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Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

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Old April 9, 2020   #1
aclum
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Default Kratky and plant height

As I'd mentioned in another thread, due to the CV restrictions here in CA, the gardeners haven't been able to come and do the usual spring cleanup for me. Right now I have plants about ready to transplant and the raised beds are a jungle of weeds! It could be a month or more until I can plant out.

Rather than potting up repeatedly or letting the plants get rootbound until the garden's ready, I've decided to give the Kratky passive hydroponic system a try. My plan is to eventually transplant the tomatoes into the raised bed soil.

Here's an interesting video showing the root growth in Kratky and the transplanting into soil:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWcVDi4_1cU

Anyway, I'm thinking I may have to keep some of my plants in my 3.5 gallon Kratky buckets and I was wondering if anyone can tell me how tall Bradley, Mountain Gem, and Heidi plants get. Since they're semi-determinate, I'm hoping I can get by without trellising them. I'm thinking of maybe using a large cone cage for peppers and tomatoes (supposedly) secured through holes in the bucket lid might work.

Thanks for any info or opinions!
Anne
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Old April 11, 2020   #2
Shrinkrap
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I don't know about those varieties, but I'll be following along, since I start my seedlings hydroponically, then grow in Earthboxes.
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Old April 11, 2020   #3
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Kratky Method -- something else I'd never heard of, but then I've never investigated hydroponics to any degree. I've watched some very interesting YouTube videos on this. Really simple. I haven't run across any YouTube videos on tomatoes, yet -- mostly lettuce/greens.
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Old April 11, 2020   #4
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Over the winter, I grew full-sized tomatoes in one-gallon trade pots, so less than 1 gallon of soil. I pruned to one stem. I didn't get many tomatoes, but the plants stayed alive.
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Old April 11, 2020   #5
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Some people say kratky won't work well with fruiting veg, but I had a few peppers I grew that way last year.
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Old April 13, 2020   #6
aclum
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Hi,

Thanks for the responses. I'm encouraged by Nan's experience with the one gallon tomato .

I've never really looked into Krakty so it's all pretty much new to me. I just ordered a supposedly good book on Kratky so maybe I'll be smarter next week .

The regular raised bed veggie garden looks sort of hopeless so I've jumped in with both feet and have transplanted nearly all of my seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, leafy greens, herbs) into my Krakty bottles (to go into buckets or tubs later). Will get some beans and peas started today. I'm pretty sure the varieties I mentioned can be done in the 3.5 gallon bucket - at least to start. The indeterminates might be more problematic but I'll give it a try. It's been over a week since I started and everything looks good - no transplant shock and good root growth in the solution.

Anyway, I'll keep you all posted on my progress (if any ). I might do that over in the container forum.

Anne
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Old April 16, 2020   #7
QAGuy
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Bradley - 4-6 ft
Mountain Gem - determinate 3-4 ft
Heidi - indeterminate
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Old April 17, 2020   #8
aclum
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Thanks for the response, QAGuy.

However, I'm going with Heidi as a semi-determinate. Check out this tread I just came across:

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=19437

Seems like it could be a big, bushy plant but not that tall.

Anne
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Old April 26, 2020   #9
aclum
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Woopie! The gardeners finally showed up so I'll be able to plant out into the regular garden in a week or so. Still have quite a bit to do to be totally ready, but at least all the weeds are gone!

Meanwhile, except for some bleaching of some of the seedlings due to too much light I think (esp. one incident using an led growlight), the tomato seedlings have done REALLY well in the kratky buckets using the Master Blend mix. I'm very impressed by the whole thing and, at least as a newbie, I'm finding it to be alot of fun.

Without the larger buckets and barrels that I don't want to deal with, I think it's going to be a hassle to try to do the larger indeterminates in Kratky - so they'll go into the main garden.

Right now I'm trying to make some plans for transitioning the tomatoes from the Kratky to soil. Shrinkrap, what's your experience in transplanting from hydro to soil?

The plants I'm going to move first are mostly about 8 inches tall with 6 or 7 inch long roots. I'm thinking about moving them into some 2 gallon grow bags filled with loose Wonder Soil for a week or so to acclimate them. Then transfer most of the bag contents along with the plant when I do the actual plant out. The grow bags have been out in the elements for a year and probably most of the nutrients are washed out so I might moisten it with the Master Blend mix they've been growing in. Any thoughts or suggestions all this?

Also wondering if it's OK to add worm casings and mykos extreme at plant out or if this might be too much all at once.

I'm planning on doing the semi-determinates in Kratky (with back-ups in soil), along with the peppers and eggplants. Cukes and Squash (trying Early Balum this year instead of regular zucchini) will probably go into the garden.

Lots of little misc things in Kratky are being planned .

Anne
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Old April 27, 2020   #10
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Hi Anne!
Missed this thread earlier when I might have been helpful - IDK anything about Kratky or hydroponics but you can do in a patch of weeds pretty quickly by tossing on some cardboard on top (or a good tarp. Glad to hear the help showed up, and I hope the transplants go well.


I was just potting up plants yesterday - all of them from little 9 cells popped into the ground without a complaint. I had one plant that was sharing a sixpack cell with another - well the poor thing fainted and flopped right over. I watered it in and left overnight and now it's fine, but I would probably be stressed if all my plants did this.


So whatever happens with the Kratky to soil transition, don't worry too much, tomatoes can be drama queens but in the end they're tougher than they let on.

cheers...
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Old April 28, 2020   #11
aclum
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Hi Bower (been following along with alot of your posts although I haven't been posting myself for a while).

Thanks for the cardboard tip, but the weeds in the paths as well as the raised beds were so bad that I couldn't even get my wheelchair in the garden area to assess things. I thought "well, forget that" (or words to that effect ) and Kratky seemed like a good alternative to the main garden at the time.

I transplanted Eva Purple Ball yesterday and Dester, Aunt Ginny's Purple, and KBX today. I'm attaching a photo - looks like they're doing OK so far. They went into Wonder Soil hydrated with water from the garden hose, then once planted dosed with about 10 oz of the Master Blend mix pH balanced that they'd been growing in. The plants are pretty leggy as they kept getting bleached out under the really hot sun we've been having so they've been under the shade of the patio quite a bit. Anyway..... we'll see what happens - I'm always prepared for some unexpected disappointment in the garden somewhere along the line but so far it's looking good, I think (Oh, except for a bird - or some mystery creature - removing the growing tip of my Big Beef! At least there are two suckers forming that I can let grow out).

Anne
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Old May 1, 2020   #12
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Ahhh! Those are looking great! Hope it's a great season for you.
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