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Thread: Greenhouse heat for tomatoes?

  1. #1
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    Default Greenhouse heat for tomatoes?

    Ive been running an electric heater in my small box store plastic greenhouse.
    My plants are doing awesome (in grow buckets) and are loaded with green tomatoes and flowers.
    Do I need to keep running heat all season or can I turn it off now?
    What do I need to keep nightime temps at to avoid blossom drop and turn my green tomatoes red???
    (just got my electric bill so thats spurring this question).
    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I'm in the Mat-Su valley. I use a propane heater at the beginning of the season to try to keep the GH temps above 40. Once the outside temps get into the upper 40's low 50"s I usually turn off the propane, (because it is quite expensive). Stupice is my favorite tomato because it is cold tolerant. I grow a couple plants outside on the south side of my house as well as 4 to 6 of them in my GH. Although the outside plants don't produce the volumes the GH plants do, they still produce.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    I use a heater similar to this, set on 60 degrees.



    The majority of tomatoes require 55 degrees to set fruit.
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2K7sV-K74

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    I snipped the tops out of my plants,
    in my GH, the tomatoes that form now won't get very big & ripen in 2 months.
    So I focus the energy to the fruit that's on.

    A heater set at 55 ° would help with what's there,
    Mark at Mid Valley has his heaters come on at 62°

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    Thanks to all 3 of you for the advice. I'm going to throttle back the heat which I figure is running me $2-2.50 a night for only a few degrees. I have plenty of fruit set now. 3rd year using grow buckets, they are truly amazing!!!

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I too, snipped the tops out of my tomatoes the other day to concentrate on whats already hanging on the vine.. Got a couple of good looking stupice starting to change colors. I don't have any plant with any large tomatoes on it, but a couple like that BB/Des cross have a lot of small sized tomatoes hanging and looking good. I should go down to Mark's and look at some real tomatoes. Then come home and figure out what I'm going to do different next year...

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottago View Post
    Thanks to all 3 of you for the advice. I'm going to throttle back the heat which I figure is running me $2-2.50 a night for only a few degrees. I have plenty of fruit set now. 3rd year using grow buckets, they are truly amazing!!!
    I agree with you on the grow bucket system.. My high/low thermometer has registered night time lows in the high 50's recently so and heat, electrical, gas, or fire, is not really needed…. Of course that's here in the Mat-Su valley, and probably some different than down at Nikiski.

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    I turn off my heaters in June, residual heat is good enough during summer months unless we get a long steak of cold weather. I have found that most people can grow most varieties in unheated greenhouses if they start with big starts in May, middle of May, not May 30th. LOL
    I also used to top my plants August 15, that gives me about 40-45 days before frost kills them inside, so any tomato that has set should ripen.
    gottago, your blossom drop is from lack of pollination, if you have the means vent more often, keep your humidity as low as possible, you can also mechanically aid your plants pollination by flicking trusses, or break out the electric toothbrush on them. Heat does help ripening speed, keep your bottom leaves around the bottom fruit pruned away, the sun will help a lot.
    Good Luck

  9. #9
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    Thanks Mark. I havent had blossom drop, just concerned about it. I open the end panels on my 6'x10' Home Depit plastic greenhouse (wish I had bought the bigger size). I have 6 tomatoe plants and 3 pepper plants in there and that tooooooo crowded. I may do some branch trimming in there tommorow. If all the tomatoes that are set now ripen I'll have plenty. Probably turn off the heat tonight as well. It's been adding an extra $50-70 to me electric bill. Next year I may throttle back to 3 tomatoe plants and have more peppers since they take a lot less space. You are spot in regarding circulation, the first year I had this greenhouse I neglected that and the mold was HORRIBLE. Learned my lesson and not a speck since.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Last nite we were able to enjoy 4 vine ripened tomatoes with our supper. 2 Stupice, and 2 4th of July. They weren't very big, but made up for lack of size with flavor. Now, I'm anxiously waiting to see what the tomatoes from Mark's BB/Des taste like. We're going to have a lot of them.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    That BB/Des cutting that I got from Mark earlier has over 30 tomatoes hanging on it, and a couple blossoms that have just set.. I topped it about a week ago so the growth would go into the existing tomatoes.. Now if those bottom toms would just start changing colors….

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