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Discussion forum for the various methods and structures used for getting an early start on your growing season, extending it for several weeks or even year 'round.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #91
Lasairfion
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How may weeks difference in coming to edible fruit stage is it for you, between having them inside and out?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #92
Cole_Robbie
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The short answer to your question - about a month.

Long answer is that a lot depends on the weather. In recent years, the spring has gone from being very cold, low 20s F, to 80 degree summer-like days very quickly. Spring barely existed. I don't have my high tunnel set up with row covers or heat, and that would help a lot.

The other comparative factor is that I am pretty good at getting early fruit from the outdoor garden, better than I am at using a high tunnel. By planting early varieties, I am usually getting at least a few small fruit from the outdoor plants while the high tunnel is in. Black plastic and raised beds help a lot, too.

I'm glad I built my high tunnel, but I'm not going to build any more like this. It's supposed to be the "correct" way to get early tomatoes, but I think I would do just as well with temporary low tunnels over early plants. It's also a lot cheaper. As soon as warm weather arrives, there is no need for the tunnel. It hurts more than it helps, by trapping heat and bugs. And that certainly is not going to be the case for everyone, it's just my experience and location.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #93
clkeiper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
The short answer to your question - about a month.

Long answer is that a lot depends on the weather. In recent years, the spring has gone from being very cold, low 20s F, to 80 degree summer-like days very quickly. Spring barely existed. I don't have my high tunnel set up with row covers or heat, and that would help a lot.

...........

I'm glad I built my high tunnel, but I'm not going to build any more like this. It's supposed to be the "correct" way to get early tomatoes, but I think I would do just as well with temporary low tunnels over early plants. It's also a lot cheaper. As soon as warm weather arrives, there is no need for the tunnel. It hurts more than it helps, by trapping heat and bugs. And that certainly is not going to be the case for everyone, it's just my experience and location.
I see a huge improvement in the quality of my plants inside vs outside plants. My high tunnel has absolutely beautiful plants with hardly any imperfections on the leaves due to disease pressure while the outside tomatoes look sorry this year. there are spots all over the foliage and stems. never seen anything like it. if I had to choose I would take the high tunnel growing anyday.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #94
BigVanVader
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Same. There is no comparison for me. My ISPL & Che. Purple in the coldframe look like a magazine pic. Outside plants look like Rocky's face after fighting the Russian.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #95
AKmark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigVanVader View Post
Same. There is no comparison for me. My ISPL & Che. Purple in the coldframe look like a magazine pic. Outside plants look like Rocky's face after fighting the Russian.
LOL, I laughed on that one.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #96
My Foot Smells
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I know the "curator" at the heifer int. project here that oversees the agriculture. Chris often does videos on tomato growing, which are rather cute. He recently did one and showcased his tomatoes. Did he go in the open field? Ha, Ha. Nope. He went into the high tunnel to discuss how easy peasy growing tomatoes were & did his video on a cherry to boot.

He did go outside for a quick shot and short segment, but went str8 to the determinate variety, and another small tomato.

Also, too - maybe worth mention. Dispersed lighting seems to do much better here, it is softer (as opposed to direct beams). Defused material breaking up the light doesn't seem quite intense. Can anyone else give opinion on defused lighting vs. direct lighting? Also, direct lighting pouring through a clear cover seems to heat things up tremendously, almost like it is going to set something on fire (magnifying glassish)....
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #97
Cole_Robbie
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I know what you mean. The plastic on my high tunnel is opaque for that reason. I have Warp's brand Flex-O-Glass with infrared block. My greenhouse has clear plastic, but it is used in the earlier spring when it is still cold outside.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #98
tryno12
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Cole, would you mind tell ing me/us what cultivars are the best early Tom's I would like to try to get some early one's to try for next yr. - all I have ever tried is Early Girl just because of the name - never thought they tasted that great - this yr, tried some Dwarfs like Artic Snow, Beauty King, Brandy Fred etc to see how early and taste?..................
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #99
Cole_Robbie
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Sure, my friend. The answer to your question has been an ongoing quest of mine for about six years. If you ask me again in a few years, I might have a different answer.

For determinates, Agatha is my best early red slicer. Aura is my favorite early red saladette. Taxi is yellow, and a huge yielder, but flavor is mild and underwhelming. I like Sladkij Ponchik and Babushkin Potseluy as other earler yellow varieties.

For most people who want a good early red tomato, Mat-Su Express is the best you're going to find, in my own opinion. Mark and Sherry did fine work in creating that variety. It yields well and tastes great at the same time, which is hard to find.

The earliest plant you could grow would be a microdwarf cherry. I was picking Anmore Treasures from my outdoor garden on June 2nd of last year. Small plants will make early tomatoes, if you sacrifice overall yield for earliness.

And of course I will have seeds of everything if you would like some. I will hot water bath them so they are free of disease.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #100
tryno12
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Cole thanks much! i will take note and look for some Mat-Su Express seeds for next year - if you look at my current posts under "weather" and having 12 mouths to feed on vacation in northern Michigan while we have record rainfall at home and flooding ( where "worth" correctly said plants were drownded) where my plants (100+) are please exucse the tardiness and impoliteness of my response!!
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