Tomato – Fantastico

52600-pk-p1In the past, I have grown indeterminate cherry tomatoes such as Sun Gold and Supersweet 100, but these plants can get huge and require lots of water (approximately 50-75 gallons over the growing season).  This year, I’m going to try growing smaller determinate tomato plants (Fantastico and Orange Paruche), and we’ll see how they do in my 32-gallon buckets.

Feb 19, 2016 = Day 0.  Plant started from seed (Park Seed).  Seed sowed in 1.5-inch rockwool cube in 2-inch net-pot.  Moistened with dilute fertilizer solution: 1.2 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow, 0.8 mL pH Down per gallon of tap water.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):  N 22, P 29, K 16, Ca 6, Mg 1.6, S 0.2, Fe 0.3, Mn 0.2, B 0.1, Zn 0.2, Cu 0.2, Mo 0.003, Ni 0.0003, Co 0.005.  pH = 6.0.

Feb 24 = Day 5.  Plant germinated, placed directly under a fluorescent light (2 ft. T8 bulb, 17W, 6500k) for 16 hours per day.

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Feb 28 = Day 9

Mar 2 = Day 12.  Transferred plant to a small 3 cup plastic container.  Hydroponic solution composed of 3 cups tap water, 1.125 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm): N 111, P 143, K 79, Ca 32, Mg 8, S 0.8, Fe 1.6, Mn 0.8, B 0.3, Zn 0.8, Cu 0.8, Mo 0.01, Ni 0.002, Co 0.024.  pH = 6.0.  No pH adjustment required.  Began placing plant in an open window for several hours per day, to get seedling ready for the transition to the outdoors.

Mar 13 = Day 23.  Plant installed outside in 32-gallon bucket.  Hydroponic solution composed of 32 gal (121 L) tap water, 64 g MasterBlend 4-18-38, 64 g calcium nitrate, 32 g magnesium sulfate, 6.4 mL Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt, 35.2 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 = 6.0.

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Mar 13 = Day 23
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Mar 29 = Day 39

Apr 14 = Day 55.  Plant is looking great, starting to form flower clusters.

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Apr 14 = Day 55
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May 2 = Day 73
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May 2 = Day 73.  Tomatoes are developing.

May 14 = Day 85.  Comparing the 2 tomato plants, it seems that Orange Paruche is much larger than the Fantastico plant.  However, Fantastico has many more blossoms than Orange Paruche.

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May 14 = Day 85.  Fantastico (left), Orange Paruche (right).

May 27 = Day 98.  Container starting to get low on fluid.  Added 7.5 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.

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May 28 = Day 99.  Lots of tomatoes developing.  Some yellowing of the lower leaves.

Jun 5 = Day 107.  Added 6 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.  Tomatoes are beginning to ripen.  7 tomatoes harvested.  These tomatoes have a decent flavor and a texture that is similar to paste tomato varieties such as Roma.

Jun 9 = Day 111.  Harvested 20 tomatoes.  Total = 27.

Jun 13 = Day 115.  Harvested 11 tomatoes.  Total = 38.

Jun 16 = Day 118.  Added 4.5 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.

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Jun 16 = Day 118.  Lots of tomatoes ripening.
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Jun 18 = Day 120.  Harvested 91 tomatoes.  Total = 129.

Jun 22 = Day 124.  Harvested 102 tomatoes.  Total = 231.  These tomatoes have a very good flavor, they are resistant to cracking, and they have a good shelf life after being picked.  Compared to the Orange Paruche plant I am growing at the same time, the Fantastico plant yields many more tomatoes than the Orange Paruche, but the average size of the Fantastico tomato is smaller than the Orange Paruche.  I find the Orange Paruche tomato to be a bit juicier and sweeter when freshly picked off the vine, but if I had to choose only one of these 2 plants to grow again, I would grow the Fantastico.

Jun 27 = Day 129.  Harvested 188 tomatoes.  Total = 419.

Jun 30 = Day 132.  Harvested 121 tomatoes.  Total = 540.

Jul 1 = Day 133. Added 6 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.

Jul 2 = Day 134.  Harvested 81 tomatoes.  Total = 621.

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Jul 5 = Day 137

Jul 5 = Day 137.  Harvested 155 tomatoes.  Total = 776.

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Jul 5 = Day 137.  155 Fantastico tomatoes (left), 105 Orange Paruche tomatoes (right).  Note the slightly smaller average size of the Fantastico.

Jul 7 = Day 139.  Harvested 93 tomatoes.  Total = 869.

Jul 8 = Day 140.  Found the first hornworm of the season munching on my plant. These guys are difficult to spot on the plant, since they blend in so well, but I was alerted to his presence by the pile of droppings on the ground directly beneath his location on the plant.  I cut off the branch he was hanging on, and tossed him over the fence.  I doubt he’ll find his way back to my plant.

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Hornworm on the Fantastico tomato plant.

Jul 9 = Day 141.  Harvested 201 tomatoes.  Total = 1070.

Jul 11 = Day 143.  Harvested 132 tomatoes.  Total = 1202.  Added 7 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.

Jul 13 = Day 145.  Harvested 110 tomatoes.  Total = 1312.

Jul 15 = Day 147.  Harvested 25 tomatoes.  Total = 1337.

Jul 16 = Day 148.  Harvested 3 tomatoes.  GRAND TOTAL = 1340.

At this point, there are not too many more tomatoes to harvest.  The plant was taken down.  This plant started with 32 gallons of fluid, and I added 31 gallons during the season, and there was still 7 gallons left when I took the plant down.  Total fluid used = 56 gallons.

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Jul 16 = Day 148
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Jul 16 = Day 148.  Massive root system of the Fantastico plant.
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2 thoughts on “Tomato – Fantastico

  1. Congratulations on a very successful Kratky non-circulating grow of cherry tomatoes. Your records are most impressive, along with your mastery of this growing technique.
    ~ Matt Garver

    Like

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