Monday, October 27, 2008

Indoor tomatoes - Florida Petite

Each year since I have been into hydroponic gardening I have grown tomatoes under lights during the winter. This year, for the first time, I will be trying the water farm drip ring system.

Following is a description of the variety I will be growing this year:

FLORIDA PETITE- the University of Florida, "World's Smallest Tomato Plant" very dwarf even by today's standards, HR (rugose foliage, heavy-stem, self supporting) plant. Red 3/4" fruit.

The seeds were obtained a few years ago from Tomato Growers Supply and have been stored in my freezer. For whatever reason, the supplier no longer offers these seeds.

I had grown them the first year I was into hydroponic gardening, and had some success, although I really did not know what I was doing at that time. The fruit I did get tasted more like a homegrown tomato than a cherry tomato, so I elected to grow them again this year.

The plant will be grown under a full spectrum 125 watt fluorescent light with a photoperiod of 16 hours per day. As a mild general purpose nutrient mix is recommended, I used 15 ml each of General Hydroponics three part nutrients to yield a TDS of about 1100 with a pH of 6. I consider 1100 as being a mild strength for tomatoes, as they are heavy feeders. The pump is programmed to run in cycles of a half hour on and an hour off during the photoperiod, and remain off during the time the lights are off.

This variety is a short sturdy plant with deep green foliage. The plant in the photo was started from seed on September 11th. and has buds forming at the tip.

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