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Thread: New to greenhouses

  1. #1
    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default New to greenhouses

    My wife and I built a 12x16 greenhouse this spring and have several varieties of tomatoes of various ages thanks to Mark! We have researched quite a bit on the web and are wondering about temperature ranges. We keep it heated at night and its around 68-72 in the morning, this obviously has a price attached to it. I keep reading that the tomatoes need between 50-90 for blossoms to set. Is everyone that is growing tomatoes heating their greenhouses at night at this time of year? Or am I overthinking this, it drops to ambient air temp as there is plenty of open ends on the suntuf panels. Does 40 at night risk a large loss of fruit, or does it mean the plant will catch up in the warmth of the next day? Would really like some first hand experience from Alaskans. Used to grow lots in MI in the ground and temps would be in the 40's at night lots of times in June and it worked out fine. Not sure about these 10-15 gallon container gardens.

    Separate issue; attempting to keep the heat down below 90 during these sunny days keeps the fan going for quite a time in the afternoon. Are most of you focused on a temp ranges for tomatoes? I did cover half the roof today with a silver tarp, hoping for the best.

    If you haven't been to Mid Valley Greenhouse at Hyer and the Parks Hwy, (right by the Harley Davidson dealer), and you like to support local businesses that are highly knowledgeable about the product they sell, you should make it a priority! They sell all the typical plants you see at other places but the hanging baskets have more plants for less cost than others I've seen, the plants just look hardier and there is no one around with Mark and Sharmin's knowledge and variety of tomatoes.Thanks for any information.
    Ron

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Ron
    I too got a lot of advice and support and great tips from Mark. I also acquired a lot of good advice from others like Mudbuddy, right here on the Forum I too have a small unheated green house. I have a small ancient coleman catalytic heater that I light at night and it keeps the inside temps at 40+ on the nights the outside temp gets down close to 32. I have a little fan going 24/7. When the inside temp hits 90 I open the door and lock it in the open position usually til late afternoon when things start to cool down. I got reasonably good production from a variety of tomato plants last year, and already this years crop is looking better than last year. When the nite time temps hold at 40 or better I quit using the little catalytic heater.
    John

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Early girl tomatoes are one of the hardiest for the GH.
    One reason is their ability to produce in Alaska in unheated greenhouses. (above 40 )

    Some toms need to be above 60 to set fruit,
    Early girl, 4th July, & Sun gold cherry toms are good producers in an un-heated GH

    Many good tasting Heirlooms are finicky for their temperature range , but when bite into one, makes the extra effort seem worth it.

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    Yes, Early Girls are a staple crop in AK greenhouses, however, many heirloom cultivars that originate from northern countries are doing very well in AK, in an unheated greenhouse and outside in containers. My Early Girl experiment this year is to grow out two Potato leaf versions I got out of two different seed batches, Tomato Growers version, and Burpee's. I have found that you get a PL out of about 1 of 200 starts, the PL version has already been worked before (PSR-37) but I don't think two PL's have been crossed then worked. Fun huh?
    I have a tomato friend here in AK that grows about 50 varieties a year, and many of them she grows in containers on her driveway, and has done so for several years. She also has developed several of her own crosses and has a couple of stable lines that she created here in AK, THEY ARE DELICIOUS, early, and yield well. Stupice x Cherokee Purple comes to mind, now she has early Cherokee Purple because of her work, and they are darn good too.
    The computer age has opened up a huge world of tomato varieties, many are new to the commercial market, and new ones are always being found, do some research and try some, many are really above and beyond.
    We are in the process of creating a group that requires participants to try at least one new variety and report back on it, conditions it was grown in, yield, taste, growing methods that were successful, and the taste tests are a bonus too. Don't believe you cannot grow great tasting tomatoes in AK., try some new ones and have fun.
    I used to put my Early Girls out in mid May, and although they did not like the cool nights they would be further along than they would if I waited until June to plant. No tomato loves the cold but some can tolerate it and it will not eliminate fruit set. I think Mudbuddy gets his tomatoes out the earliest in an unheated greenhouse, his method works pretty well, worth looking into.
    Last edited by mark oathout; 05-13-2014 at 22:11.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I've been growing seeds out of a package of Ed Hume Stupice IPB organic type for 3 years and it produces quite nicely for us. And this year it is one of the two best looking in my little green house. Every year I try to keep track of the better producers and they go on my list for "next year" and I try to replace the plants that produced the least or poorest with something new. This years "newbies" are a couple Black Krim and a couple Bloody butcher.. Both are looking good The Bloody Butcher was the first to set tomatoes this year, but the Stupice has passed it in quantity.. Now it's up to the Taste testing.

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    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    "there is no one around with Mark and Sharmin's knowledge and variety of tomatoes" I guess I should have stated, "I don't know of any greenhouses with Mark and Sharmin's knowledge and variety of tomatoes".

    Silver tarp was working really well reducing the afternoon heat until the wind this morning Now at 89 with two fans going and the door open. We are loosing some blossoms on the green zebra but the early girls are popping baby tomatoes. They don't seem to need as much water as I thought they would. Thanks for the info.

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    Hey John, Bloody Butcher, Stupice, Matina, and Morovsky Div, are all in the same family of tomatoes. 2 are from Czechoslavakia (MD, and Stupice), Matina is from Germany, and Bloody Butcher is from Norway. I like BB because it is great tasting and is blood red. Either BB or Stupice will also work outside against a southern wall, even in lackluster summers, Sherry has grown the other two outside as well, I have not, but you should see my Matina loading up.

    Don't worry about losing blossoms, it is the nature of the beast with some varieties, if I had a nickle for every one that I lost. They should load up.

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