. It took me three years to identify them. Even the county extension agent didn't know what they were. They are about the size of ants and that is what I thought they were at first. I finally collected some and put them in a jar with a small tomato and adults started developing in about two weeks.

Thousands will hatch at one time and they drill holes in the tomatoes that allows bacteria to enter and spoil the fruit. The adults (the larger bugs in the photo) are just as bad, but there are not as many at one time.



The black spots on the tomato are where they have punctured the skin and allowed bacteria to grow. In another day the tomato will be rotten to the core.


Majestik
World Traveler
Premium
join:2001-05-11
Tulsa, OK
reply to stev32k

Re: Tomatoe planting time

said by stev32k:

said by sk1939:

They're not perennial plants by any chance?

No, once the first frost hits they die and have to be replanted the next year.

This is one of the things I missed after living in Hawaii for two years.
Growing beefsteak and roma tomatoes year round.
--
The adventure continues...Sanctuary....


CCTVTech
Premium
join:2003-04-23
Phoenix, AZ
reply to Drex

Re: Tomato planting time

said by Drex:

I had a couple of these damn things on my plants. I made a batch of pepper spray and that seemed to alleviate that problem.

I use peppermint spray on mine, those damn worms blend in so well with the plants even though they are huge.
--
==== Eye In The Sky ====
I Fight Crime - One Camera At A Time


koma3504
Advocate
Premium
join:2004-06-22
North Richland Hills, TX
reply to Drex

Re: Tomatoe planting time

It is cheeper to buy a roll of the mesh wire they install in driveways and sidewalks and make your own. there more sturdy as well. and last longer.

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1
reply to stev32k

Re: Tomato planting time

said by stev32k:

said by Drex:

I had a couple of these damn things on my plants. I made a batch of pepper spray and that seemed to alleviate that problem.

I fight horn worm caterpillars every year also, but they are not the worst these are: [att=1] They are nymphs of the leaf footed bug. It took me three years to identify them. Even the county extension agent didn't know what they were. They are about the size of ants and that is what I thought they were at first. I finally collected some and put them in a jar with a small tomato and adults started developing in about two weeks.

Thousands will hatch at one time and they drill holes in the tomatoes that allows bacteria to enter and spoil the fruit. The adults (the larger bugs in the photo) are just as bad, but there are not as many at one time. [att=2]

The black spots on the tomato are where they have punctured the skin and allowed bacteria to grow. In another day the tomato will be rotten to the core.

Those things always attack my pomegranates.


stev32k
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reply to Majestik

Re: Tomatoe planting time

said by Majestik:

said by stev32k:

said by sk1939:

They're not perennial plants by any chance?

No, once the first frost hits they die and have to be replanted the next year.

This is one of the things I missed after living in Hawaii for two years.
Growing beefsteak and roma tomatoes year round.

Beefsteak and roma are a very good combination to grow. The roma's make the best sauce and the beefsteaks are a good eating tomato. Unfortunately I can't grow beefsteaks here. They are very susceptible to fungus diseases that are common in this area. I usually grow roma's about every other year. They produce so many tomatoes that I get a two or three year supply in one year.


stev32k
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Mobile, AL
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1 edit
reply to stev32k

The watering system

I installed the watering system for the plants today. It consists of a multi-program watering timer, lots of hose, plastic mulch, and a ring header for each container.

The timer is programmed to water 3 times per day at 7 AM, 3 PM, and 11 PM. Each cycle is set for three minutes to start. Later in the season I will extend the duration to something between 5 and 15 minutes depending on how long it takes for water to come out the bottom of the container.



The ring headers are made from 1/2" PVC and have a pattern of 1/16" holes drilled on three sides of each tube. You can just make out the holes here



The hole size is important. Anything larger than 1/16" will have so much pressure that the sprays dig holes in the dirt and the water comes out so fast it does not have time to sink into the dirt and overflows the top. Here is what the spray pattern looks like.



I had to set up a hose splitter to put water to both tomatoes and the two bell pepper plants.



I have to use a cable tie to keep the header flat on the dirt or the weight of the hose will lift it up.



The last step in putting plastic down to act as mulch and a brick on the plastic to keep it from blowing away.



I already have one small tomato growing on the Goliath plant. Both plants have grown about 4- 5 inches in 10 days and both have at least two clusters of blooms.


stev32k
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1 recommendation

Thought I would give an update on the tomatoes. It has been 21 days since planting. The Parks Whopper plant (in the back) is now about 22" tall and has several tomatoes that range in size from marbles to golf balls. The Goliath plant (in the foreground) is 16" tall and has tomatoes ranging from tennis ball to marble size.

The Parks Whopper plant is really out growing the Goliath. Both have had identical treatment, but PW has more tomatoes developing and more clusters coming on and the stem is taller. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues.

I've limited each cluster to no more than two tomatoes and have allowed only one stem per plant. I'm going for quality over quantity this year. So far there are no signs of bugs or disease.

I think the plants are doing well considering how many overcast days we have had with no sunlight.





Sly
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join:2004-02-20
Chuckey, TN
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reply to stev32k

Re: Tomato planting time

Click for full size
First I set out some edging stones for drainage
Click for full size
Drilled some holes
Click for full size
Put in some coconut husk netting
Click for full size
Put in 1in PVC pipes
Click for full size
Filled with 3 bags of organic top soil
Click for full size
Planted a Roma, Beefsteak, and Yellow Jubilee tomato in 3 cans
Click for full size
Got some nasty fish sauce smelling plant food
Click for full size
4 tablespoons per can
Click for full size
Filled with water to mix in plant food and to settle the soil
The water took about 5 minutes to drain down. Last night we got a light frost and so I took your advice and covered them with 36 gallon trash bags. Worked perfect. This morning they looked great when I pulled the bags off.

This is my first time doing them this way. We'll see how it goes. I also pruned the plants to remove branches that didn't have any flowers on them. Wish me luck.
--
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- Plato -

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
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Fish emulsion is worth the horrid smell.


stev32k
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1 edit
reply to Sly
said by Sly:

The water took about 5 minutes to drain down. Last night we got a light frost and so I took your advice and covered them with 36 gallon trash bags. Worked perfect. This morning they looked great when I pulled the bags off.

This is my first time doing them this way. We'll see how it goes. I also pruned the plants to remove branches that didn't have any flowers on them. Wish me luck.

I know you will have more tomatoes than you know what to do with. I end up giving more away than I eat. Some years the neighbors would pretend they were not home when I came with another bag of tomatoes .

Probably the most critical part of growing them in containers is water. The soil temperature in the can will get pretty warm and that stimulates growth and also makes the plants take up more water than if they were planted in a regular garden. The roots cannot spread out like they would in the ground so the only water they have is what you add.

Not only do they require more water, but it needs to come at regular intervals. This is especially important when the tomatoes get almost full grown. As they grow the plant is literally pumping water into the fruit all the time. The amount of water depends on how much is available in the soil. As the tomato starts maturing the outer skin starts to harden and if the water supply is erratic the plant pumps a lot when a lot is available and less when there is less. So if the skin starts to harden and the plant suddenly pumps more water than usual the skin will split causing radial cracking.

It took me several years to figure out why so many of my tomatoes were cracking and splitting. Since coming up with my watering plan it's rare for any of them to split.

P.S. Keep me up to date on their progress. I'm interested in how the fish emulsion works out. I use miracle grow tomato plant food, but have considered the fish emulsion (but hate the smell ).


Sly
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[update] I had to replant my tomatoes. I went on vacation for a week and it frosted while I was gone. I don't know if it was a good idea or not but I sowed a few carrot seeds in there as well as I've heard carrots and tomatoes do well together.
--
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
- Plato -


stev32k
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1 edit
Sorry to hear about losing your plants. Mine are growing like crazy. I picked the first tomato on May 4, two more are ready to eat now, and two others are about a week off. I was a little disappointed in the size since all of them weighed between 9 - 11 oz and I was expecting 14 - 18 oz.



Both plants are loaded up with fruit ranging in size from buttons to grapefruit. The Parks Whopper plant is now 60" inches tall and is growing at the rate of about 28" per month. The Goliath plant is a little shorter at 48" and is growing about 22" per month. Both plants are putting out clusters about 6 - 7 inches apart. If that growth rate continues the Parks whopper will be about 20' tall at the end of the season.




I've started attaching guy wires from the container handles to the PVC supports to limit swaying. We had some 25 mph winds and the uprights were moving back and forth quite a bit.

I also wrapped shade cloth around the containers to block off the sunlight. I measured a surface temperature of 120 deg F when they were exposed direct sun. The soil temperature didn't get above 90, but I was concerned about the plastic containers themselves being damaged by UV and cracking like one did last year.

Sorry, but the pictures will not upload. Tried three times and get an internal server error each time. I'll try again later.

Edit: Got the pics uploaded

DanB7

join:2002-10-05
Marietta, GA
reply to stev32k
this is my fourth season growing container tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets.

After planting on 5/4, three of the plants (Creole, Arkansas Traveller, Kelloggs Breakfast) exhibited severe wilting in the late afternoon of 5/8 (looked fine a few hours earlier). We havent been getting lots of sunshine and the buckets did not exhibit any watering issues.

I lost the Creole the other day -- eventually looked like boiled spinach, limp as noodles. Kelloggs has one or two rigid stems and the others are limp. Arkansas doesnt have any rigid stems yet. The Eva Purple seems to be doing fine outside, nice strong growth.

If I cant resuscitate Traveller and Kelloggs somehow, looks like a small crop for me.


stev32k
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Sorry to hear about your problems. I've learned that regular and frequent watering is the key for me. As long as the soil is loose and fast draining and the container does not hold any water in the bottom I don't think tomatoes can be over watered. I now have mine set-up to water for 2 minutes every 4 hours around the clock. The excess water drains out the bottom and the soil is kept moist.

Frequent watering during the heat of the day also keeps the soil temperature down. In years past I've measured a soil temperature of almost 100 F when I didn't water often enough during the day. Now I water at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 7 PM and the soil temp never gets over about 85 F and that's with a container surface temperature of 115 - 120 F.


stev32k
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1 edit
reply to stev32k

Progress report & update

I now have more tomatoes than I can eat and more are getting ripe. The Parks Whopper plant is now 76 inches tall. The Goliath is 60 inches. I won't be growing the Goliath again because most of the tomatoes are splitting. They are still eatable, but don't look very good and they are smaller than I expected - averaging about 11 oz each.

The PW stem is growing about 7 inches per week and adding one cluster about every 6". So far the PW tomatoes have averaged about 12 oz each. The largest as been 17 oz and the smallest is 8 oz.



I have started adding a taut rope from every third rung on the support to the handle of the container on both sides. Also put a block on wood on the handle bottom to distribute the load from the guy ropes. This is to keep the wind from breaking the supports and putting the whole mess in the pool. We had some 30 mph winds last week and the ladder got blown in the pool, but the plants survived. If we get a hurricane this year all bets are off.



BTW - those shots are from my cell phone. I think they are pretty good for a cell phone camera.

TheMG
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Canada
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reply to stev32k

Re: Tomato planting time

Whereas your tomato plants have already grown significantly... for us it is just about time for planting. We had frost up until last week.

Sometime in September or October is when the frost will hit again.

Growing season here is very short.

said by stev32k:

BTW - those shots are from my cell phone. I think they are pretty good for a cell phone camera.

Where modern cell phone cameras fail is in low-light situations, since they have such a small lens and sensor which can't capture much light.

In bright light they actually do very well considering the size of the camera.


stev32k
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We have about 9-1/2 or 10 month growing season here. Only had two days last winter below freezing and that was at night and the low was 30 F.

The down side is the bugs. We already have a bumper crop of ticks, fleas, mole crickets, and leaf footed bugs.


Koil
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join:2002-09-10
Irmo, SC
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reply to TheMG
said by TheMG:

said by stev32k:

BTW - those shots are from my cell phone. I think they are pretty good for a cell phone camera.

Where modern cell phone cameras fail is in low-light situations, since they have such a small lens and sensor which can't capture much light.

In bright light they actually do very well considering the size of the camera.

Yep...how about you test this theory by getting some shots of the produce inside and out?? I'd like to see the biggies from your haul, if they're still around.
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I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.- Edward Everett Hale

My Blog - Raising Connor


stev32k
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1 recommendation

Here ya go. Picked these this morning and took the picture just a minute ago. The two badly cracked ones are from the Goliath Hybrid that I won't grow next year.




The picture is certainly not what you can get from a DSLR (I have a Nikon D200), but the camera & lens does not weigh a ton and you can carry it around in your pocket. (The bluish background does indeed have a dimpled surface - that's not noise)


Koil
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join:2002-09-10
Irmo, SC
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Yeah, I have a Pentax K-100 that, in the daylight, takes the most beautiful shots you've ever seen or could ask for...but take away some of that light, and they degrade quickly.

Anyway, thanks!


stev32k
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Mobile, AL
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reply to stev32k
Just for fun I took another with the flash on. It looks a little better, but still a lot of noise.



decifal

join:2007-03-10
Bon Aqua, TN
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reply to stev32k
Dude, i like this idea!


JAAulde
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Williamsport, MD
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reply to stev32k
I LOVE the idea, so I made one to give it a try. (Pics are before the plant went in.)


stev32k
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A couple of tips

As the plants grow and you add height to the PVC support your life will be much easier if all the PVC pipe is cut exactly the same length. The horizontal length is set by the first cross piece. So if all the pieces are cut the same the frame will go together like tinker toys it they are different lengths you will have a problem.

Another tip is to plan for guy ropes to support the frame and keep it from blowing over in the wind as it gets taller. There are couple of things you can do - tie a good stout (say 1" dia) rope around the container about 2/3 of the way to the top. The container is tapered so as the rope rises it will get tighter. Then tie the guy ropes (smaller ropes - about 50 lb poly or nylon) to the rung of the support with a double half hitch and the other end to the rope around the container with slip or taut knot.

This year I tied the guy ropes off the container handles (see the pictures above) and hope the handles don't break.

One plant is now 7'4" tall and the other is exactly 6'. Both were planted 3 months ago so the growth rate is between 20" and 29" per month. That will give you some idea of how tall you can expect the plants to grow - depending on how long your growing season lasts.



One last comment. Up until last month I was using Miracle Grow Tomato Plant food. I was not real happy with the tomatoes I was getting so I started using plan ole 13-13-13 fertilizer and the results are better. I'm adding 1/2 of a 10 oz tin can of triple 13 once per week and mixing it in the top dirt a little. The tomatoes that are getting ripe now are twice as large as I was getting before. The two in this picture are going to be over 1 lb each. Previously the largest was 11 oz and it looks like the cracking problem I was having is going away (but it may be too early to tell for sure).



jmikeh
Premium
join:2001-07-15
Tulsa, OK
reply to stev32k

Re: Tomato planting time

Forgive me if I have missed it in this thread. How are you combating the varmints? I can imagine how inviting those huge tomatoes look to the wild ones out there.
--
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