How to speed up growth and get earlier blooms/fruit set?

catman529(6b)January 29, 2009

I just got the idea today that I should grow an early Homestead plant potted indoors by our sunniest window.

If I start the seeds now, the fruit will probably set just a couple weeks before my regular garden plants set their fruit. My idea though is to have super-early fruit while the other plants are growing. I'm not talking about an earlier variety - I am wondering what ferts I can use to speed the seedling growth and induce flower/fruit production earlier than usual. Got any tips/advice? Thanks

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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

The house tomatoes here get Schultz 10-15-10 "everytime 7 drops/qt." plant food and they are blooming rioutously. I flush them periodically, and sometimes water with pro-blend boom or Liquid Karma, if I have some left after doing the outdoor plants.

I have also heard that you can kick up a plant's bloom cycle by removing some of the leaves. The psychology of that is that the plant feels threatened and goes into species survival mode. I can attest to it working in eggplants, but have not yet tried it for tomatoes.

I was worried that the double paned windos would not provide enough light for blooms and fruit, but so far I have four varieties that don't seem to be held back by it.

Your Homestead should do fine.

Jan

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:56PM
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catman529(6b)

Thanks! Will go plant the seeds now. I had no trouble growing last year's seedlings in front of our double paned windows either.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 2:47PM
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HoosierCheroKee(IN6)

"I have also heard that you can kick up a plant's bloom cycle by removing some of the leaves. The psychology of that is that the plant feels threatened and goes into species survival mode. I can attest to it working in eggplants, but have not yet tried it for tomatoes."
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I don't know much about "plant psychology" other than I hear certain kinds of music stimulate plants more than other types :::smile::: However, I think the physiology of stripping tomato leaves has more to do with forcing the plant into a "phosphorus mode" (flowering mode) rather than a "nitrogen mode" (growing mode).

The theory is, you're removing the infrastructural source of nitrogen which is a mobile nutrient within the plant. When the plant's overall nitrogen base is lowered, it kicks the plant into "P-mode" and the plant responds by throwing out flowers. As far as "psychology" goes ... I wouldn't worry about causing any plant psychosis :::smile:::

I had a Purdue graduate who farms tomatoes organically tell me that. Basically, he said if you're feeding nitrogen rich fertilizers and you want the plant to switch from growth to flowering without adding phosphorus to the soil, simply strip foliage. Then he started scribbling some notes down with lots of N+ and P+ symbols all tied together like in a family tree and rattling on about stuff I couldn't follow :::yawn::: but ...

Anyway, I think with Homestead you might want to make sure that if you strip foliage, you make sure and not pinch off any side shoots or growing tips as Homestead is determinate and you'd be reducing potential yield. Stick to removing matured lower leaves.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 4:37PM
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catman529(6b)

I am pretty sure Homestead is indeterminate. It seems like there are several different kinds, two of which are determinate, but the regular "Homestead" variety is indeterminate.

Thanks for the extra info..I should look into some good fertilizers to speed up growth...the seeds are in right now and it's only a matter of days before they are opening their cotyledons....

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 6:23PM
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