Red Calabash Tomatoes
• Common Name: Red Calabash Tomatoes
• Botanical Name: Lycopersicon esculentum
• Height: Indeterminate
• Germination: 7-14 days/cuttings: 5-10 days to root
• Harvest: 80-90 days
• Hydroponic water pH is best at 5.5-6.5, EC 1000-1400PPM, and 68F
These are Lycopersicon esculentum or as their friends call them Red Calabash Tomatoes. They live in a Current Culture H2O System, with a Lush Lighting Dominator 2x XL for their sun, and trellis netting tied to a homemade PVC cage for support. They were born on October 14, 2015 taken as cuttings (clones) from their mothers. The cuttings were put into a medium mixture of pearlite and coco coir, with mycorrhizae to stimulate root growth. They were watered regularly with Microbe Life Root Dip and kept under a humidity dome, placed under a Lush Lighting Vegetator 2x. Red Calabash happily lived there making roots until we transplanted them back into the Current Culture H2O System on November 3, 2015. Note: Tomato clones do not take 3 weeks to root. We had to order a part to repair our CCH2O system because the Mama Calabash had grown such a large root system that they were clogging the pipes!
The water couldn’t circulate properly, and the plants were suffering. Succumbing to the circle of life, Mama gave her life for her babies and they are living and thriving.
Growing in the CCH2O System
Red Calabash is growing in a Current Culture H2O System that has 4 buckets and a reservoir. Water is circulated from bucket to bucket carrying food to the root system of the plants. The reservoir is where I check the pH balance and EC PPM every day. I adjust pH to within the 5.5-6.5 range (usually 5.7-6.1) by adding General Organics pH up or pH down. The EC is adjusted to 1000-1400PPM by feeding the plants Current Culture Cultured Solutions Veg A and Veg B. Occasionally they begin to get purple stems indicating a magnesium deficiency. I have had great success using Technaflora MagiCal as a supplement.
The Lush Sun
The Calabash’s sun is a Lush Lighting Dominator 2x XL plugged into a timer set for 14 hours on and 10 hours off. This gives the plants the full sun spectrum of light they need for all stages. For different kinds of plants in different stages of life you will, of course, want to adjust this schedule to meet the sun requirements of the plants you are growing.
The Trellis and Pollination
The trellis that the Calabash hang out on is a simple PVC cage with a trellis net at 36” high and another at 50” high. They grow about 2 feet every week, so we have to trim them to keep them in their own space. Since we do not have bees in the shop, we pollinate the flowers with an electric toothbrush. Tomato flowers are hermaphrodite (they have both male and female parts within the same flower). Gently vibrating each flower cluster with the electric toothbrush shakes the pollen from the stamen (the male part) to the pistil (the female part), much like the buzzing bee would. Where we have successful pollination we have tomatoes! Fresh tomatoes in January in Michigan! What could be better?—don’t answer that!
Seeing is Believing
Stop into the store and meet the Calabash’s in person or log in and share in the comments your pictures and stories of the indoor tomatoes you’re growing this winter. If you have any questions about tomatoes, other plants, growing indoors, or Lush LED Lights please feel free to leave it in the comments and I will do my best to answer it in a timely manner!