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

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
Milan HP
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Default Winter Indoor Growing beyond 50°N

As I live relatively far in the north and grow tomatoes over the winter on window sills (no glasshouse), I first faced a lot of problems with providing enough artificial light for my plants. I experimented with LED bulbs, red and blue LED grow lights and luminescent tubes. Daylight in winter that far north is very short (8 hours) and very weak on cloudy, foggy days - just 750lx, so my plants are often fully dependent on the light I give them. I cannot afford arc lamps as they use too much power.

I have come to the conclusion that the minimum light intensity for them to grow properly is 2,500 - 3,000lx for at least 12 hours a day. I also believe that a luminescent tube is a good thing as it provides some UV light and the plants get less harmed by direct sunshine when I put them out onto the balcony.


I wonder if there are any enthusiasts like me who have any experience of using artificial light or growing plants like this. My problem is that I insist on growing indeterminate varieties along with determinate ones, which means that grow boxes are too small for me (and too expensive as well). Can anyone give me any tips or share their experience?


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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
biscuitridge
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I've used a cheap 2x4 foot by 5 foot high grow chamber,you know those that have a silver reflective surface on the inside and are black on the outside. I used 5 cxb 3590 led COB lights along with a thermostat to keep the air temperature in the correct range inside the grow chamber, I grew 2 indeterminate plants of which the largest tomato was just under 4 lbs. The whole tent was set on top of a 2x4 foot by 16inches deep insulated box that was also thermostatic controlled with a heat cable wrapped around the interior of the box,that way I could keep the soil temp at an ideal level. I don't know if any of this will be of any help to you or not, just sharing my experience with you in case there's something that might give you an idea.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
MrsJustice
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Yes, I can. Winter growing is my Thaing Amen!!!

I lost a window over ten years a =go to a storm, but I replaced that window with a small Greenhouse Window. Since than I can put my Peepers from the ground and place them in my Greenhouse window to continue growing. Each year I want to hug that salesman. My husband and I can't believe the money we save each years. I also have a Hinkel Hatz Hot Pepper Plant that I pull from the ground and place in that window, with this being the 3 year of Growth from the same plant. Your project seams great because I tried that 20 years ago . I was not successful unless I change my plants from window to window trying to keep up with the sunlight direction.

Happen New Year, Amen!!!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
Milan HP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitridge View Post
I've used a cheap 2x4 foot by 5 foot high grow chamber,you know those that have a silver reflective surface on the inside and are black on the outside. I used 5 cxb 3590 led COB lights along with a thermostat to keep the air temperature in the correct range inside the grow chamber, I grew 2 indeterminate plants of which the largest tomato was just under 4 lbs. The whole tent was set on top of a 2x4 foot by 16inches deep insulated box that was also thermostatic controlled with a heat cable wrapped around the interior of the box,that way I could keep the soil temp at an ideal level. I don't know if any of this will be of any help to you or not, just sharing my experience with you in case there's something that might give you an idea.
Thank you.

Of course you have helped me. I googled up the light source to see that it's more efficient than my sources (136lm/W as opposed to 122lm/W). Actually, it's a very powerful source. I was surprised to find out that they are available in our country too.

My problem is that I usually grow over 10 plants at a time and grow chambers (is that what you call them officially?) can accommodate maximum 3 plants. But I will think about replacing the light sources.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
Milan HP
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Hello, MrsJustice. And thank you.
What does a Greenhouse Window look like? I've never heard of or seen one. Is it like a bay window? Double or triple glazed? That would be a great advantage for light. Unfortunately I live in a block of flats/apartment block in an old part of our town. I don't really think our authorities would approve of changing the look of the block so dramatically.
I tried putting my peppers indoor for the winter in 2019. The result was a disaster. I brought in aphids, white flies and God knows what else. I forgot to say that I am totally against treatment with chemical substances, that is apart from artificial fertilizers. I also tried wintering tomato clones/cuts the year before. No pests, but septoria leaf spot went rampant and even infected my spring seedlings. They survived but I lost a lot of my harvest. This year it's only parsley but if I spot a single pest, the parley has to go. So far, so good.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #6
Greatgardens
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What are the temperatures like in the Czech Republic? And I guess I should say "typical" since our weather patterns seem to be "wacky." (At least here in the U.S.) Is there a climate zone that is pretty much like over here? For instance, mine is 5b, and almost 6a these days. We get about 2 more weeks of good weather than when I was younger, although we can still get big cold snaps in the spring and fall, and of course, the daylight hours are no different.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
Milan HP
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Hello, Greatgardens,
unfortunately I am not familiar with the zone system. So I can only describe the climate here in general.
In principle we have a continental climate, but quite strongly influenced by the Atlantic. Summers are colder than those in typically continental climates - average July temperatures 14 - 19°C. On the other hand, winters are warmer: average January temperatures between -1 and -5. Annual precipitation 500 - 700 mm (litres per square meter). That means that years differ from each other quite a lot. 2018 was a very dry and hot year unlike 2020 that was much colder and incomparably wetter.

I live at 150 meters above mean sea level by the river Elbe, but my garden is at 570 m a.m.s.l. A typical difference between the two places - only 13 km from each other - is 4 or 5°C. At the moment the temp down here is about +5, up there it's +1°C. Night temps +2 here and -2 up there. It snowed up there but rained here. I don't know what place in the USA I could compare it to. Sorry.


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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Milan HP
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When I was starting this thread, I thought myself a Northerner. After that I discovered tomato growers here who live and grow tomatoes much much farther to the north, even beyond 60°N. I do apologize.

Nevertheless, to keep this thread alive I am sending some pictures of my flowering plants. Can't skip an opportunity to brag a bit. Feel free to give me any criticism you like just to cut me down to size.Of course I am joking. But they look okay, don't they?

1) Sophie's Choice 1
2) Start 1
3) Start 2
4) Mongolian Karlik - no flowers yet

Milan HP
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sophie's Choice 1b.jpg (116.4 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg Start 1b.jpg (64.9 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Start 2.jpg (75.7 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Mongolian Karlik.jpg (128.3 KB, 51 views)
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
bitterwort
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They look beautiful, Milan. Brag any time you want, especially with photos!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
Milan HP
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Thank you. You've just given me even more motivation for both growing them and showing them on Tomatoville. Wow, I get international appreciation! That's worth dying for.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #11
Milan HP
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Time's running quickly and my tomatoes have developed small fruits. There are 3 varieties with them: Start F1, Nelinka F2 and Sophie's Choice. Unfortunately, I only have two-day-old photos of Start 2.
Here they are.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Start 2 - 18.1.jpg (97.1 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg Start 2 - plody 18.1.jpg (101.4 KB, 25 views)
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Old 4 Hours Ago   #12
Milan HP
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Sophie's Choice today.

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File Type: jpg Sophie's Choice in bloom.jpg (118.8 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Sophie's Choice with fruits.jpg (112.8 KB, 7 views)
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