Thursday, October 25, 2012

Journal October 25, 2012

I decided to get rid of the Burpee Super Beefsteak plant and concentrate on the Trust.  Over the course of time I have found that the most valuable asset in growing, is the time  you are investing.  If a plant is not performing up to  my expectations, I just toss it and move on.

With respect to the Super Beefsteak plant; I also destroyed the seeds, as I felt that this variety is just not suitable to my growing conditions.  That is not to say that it may not perform well in someone else's environment.  Upon inspecting the bottoms of the immature fruit, I found that every small fruit was splitting on the bottom, with an opening like a navel.  Inside the opening, small balls were beginning to form, and, in my opinion the fruit would look hideous.

On the other hand, the Trust plant is only 22" tall and has three trusses with fruit, all perfectly formed.  It was in the process of developing another truss, however, I decided rather than push my luck and raise the lights, I would remove the growing tip and limit the plant to the existing three trusses.

On another topic, while looking for something in our storage area for canned goods, I found that my wife had purchased a quart of molasses.  Seeing the bottle brought to mind something that I read quite sometime ago.  That something was: molasses is the "secret ingredient" in a many hydroponic nutrient additives.  

Researching the nutritional value of molasses, I found that it does indeed contain a host of minerals that would be beneficial to plants: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium.  And, add to that sugars, which myth has it,  may sweeten the tomatoes.

In any event, I decided to give molasses a try, however, there is not much information online about using molasses for hydroponics.

To 500 ml of very hot water I mixed in 5 ml of molasses to make a concentrate.  My usual procedure is to water the tomato plant with about 700 ml of nutrients when required, so I put 100 ml of molasses concentrate in the watering container and added 600 ml of nutrient solution.  I will use this mixture as a  trial to try to determine if molasses is a "secret ingredient" for hydroponics.

It should be interesting to see if the molasses makes any noticeable difference in the growth of the plant, or the taste of the tomatoes.  If so, I will add molasses to the list of other common ingredients that I use in hydroponics, along with: vinegar, baking soda and Epsom salt.

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