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The only Russian tomato I ever tried was the black Krim. Was no dice for me, which surprised me because I thought it would be well adapted to our cooler weather. It didn't work out that way. The plants never grew well and I never got a single tomato. Oh well. Moved on to better varieties. :D
 

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There’s not much been going on here except for tending the micro tomato collection and starting the Shimonita scallions. I did that on 1/7 and the first ones popped up 1/10. One of the three little rows is seed I collected in 2019 and it came up the best! I marked that row with a little piece of tape with “19” on it so I’d know which one that was.



Then there are the two groups of micro tomatoes. This is the most recent group of five varieties, all started Dec 14 and are on the regular light stand. Two of them are growing a lot faster than the other three and needed repotting a few days ago. ‘Groovy Tunes’ on the left has pretty chartreuse foliage and is 5-6” tall, 8” wide. The larger one on the right is ‘Chibikko’ and is 8” tall by 7” wide.



The older group of three outgrew the lights so I had to rig up something. 5th Gear suggested moving a table under two plant hangers and hanging light fixtures from them. Good suggestion! There’s room for a second fixture, which will be needed.



These older micros were started on 10/30 and are full of unripe tomatoes. I wish we could get some warmer afternoons so I could put them on the porch for a dose of real sun but the weather hasn’t been cooperating. This is ‘Jochelos’, which will eventually have golden cherries.



And this is ‘Red Robin’, already 10” x 10” and those will be red cherries.



These micros have really scratched the winter “I gotta plant something” itch. Once I can collect seed from ripe tomatoes I’ll have enough to share if anybody wants any.
 

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One thing I've learned for sure is that these critters all seem to grow at different rates. The five tomatoes started in that first photo were all started the same day yet Groovy Tunes and Chibikko are so much taller! That's what's going to be a lot of fun, seeing what they all do. I really need to repot those other three of the five as they're ready and it's getting hard to keep them hydrated.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,808 (Edited)
Editing to add photo of new seedlings which I forgot to post!

It's time for the wild daffs to poke up. A check of my "spring signs" list shows these poked up two weeks earlier last year. I went ahead and flagged the area so I wouldn't walk on them.

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They're small but there.

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And overnight some newbies were born. These are the first couple of broccolis, one cauliflower and a six pack of Chinese broccoli 'Yod Fah'. On the left and not up yet is a pot of fernleaf dill, two cabbages and the other cauliflower.

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Pre-Op on Friday went smoothly so everything's a go for the knee surgery next Wednesday. I'm not dreading it. Git 'er done, be done with it and as CSN&Y would sing, "...and I got to get myself back to the garden..." (y)
 

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Days are getting noticeably longer. It’s no longer dark at 5:30. Just to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself with wishful thinking, I dug out one of my bookmarks. You can just put in your location and it will give you times for sunrise, sunset, day length etc for every day of the year.

Sunset and sunrise times for any location - Free calendars and calculator

Right now the sunset here is already 19 minutes later than it was on Christmas Day. It doesn't sound like much but it's noticeable.
:)
 

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Yesterday and today have been sunny with highs around 65, perfect for getting some beds broadforked and weeded. Tomorrow will be the last chance for a few days as rain will be moving in late in the day. Knee surgery day is getting closer (next Wednesday) and I'm trying to get the three brassica and two pea beds prepped for planting next month so 5th Gear won't have to do it.

Yesterday I got Brassica #1 done. This morning I forked up and weeded Brassica #2 which was a solid mass of Bermuda grass. A bit worky, that.

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The fork really loosened soil deeply enough that most of the grass comes out roots and all without too much trouble.

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After lunch I dug up eight clumps of dormant purple coneflowers that were started from seed last spring and grew to be really pretty. But they were in a bed where peas will be planted sometime in February. Since I have no clue where to relocate them right now, I potted them up in 3 gallon buckets using some compost soil from last year's tomato buckets..

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Now there are eight holes in Pea Bed #1 so one of tomorrow's tasks will be to fill those holes with tomato bucket soil, fork the bed (sigh, more Bermuda grass) and that bed will be ready. I'm also going to fork up Pea Bed #2 which is pretty grassless. Yay! That will leave just Brassica bed #3 to do but one side is currently occupied with turnips. The whole bed might not be needed come planting time so for now just the empty side will get forked. That will be left for another day.

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After lunch I dug up eight clumps of dormant purple coneflowers that were started from seed last spring and grew to be really pretty. But they were in a bed where peas will be planted sometime in February. Since I have no clue where to relocate them right now, I potted them up in 3 gallon buckets using some compost soil from last year's tomato buckets..
I bought purple coneflower seeds last year, but never planted them. I really need to figure out some place to put them this year.
 

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That's always the problem. These coneflowers were planted in bed space that opened up after the garlic was pulled. Now where? Pot 'em and think about it later. :)
 

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Finally! Some of the micro tomatoes are starting to ripen. Hiding under the foliage of the ‘Red Robin’ were four ripening cherry tomatoes and I picked two of them. The plant was started from seed on Oct 30.





Some of the newer micros are now too tall for the light shelves so I hung the second light fixture above the other table and now all micros are living there. LOTS of room to raise the lights!





That frees up space on the light shelves which will be filling up soon. I started several more brocs and caulis yesterday but on Tuesday I’ll be starting the collards, kale, the first round of cabbages and more Chinese broccoli.



SPRING’S COMING!
 

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Wonderful job! A few years back I was growing tomatoes in a 4x4 photography dark room tent, under a 400w hps light. The light made it very expensive, for me.
When leds hit the scene, I thought back to my tomatoes in January. Now that the pricing has dropped, I will get back into it. Thanks for the nudge from looking at your pictures
 

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Thanks, EB!

Grow lights... I used to use the old T-12 plain florescent lights and regardless of the opinions some give about them being "low rent" and sub-standard :rolleyes: , for years they produced really great seedlings and transplants. Then I got involved in another garden site, reading discussions about the pros and cons of a bunch of types of lights including LED and saw one low cost way of providing pretty much full spectrum light.

It entailed a fixture switch to T-8 and using two different tubes in each. One tube is "Daylight" which is 6500k and the other is a "warm white" at 3000k so between the two they cover a broader light spectrum than plain old shop light tubes. I'm still trying to decide if the plants grow better (they might) but for sure they do tend to dry the soil some which requires daily monitoring and watering as necessary. But I'm happy with them. As you can see, they work!
 

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So do you find T8s superior to T5s? I use the latter, partly because that's what my fixtures came with. Mine are 24W 6400K per light. They seem to do a nice job but who wouldn't be on the hunt for better? And if the cops show up at our doors one day, asking about the grow lights everywhere, we can give them a tomato or some salad greens.

Spring indeed! Looks like we got 3-4" of snow overnight. I'll have to make with the blower before cleaning house.
 

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I've never used a T5 and now that I've already got four T8s I'm gonna stick with them. The only reason I switched from the T12's is that I couldn't find the kind of tubes I wanted to try as they only had the basic shop light tubes. I need to buy two more T8 fixtures along with another 2-pack of each kind of tube. That will be accomplished tomorrow while in the city for the pre-op Covid test.
 

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Well, neither Home Depot nor Lowes had any fixtures close to what I wanted. Oh well, it can wait a bit.

This morning I got the third round of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards and kale started along with the second round of Chinese broccoli. They should be popping up Friday when I come home from the hospital. Going in early tomorrow morning for that knee surgery so I'll be absent from here for a couple of days. Y'all play nice while I'm gone!
 
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