Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Well, it can't hurt to try

Sometime ago I read study, by I believe Cornell University, that tomatoes exposed to the color red during the fruit production and ripening stage produce more and larger fruit. Since reading the study I have interwoven red felt strips on the branches with developing fruit of all the plants I have grown. I am not sure whether it is effective or not, however, it can't hurt to try.
There must be something to the theory, as the company I ordered the shade cloth from also markets shade cloth in red. (My wife would have a fit)
Also, red mulch is available,as well as red grass edging and red stakes. In fact I have seen a number of items being marketed by seed companies stating that exposing tomatoes to red is beneficial.
Red strips or not, I am very happy with the development of my "hot house" tomatoes. After I photographed them I decided to remove several inches of growth from the tops of the plants. Although I am not certain, it appears that both varieties are indeterminate, and will grow like Jack's beanstalk without intervention.
I am using regular office binder clips attached to the roof supports to support the plants. My thinking is that as the plant grows the clips can simply be slid up the support to take up any slack.
The plants in the greenhouse are far far ahead of the plants in the garden. The garden plants have buds and a few tiny nubs of fruit. In comparison, the greenhouse plants have large fruit and and are two to three times larger. I am not sure if the difference is due to growing conditions, or hydroponic vs. soil gardening, or both. All the seeds were started on the same day, and the plants selected for trial in the greenhouse were selected at random, so I doubt it is a variety difference responsible for the growth difference.
My current dilemma is the number of flowers on the plants. There are many more flowers than I have seen on plants grown outside. I am tempted to let them develop into fruit, however, I would like large early tomatoes. I am not sure that the plants will have enough vigor to bring all the flowers to full development. Well, time will tell.

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