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Old July 6, 2017   #24
PureHarvest's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Mid-Atlantic right on the line of Zone 7a and 7b
Posts: 1,359

Let me try to hit all the replies here.

The Platfoot Brandywine was excellent. Plant is stingy with production though, and many of truss 2 and 3 flowers have aborted during some high temps.

Red Jazz has turned into a major disappointment. Blossom end rot on fruit while they are still 1-2" diameter to beat the band. I'm getting zero BER on the other 17 or so varieties I'm growing. That and they are staying small, like 2-3" diameter when ripe. Thought they'd be big like Orange Jazz (which by the way are absolute monsters. I think some are approaching 2lbs. Plants are loaded up with green fruit too. Right on BigVan!)
I will be tasting my first Red Jazz today though (strain #3 and #1), and my co-workers grab those first to inspect out of the boxes I'm bringing to work. That's the first they pick up and ohh and ahh over.

Last years production on the overall operation was poor. 2 very big heat waves split a lot of fruit. Stink bugs and worms destroyed at least half my crop. I did not fruit thin and the plants did not support the loads and the new growth went spindly like a #2 pencil. 2 heat waves with heat indexes above 100 hurt everything too.
Mixing up 200 gallon fert tanks was a pain, and I think my meter was off and it was possible that things were not mixing properly (even though i did one ingredient at a time and used a circulating pump to mix). Basically, my plants never seemed quite right. Also possible that my EC was too strong for heirlooms (was using the hybrid rates). I am using the heirloom rate chart this year on the 4-18-38 with dramatically better results. Much lower EC.

This year, with screens blocking the outside world, I have no bug damage. Do have aphids for the first time ever. I think they came in from the grafted plants, since they were produced off-site at someone else's greenhouse. That, or more likely, the one Bonnie cabbage plant i brought into the tunnel to help my daughter grow that the school gives away to all the kids for the scholarship contest for biggest cabbage..
I spray soap every week now. Lady bugs were a waste of time. Green lace wing larvae didn't work either (did not spray them after release). Thought about parasitic wasps. Tired of spending money though and soap is cheap. Just gotta keep doing it.

I am thinning fruit to 4-5 when they are about 1" diameter. Went with injectors, so no more mixing up tanks and sumping to the bags.

Production is way up and better this year. Splitting is a concern, but not too bad right now and not on every variety like last year. Mostly on Brandy Boy and some BW Sudduth, and a few Cherokee Purple and IS. I may have overstated the splitting in yesterday's post. Just really worried that if we go above 90+ at some point it's gonna rear its ugly head with gusto.

I am automated, and have 3 injectors. One for 4-18-38+Epsom, one for Calnitrate, and one for Potassium hydroxide (pH UP). I have a mixing chamber after the ferts, and one after the KOH so I can have piece of mind that the solution is mixed thoroughly before it passes by the inline EC/pH meter.
I have my four rows broken down into 3 zones. Each zone runs for 15 minutes in the morning, with the first zone starting at 7am. So, each bag is getting about .8 gallons for the 15 minutes, or 102 ounces. So that's 50 ounces per plant.
When I get home from work around 4:45, I run it again for 5-7 minutes depending on conditions. That gives each plant around another 25 ounces.
The hydro-garden manual says 40-50 ounces per plant per day, but this is for temperature controlled environments. I have more heat and wind than what they are assuming at that rate. This is why I do a second run.
I'd like to do the second run closer to noon or 1 pm, but my control box won't let me change the duration from the original 15 minutes. I need a more advanced control box and am going to get one.
So, I am trying to start the day with full moisture, but I'm thinking 4:45-5 pm is too late for the afternoon top-off. I'm thinking mid day around noon-2 would be better.
Last year I did small waterings starting at 7 and then every couple hours throughout the day. It was not good. The bags never got fully hydrated and the plant usage against the heat and air stayed too far ahead of that cycle. I even tried doing a little more in the morning and at noon, but it still seemed like not enough.
So, this year, I wanted to start the day fully hydrated. That, and a production researcher/fert salesman I met over the winter suggested full water once in the morning with a top off around noon.
I believe Mark does it this way too (only topping off a second time if it s really hot).

So, if I can keep the bags from getting to a point where they are a little too dry during the day, maybe I can avoid the splitting altogether?

I have picked aver 60 pounds on the season, starting about June 26th. Last 4-5 days I'm getting about 20 lbs/day from 132 plants. And I haven't even gotten any of about 10 of my varieties yet.
When my grafted plants, which are a couple weeks younger/behind, kick in, I will have about 175 plants producing.

Thanks everyone for taking interest! More pictures to come soon.

Last edited by PureHarvest; July 6, 2017 at 12:56 PM.
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