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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old September 20, 2015   #1
kunosoura
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Default Dwarf varieties in 5 gal SWCs, South Florida

I always enjoy looking at everyone else's tomato pics, so I figured I would share some of mine.

I'm somewhat space limited, so I figured that trying out some dwarfs in 5 gallon SWCs could be fun. Fortunately the space I have for them is screened-in, so hopefully that will eliminate at least some disease vectors. I bought seeds of the following varieties:
  • Iditarod Red
  • Wherokowhai
  • Dwarf Emerald Giant
  • Tasmanian Chocolate
  • Dwarf Kelly Green
  • Extreme Bush
  • Perth Pride
  • Rosella Purple

Anyway, here we have some seedlings emerging. They were sown July 23. In this photo they are in ProMix BX and have also been treated with a cocktail of beneficial (hopefully!) biologicals.

1 IMG_1454.jpeg

Here is everybody potted up in the SWCs. Plants are 44 days old at this point. I reserved backups just in case!

3 IMG_1605.jpeg

For growing media I used 2/3 Promix BX, 1/3 peat moss. Added 1.5 cups Tomato Tone, 3/4 cup lime to each bucket.

The Dwarf Kelly Greens were interesting - two of the seedlings looked a lot "dwarfier" than the other two. I ended up planting one of the larger seedlings while some coworkers took the others. I'll see if I can find out how the smaller ones are doing.

4 IMG_1602.jpeg
5 IMG_1601.jpeg

More to come...
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Old September 20, 2015   #2
kunosoura
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Default update - 2 weeks after plant out, plants appx 2 months old

Everyone seemed to survive being potted up. Seeing solid growth, lots of blossoms forming, and even a tiny tomato.

Plants have been in their SWCs for 2 weeks.

Here's a zoomed-out shot:

6 IMG_1641.jpeg

Iditarod Red looks pretty good I think. The foliage has a little bit of a "limp" and curled look to it but the plant seems fine from what I can tell. Does anybody have any thoughts on its appearance?

7 iditarod red IMG_1642.jpeg

Wherokowhai is all-around strong.

8 wherokowhai IMG_1643.jpeg

Dwarf Emerald Giant:

9 dwarf em giant IMG_1644.jpeg

Tasmanian Chocolate is doing well. Funny thing with this one - I have been routinely buzzing blossoms with an electric toothbrush and just noticed that its leaves don't seem to like the stimulation. A couple of the branches drooped severely afterward. Then an hour or so later they were back to normal.

10 tas choc IMG_1645.jpeg

Dwarf Kelly Green is trucking along.

11 d kelly green IMG_1646.jpeg
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Old September 20, 2015   #3
kunosoura
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Default update(b) - 2 weeks after plant out, plants appx 2 months old

Extreme bush looks good. It is firing off a lot of blossoms and is even sporting its first tomato.

12 extreme bush IMG_1647.jpeg
17 first tomato IMG_1651.jpeg

Perth Pride OK.

13 perth pride IMG_1648.jpeg

Rosella Purple is a strong looking plant.

14 rosella purple IMG_1649.jpeg

That Rosella Purple also has what I think may be a fused blossom forming - see middle of picture.

16 possible fused blossom IMG_1650.jpeg

So far so good I think. I have started giving them weekly feedings of 1/4 tsp calcium ammonium nitrate and 1/4 tsp epsom salt. Gave them all a blast of Daconil yesterday.

Finally, one of my Wherokowhai seedlings is rather interesting. There is obviously some issue with it, but it has been entertaining to watch. For about 6 weeks it had that one tiny leaf at the bottom, behind the plant in the photo. Then suddenly it fired off a stem that seems to be growing out to the side. It also has what looks to be another stem coming off the same general area and growing sideways in a different direction. Weird!

18 odd wherokowhai IMG_1655.jpeg
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Old September 20, 2015   #4
Salsacharley
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Your plants look terrific! They must love all the direct and indirect light you have for them.
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Old September 20, 2015   #5
kunosoura
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Originally Posted by Salsacharley View Post
Your plants look terrific! They must love all the direct and indirect light you have for them.
Thanks so much. So far they seem to be happy, in my amateur opinion.
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Old September 20, 2015   #6
PhilaGardener
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All that white must really reflect the light!
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Old September 20, 2015   #7
kunosoura
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All that white must really reflect the light!
Ha, yes, it can get really bright back there!
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Old September 20, 2015   #8
Barb_FL
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Your plant look great. I grew Tasmanian Chocolate and Iditarod Red last winter/spring. IR produces a ton of tomatoes; The tomatoes from TC were huge and great. I'm growing Wherokowai now but it is not as far along as yours.

That's great that you have tomatoes set in this heat.

Do you give them any shade?
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Old September 21, 2015   #9
pecker88
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one thing I noticed was that your SWC's are white. Have you lifted the inner bucket out and checked the water in the reservoir for algae? I tried using white buckets outside and the reservoir turned to algae. I ended up painting mine black.
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Old September 21, 2015   #10
kunosoura
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Your plant look great. I grew Tasmanian Chocolate and Iditarod Red last winter/spring. IR produces a ton of tomatoes; The tomatoes from TC were huge and great. I'm growing Wherokowai now but it is not as far along as yours.

That's great that you have tomatoes set in this heat.

Do you give them any shade?
Thanks for the compliments - we really are excited to see what happens. We are originally from VA and I haven't had the opportunity to grow anything in FL until moving into our townhouse just recently. So definitely learning the FL ropes still.

Had one blossom drop from the Extreme Bush and another successfully fertilized. I haven't seen yet whether any of the others are successfully fertilizing. Should know in the next day or two. Hopefully I'll get some fruit set on the others as well. I was/am also curious whether this heat is too severe to set fruit... depending on how things are going I might wait an extra 3-4 weeks before sowing next year.

Haven't been providing any shade.
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Old September 21, 2015   #11
kunosoura
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Originally Posted by pecker88 View Post
one thing I noticed was that your SWC's are white. Have you lifted the inner bucket out and checked the water in the reservoir for algae? I tried using white buckets outside and the reservoir turned to algae. I ended up painting mine black.
Greetings Pecker, I've been following some of your progress on your containers. Your findings with the peat moss had me a little nervous that I over-did it with mine. Hopefully not though.

I chose white to keep soil temps down. Might cover them with something darker this winter, but we'll see.

I've seen some indications of algae growing around the edges of the buckets where they contact the ground, probably makes sense that there could be some inside. Do you think having some algae is detrimental beyond it competing with tomato for nutrients? I guess an algae bloom could lead to deoxygenation in the water once it overpopulates and then crashes, but with plenty of holes for ventilation I'm not sure that's the end of the world.
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Old September 21, 2015   #12
Zenbaas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecker88 View Post
one thing I noticed was that your SWC's are white. Have you lifted the inner bucket out and checked the water in the reservoir for algae? I tried using white buckets outside and the reservoir turned to algae. I ended up painting mine black.
Ultimate solution White buckets(bottom) with black buckets inside
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Old September 22, 2015   #13
NarnianGarden
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Lookin' good! I had a Tasmanian Choco in a (smaller than yours) container this year - it produced about 15 fruits. Will try a larger bucket next time, plus a proper support system.
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Old September 22, 2015   #14
Cole_Robbie
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Great pics. I haven't tasted a lot of those varieties, but Tasmanian Chocolate is excellent, one of my favorites.

All that mass of the pool water and the concrete they are sitting on are helping you to regulate temps at the root zone, which I think is important for container plants.
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Old September 22, 2015   #15
fonseca
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You can buy Reflectix foil-backed insulation at hardware stores. I wrap most of my self-watering 5 G buckets in it. Extra insulation to keep the root zone cooler, keeps the sun off the buckets for longer life, and no algae.

I also add a layer of jute fabric so my neighbors don't complain about the appearance. Neighbors...

Aluminum foil on top of the bucket can focus sunlight on foliage and really burn leaves, be on the lookout. I mulch my buckets with pine bark and then sow miniclover for a living mulch and free nitrogen. Miniclover only grows a few inches tall.
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Last edited by fonseca; September 22, 2015 at 10:40 PM.
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