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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old February 8, 2018   #31
Nan_PA_6b
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Al, I'm growing out a pot of (small) F1's of a cross I made last summer. They are doing very well under these lights, producing tasty fruit. I leave the lights on 24/7. Here's the setup, 5 lights on chains, with aluminum foil to reflect light back:
20180108_133735.jpg

and with the foil peeled back (white table also reflects light):
Tomatogrowing.jpg
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Old February 8, 2018   #32
AlittleSalt
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Nan, I may be confused a little. They produce tomatoes growing under your lights? If so, that's cool.
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Old February 8, 2018   #33
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This is only my forth winter of starting seeds inside. There is one thing that still puzzles me. During the day and part of the night - I turn on the lights for around 16 hours. The other 8 hours are spent in the dark. The plants always grow much faster in the dark. The next day when it's time to turn on the lights, I have to adjust the lighting first because the plants have grown into the lights overnight. I have noticed the same growing habit with outdoor plants too.

The reason why I'm still using the old T12 light fixtures is because I have six fixtures and a case of tubes just sitting around wanting to be used. At the rate of their longevity, it looks like I'll be using them for the next 20 years .

Yes, I'm the kind of person that drives a car until it is no longer worth fixing.
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Old February 8, 2018   #34
Worth1
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Plants collect energy in tbe daylight and grow at night.
Florescent lame degrade the minute you start using them.
You won't notice it but your plants will.
Two years is all I will run them.
Then they go to a house lighting fixture to live out the reast of their lives.
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Old February 8, 2018   #35
Nan_PA_6b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
Nan, I may be confused a little. They produce tomatoes growing under your lights? If so, that's cool.
Yes, and they're even tasty. They won't break any production records, but it's great for winter.

Nan
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Old February 8, 2018   #36
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Thats awesome Nan!
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Old February 8, 2018   #37
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Very cool Nan!
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Old February 9, 2018   #38
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Plants collect energy in tbe daylight and grow at night.
Florescent lame degrade the minute you start using them.
You won't notice it but your plants will.
Two years is all I will run them.
Then they go to a house lighting fixture to live out the reast of their lives.
You made an important point above Worth and with your permission ,and thanks in advance for giving that permission to me.

Yes there are two cycles,light and dark. Photosynthesis ocurs in the light cycle,whether sufficient natural light or tube lights, and the major energy compounds made via Photosynthesis are ATP and GTP.

During the dark cycle those energy compounds allow for building the structures of the seedlings,whether they be be leaves or roots or stems or petioles or branches ,or whatever.

So you never, ever want to leave lights on 24/7 since that prevents the normal development of a seedling.

I started out in Denver when I was there and had limited space in the backyard for tomato plants ,using those very expensive 4 ft long tubes, but gave that up when I read that a simple warm tube(pink) and a regular florescent light ( white) was all you needed.

Carolyn
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Old February 9, 2018   #39
AlittleSalt
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Thanks for the explanation you two

I potted up 39 tomato plants today which is around half of the seeds I started. I will be selling or giving away some of them. All of the expensive super hybrid seeds germinated. The packs they came in said 80% - I expected less percentage, but was happily surprised.
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Old February 25, 2018   #40
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Notice how some were in starting cells. Two+ weeks later, some still are in those cells. My mind was somewhere else - I didn't sift the starter mix. The last picture in post #39 - those in solo cups are now 6" tall with thick stems. They are growing so fast. There are more than I need to experiment with already. The ones that took forever to germinate and are slow to grow with the same amount of water and light are Riesentraube, Yellow Riesentraube, Sweetie Cherry, and Sungold F1. I'm going to pot up the few that I think might have a chance tomorrow.

The fastest/heartiest growing are Porter and Japanese Pink Cherry. If that is any indication of what will grow and produce best - it's a winning situation for us - those are our favorites. I need to get my mind more into growing these plants. It seems like I'm going through the motions and relying on ingrained memories forgotten. Tomato psychology 101
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Old February 25, 2018   #41
Worth1
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I have always found the cherry types to be slow at the starting line.

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Old February 25, 2018   #42
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The picture is blurry, but it does show the difference in plant sizes. I'm pretty sure I wrote somewhere in this thread that I planted all the varieties of seeds on the same day - if not, I just did. I think the little ones have a chance.
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Old February 25, 2018   #43
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Salt if you think it's the mix, why not transplant the little ones? Into sifted mix?
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Old February 25, 2018   #44
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I did transplant them today in sifted MG potting mix. I got to thinking about it, and it could be that they didn't grow as fast because of stick clumps in the starter mix. When I transplanted them - that did seem to be the issue. I wasn't able to get a Riesentraube plant to live. I'm going to buy new seeds and try Riesentraube in the fall garden.
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Old February 26, 2018   #45
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I'm surprised by the legginess of the seedlings on the left when you use 2 fluo tubes at a short distance of the leaves. Personnaly I added a third tube for safety sake to avoid problems with the heat before I replaced them with LED tubes. A possible explanation : you cover the seeds with plastic to keep the soil damp, and /or you let seeds germinate in the dark and don't give light soon enough. You can't wait for more than 2 / 3 hours when germination starts...
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