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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 2 Weeks Ago   #91
MissS
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Ron, what you are doing is NOT the hardening off process. What you are doing is a "cold treatment". Most of us give our seedlings the cold treatment by starting our seeds 6-12 weeks before our last frost date. This is done by taking advantage of the cool temperatures that nature provides and growing our seedlings either outside during the day or sometimes in a garage where it is cool but not freezing. Your 10 degrees Celsius is the equivalent of 50 degrees Fahrenheit which is within the desired range. If done after the first set of true leaves, this will promote strong compact seedlings.

Hardening off is the process of acclimating the plants from growing under lights in a protected environment to living under direct sunlight outdoors. The plants are exposed to direct sunlight and wind gradually so that they will not burn.

I am of the opinion that the seedlings should have artificial light for 16 hours a day. Whether or not this is the ideal amount, I do not know, but it is what I provide for my plants and it works for me. I will note that I am concerned about you using a capillary mat again and especially in a closed environment. I am not at all sure that this will work with the lid being on all of the time.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #92
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Patti..Thanks for putting me right ..Hopefully next year if I am still around i will get it right..The "chamber" is no where near air tight and I take note of your concerns about capillary cloth ..i will be keeping a close eye on everything and Lifting the lid regularly...It is on pulleys so can be set to any height? although I prefer for safety to have the lid in the closed position ...Regards Ron
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #93
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Okay, I'm confused. 10°C is what, about 50°F? That's in the range of temperatures that (I am told) will cause stunting in Solanaceae.

As I understand it, "hardening off" is about getting the plants used to sunlight and wind - i.e. their ultimate growing environment - not about chilling them to the bone.

Where did you get this?


Further, I thought you said that you have fans on them. No?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #94
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The 'cold treatment' is a method to slow plant growth down yet promote a stocky plant with nice thick stems. Usually there are increased yields as well. This is usually done as soon as the plant sprouts and lasts for 2-3 weeks. Here is a good link that describes it.

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...cold+treatment
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #95
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Hi..Heres a couple of Pics ..There is some cleaning up to do ..i have the fan lights switched on but have not as yet wired up the fans themselves ....The two Radiators inside the chamber have Two fans on each which blows the air through the radiator (they are on but the fridge is off because I want to put a light between the thermostat and the fridge..the light will tell me when the fridge is on or off ...If one looks carefully one can see clear water tube coming out of a fridge in the background carrying very cold water through the radiators........

Patti if I put a timer on and have the lighting come on at 10 pm to 6 am that would be 16 hours ... Anything else i should do?? I will take it carefully the first few days just to ensure there is no adverse reaction....Regards Ron
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmforcier View Post
Okay, I'm confused. 10°C is what, about 50°F? That's in the range of temperatures that (I am told) will cause stunting in Solanaceae.

As I understand it, "hardening off" is about getting the plants used to sunlight and wind - i.e. their ultimate growing environment - not about chilling them to the bone.

Where did you get this?


Further, I thought you said that you have fans on them. No?
Hi..I will try and find the article .."The secret that Commercial Tomato growers do not want you to know" I think it was called ...Yes as Patti pointed out I got confused between hardening off and Cold treatment...and yes there are 10 fans altogether ...6 with the led's attached to them which will blow air across the seedlings coming in from both ends ...then there is two each on each radiator that blow the air through the radiator over the cold copper tubes that cold water is flowing through cooling the air as well as blowing it round the chamber ..This is all trial and error but according to what I have read this is whats required....as long as I have everything going..

Now forgive but is not this about stunting the growth ....I thought it was about creating the forming of thick stems as against spindly stems or height...I was so sure you would advise me to patent my design .....Even the 3 litre milk bottles filled with water which along with weights will help me lift and lower the lid... Regards Ron
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murihikukid View Post
Patti if I put a timer on and have the lighting come on at 10 pm to 6 am that would be 16 hours ... Anything else i should do?? I will take it carefully the first few days just to ensure there is no adverse reaction....Regards Ron
10 pm to 6 am is only eight hours of light. Now if you have the lighting go off from 10 pm to 6 am, you will be in business. Just watch out for mold starting since you are using a closed environment.

I would also suggest that you read the link that I posted above. It is a very good read and makes some excellent points. Furthermore, it advises you to keep the plants on the dry side to prevent damping off.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #98
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This reminds me of the fellow installing a new cam, new jets, and feeding his engine nitromethane all at the same time, without being sure than any one of his tweaks actually works. His engine is going to blow up.

I recommend ditching the cooling rig while dialing in the starting chamber. Lights and fans look good, assuming that you get the lights close enough (and actually turn a few of the fans on). And, of course, that the automatic watering scheme actually works without killing the plants.

Good intentions do not necessarily make good results.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #99
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Hi..thanks...I have made mistakes...Thankfully the electrician came round and got everything going perfectly after there was smoke from a short and he corrected the Thermostat wiring for me....BUT...I now have a light on the wall telling me the fridge is going ....its - 6 degrees in the freezer compartment and in the growing chamber the air is 11.2 and is slowly getting colder ,,,when it reaches 10.2 degrees the fridge will switch off and come back on at 10.8 degrees so its going to be interesting how long it will retain the cold air before switching back on...

The radiator fans are going as are the light fans ..so everything is ready to go.... after a quick cleaning within the chamber the plant trays will be put in at a predetermined height and the lid lowered ...Hopefully calculations will be correct and the lid with the lights will be just above the height of my seedlings....I am awaiting my friend in Canada to Skype me about the webcam idea...

I am going to take things very carefully .......I could raise the air temperature if that is a concern but apparantly i should not have any problem with 10.2 degrees C ....
There will be nearly constant monitoring of the thermostat thats tells me the ambiant temperature in the chamber... the air will soon be in the 10 degree range....

Of course already I am thinking ahead to getting for a $1 or so... a modern stand up Fridge /freezer with swinging doors and shelves fans etc but with a failed compressor ....and using the built in gas piping as a means to carry temperature regulated water through them and around it....I could use the present freezer unit I have set up to pump and supply the water.......I once had a beautiful 2 door unit that i turned into a work bench ?? What a growth chamber it would have made ....Its just a matter of waiting and hoping something turns up ..One with insulated glass front doors.... would be ideal......'
I have just checked and the Temperature is now 10.8 C so 0.5 to go and everything should stop apart from fans and the water pump and I can take a timing of what to expect between fridge cycles......Its exciting for me ?? and if the procedure creates nice strong seedlings with thick stems ...I hopefully will feel I have done something...

Cheers Ron
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #100
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Hi..the air went down to 10.6 and up to about 10.8 before the fridge kicked in again....not exactly right but not that far away... I have changed the differential on the Thermostat from 0.3 to 0.5 to see if it makes a difference.Do not know why the Thermostat kicked out at 10.6 when its set to 10.2........I have been looking for the original article that convinced me a growth chamber could be the way to go but so far have not found it..however I have found https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235429/
If I can decipher the abbreviated terms I might learn something as there is a couple of paragraphs on Grow Chambers relating to tomatoes... ......If Myra's Delight turns out to be as good as i think it is I will be sending seeds...I do not know if its already in the States under another name ...I have been told by a large grower that this is their final season growing Tasty Toms that they have a "similar" tomato like it which they will be selling under another name???
Oh Yes My second Tasty Tom has some buds on it ...I wonder if it will flower ...???
Patti..If you read this I wonder if you could tell me how long you think the young ones should be at 10.0 degrees...I recall after so long one raises the temperature.. thats why I want to find the original article
Cheers Ron
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #101
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Ron the one thing you need to do is take advise from us and only us or at least some of us but not necessarily me but just the part about taking advice.

First this cold treatment thing.
It works but not the way you are doing it.
10C all the time is just crazy.
Next go to the 24 hour clock way of calculating time for light not the AM PM thing.
It is much easier to calculate time this way.
Next.
This whole bug free microbe free environment thing is way out of hand.
Next give the plants a chance to grow.
As I have said before with tests and control plants in about as a controlled experiment as I could do.
In the day time I had the plants outside in the cold in day light.
At night I brought them in to where it was around 65 degrees F, that would be 18C for you.
The plants brought in exploded and grew over night.
The plants left out didn't.
Keeping plants at 10C all the time for long periods of time in the so called growth camber will do nothing but make them sulk and in some cases stunt them.
You cant reinvent the wheel.
As a matter of fact 10C in a humid moist chamber spells disaster.
Why not have control plants and several things going on at the same time to see what does best.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Not having controls is ((((NOT))))an experiment in cases where it comes to life forms.
You simply cant tell what you are doing without them for the most part.

Just my take on things and in no way trying to force you into anything.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #102
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Hi...Well I think I have found where I was getting the info on re Cold Treatment ....It is on
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=13171

I must read it all properly..

I Now find My growth chamber cannot get down to 10 degrees with its lid down and the lights on.......The lid of course is not air tight and warm air will be drawn in from outside.... when the lights are all switched off (and I am presuming here) it will possibly work as I had hoped it would.. ....At present its showing 13.5 degrees and is slowly rising so I can only presume that the cooling system cannot handle the extra temperature being created by the LED tubes....I have sought advice from my electrician....??

Anyway will it do any harm to have my seedlings under lights for 16 hours a day for 10 days...at a temperature of 13-14 degrees and when the lights are switched off will it matter if the temperature then drops as I suspect it might to 10.5 degrees ....This temp can be changed simply by resetting the thermostat...Thanks Ron
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Old 1 Week Ago   #103
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In my experience it won't harm them, but it isn't the optimum growing conditions. They like warm soil. If the conditions you describe won't give you the benefit you seek (not cold enough long enough), then why not ditch the whole idea?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #104
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Ron, why are you overthinking this so severely? You're jumping through all these hoops, subjecting your poor seedlings to all manner of cobbled together contraptions, and in the process just creating more problems. You need to simplify things, not complicate them.

See this picture here:


This is my 'seedling station' - It's in the closet in my office, on a small plastic rack. Above it, I have a cheap, 2-bulb, fluorescent shop lamp(orange box) hung on short chains that I can adjust with zip ties.
I've got a 72-cell seed tray, sitting on a small heat mat (which is now off), and I've left the corner cell (#1, circled in yellow) deliberately empty to pour water into to fill the bottom tray and allow easy watering. It sits under the lamp, which is on from about 8AM through about midnight, every day.
Each day, I spray a light mist of water every few hours on the cells in which seeds have not yet popped up, and about once or twice a day on the seedlings which have. This mist is from a plain $1 spray bottle(shown in blue) that I fill with water and just a tiny pinch of Miracle Gro, for the extra bit of fert - it's about 10% normal strength. I fill the water tray each night with plain water.

The other small container to the left is the top part of a spindle of CDs, that I filled with starter mix, and scattered a bunch of old seed in, and initially covered with plastic wrap, until the seeds sprouted. It gets light waterings every other day, and the occasional mist spray but otherwise is left alone.

I have a small fan that I place outside the closet, pointed at the tray, and turn on for about 6 hours a day.

The above regimen has resulted in all of the seedlings you see doubling in size in approximately 5 days. Keep in mind that ALL of these seedlings sprouted from seed that was, on average, at least 10 years old. All on very minimal maintenance. No cold rooms, no elaborate chemicals, etc.. I have not had a single seedling fail or damp off.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #105
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Mmmm...What do I say after sirtanon ...First I lost my camera and just found it and my Freezer broke down so I was unable to give them the cold treatment i had planned ..I have been trying to give them 1/2 a treatment til I get another Freezer hopefully this weekend ...anyway heres photos of my two trays ...They are more "spindly" than i hoped ..i am just about to give them Miracle Gro and lower the lid on them for a few more hours ...its actually freezing here?? a heat wave one week and freezing the next and thats one of the problems I face....I think with a lower consistant temperature they would have been better but I wonder what you think Patti ....They are looking healthy and I hope to get better as I work out the process properly...
REgards Ron
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