Tomato – Sun Gold

Sun Gold is an indeterminate cherry tomato variety, yielding a large harvest of orange, sweet tomatoes.  In this example, the plant is grown in a 5-gallon bucket.  As I discovered, the plant will need much more than just 5 gallons of fluid, requiring me to add fluid to the bucket about every 2 days in the hot summer weather.  I would not recommend growing a large tomato plant this way, since it was too much work.  However, the plant did just fine, and yielded plenty of tasty tomatoes.  In the future, it would be better to either (1) grow the plant in a much larger container, or (2) connect the small 5-gallon bucket to a much larger reservoir, and use a float valve to automatically refill the bucket as the fluid gets low.

Jun 27, 2014 = Day 0.  Cutting taken from another Sun Gold plant.   All but a few leaves were removed from the cutting, and the cutting was placed in a rockwool cube, moistened with dilute fertilizer.

Jul 12 = Day 15.  Roots were emerging from the rockwool, so the plant was installed in a 5-gallon bucket outside.  Hydroponic solution composed of 5 gal tap water, 10 g MasterBlend 4-18-38, 10 g calcium nitrate, 5 g magnesium sulfate, 1 mL Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt, 2.8 mL pH Down.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):  N 103, P 95, K 202, Ca 100, Mg 29, S 34, Fe 2.1, Mn 1.1, B 1.1, Zn 0.3, Cu 0.3, Mo 0.05, Si 4.  pH = 6.5.

Aug 11 = Day 45.  Plant is over 2-feet tall, and about 75% of the hydroponic fluid has been used.  Began adding 1 gallon of fresh hydroponic fluid every 2 days or so (never more than 1 gallon at a time, to avoid drowning the roots).

Sep 1 = Day 66.  Began harvesting ripe tomatoes.

DSC05550 (1)
Sep 2 = Day 67

Throughout September, continued to harvest plenty of ripe tomatoes.  Around Oct. 1, production started to decrease.  At this point the plant was over 7-feet tall, and looked healthy, with lots of new growth.  There were many flowers present, but no fruit was setting.  Perhaps it was getting too cold at night, or the number of hours of sunlight was too little.  The plant was discarded in mid-Oct.

Total fluid usage = 24.5 gallons.

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