I got the camera card so we have pictures now. Let's start with blossom shots becauae that is what it is all about anyway. We moved our air pump supplying the air to the bubbler tubs to try a pseudo bumble bee trick on the flowers. This pump vibrates a lot and if it sits on the floor it will often move across to rest against a table leg and make an awfull racket. Holding it in my hand feeling the vibration we got an idea. Put it on the wire screen and vibrate the plants to polinate the flowers. It vibrates the whole screen slightly and you can see the tips of some leaves shaking at a high pitch. isn't bumble bee vibrations or electric tooth brush simulation supposed to work? It is a lot quieter too.
Zach and I have both noticed the plants in the poultry sreen are pretty ugly. A lot of leaf curl spots and the leaves and generally not as pretty as the control big boy plant in the regular pot. We attribute this appearance and general stress to how hard we are pushing the plants. Now don't get me wrong, they are still growing like some form of mutant banshee, but they are ugly. A shot of phosphorus today and bloom set spray will only continue the mad dash. We are speculating that once the tomatoes start fruiting it may slow the aggressive growth a bit, which is a good thing. We do not want to fill the screen next month. Now the plants need to concentrate on fruiting.
The control plant is absolutely awesome. It is about a foot tall, super stocky and a real nice looking plant. We are supercropping it vigorously, even the suckers that we choose to keep.
A Stem shot with our good old # 2 pencil.
The rest of the plants are doing great as well. The spinach is awesome but it has developed a really weird problem. Every once in a while entire mature leaves are just gone. For no reason and part of the leaf stem is still there. We are not sure what the affliction could possibly be. Take alook at the pic and notice the empty leaf stems. Any ideas out there?
It is real weird. Oh just a minute, I believe we have isolated the problem.
If you can not tell he is smiling, I believe we have solved the mystery.
One of the other real succeses has been our Bougainvillia. It had 5% of it's leaves left right after I brought it inside from the patio. It has come back with a huge vengence.
We had the same problem with our Lantana Tree. These are annuals usually used for boarders etc. They can be trained and pruned to simulate a dwarf tree. Here is the flower and one of the overall plants. We may clone some of these over the next few months and use them for a border area in the yard. Build a cloner, I am sure we can squeeze that in this week-end.
Our basil and bell pepper starts are doing great too. The peppers have been super cropped and seem to do well with it.
Sorry for the long update, but I did not want to leave anyone out and hurt their feelings. Enjoy and happy gardening.
Blooms are open today!
Is that a thing of beauty or what? 24 degrees theis AM, 11 below 0 this week and below 0 almost all day. The tomatoes are happy .
Jan 16, 2009 | 7:13 PM PST
, flat screen training
Well another week has gone by and the mutant tomatoes that took over the world are still growing very well. Our weave has now completed a couple of cycles and is looking pretty good. We now have 7-8 blossom sites and on the same vine the sites are only 2-3 inches apart. Last week-end we put 1/3 cup of corn cob ash for Potassium in a organic form. Corn cob ash is nearly 30% potassium, one of the highest sources. Regular ash from your fire place is 5-6%. Some of our blossoms are now yellow and starting to open. No camera card here so photo's Sat. This week end some tomato set spray and a big phosphorus hit with 15 55 6 super bloom our only salt based fertilizer. So it is mid Jan the plants are 6 weeks old and our control plant the in the regular pot Big boy is doing great. Way behind the mutant plants, but really a lot prettier plant overall. I have never managed to grow anything this stocky indoor s from seeds. More pics later.
A big day today with the discovery of our first flowers. Upon closer inspection, all the crowns and suckers have flowers on them. Even the regular big boy in the typical pot has flowers starting. Now on to polination and maybe our first tomato. Wow!
Tomorrows agenda is a nice corn cob ash tea to really kick off the flowering cycle. Next week end Superbloom and the flowering hormone. This is pretty fun.
As an added benafit Orchids are blooming in the tomato room. Pretty nice
Jan 6, 2009 | 1:15 PM PST
, flat screen training
Today is the day. Dad has been monitoring the plants more closely than I lately and figured that one of Fat Mamma's shoots was tall enough to start the weave. Such was his enthusiasm that he came home on his lunch break and rolled me out of bed before it was even noon yet to commence the first step in the weave. Without further adieu, here is a step-by-step pictorial how-to on flat-screen training.
^first pinch the stem adjacent to the wire where the shoot has come up similar to the supercropping process. However, do not pinch and rotate and do not pinch from multimple directions as usual. You want to flatten the stem slightly so that it easily beds over the adjacent wire so that it looks like this:
^Obse rve the flatness just above my left thumb. Next you will bend the plant over the adjacent wire as shown below. It should give quite easily due to the flattening process, if it doesn't, re-pinch and start again.
Now that you have gotten the stem at a 90-ish degree angle along the "boarder" wire that separates the hole in the screen the shoot grew up through from the adjacent hole you are aiming for you can begin to pull it through like this:
^pulling^ Be careful during this step and bunch up the leaves so that they don't tear on the way through. If you did it right the hard part is over and the plant should now look like this: ^neatly tucked beneath the screen^ Note how I've managed the leaves, pulling them through adjacent holes and letting them come to rest on top, the opposite of what is done to the plants that this technique was developed for. Now all that is left to do is poke the top of the crown through the next hole over, the third one involved in this process: ^the completed weave^ Jobs a good'un. You may want to sort out the smaller leaves near the top of the crown and get them laying on top of the screen where they belong. Also, once the crown is in its final position I like to supercrop all of the horizontal stem section except for the very top node to lock the vine into place and toughen up the stem to avoid any abrasive effect that the wire might have on the skin. Now the crown will soon resume growth and turn upwards towards the light. Once it has gotten 3 or 4 inches tall we will repeat the process and the cycle will continue indefinitely. I hope this has been informative, good luck and happy gardening! -Zach
Holidays are over and it is back to work. The tomatoes are growing well and are starting to go through our screen. The supercropping and high light levels are still keeping the plants very stocky. This helps in our overall strategy as well. Short internodal gaps create several suckers below the screen and close to the root system which is favorable for good nutrient flow. The plan is to have the crown and 3 suckers per plant weaving in the poultry netting. All other suckers will be removed. Both plants already have 3 suckers and the main vine, so everything else is removed as it develops. Here are a couple of pictures showing the height above the netting and overall plant size.
^Can you believe the leaf on the big boy lower right it has to be a foot long^
We have such good vegitative growth, we will add a HPS light to our mix and start pushing the plants to flower. That is a combination of HPS light, flowering hormone and potasium and potash in our fertilizer. We will see if we can get a few of the yellow gems to show up over the next few weeks.