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PostPosted: Jun 26th, '07, 05:43 
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I don't wear them, but I have lots of old dead stockings etc that are soft and stretchy and are very good for plant ties. If you can get any, cut them across the fabric, like you were cutting the top off a sock. Each tie is now double thickness and strength. This was my Mum's favourite use for stockings :lol: she certainly hated wearing them ;)

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PostPosted: Jun 26th, '07, 18:19 
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I have been using a plastic chain, to which is attached a fabric tie. The chain is attached to a hook on the pergola.

I can tension the chain and support the plant as the plant grows.

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 Post subject: Re: Tomato Fruiting Hint
PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 09:28 
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Here ya go Rupe, some pictures to tantalize the photographic addictions of this forums members ....Junkies!!!

These shots are of a crop/row that is nearing its end (around a year, depending partially on how many plants are lost in the row): I pulled the stem out into the pathway so you could see its length.


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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 10:43 
Jezz mate, didn't know you had such a small greenhouse .... :lol:

Nice pics, shows everyone exactly what you meant and demonstrates just how much a tomato plant can grow.

For those that don't know the growing technique you use, could you maybe post a quick run down on how its done... troughs, soil, stringing, irrigation etc......

Looks like you do this commercially (or at least used to) can you list your production per plant/season for people :wink:

From a personal interest.... have you ever used rockwool to replace the soil??? What comparitive results did you get??


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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 12:24 
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Before you jump ahead of me...
I work with the owners, it is not my greenhouse(i can dream).
Yes it is a commercial operation, I can look into what each plant produces, however the information will not be precise as we grow several varieties, each producing different size fruit, with varying yields.
The greenhouse is roughly 130' x 120', with 17 rows.
Remember these are indeterminate tomatoes. Determinate(common bush type) will not climb like this.

Growing technique:
Compost added to soil, a crop of beans is grown, after beans are cycled out tomato seedlings are planted, approx 1' apart. Strings(nylon twine) is hung from bobbins on wires running the length of the greenhouse.
This is clipped to the plant using a small plastic ring, and then wound gently up the stem until plant is a couple feet high. Twine is then stapled with semi-elastic tape(the blue rings) up the stem as it grows. Once the plant reaches the wire it is slowly edged horizontally along it, laying out the stem on the ground.
Irrigation is done by poly drip line from a central RO unit (our water is incredibly hard here, along with high soil calcium levels.

The greenhouse is an organic operation, so rockwool is not considered at all, and if I am not mistaken, would that not necessitate a hydroponic system with nutrient solution?

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 12:27 
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Once the plant reaches the wire it is slowly edged horizontally along it, laying out the stem on the ground.


i must be thick, i cant visualise this.

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 12:31 
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have a look at the 2 pics Steve, they will help

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 12:40 
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i have been!

so why are the stems layed out along the ground and then up?

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 12:51 
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The greenhouse is an organic operation, so rockwool is not considered at all, and if I am not mistaken, would that not necessitate a hydroponic system with nutrient solution?


Yes and no Hayden, certainly traditional hydroponic approach and you would have to nutrient feed, but not much difference in concept though to drip feed to soil or drip feed to rockwool or cocopeat..... just letting people know about alternative methods that are closely related :wink:

You say "organic"..... no added fertilisers or other products organic or otherwise used at all???

Like the idea of rotation of beans (legumes) to fix the ntirogen back into the soil between crops....

Steve...

The plants are pruned of all leaf/stem growth other than the tomato trusses and as the plant height increases the whole plant is lowered by "sliding" the wire along the top support wire....

Lowers the fruit "trusses" downward to make picking easier and the pruning encourages "upward" growth and production of more "trusses"...

Which are then lowered... etc..

A "truss" is what they market these days in the supermarkets as hydroponic or "truss tomatos"


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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 13:07 
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Yes Rupert, it is certified organic. Compost is the only addition to a point. We are allowed to use a group of certain fertilizers if serious deficiencies develop, as allowed by OCIA regulations. To control powdery mildew we use dilute food grade H202, alternated by kumulus (wettable sulphur) if required to keep the mildew guessing ;). Insects are controled with biological means.
It's quite the crazy game really.

Steve, if you have not caught on yet it is the bobbins that hook to the wire that are slid horizontally. Sorry I was not so clear.

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 13:19 
Wow, I make that about 20 - 25,000 plants per year....

@ about 10kg/plant => 250,000kg per year of tomatos

At an average price of $3/kg (here in OZ) that makes it a $750,000AU a year operation.... nice......

Any idea how much water you'd use Hayden and what it would cost. Do you need a water license as such?

Do you hand pollinate (vibration tool) or use a hive?


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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 13:19 
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nah, thats ok, i just reallt want to understand this :)

ok, so basically fruit is produced, ripens, is picked then foliage is pruned and vine lowered and this keeps being repeated?

I hope i've got it right now ;)

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 15:03 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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steve wrote:
nah, thats ok, i just reallt want to understand this :)

ok, so basically fruit is produced, ripens, is picked then foliage is pruned and vine lowered and this keeps being repeated?

I hope i've got it right now ;)

You got it right have seen it near portland some time ago

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 15:27 
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Lowerring seems to be by pushing the bobin further along the line (horizontaly). The plants closest to the end would end up hitting the end of the greenhouse unless this is factored in and no plants are put in within ?? far of the end.


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 Post subject: Re: Tomato Fruiting Hint
PostPosted: Jun 27th, '07, 16:36 
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Might be able to go around instead of straight. For those with circular grow beds.


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