Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tomato Update #2 - 2016

All the plants referenced below were purchased from Tomatomania in March and planted in the beginning of April.  

Aiko is a Japanese olive sized and shaped cherry tomato.  I was convinced at Tomatomania to purchase this from a regular shopper who buys them every year, loves them and says it's a huge producer.  Well, check out this picture.  It surely is.  It is apparently not as sweet as the Sun Gold and a bit larger.  Very healthy in the TSK and fed the PCH today 8-10-10.  I've started to pinch him at the top because well, it's just a lot of tomatoes!

My Sun Gold is in the hanging planter.  Very healthy this year.  Fruit ripening already and I've actually eaten about 5.  Very sweet.  Almost every cherry is cracked.  Perhaps the hanging planter is not right for this tomato.  I used to grow the sweet 100's in it and they never really cracked but this is year 2 or 3 for the Sun Gold and every year it cracks.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tomato Update 2016

Wanted to write an update to some of the plants I've got in containers and the ground.  All the plants referenced below were purchased from Tomatomania in March and planted in the beginning of April.

Black Sea Man - has nice sized fruit already, about the size of tennis balls.  Healthy looking plant and it's planted in the Tomato Success Kit from Gardener's Supply. We'll call that TSK for the rest of this blog. Fertilizer 5-6-5 was applied mid May.

Blue Gold - aka Siberian -- Healthy plant in TSK.  I just got around to fertilizing him today and when I was aerating the soil for the fertilizer to go through I discovered two inch long caterpillars of some sort in the soil.  The bottom of the plant had holes in the leaves so clearly they were the culprits.  They weren't horn worms though.  After fertilizing I spread some organic slug killer down. No idea if that will help but what the hell.  This one got PHC fertilizer today 8-10-10.  Obviously higher in calcium.  It will be interesting to see what the difference is.  It's water soluble and you feed from above and it will soak through the container soil.

Chocolate Cherokee - full size tomato not the cherry - This plant is in my wooden wine barrel.  It is off the hook!  The stalks are about 3/4" thick and it is a strong, sturdy plant.  Fruit is growing everywhere and I'm excited to see how big they get.  Fertilized mid May with 5-6-5.

Jaune Flamme - not sure how I got talked into this one.  It was "sold" to me by a Tomatomania staff member as a "early girl" replacement but it clearly is not.  It's actually a golf ball sized tomato not a full sized.  Disappointing as I have too many smaller fruiting plants.  It's also a spindly thing.  It's in the other wine barrel that was started with expensive organic amended soil but still it's a skinny thing.  It has fruit and perhaps it knows I'm irritated with it?  Flamme got 5-6-5 in mid May.

More later on the others.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Addition to our "smart" Home

Recently our timer on the front porch lights went out.  Frustrating as I had only just replaced that timer a few years ago.  Like most timers they are all frustrating as you have to keep setting them depending on time changes and the setting sun.

I was wondering how I could solve all these problems once and for all.  My solution was to add a smart switch to our Wink system.  Currently we had two GE wink bulbs that I purchased in a kit that included a hub.  These smartly do what I easily programmed them to do and that's to go on at dusk (whenever that is) and go off around 6 hours later.

The smart switch I decided on was the Leviton Decora Z-wave compatible one.  I ordered it from Amazon and installed it when it arrived.  The issue was when I tried to add it to my existing Wink system.  What I didn't realize is that the GE kit I purchased just had a little GE controller in it for the lightbulbs and not a real Wink hub.  Off to Home Depot I went and purchased the real Wink Hub.  It is extremely large for what it does in my opinion.  

Set up was a piece of cake and quickly I had the light switch categorized with my other two GE bulbs (one for the living room lamp and one for the outside side light).  I really just followed the on screen instructions in the Wink app on my iPhone.  On the iPhone 6s now in order to edit a light or group you press and hold.

   As you can see by the photo those are my lights.  They are all in the same group - I call it the "security" group.  Wink added some new icons which are adorable, especially the holiday ones.  They even have a Menorah.

So we have an even smarter home now!  Two lightbulbs, a light switch and a Nest thermostat.