First Fungus Gnat

Fungus gnats have been a major pest on my indoor seedlings for the past couple of years.  I saw one flying today and destroyed it (sorry, no pic of that!).  For every one I see, there may be 100 I don’t.  I took action: a layer of vermiculite on the soil of all the pepper and tomato starts.

Germination rate is 100% for the Naga Viper seeds, 5 of 6 for the Trinidad Scorpion.

Naga Viper and Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T", 17 days from seed

Giant tomato seeds produced 100% germination, eventually.  One (Brutus Magnum 6.15 Meisner 2011) has died (the top just shriveled up), but it was a backup. A couple of days ago I transplanted the seedlings into 6″ “gallon” pots.

Giant Tomatoes, 18 days from seed

Big Zac (2.660 DT 2011), 18 days from seed

Update on compost piles –

Major leaf-based pile is still maintaining 160-166° temperatures in the hottest spots and is starting to take on the appearance of compost.

Manure based pile, despite adding several bags of dry leaves, 2/3 yd^3 from the larger compost pile, and being wetted down, still has only risen to 94° in the hottest spot, most is in the 70° range.  I think I’ve made an erroneous assumption that fresh horse manure is good for making “hot” compost.

Both piles turned on 1-04-2012.

I completed a draft lesson about basic tomato genetics which includes a hypothetical tetrahybrid cross of two heirloom tomato varieties.  The lesson is posted at my Growing Tomatoes page.

Wonderful and Long Keeper

Wonderful – a popular variety of pomegranate, that is.

On November 18, 2011 I obtained a large, tempting pomegranate from the local grocery store.  It weighed 1.284 lbs. – perhaps the biggest pomegranate I’ve every seen.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Prior to conducting a germination test, I did a little Internet research about how to germinate pomegranate seeds.  Most people claimed it takes 8-10 weeks to germinate seeds, but a couple of people had mentioned getting quicker germination.  Here’s a chronology of events –

  • 11-18-2011 – Exracted seeds, put them in a 1-pint container, mashed the pulp, added 2 Tablespoons of rainwater, then set aside to ferment for 3 days.
  • 11-21-2011 – Rinsed off seeds and placed them on a plastic plate to dry
  • 11-23-2011 – Planted 36 seeds, 4 seeds per cell in a 9-pack potting tray
  • 12-01-2011 – First pomegranate seed emerged in 8 days (not weeks!)
  • 12-02-2011 – 9 of 36 seeds emerged in 9 days
  • 12-04-2011 – 19 of 36 seeds emerged in 11 days
  • 12-09-2011 – 24 seeds emerged in 16 days
  • 12-14-2011 – 27 seeds emerged in 21 days
  • 12-15-2011 – 29 seeds emerged
  • 01-01-2012 – 32 of 36 seeds germinated, 89%, transplanted 27 largest to 6″ pots

Conclusion:  Who says pomegranate seeds are slow or hard to germinate?

Unfortunately, I live in zone 6 and these need zone 8+ to grow.  This variety gets too large for container planting.  But I am growing some dwarf pomegranates also – more on that another day.

Now for more tomato talk:

Reverend Marrow's Long Keeper vs. storebought tomatoes

Which tomato looks more appetizing?  Personally, I’m more interested in eating the one on the left.  Reverend Marrow’s Long Keeper, picked green on October 26, 2011.  It has been essentially ripe for 6 weeks, but still retains firmness.

Perhaps it will keep until February 1st?  I wish I would have raised a lot more plants of this variety.  Here’s a pick of the tail end of the non-long-keeper varieties that were picked green:

Final tomato harvest of 2011, November 30th.

They tasted plenty good to me!  Fortunately, we have lots of canned and frozen tomato products to see us through until June.  After eating so many fabulous varieties (280 of them) this past year, I just don’t know if I can go back to store bought.

I made some progress on getting pictures posted for everything on the website except tomatoes.  See:

Delectation of Tomatoes, Seeds for 2012.