Return to the Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
GH Tomatoes

Posted by Hudson...WY 3 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 16:21

GH tomatoes in Wyoming begin today! Yeah - the new season has begun (for us) and even though the seedlings won't go out in the GH for six weeks - we planted the seeds today. At least three plants that is - last year we started 25 seedlings and had a great season but this year we are going to stager them over the next four weeks instead of planting them all now at once. We had a good snow storm this weekend too - nice weather for planting seeds! Lets see - we planted a Brandy Boy, Better Boy and Sweet 100. They all did well with an early planting last year. Only three plants - I decided to just plant them in a small pot.

 photo image_zps6e70cb35.jpg


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Oh thank goodness I'm not alone. My tomato seedlings are about 4 inches tall with their second set of leaves. I've got seedlings sprouted for leeks, gazania, lots of orange habaneros, pansies, dianthus and some of my other hot peppers are grudgingly sprouting.
And I'm still re-reading my seed catalogues.
I will be firing up the heater in the gh on February 20th and moving everybody out there the next day.
I'm trying to will spring to come early.
Thanks for sharing your starts.
My friends tell me I'm nuts but I don't care!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Lori - yes we must both be nuts !! Please share your GH and all you do to get such a successful early start ! How you heat your GH etc. Also how you start your seedlings indoors? Some photos would be nice. :)


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I have a small 6x8 palram gh - it is not the twin wall because I chose cosmetics (look what I grew!) instead of better insulated. Kinda stupid - since I put bubble stuff in there from Johnny's seeds (thank you to whoever it was who posted this fantastic source) but that will come out the very first minute I feel safe in doing so.

My seedlings are currently inside the house - yeah, my breakfast area and dining room are a bit hard to navigate but that's only for a few more weeks. I direct planted a bunch of pepper seeds in my hanging pots and will be hanging them out in the gh as soon as it starts getting cheaper to heat up.

We're still steadily far below freezing day and night right now but accuweather says around the end of the month that will change to hovering slightly above and below freezing and that is when I plan on firing up my Cedar Ridge 30K btu heater hooked up to my natural gas line.

Today I decided that I shouldn't be starting up the heater before removing most of the mass inside the gh so this morning I brought in all of the pots (20) that have dirt in them. They will also then be ready for when I need to transplant..

This business of thermal mass moderating temps is not b.s.- I discovered this when playing with making a solar water heater and using it to heat a trough of water last summer and fall. Too bad I can't use it in the winter.

I run fans using solar panels, and also the water pumps for the water heater. The water heater does work with thermosiphoning but too slow for me so the pumps really speed up the exchange.

I'm spending the days waiting to be outside by growing seedlings, redoing my low flow irrigation system and making plans for a gh out of pvc that will quickly break down during the summer months.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

and the dining room floor..
My camera is starting to lose it's pixels sorry for the lousy pics.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Haha - I love it Lori ! You are as nuts as I am! It is impossible to find the varieties we want to grow from local nurseries and although we could buy plants from several sources and have the starts shipped to us - it is rewarding with 2+' of snow on the ground outside and freezing temperatures - to just grow our own seedlings indoors. Besides - it is good therapy for the gardner!

Although your GH is small - it appears it is the perfect size to heat the few months prior to spring. Our GH is to large to heat and difficult to partition. We plan to build a hoop house of sorts that I will incorporate a small area which I can affordably heat several months prior to spring to grow our seedlings in pots before moving them to the GH. In a cold climate like ours - that appears to be the best option.

Keep us posted as you move your starts to your GH and build your PVC GH - We would like to see what you do and how you plants respond.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

It's inspiring to see things starting up again in these cold places. Nice work you two!

Hudson did you get your floor poured? Or will you wait until it's a little warmer?

Miraculously, we've gotten three lettuce boxes through our cold snaps without the use of any heat. This recent cold snap I just brought them inside and we had some nice salads.

I'm figuring about another week or two before I gear up again. Since I'm not keen to use heat and I don't love growing seedlings inside I will just do cold-tolerant stuff for now and will get the tomatoes started in another month.

I have been enjoying the seed catalogs though. After last year's lackluster season DH is going to replace the GH soil and I'm going to try 2 new varieties of sauce tomatoes. Hopefully we can get things back to being outrageously productive as in years past.

Hudson, will your new hoophouse be inside the main GH? That is basically what I have done. Some hoops from Johnny's plus many layers of frost blankets. Uncover on sunny days, re-cover at night. Leave covered during cold, cloudy weather. So far, so good!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Karin - I am still digging out the dirt on the GH floor. Taking my time between snow storms, cold snaps and my job. I Hope I will be ready to pour concrete about the same time the batch plant opens this spring. I also need to dig for a drain under the GH footing for a future sink I would like to install in the GH. I better get the drain pipe in place before I pour! I plan to run the drain pipe into a french drain just outside the GH. Now to find the sink so I will run the drain where it needs to be.

I am jealous that you can grow lettuce this time of year in your GH - even though you have to bring them inside during a cold snap. I suppose I could do that too - but here in Wyoming I would have to bring them in and take them out every day we have sun - the rest of the time they would have to be indoors - I think.

When you find the optimal sauce tomato plant - please let me know - I think I am done with sauce tomatoes for now! The Marzano were growing great - then BER took over - I had to toss them in frustration. Then I tried Super Sauce and was super disappointed - haha. They didn't like my GH.

Your hoophouse inside the GH works great - I have to add 100W incandescent light bulbs to the equation though in our climate - I will do the hoophouse inside the GH again when I move the tomato plants in the GH in about 6 weeks. I guess what I want to build is not really a hoop house as such - I have some 6x6 treated timbers left over from a shed I built several years ago. I plan to build a GH that is about 14-16' high at the ridge - sloping down to 8' on the north side and sloping down to about 5-6' on the other side facing south - maybe 24'W x 32'L. I would use the GH to grow corn, beans, squash - and of course - more tomatoes - directly into the soil. I would like to partition off a small area in the GH that I could affordably heat and grow seedlings during this time of the year. It will be a year or two off though - I have other projects started that I need to finish first. But I am in the planning stage - still looking at ideas.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Wow, sounds like you have plans for a whole 'nother structure. Impressive. Once you get that up and running you will never need to visit the grocery store again (except for beer, coffee and TP of course!).

Bummer that your sauce tomatoes didn't work out. Super Sauce was one that I was looking at, hmmm. I will keep looking and let you know what I try. I agree BER is a big problem. I loved Ernie's Plump last year as it was incredibly tasty fresh or cooked. It wasn't super productive but it was healthy. I will grow it again this year, plus 2 other sauce tomatoes. Always experimenting and learning!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

We are preparing to move the tomato seedlings out to the GH. We decided to use our GH hot box for seedlings this year. We got the seedlings started in the house under grow-lights but need that space to plant more seeds in-doors so the seedlings should get along fine in the GH with this thermostatically controlled soil heat cable. We also have a bunch of Geraniums starts that need some sun. We buried the soil heat cable that is attached to hardware cloth and a 30" x 8' piece of cattle panel with plastic zip ties just a couple of inches in the soil. Then we made an easy take apart polycarbonate sides and lid to protect the seedlings at night when the GH temps are too low for the seedlings.

 photo image_zps80663c35.jpg

 photo image_zpsf4c797a7.jpg

The tomato seedlings are coming along fine. We staggered planting them this year so they don't all come on at the same time. We should be able to plant the early seedlings in the GH by the end of March.

 photo image_zps609eaf22.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

The Geraniums, Bacopas and Calibrachoa got to the warm box before the tomatoes! We heat the box (soil) to 65 degrees at night time with the lid closed. Then we remove the lid during the day with the GH thermostat set at 80 degrees. Although the space is limited - this is a great alternative to heating the entire GH which would be expensive this time of year. Night time outside temps are still between -4 and 24 degrees mosts nights - this time of year.

 photo image_zpsb2781f82.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Love your soil heating system. Can I assume you have no issues with using plastic zip ties on the heating cable? Does it not get hot enough to worry about melting the ties?


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

This is the second year we have used this soil cable heating system - I remove the panel in the spring when it is no longer needed and store it for next year. Apparently heating the soil to 65 degrees does not heat the cable hot enough to cause any problems with the plastic zip ties - at least not as of yet. There is no visible damage to the zip ties.

This system works so well for us that we plan to add another 8' (the bed is 16' long) cattle panel with hardware cloth and soil heat cable - that will give us a total of 16' x 30" of heated area for seedlings. The seedling do much better in the GH than under grow lights indoors - the main challenge is keeping them warm at night - the soil heat cable appears to be the best solution. The GH is plenty warm during the day this time of year!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

This photo is of seeds we planted on February 14th and shown in the photo on this thread on March 12th (the larger plants on the right - of course). It is amazing how quickly they take off once they get their feet established in the soil (no - those aren't aphids on the plants - just a little residue from the pearlite in the potting soil we mixed up when we moved them to larger pots a couple of days ago)! The indoor grow lights are doing their job providing the light this seedlings need for healthy plants! They are right on schedule - we plan to plant them in the GH next week. I love to see the variety of the regular leaf and the potato leaf tomato plants!

 photo image_zpsb6042aec.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Anyone know how to delete the advertising to the right of the posts? I can't read most of Hudson's posts since the text extends to the right and is covered by ivillage propaganda.

At any rate it is good to see those further north than me getting the season started. Only 17*F here this morning and so I'm holding tomato plants in a smaller benchtop greenhouse for a few more days prior to planting in a larger one that will be far harder to heat. Wood is my fuel of choice even though it has some drawbacks.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Adblocker Plus does an awesome job of zapping all the ads, here and elsewhere. You can download it for free, but I don't know if there is a version for every browser or not. Google 'Adblocker for _____ (fill in your browser name)."

Good luck, 'cause everyone needs to see all of Hudson's enviable pics of tomatoes!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

haha - thanks for the compliment Karin! It would be nice to see a few of your pics! Have you planted your tomato seeds yet? We may have an early spring this year - it warmed up sooner that usual - but we still have a couple of feet of snow on the ground. Next week appears to be a warm week 40's/20's - guess I will plant some of these tomatoes in the GH. I am two weeks later than last year which is exactly where I wanted to be. Hope you will keep us posted this year on your progress! We love seeing your plants and GH!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Today starts the 2014 GH season for us! We moved the oldest tomato seedlings to the GH today with the only heat source being 100W light bulbs in the GH on a timer under frost blankets. The outside daytime temps are in the low to mid 40's and the night time temps in the low to mid 20's. We planted about half of our tomato plants (1-Mortgage Lifter, 1-Big Zach, 2-Sweet 100, 6-Brandy Boy and 4 Better Boy). We will have to remove the frost blankets in the morning and cover the plants at night on a daily basis - at least when the sun is out. I used miscellaneous cattle panel pieces to make cages over the plants while we are covering them at night. Let's hope it is a good GH year!

 photo image_zps88152776.jpg

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 22:45


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Fantastic progress Hudson! Your updates are always so lovely and well-done. Thanks for sharing!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Thanks Karin! It is usually 6 weeks from planting the tomato seed indoors to planting the plants in the GH. I know most growers have their favorite way to grow their own tomato plants but it has worked great for us to plant the seed in 3/4" micro blocks (I forgot to take a photo before I moved them to the 2" blocks but the photo of the 2" blocks is the day we moved them) - then move them to 2" blocks - then transplant them to 4" wide x 5" tall square plastics pots to their necks before transplanting them from the pots to the GH where we also plant them to their necks. This photo shows the same plants from seeds that we planted 6 weeks ago until they were planted in the GH.

I think the 3/4" mirco blocks and 2" blocks are great for moving the plants without disturbing the roots.

 photo image_zpsffe3b0bd.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

How are your tomato plants looking now Lori - please give us an update? Have you planted your seeds yet Karin - what varieties did you decide to plant?

Temperatures have been milder this year than last - a good year to get an early start in the GH - at least so far. Our plants are progressing nicely and we have moved them all out to the GH even though most of them have not been planted in the GH yet. We will probably get them all planted within a couple of weeks. Here's what they look like now - compared to the photo above - they have made great progress I think. We are getting blossoms on the first cluster on the plants that are planted in the GH.

 photo image_zpsf1803f49.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I will take a pic tomorow. My tallest is about 30 innches tall. I just finished building a cold frame that will hinge up to allow for trellising them and other tall stuff pic of that to come too. Been a long day so relaxing with some fermented grapes ...


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I will take a pic tomorow. My tallest is about 30 innches tall. I just finished building a cold frame that will hinge up to allow for trellising them and other tall stuff pic of that to come too. Been a long day so relaxing with some fermented grapes ...


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Sorry for double post and typos. Learning to tablet type, not getting double vision.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

The withered leaves are from me having the fan on too high and they dried out.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

another shot - they are kinda scattered around the gh waiting to go outside


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

A pic of one of my cold frames is here: This is where the tomatoes will be moving to. The tops will hinge up fully for the summer so that I can trellis them. When I finished harvesting the tomatoes in the fall and have pulled them, the tops go down. I will have already started cold crops in between where the tomatoes were and to enjoy until it snows.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/strucs/msg0311145020252.html


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Lori,
Your tomatoes look great! They are bigger than mine - but you did have a couple of weeks head start as I remember. I like your cold frame and the way you can use it until winter - you have done a great job! Keep us posted now and again throughout the summer if you can so we can see how your tomatoes turn out !


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

It appears the early GH tomatoes with frost blankets and light bulbs has produced our first tomatoes of the 2014 season! The Sweet 100's are setting fruit and the Better Boys and Brandy Boys have blossoms on their first and second clusters. We disassembled the frost protection for the year and will just run space heaters when necessary now so we can set up the tomato supports/strings etc as the tomatoes need the room to climb now.

 photo image_zpsc21f4f31.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I guess our plants must be in sync. I noticed a couple of blossoms on one of my plants. Not as big as yours though. So I guess I'll be making bruschetta soon with my own romas - too cool!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

What are your favorites for sauce and slicing tomatoes grown totally in the greenhouse? I've heard that different varieties do better in the GH vs outdoors. I am building my GH this year and would like some advice on varieties to try and what to avoid? Thanks!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I noticed you are in the same zone as myself - Frozenpond - in what general area do you plant? We can compare notes/results. My advice of GH tomatoes is - Indeterminate plants have produced better than Determinate plants in our GH - other than that - have fun trying different varieties! Tomatoes love a GH in zone 3! So far - Brandy Boy, Better Boy, Cherokee Purple and Sweet 100 have been our favorite. We have not yet found our favorite sauce tomatoes - but keep trying different varieties - BER has been a problem with sauce tomatoes for us.

Have fun building your GH !! Please post photos as you build - we would love to see what your GH !!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Thanks, Hudson, that's a great attitude. Try things and see what works. Seems like a good way to approach gardening in general! I garden in far northwest wisconsin where winters are long, very snowy and quite cloudy for much of the time. My GH will be the culmination of many years of dreaming and research, and hopefully I won't make too many mistakes. Pictures promised as soon as construction starts.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I've been following this thread while building our new greenhouse and starting my plants. Today I got my plants situated and I am wondering if I am too optimistic about how many plants my greenhouse will hold.
The greenhouse is a Riga measuring 9'8" X 17'8". On the left side I have a row of 12 pepper plants along the long wall and 9 tomatoes in a row toward the middle. We have strung a wire above the tomatoes and will drop strings down for them to grow around. Is this way too many plants for the space?

On the right side I will have tomatoes in the same position, running about 2/3 of the length. That side has a shelf which I hope to use for supporting cukes and melons. Since I don't know how to put more than one picture in a post, I'll ask about that in another post.

In the picture, the plants between the peppers and tomatoes are destined for outside when it's warm enough.

Thanks for any advice you can give me, it's my first year with a greenhouse. In any case, I'm having a lot of fun especially on cooler days when working in the outside garden is chilly!

Laurie


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

On the other side of the greenhouse, I took the shelves out of the brackets and replaced them with a grid that might be cattle panels, they were left over from a neighbor's deck railing construction. I plan on growing cukes and melons under the shelf, training them to come up through the grid and then spread out all over the shelf. Do you think this will work?


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Laurie,
I hope Karin will view this thread - she has a Riga Greenhouse and can give you some expert advice with her years of experience and know how. Take a look at her thread posted on GardenWeb in 2010 showing pics of her Riga GH. You will enjoy looking at her pics while we wait to see if she will see and respond to your post.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/strucs/msg111908035853.html

My GH is a different type of structure than yours and I do not grow in containers (much). I hope others with a GH similar to yours will respond to your questions!

You have a lovely GH and your plants look very happy !!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Thanks Hudson,
I should have mentioned that I read Karin's posts before, during and after we put up our greenhouse. Lots of lurking went on here. And I have followed the growth of your tomatoes step by step.
I hope it's not too many tomatoes because yesterday I hung the strings and staked them into the dirt, (oops I mean soil, I was corrected in another forum). The cukes and melons are another story, I guess I am hoping someone will say Oh, yes, that will work! In any case I will try it, it's fun and I have nothing to lose.
Thanks for your reply, I hope you will continue posting pictures of your tomatoes, this greenhouse stuff is so much fun!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hey, yes I am here! Laurie welcome to the Riga club, your setup looks great! You will love it.

Your general ideas look good to me. Yes, the vines will grow up through the cattle panel and you can train them on strings after that.

I do think your spacing is tight and the peppers along the wall are going to get overtaken by tomatoes. But if you prune the tomatoes vigilantly, you'll manage. You might also want to put the peppers along the aisle and the tomatoes closer to the wall, since the peppers will stay shorter.

For comparison, I have the 14' long Riga and I can fit 3 tomatoes in a 10' long bed. I train them to 2 stems per plant, and even so it becomes an absolute jungle by August.

Also, both Hudson and I grow directly in the ground in our greenhouses. I don't know if you've already ruled that out, but the roots will have more room to grow and it will be easier to keep them watered. Blossom end rot, which is already a concern in the greenhouse environment, is even more likely in pots.

But I don't want to sound discouraging because I'm sure your plants will do great this year and you will be just swimming in tomatoes! And after all, it's just an ongoing experiment anyway - no way to get started other than to just give it a whirl and see what happens.

I am way behind on my tomatoes this year, but they are coming along even if they are still seedlings. We're cranking with our herbs and greens though - they just thrive this time of year and give us instant gratification of a homegrown meal.

Welcome aboard and thanks for sharing your pictures and experiences so far!

Karin


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Good to hear from you Karin I knew it was best to let a Riga talk to a Riga!

I assume Laurie that you are also planting indeterminate tomato plants? We use two methods to climb our indeterminates - twine until they reach the cattle panels and cattle panels. We use cattle panels on the low bed in the middle of the GH where we have access around the entire plant and twine against the sides of the GH so we have easy access around the plant until they reach the cattle panel above. As you can see in the photo (taken today) we also train our plants with two main stems then let them branch to 4 stems - then 6 stems until they reach about 8-10' and then top them off. We plant them approximately 24-30 inches apart depending on the bed in which we plant them. We also plant the cherry tomatoes at least 30-48 inches apart because the are so crazy out-of-control (the way we like them to grow). Today was a wet - cold - rainy - day, so I took a few photos.

 photo image_zpsff733019.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Karin, nice to meet you! Thanks for your insights. Your posts from way back helped me decide to go with a Riga.

I think you two have confirmed what I knew but didn't want to admit. I have too many plants in the GH. I think I will move some peppers outside to the garden and somehow reduce the number of tomatoes. I have a hard time just pulling plants out, it feels like killing puppies. I'll ask around if anyone wants a tomato plant.

I'm also going to reconsider my tomato supports. I hung a string for each plant and I have been pinching off the suckers, planning on keeping one stem per plant. I might need to figure out a grid to tie them to instead.

Our plan was a raised bed on one side of the GH, time ran short and I decided to use containers for the first year. You have also confirmed that is a good way to go. All in good time. We didn't get the GH out of boxes and built until the middle of March, so I feel pretty good about the first year.
I hope we can get that done this fall, I want to grow greens this winter. We live on an island without a store so winter greens are an important part of why we but up the GH.

I have a lot to learn, you have both helped, thank you! I'll keep you posted and continue to follow your growing season!

Laurie


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Laurie,

The great thing about your plants in pots is that you can give some away to make more room. I'm sure you can find a willing recipient, and this is a wonderful side-effect of owning a greenhouse. I love having extra plants to give away. But overall, thinning the herd will make your life easier.

I like Hudson's method of string support for the bottom of the plant, then a grid up high. It's easy to keep things orderly for the first 2-3 feet of the plant but as it gets higher it becomes unruly. I have a ridiculous routine of tying strings all over the place to support cherry tomato trusses and other branches that get out of control but I don't want to prune off. A grid would simplify all of that.

Your long-range plan sounds excellent. Adding a means to plant in-ground will not be difficult. Growing winter greens is pretty easy - eaiser than tomatoes, IMO. In your warm climate you'll be flush with salads all winter, no problem. I've settled on the windowbox method for greens instead of growing them in the ground, but you'll settle into a plan that works for you.

Hudson, wow. I can't believe how big your plants are! Are you heating the greenhouse? How are they so big already? Nice job! What's in the smaller pots in front of the tomatoes? Looks like herbs maybe?

It's a cold wet day here too. Definitely a nice day for the GH. Some catmint seeded itself in there so our cats are extra appreciative of their spa environment. I also have pots of cat grass in there, and they love to lounge about on the stack of frost blankets. Simple pleasures!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

The tomatoes have grown quickly this year - I think we have had more sun this spring than past years, We do run a space heater in the GH from the time we removed the frost blankets and light bulbs whenever OS Temps are below 32 degrees.

We are experimenting with growing different flowers from seed with our grow lights then moving them to the GH. The pots by the tomatoes are Impatiens - they seem to do well from seed. Others - we are propagating - like Geraniums and still others we are growing from plugs - like Calibrachoas. We also purchased perennials at a nursery located in zone 5 - then keep them in our GH until we can plant them out in our yard - like Bleeding Hearts and Delphiniums. Having fun learning.

We had an Easter Surprise with a litter of kittens - speaking of Cats - We are excited because we have enough voles in our field to feed a heard of them - haha

 photo CollageIt_zps23f50b11.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I had to chop some of the branches from my tomatoes the other morning. I had been moving things around the deck the day before and had inadvertently knocked the gas line into the shut off position so the heater did not operate on a night when the temps went well down below zero. I hope the rest of these plants survive. Very upset with myself. I also have nicotiana seedlings, gazania seedlings, hot pepper seedlings, and other assorted plants going in there. I have started radishes in the cold frame and also have leeks and bunching onions started. Pansy and shasta daisy seedlings are also sitting in pots in my cold frames as well as asprabroc seedlings now in the ground out there.My leaf lettuce is thriving out there too.
I love those dephiniums and you impatiens look really healthy. I was afraid to grow them because of a constant barrage of rumours regarding some kind of mould going strong this year.
I just got the irrigation system set up for the rest of the area will hanging pots will be and have feeders to the cold frames. The last part is the waterworks for the gh. I've got the big feeder in there but still need to add the feeder lines and a sort of spigot.
Lots to do.
We are finally getting our april weather which according to the experts is going to continue for a month and then maybe it will start warming up!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

You have been busy Lori - your incident with your heater reminds me that it is always in the back of my mind that - what if - the power goes off during the night for hours or the heater malfunctions and we loose our entire GH plants :( - glad you were able to (potentially) save your plants - we would love to see some photos when you get time!

Speaking of April weather - we were reminded over the weekend why we love our GH so much in this zone! It was snowy and cold outside but the GH plants appear happy and enjoyed 60 degree temps with our space heater. On a side note: our contractor is planting 13ea additional 10-12' Spruce Trees this week (weather permitting) and we purchased an additional 100ea - 1" trunk diameter - Quakes for our yard - YEAH - we love trees!! Spruce and Quakes do best in this climate - who's going to argue with Mother Nature - it is going to be a busy spring for us too!!

 photo image_zps9bc5e951.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

This is by far one of my favorite threads ever! I have seen so many great photos of different greenhouses, different ideas on how to start seedlings in the cold, innovative ways to utilize different types of greenhouses from those who own them and love them. I am so inspired! Thank you so much for all the photos and your endless enthusiasm. My greenhouse is still on paper, waiting for warmer conditions and my contractor's schedule. Keep the great photos coming. It is so helpful to see what others are doing. Thank you all!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

These tomato plants are occupying not only the greenhouse but also my mind, as in waking at night and thinking about better ways to grow them. They have been moved here and there and then back here again. I did get brutal and kill some of them. It was hard to do but it had to be done. There were just too many and no one I know was ready for tomatoes in April. I am learning a lot in the process and I am sure that changing to raised beds this fall will be a good move.
I do find myself inspecting each plant several times a day looking for suckers to prune and just enjoying the atmosphere and aroma in the GH. I have planted the outside garden, probably also overplanted it, so when the weeds start coming up I'll get distracted by them and leave the poor tomatoes alone.
Meanwhile, I'm having a lot of fun for an old lady. Cukes are growing and melons are started, I might just be dreaming but I will have my 4 yr. old grandson on the island for the summer and that's really what all this is about for me. That and hopefully growing my own canning tomatoes!

Laurie


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

haha - I can relate to getting brutal - I feel like you and have a hard time throwing plants out after I have given away all that will be taken. They either make it to the compost heap or the steers get a treat - they will eat most anything out of the GH and they come running like a stampede when I call them for GH treats. That sounds fun living on an island - it is fun to hear how you are spoiling your plants!

I hope GW members will forgive me for posting a photo of possible interest - entirely not about GH tomatoes - I know it is a little odd to post this photo - But while we were waiting for our tomatoes to grow our cat - Muffy - had a litter of kittens on Easter morning. She loves spending time in our GH with us so here is a diversion from gardening for a moment to share these cute new little kitties!

 photo image_zpsa70fe3f7.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

OK, I gotta admit this. I got a glimpse of the baby kittens and I was afraid you were ribbing me for saying that pulling tomato plants makes me feel like killing puppies. Glad that wasn't the case!

These kittens are so cute, I don't even like cats (I'm kinda scared of them actually), but these guys are loveable. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

We are being treated to some warm weather. I spent some time in the GH today and the fan was running a lot. I have it set for about 75 degrees. I'm wondering if I will need shade for it this summer. This is all new to me so I don't know. We live right on the saltwater so we have cool breeze off the water most of the time, I never dreamed it might get too warm. I'm wondering what the optimum temperature for tomatoes is? Will I need to worry about it getting too warm for them?

Also, I got a moisture meter from amazon.com. I'm hoping I can trust it, it is telling me my tomatoes don't need water and my peppers are WAY too wet. I'm trying to figure out when you trust the meter vs. your instincts. The tomatoes look pretty dry but I'm going to resist watering them.

The basil is just going crazy no matter what I do to it. I have told everyone on the island to come and get basil. So why have I planted more starts? Probably cause I'm a beginner with this greenhouse thing and I can't help myself.

I love this new hobby.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Awwww, kittens! We just adore kitties around here, so thanks for sharing. That would be fun to have a litter at home so you can play with them all! Congratulations on the little ones - that's exciting and totally worthy of posting here. :)


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

YEAH ! - tomatoes setting on both the Brandy Boy and Better Boy plants. Our Mortgage Lifter and Big Zach have not yet set fruit but look to be not far behind. The Sweet 100 will be the first to ripen - all a welcome site in Zone 3 at this time of year!

 photo image_zps116e317a.jpg

 photo image_zps04017dd4.jpg

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Sat, May 10, 14 at 19:28


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Oh that looks so amazing! Can't you just taste those BLT's already? I was celebrating my own little zone 3 victory this week when I noticed that my lettuce is up under the row cover on my raised bed. We had 3" wet snow last week but new growth is still going on!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I'm totally wowed by your tomatoes Hudson! And very inspired, I have to say. Your plants are amazing for the first part of May. I'm taking notes on your tomato varieties for next year. I got mine started in the middle of March after we got our greenhouse built, your pictures make me want to start earlier next year. I'm wondering, will your tomatoes keep producing through fall or is there a reason to stagger them.? You said you would start some later, Is that for market? I am just looking for maximum production for canning tomatoes.
I realize this first year is a learning year for me, I am just trying to learn as much as I can.
I thnk I also need to look at the varieties of seed I chose this year, I chose 4 types, maybe I should have tried more and grown fewer of each. I know I will learn a lot this year, I'm just in a hurry to learn as fast as possible. This forum helps that happen.

Still working on the moisture issue. I haven't watered my peppers for several weeks, I think I watered the newly made soil too much before planting the peppers.

Your plants make me drool, they are beautiflu! Please keep posting pictures, you inspire me.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I am envious!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Laurie - thanks for the compliments - be sure to let us see your GH plants as they grow! We are staggering our tomatoes this year to experiment with options to see what works best - it seems we change things every year in an effort to optimize our GH. I thought maybe if I stagger them I would not have to tend as many during the cold months and spend as much money (which isn't that much) on the electric bill and still have some early tomatoes. My wife has a hard time holding me back because I can't wait to get things planted in the GH when it is still winter but nice and warm during the day in the GH! So this year I exercised some patients and staggered the planting. They are all planted now though. The plants keep producing in the fall until the freezing temps stop them. We don't market any produce - just grow for ourselves, kids and neighbors.

You'll figure out what works best for you - as you mentioned - after just one year - you will have a whole lot better idea of how you want to utilize your GH. This forum has helped a lot too in learning from members rather than taking an entire year to figure it out myself - but some things you just have to experiment to figure it out.

Lori - what are the tomato plants looking like? I think yours are in a cold frame? Are they setting fruit yet?


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I will be taking them out of the greenhouse this weekend and planting them in the garden. The forecast finally looks like it won't drop below 40F after friday night.

They've got flowers but that is about all. I do think they are root bound and need to get their feet into bigger real estate.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

We stopped at a nursery in zone5 yesterday - I saw this Cherokee Purple - grafted tomato plant and couldn't resist giving it a try - so it is today in our GH.

 photo bcd90e10-9519-450d-b19f-9271fb1ff224_zps67be6c13.jpg

Our GH is in full swing now - even though we woke up to snow this morning - the GH plants seem very happy! This is a fun time of year !!

 photo image_zps7a492867.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

The Brandy Boy are very prolific and hardy - they have already almost reached our hanging baskets !!

 photo imagejpg2_zps7f22b0f2.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

First ripe tomatoes of the year..........ummmmmmm good

 photo imagejpg1_zps3e7e6e31.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Yeah! Congratulations! It seems like this is the earliest yet, is that true? Which variety is ripe already? Kudos to your awesome greenhouse efforts!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Karin - The variety this year is Sweet 100's - they do awesome in our climate and GH. Last year we were a bit earlier (May 17th) than this year - but I am OK with that - I think waiting a couple of weeks this year reduced some worry and stress of the plants freezing - and the plants are doing great. How is your GH coming along this year - are you having a good year?

 photo IMG_1146_zps11104d54.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Holy Cow! I have a lot to learn here. Hudson, you live in Wyoming and you are eating ripe tomatoes! Wow, I 'm impressed.

My tomatoes aren't doing that well. They were growing great guns and then they just kind of slowed down and they don't have good color. I didn't realize how sick they looked until yesterday when I realized I have a Sungold in the greenhouse and one in the garden. The plant in the garden is sturdy and bright green. The plant in the GH (like all the others) is a lighter shade of green and has really slowed down in growth.
I finally gave them a dose of TomatoTone fertilizer. I had read that they shouldn't need much if you have good soil. We mixed our own soil from good ingredients so I didn't think they needed it. But they need something. I just took some pictures.
I'll attach them.

I think I have just hit the learning curve of greenhouse tomatoes. I think the first thing I want to do is to get them out of containers and make half of the greenhouse a raised bed. There is just something that doesn't jive for me to be raising vegetables in containers that aren't connected to the earth. I'm thinking I will bring soil from my garden in for at least half of the mix. And then maybe dump all those soil ingredients from the tomato pots in and till it up. Treat it just like I do the outside garden, add compost, maple leaves, good organic fertilizer and mix it all up with a shovel or little tiller.

Also, most of the first roma tomatoes had BER. If the next clusters have it I will get rid of the plants and use the space for something else. I am trying to water more often to stop the BER.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I finally got one picture to load, that is a sungold inside the GH.

Here is one outside


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

And one of the other tomatoes, Pozzzano, Clermon and Arbason.

On a happier note, I harvested three big pots of basil and put pesto in the freezer. I'll use that space to grow something fun for my grandson.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Laurie - I have not been successful trying to grow tomatoes in containers (really haven't given it a honest go) - so I can't give you any advice there. I am pretty sure there are a lot of threads on container gardening in this forum though (you can do a search). If you plant directly in the soil - keep the GH between 60 - 80 degrees - water & fertilizer correctly - keep away the bugs - you should see success !! We stopped trying to grow Roma tomatoes because of BER - we tried 4 different varieties and decided they don't like Wyoming (at least not our GH).

I agree - your outside tomato plant looks much better - maybe you should grow all of your tomatoes outside there on your island? Tomatoes would never grow outside in this climate!

Except for flowers - we don't like to garden in containers - and we don't have to because we have a lot of space for our yard, garden and GH - it appears you have space too. Hang in there - our first GH year wasn't that great - there is a definite learning curve that can only come from experience. Your flowers look awesome & your other tomatoes/plants look like they are coming along fine. Our soil lacks iron so we mix iron with our fertilizer to supplement. I'd say you are doing great for your first GH year! We lost most of our plants to mildew our first year because I was watering to dang much - not to mention the bugs!

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 2:57


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hudson, The outside tomatoes look fine right now but come September and October when they are full of green ones and the weather gets cold and wet, I hope I will be happy I still have tomatoes ripening in the GH.
Where I live, not many people put tomatoes in the garden, it's kind of asking for frustration. And lots of green tomatoes. We have been blessed with a warm spring so mine are doing fine outside now. We could also have rain for the next month, who knows. I'm north of Seattle.

The funny part about the inside tomatoes that look so pale to me is that they have lots of fruit. So far. I only had two round tomatoes with BER. I had about 25 romas. I'm watching the second clusters that set, so far so good. If they develop it, those plants are gone.

I just don't understand why the inside tomatoes are looking so much weaker and yellow than the outside ones.
It must be about confining them to containers and then not getting something right. If they are in the earth with a better variety of soil amendments on the menu and a more naturally regulated level of moisture, I think they will do better. Maybe they need worms and microbes and bacteria and all that good stuff.
Laurie

So our next decision is what to build the walls of the inside beds with. Then I can start filling them up and planting for fall.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Laurie and Hudson - it's nice to see tomato reports from you guys!

Laurie, I have tried to grow tomatoes in pots, even nice big pots, and never had any luck. I can't say exactly why, but the results are clear. I think you'll be a lot happier with beds inside your greenhouse. Ours are made of the Trex decking type stuff and they've held up fine but the boards are flexible and haven't held their shape too well, so they are bowed a bit. No big deal though.

BER is such a pain. My main goal for tomatoes is to make sauce and BER afflicts all the Roma-type tomatoes. So this year I sought out some varieties that are reported to be resistant. We'll see. But I can say for sure that the early fruit get BER and then the later fruit don't. So you don't need to take out the plants necessarily. Then again, plants in containers seem much more susceptible to BER so maybe that point in moot in this case.

Our GH is off to a good start. I was gone last week and came home to big happy tomato plants and one has already set fruit. Today I'll start training and pruning them. Everything in our garden is late this year because I have not been as earnest in getting things going. But we're catching up now and I am feeling less bad about being behind the ball.

We're having a really good crop of lettuce and other greens. I've got that routine down very well and we like the relatively instant gratification of eating what we plant within a couple of weeks.

Here's a picture that is 2 weeks old that shows the 'hanging salad bar' of greens and basil, and the little tomato plants in the bed below.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I understand your situation better after your explanation Laurie and ditto what Karen said. I used 2x6 redwood for our GH beds and that seems to work OK too - I did not line it with anything - but I did put a stain on it before filling it with soil.

Your plants look great Karin! Please keep us posted on the new variety of sauce tomatoes and BER. Your lettuce makes us jealous too - because we are getting into GH flowers - we ran out of room for lettuce and decided to build a lettuce bar outside the GH in a waste high bed with legs and with a lid along our wood rail fence - we didn't get it done and have been lettuce deprived :( this spring. To many projects going on!!

I gave away our extra tomato starts to neighbors with GH's a month or so ago and word got out that we grow super charged tomato starts - haha - so another GH neighbor asked if I would give her a couple of starts. I didn't have any left so I told her I would try to get her a couple of starts from suckers like I had read about on this forum - so I took two smaller suckers (square containers) and two larger suckers (round containers) off of our Brandy Boy's and stuck them in our potting soil a week ago. The first photo (where they look good) was just after I stuck them in our potting soil - the second photo (where they look almost dead) is how they look today. I think they might make it though by gosh - they are starting to perk up a little - we'll see.


 photo image_zps2fbebd6e.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Today was terrible weather, cold and wet, and thus a nice time to work in the greenhouse. I got all my tomato plants trimmed down to 2-3 stems per plant and tied to strings. They are all setting fruit and growing like gangbusters. We have all new dirt in the GH this year so I expect the plants will get bushier than usual thanks to the plentiful nutrients.

I pulled one plant out that was showing signs of disease: wilty upper leaves and blackish coloring on those same leaves. Last year we had disease problems for the first time ever so I am being more vigilant this year. I have a replacement to go in the empty spot. Outside, I pulled one pepper plant with the same symptoms. Fingers crossed we don't have problems again this year, but I intend to stay on top of it.

Anyway, life is good at the moment and all is happy in the greenhouse. The kitties agreed, it is the coziest spot around on a chilly day like today.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

More pics

My custom lettuce blend. All my favorites, yum!

Sweet Baby Girl

Pearl

Inga checks to see if it's still raining.


Six packs of buttercrunch lettuce are waiting to be planted outside. The middle berth for tomatoes is empty because I took out an ailing plant.

Happy plants!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Karin - thanks for the update and pics! Your GH is looking great - you are such a perfectionist - it is always fun to see photos of your GH! All of your plants do look healthy and taking off. What is the spacing on your tomato plants? We spaced our plants 36" apart this year instead of our normal 24" and are allowing 3-4 stems instead of 2 to see how they will compare in production and fruit size. It is a bit early but it seems we have more vine and less tomatoes so far - but I may be too critical because I prefer pruning the suckers and am having a hard time leaving more of them to grow - other GW posters have convinced me to leave more suckers but I am very skeptical with indeterminate varieties but just have to compare - how many time have I been wrong before! - haha

Your custom lettuce blend makes me want to go fix a salad - I have got to get going on our salad bed! Are you growing Super Sauce hybrid this year - interested to see the outcome - please give us udates/photos on your sauce tomatoes?

Pearl and Inga look very content - pretty cats!

Our Brandy Boy are starting to ripen - Cherokee Purple not far behind.

 photo CollageIt_zps0249cf0f.jpg

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 19:45


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I tried the Super Sauce tomato last year and was terribly disappointed in both the germination rate (2 out of 10 seeds) and the spindly, weak stems on those 2. Read reviews on SS and seems that quite a few people had the same problems. Have either of you tried Big Mama? I have good luck with them and they are a good sauce tomato. But the one I really like the best is Health Kick. They are about 4 ozs and I have no problem with them at all. Can't ever remember having a BER problem with either of them. The pointed end ones in the picture are Big Mama.

Mary

This post was edited by gmatx on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 20:05


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Mary - Big Mama looks to be a good option - the fruit in your photo look awesome. The Big Mama is an indeterminate plant - which is of interest to me for the GH - is it prolific? The Health Kick is a determinate variety - so not as interested for the GH because of vertical space - the fruit looks good though.

I also tried SS last year but didn't give it a fair trial as the tomato start didn't arrive from Burpee until the middle of June and it was planted in a shady spot - It did not have BER with the fruit that ripened on that plant - but I was also disappointed in the frail plant structure/stems for such large fruit. I may try it again if Karin has good results - but only from seed so I can get an early start.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I haven't tried Super Sauce. My go-to sauce tomato was Super Marzano which was great for the first 2-3 years but then BER was getting worse each year. I don't understand why.

This year for sauce tomatoes I am trying
- Ernie's Plump (heirloom, really delicious, did well for me last year)
- Granadero
- Yaqui

These are specifically described as being resistant to BER so we'll see. I also planted Sweet Baby Girl cherry tomato and Matina which is a super tasty salad-sized tomato that I've had great luck with.

Hudson, my tomato plants are spaced 24 - 32 inches apart, depending on what they are sharing the bed with. I'm usually pretty disciplined at keeping 2-3 main stems for the first half of the season. But often by August they get ahead of me and things can get a little jungle-like.

For salads, I have had amazing luck using regular ol' window boxes. So there's no need to construct anything special. I keep the boxes in the GH during the spring and fall, and put them on the front porch where they are partly shaded during the summer. Each box is harvestable for about 3 weeks, so you have to keep starting new ones. But it works great!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hudson, the Big Mama is a good producing tomato. Their skins slip easily after scalding - if you choose to skin them before making sauces with them. You really should try a few Health Kick just to taste them and see how they work as a paste tomato for you. I think their taste is nearly as good as some of the sandwich/slicer tomatoes that are highly rated.

I always enjoy seeing pictures of your ghse.

Mary


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

The first ripe tomato in our GH - every year Brandy Boy is the first variety out of the 5 varieties we grow to ripen - a beautiful site!
 photo IMG_0735_zpsd60fd25f.jpg

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 9:35


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Gorgeous, congratulations!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Thanks Karin - It is awesome to be eating fresh tomatoes out of the GH again! The rest of our varieties are coming along fine:

Brandy Boy is as prolific as always!

 photo IMG_0777_zps4318d995.jpg

Big Zac Hybrid appears to be a pleasant surprise for us - it appears to be doing very well in our GH so far - shows great signs of being hardy, prolific and good sized!

 photo IMG_0776_zpsd1153bda.jpg

Cherokee Purple is consistant with last year and may become a regular - average production but constant performance - at least again this year.

 photo IMG_0775_zps59e0dfa8.jpg

Mortgage Lifter is doing well but we have some concerns about the plant in our GH - it does seem to love our GH and is very slow to grow with somewhat frail stems - it may surprise us though.

 photo CollageIt_zpse3feeab8.jpg

Better Boy and Sweet 100 are doing as well as always. It is fun to try different varieties every year, compare and find the varieties that like our GH the best!!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

On average, how many tomato plants do you guys grow in a given season to produce what you need for sauces, salsa, etc? I envision many plants but in the photos of the starter plants it looks more like 8-10. What other veggies do you keep to the GH instead of outside beds, and why? Again, I am fact finding in anticipation of my GH which will become a reality in less than a month. We are having a banner growing season here in northern wisconsin with regular rains and nice warm temps. So with vigorous healthy plants out in the raised beds I am contemplating the relative merits of growing things inside vs outside. Just wondering which things you have found to do better inside? Also, anyone utilizing the extended season to grow watermelons or other long season melons in the GH? Thanks for letting me pick your brains! I appreciate being able to work off of your experiences.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Littlepond - you will figure it out shortly - based on what you like to grow and how much room you have in the GH. We grow about 25 tomato plants (we like to give tomatoes to family & friends too - it is hard to grow tomatoes in WYoming!), cucumbers, corn some years, this year we are trying sweet potatoes just to see how they will do and flowers. We plant all of the cold crop veggies - lettuce, radishes, onions, spinach etc etc outside and cover other plants like beans, squash, potatoes etc. when needed. There just isn't enough room in the GH and we can't grow tomatoes outside - so they get priority in the GH.

We tried growing squash in the GH but it takes over everywhere and can be easily grown outside in hoop tunnels.

 photo image_zpsed8d6c6c.jpg

Cucumbers grow well in the GH - better than they do in tunnels so we always grow them in the GH.

 photo image_zps550f6de4.jpg

We grow a large outside garden where we plant most of our veggies.

 photo IMG_1471_zpsd34460d9.jpg
We have to cover much of the garden in the spring and/or the fall.

 photo IMG_0128_zpsd1134520.jpg

And we have 5ea - 16' x 6' - 12" high raised beds where we grow asparagus, strawberries, lettuce, radish, onions, beets, spinach etc.

 photo image_zpse662f4aa.jpg

 photo b3c9d9b0-bc55-441d-a0d0-8fbe001423db_zps782dc7ef.jpg

The GH is expensive premium space and you will use the space for the plants that are most important to you - IMO. For us - it is tomatoes, cucumbers, flowers and an area that we experiment with different items like corn, sweet potatoes, pole beans etc. - hope that helps.

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 1:17


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I'll echo what Hudson says. The GH is the spot for long-season plants that you really love. It's also the place for quick-growing shoulder season plants like lettuce and basil.

In our GH the indoor tomatoes are biased toward sauce types, plus one cherry tomato. Also 'Diva' cucumbers which live up to their name but I would never be without them and they will not grow outside here.

I think melons would work but you'd want to trellis them upward to save space.

Similar to Hudson but on a much less-grand scale, we used covered beds for our outdoor crops, plus we have two outdoor beds with a warm microclimate.

My best advice is to try a bunch of things and keep careful notes. Over time, you'll hone in on what works for you. Exciting that your new greenhouse will happen soon!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hudson, I am humbled and endlessly impressed by your greenhouse plants and extensive outdoor gardens. You could feed half a town! The work you put into your gardens is evident in the healthy plants and lack of weeds. It all looks so organized. Wow.

And Karin, I appreciate your insight and words of wisdom. I accept that my first few years of growing in my GH will be a huge learning experience. I expect to be picking everyones' brains over my mistakes and blunders regularly!

I am taking notes and gathering ideas. Hopefully they will pay off. Hardly sleeping in anticipation of the start of my Gh construction. Thanks to you both-


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Thanks Littlepond - it was such a beautiful night tonight - I had to share -

Our raised beds as they look today and a panorama shot of the rainbow tonight.

 photo IMG_0802_zpseb06cf4c.jpg

 photo IMG_0795_zps7a4dc3d6.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

We have at least one ripe tomato now from all the varieties we planted except Big Zac - which may be another couple of weeks out. I forgot that I had planted the Bicolor Version of Mortgage Lifter until the fruit started to ripen. We have a colorful assortment of tomatoes this year - all of the varieties appear to like our GH.

 photo CollageIt_zpsbbb007cf.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Just saw your amazing photos, Hudson. Beautiful, peaceful, in such a lovely setting. Thank you for sharing. So cool that your peonies are just budding and you are already feasting on fresh tomatoes from the greenhouse. I am setting a personal goal to achieve that next year!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hi Littlepond - Speaking of Peonies - we placed our fall order today. We are ordering some new colors like "Green Halo" for example - we are excited to get them planted - Peonies are a favorite and such a beautiful plant!

Attached is a photo of todays harvest - we have a colorful selection this year - Big Zac finally ripened. I think our the night time temps on our GH are too cold here in Wyoming for Big Zac. The fruit ripens at about 12 oz - it has a wonderful taste though! We re-named it Little Zac - haha.

 photo IMG_0988_zps9ec6d318.jpg

 photo CollageIt_zps282e4f0d.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Hudson, you have a truly beautiful property and gardens! You have designed everything so well and it must be a joy to work in your greenhouse and gardens. Nice rainbow shot! It's certainly well worth the long cold winters to live in such a lovely spot.

You must produce a lot of extra food -- can you preserve it all for yourselves, or do you also sell produce? Or give away to friends or donate to food shelves etc? I love growing things, but beyond freezing, I really dislike processing for canning or doing pressure canning, so sometimes things go to waste because I can't force myself to get my small kitchen set up for canning. A friend built a special "canning kitchen" in their basement when they designed their house. Stocked with re-purposed used industrial grade restaurant stainless sinks and countertops, storage shelves, lots of workspace and two (used) refridgerators. It even has it's own entrance from outside to prevent tracking garden dirt in the house. I wish I had one.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Total envy. My plants are outside, 8 ft tall and producing romas the size of two cherry tomatoes end to end . I will NOT post a pic of this shameful crop. They get lots of water, sunshine etc and I have been rewarded with midget romas. Still tasty but certainly not up to snuff. Next year I will use seeds from a store bought roma so I at least know what I can expect.


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

ddsack - The canning kitchen sounds awesome - great idea - no we don't have one but wished we had while our kids were growing up and my wife was doing all that canning. We mostly freeze produce now that we are empty nesters. We have children that live on city lots and don't have the space to grow much - what we don't eat/freeze goes to them or neighbors. None goes to waste and we enjoy growing extra. My wife makes a great salsa every year - I look forward to that! Thanks for the compliments on our place - we do love living here!

Don't give up Lori - I haven't shown you photos of our failures - and there have been a lot of them! We have never been able to grow a decent Roma Tomato - for example - I hate to admit that we have moved on and decided Romas do not like our GH - there are lots of tomato varieties that do!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

We picked a box of Better Boys today - still producing !

 photo IMG_1262_zps66644f4c.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

I just found this thread and am so impressed! I'm hoping you seasoned greenhouse gardeners can give me some advice. I just bought a Solar Gem greenhouse early this year, 8x12. My main goal was to grow tomatoes (my favorites) as well as some Asian veges, which need the heat that we don't usually get in the Seattle/Tacoma area. The greenhouse is unheated and will remain that way, so I don't have the luxury of starting plants as early as you guys do.

DH built 2 raised beds, so they are each 3x12, and about 18" high. The top of the greenhouse is 8ft, so with the sloping sides and the depth of the beds, I really didn't plan well for all the growth. I planted 7 tomatoes on one side, and various other plants, i.e. lettuce, snow peas, long beans, Chinese okra, on the other. I used "sturdy" tomato cages. and did no initial pruning. Of course, all the tomato plants put out massive vines that bent/leaned over the tops of the cages and into my walking path. I pruned to control the jungle of foliage and to increase air circulation. DH put up bigger metal poles/stakes to try to keep the growth pushed back. It worked ok until the plants continued to grow, lol. There was more growth falling over the sides of the cages versus upwards.

Some of the plants put out tons of tomatoes, which are still ripening, others not so much. I don't know if it's due to the variety of the tomato versus crowded conditions, lack of pruning, or a combination of the above. We've had great weather so that's been good (lots of days over 80 which is unusual for here). And of course I overplanted even more by sticking eggplant and peppers in the same bed as the tomatoes, which is another story!

So what do I do for next year? DH has come up with ideas but won't share because he likes to surprise me. Hudson, I read a post you placed on the tomato forum about pruning tomatoes down to 2 major vines, and then to 4 or 6 off of those (I think that's what you said). And I'd like to know more about how you're using the cattle panels, if that's even feasible in my little GH. Thanks to everyone for any advice!


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

Thanks Cindy - Welcome to the GH world - I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!! I have some ideas for you but they have developed from our experience/interests in the GH and may not apply to you - sure you are aware of that.

We have not had success growing determinate tomato varieties in our GH - we ended up with a mess of foliage - wasted air space and not many tomatoes! This is the best photo I could find to illustrate my point - the tomatoes behind the Zucchini are Celebrity determinate variety - they did not grow higher because they are determinate and they had great foliage but did not produce much fruit!! IMO - Indeterminate tomato varieties do much better than determinate in a GH!

 photo IMG_0118_zps1eab5e63.jpg

Now here is the same GH space (looking the opposite direction) with Indeterminate tomato plants. Indeterminate grow as high as you let them or until the frost kills them. You can take advantage of air space and increase your harvest.

 photo image_zpsd7cd19c3.jpg

The same thing can be accomplished on the side walls of the GH by installing panels vertical in the center of your raised beds parallel to your GH side walls and even roof - if you have the room - shown here

 photo IMG_1222_zps868bb983.png

We like to use cattle or hog panels - prune the suckers as the plant grows and train the stems in the direction/spacing we want to maximize space. The plant loves to grow up the panel and it is so easy to tie the plant as it grows. The panel is easy to cut with bolt cutters and is very sturdy - supports the plant very well!

 photo image_zpsa611224f.jpg

This system seems to work well in our GH. We came up with the idea based on OUR GH needs and something else may work much better in your GH - but we hope this may give you - if nothing else - ideas for your specific needs. Please let us know if you need more info - I am working on a photo that shows you how we actually prune the plant for our GH needs and will post it soon.

 photo CollageIt_zpsfa27377e.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

"Hudson, I read a post you placed on the tomato forum about pruning tomatoes down to 2 major vines, and then to 4 or 6 off of those (I think that's what you said). And I'd like to know more about how you're using the cattle panels, if that's even feasible in my little GH. Thanks to everyone for any advice!"

Cindy - Here are a couple of photos of how we prune the suckers on our GH tomato plants. I stripped the foliage and tomatoes so you could see exactly how it looks. In the center beds we run the cattle panel to the soil because we have access to both sides. On the side beds we use string until the roof begins to slope - that is where we start the cattle panels - hope this helps!

 photo IMG_1288_zps62508509.jpg

 photo IMG_1298_zps43a76c8a.jpg


 o
RE: GH Tomatoes

The end to a complete cycle of GH tomatoes! Mother nature closed our GH for tomatoes on November 12th. That's awesome to have fresh tomatoes in Zone3 the middle of November in Wyoming - and - without heating the GH. Now that I have the GH cleaned up - it's time to get out the seed catalogs over the coming months and make changes for even a better year in 2015!!

 photo image_zps2901b7bc.jpg

 photo image_zps028535b6.jpg

 photo image_zps61fb69e0.jpg

 photo image_zps317d6732.jpg


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here