Living Room Lights Again - Tomato and Pepper

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I made a new grow rack for the living room.

This might devolve yet again into early indoor/outdoor tomato and pepper. But what I intend to do is prove out growing these plants to fruit, in the living room. In soil, under CFLs. Because I think a lot of people want to grow real tomatoes and real peppers indoors in winter. I've already proved out how to do cucumbers. And although everyone should prefer to grow cucumbers, like me! I've noticed that most seem to want tomatoes and peppers.

This topic has a companion Aerogarden (ish) grow of the tomato, started at the same time and grown hydroponically, a few feet away, thus pretty much same temperatures.

Harvests:

carmen pepper: 1 - first green 4/14 (more after it moved out of pen)
better bush tomato: 25 - first 3 on 5/8 (not quite ripe)

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Ginger
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Light bulb experiment ref

Light bulb experiment ref pix:

    

Weekly pix. Harvested 12 this week - 20 total so far. Many small.

  

Continuing to feed about 1/3 AG dumped nutes and water, fill reservoir, once a day. The fruit taste great, but still green shoulders. The skin's pretty tough, too, and cracking, probably due to the too-little-water attempts. No flowers latley, but spotted new buds at the site of the lamp substitution.

Though the 18W 6500K Westpointe seemed to make the plant happy in the Aerogarden lightscreen, one already blew out in the tomato pen, during a weekend of thunderstorms. These things are supposed to have a 9 year life expectancy at 3 hours a day, or nearly 10,000 hours. This particular CFL got more like 1250 hours. So not wild about Westpointe as a brand. Nor GE.

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Light bulb

Light bulb experiment:

Replaced a 15W Bright Effects 6500K spot light (elderly) with 18W Westpointe 6500K helix (bulb from more productive side of AG lightscreen). More light, better shape, putatively same color. Note that the other side of the AG lightscreen was a 20W GE 6500K helix - which produced less fruit, less vegetation on that side of the AG.

Expect: that section of plant to grow faster, possibly develop low-on-plant buds.

Followup: After a week of that, take another closeup, then replace the 18W Westpointe with a 23W Longstar.

Note that plant is currently ripening 10 fruit, and picked 4 yesterday, others a few days before that - so the plant will soon be ready to produce more flowers, after being kinda overburdened with ripening fruit for a while.

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 Interesting on latest

 Interesting on latest experiment. Ate one today - still uneven ripening (green stripe shoulders) but flavor great! So think this is the right track, and just haven't been on it long enough.

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Ate one today. Flavor and

Ate one today. Flavor and thoroughness of ripening have improved... still not quite where I want 'em. The skin was very thick and tough, second fruit I've had crack, too. Confirms what I'd already decided - the too-little-water approach isn't working. There are a bunch ripening now, and I'm trying to give it plenty of water. And starting yesterday, swapped in another 4200K bulb. Last time I did that, it flowered like mad, and the fruit are small compared to the Aerogarden grow (but there are a whole lot more of them). Also took the removed-nutrients from the AG grow, and poured some of that into this plant's reservoir. The high-EC approach on the AG plant did give good-flavored fruit. So... some nutes in the water might help in soil, too. Though definitely not as strong as for hydroponic!

 

 

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Added more Tomatoes Alive!

Added more Tomatoes Alive! and cleaned up yellowed leaves. Lots of fruit, but still having trouble with flavor and fully ripening. Not withholding water so much anymore. Light array may need further refinement for best flavor.

   

The pepper that used to be in here, has finally moved outdoors full time. It's up to my chin, and setting lots of fruit. Harvested a red and a green this week - has 2 more of size, then the babies.

  

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Having a hard time getting

Having a hard time getting really ripe, but they're pretty good. Not wildly good. Starving plant for water again... At least this plant still has lots more tomatoes under development, despite harvests. The AG tomato is nearly dead-ended with one flush of fruits that are ripening together pretty rapidly. Ripening contagion has hit both.

  

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Picked first 3 almost-ripe

Picked first 3 almost-ripe tomatoes today - was very hard to see, so couldn't really tell how ripe they were. Sort of unscrewed them blind from the clump. They're good. Maybe even better flavor than the AG tomato - ate one of those tonight too, to compare.

The pen tomato is definitely a bigger plant than the AG tomato. From the AG, this week I've picked 5, and about 5 remain (2 of them ripening), and not a flower in sight, nor promise of one. The pen tomato has 3-5 more fruit ripening now, and morelike a dozen under development, and it's still putting out flowers.

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Fruit ripening - or ripe.

Fruit ripening - or ripe. It's really hard to see into the clump of fruit inside this plant! Should probably declare one done and pry it out of there real soon now. Continuing to keep the plant fairly dry, for good flavor. Still running approximately neck and neck with same-aged Aerogarden tomato - this one lost its first fruit to BER, or the potted tomato probably would have harvested first.

   

 

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Removed one of the two

Removed one of the two reddish CFLs to cut down on flowering / setting new fruit. I want the tomato to have fewer fruit and ripen them. Still had two new flowers this week - down from setting like 15 fruit last week. Also have new policy of letting the soil and reservoir dry out between waterings. Want to stress it a bit for better flavor. Also added some lime, not because this plant looks stressed, but because I had some BER on its now-evicted companion pepper.

  

I think one of the older tomatoes is getting ready to ripen - sort of an olive-ish cast to its green, and some AG toms are ripening. But it's really hard to inspect that older clump of fruit.

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I'm not sure, hengis.

I'm not sure, hengis. Sorry.

How big should the pots be when the plants are 12" and 24" tall?

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