i picked my 1st hoophouse tomatoes

jnjfarm_gw(5a)June 30, 2013

considering the cold and wet spring, I am pleased with the results. put out on March 23 with row covers early girl 64 day plants drip watering once or twice a week, fertile soil with jobe tomato spikes early in season. plants were caged and I didn't do very much trimming of plants. Since early girls are determinates, is there a better variety to plant for fall? I have seeds for several varieties of determinates. Any suggestions, opinions, criticism ?

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Almost 90 days for 64 DTM tomatoes in a hoophouse? You just picked? Or you're ending the Early Girls now? Sorry, no recomendations for fall crop since I don't have a hoop house but if it's unheated I'd go for shortest DTM you have and hope for the best. Thought hoophouse (high tunnel) was best for season extension, UCONN told me 1 month in each direction (so you'd want indeterminates, start them early and then just hold off the frost another month at the end by sheltering them).

Tomatoes don't like to germinate in really high temps either, so may be too hot to start them in hoophouse, best to start them in AC (75 degrees) now, take cover off or roll it up to cool things down when setting them out (after hardening them off of course). And usually figure 6-8wks old to set out, that will be mid-end of August already. Zone 5 - your 1st frost is early-mid Oct so can extend season to mid-Nov if you're lucky (but days will be getting short, don't know how that will affect fruit set).

If EG did well for you I'd try them again, hope for closer to 64 DTM than what you got with 1st crop unless you have something with shorter DTM. Let us know how they do.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 1:37AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Congrats! Where exactly in zone 5 do you live?

We are in North Central Kansas and have picked over 150 pounds already this year. I need to pick in the morning and it probably is going to be really big!

As far as tomatoes for fall, you may be thinking that by August you could replant and have a respectful fall harvest. I am afraid to tell you that won't work. I have 4 years experience of growing Fall tomatoes in high tunnels. You have to remember that every day is getting shorter after June 22nd. It doesn't seem like much early on, but it starts adding up over time.

The first year we a fall planting, we planted on July 20th. Luckily it was a warmer fall and I put a propane heater in the high tunnel to try and save them for a few more weeks. We ended up harvesting everything green or red the weekend before Thanksgiving. This was the first and only harvest we got. At our first winter market, December 1, we took over 300 lbs of tomatoes. Didn't sell very many.

The next year we moved it up to July 10, they were earlier, but still not what I wanted.

Last year we planted on July 3rd and 4th. It was beastly hot, but we did get our harvests in early October.

This year we planted them on June 16th and they are looking pretty good. I am hoping for harvest in mid September.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 1:59AM
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To add to what Jay said, the rate of decline in day length accelerates as we get closer to the equinox. In other words, the daylength difference between June 22 and June 25 is inconsequential, but the difference between September 22 and September 25 is pretty big.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Lol since I don't have a hoop house, yet or at least not a big one, I am impressed. Thanks for posting I am learning from it.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:02PM
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I am in west central ill. Last summer I put out plants around aug 1 then built the hoophouse over them. It was in early nov when it got to cold inside but got enough tomatoes to be worth the effort. I am wondering if a different variety would do better inside. I have some polybig plants growing outside that are close to having ripe toms. Jay, when you say "planted", is that setting out the plant or starting the seed? by the way, my high tunnel is only 12x14 feet and I have 4 plants down the middle. pepper plants growing on the sides are doing great .

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:09PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

When I say "Planted" I mean setting out transplants. They were started 6 to 8 weeks prior to that planting date. I have one last planting of cherry tomatoes to get out ASAP in another high tunnel.

Polybig, do you mean Polbig? Ours in our high tunnel are just really getting started. We picked 40 pounds off that row. Next week it will be 2 to 3 times that amount. I have never seen such small plant crank out so many tomatoes. The never seem to get over 2 to 3 feet tall and are always loaded.

Here was todays harvest about 140 pounds worth. I am really only picking from the Polbigs, Big Beefs and Cherokee Purples. I just picked a few off the other 3 rows of BHN's, Estiva's and Fl 91's. The Fl 91's are so loaded they broke the top string in the florida weave. I have never had that happen before!

We picked about 200 pounds prior to this. Most of them were the Cherokee purples.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:19AM
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Great picture, Jay. Thanks for posting the variety names.

I have been picking my first high tunnel crop. I should have staked my plants, but didn't, and ended up having a lot of stink bug damage from the plants laying on the ground. Stink bugs seem to come with grass and thus be the best reason for keeping it out.

I had really good results from Orange Blossom F1 from Johnny's as an orange market tomato. Taxi was my best yellow; it's OP but still seems to yield well.

Although the yield was good, I am not that happy with the flavor of my high tunnel tomatoes. They were ok, but I think I can do better. I think I need to raise the organic matter content of the high tunnel soil. It is mostly unamended clay and a lot of chemical fertilizers.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 3:34AM
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I've found over the years of selling both greenhouse and field grown, the greenhouse is always lacking some flavor. Especially the greenhouses that are not opened several weeks of tomatoes life. Maybe it's the birds flying thru that makes the difference, lol!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 10:07AM
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I think the warmer nights in the GH (during fruit ripening) may play a role in insipid flavor.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 2:19PM
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