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Help with LED lighting to rescue tomato plant

#1 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:29 AM

Hello all,

I've started planting some cherry tomatoes in my balcony but I'm facing issues with sunlight as my plants are getting too leggy. I've did some research and came across LED lights to supplement my plants with... but the thing is, there's too much of an information overload in the net... have some basic questions to ask and if anyone could help, I'd be thrilled!

Below is a picture of my current plant and balcony...
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/pp101/thebleuparade/IMG_00006379_zps7b5b167f.jpg

1) The current plant obviously has not enough sunlight I think. Should I throw away the plant and start from scratch or can adding LED lights help it to flower?

2) What watts should I get for LED lights? Online states from 100 watts all the way to 400 watts for indoor growing but my plant probably gets 1-2hours sunlight everyday and light flows through the balcony, so what is the estimated watts I can use to add on?

3) Do LED lights require a dark place to work? The demos I've seen so far placed plants at a dark, sealed area using LED lights. If I install the LED lights in my balcony and on during the day or even night, will it work?

4) Let's say I want to complement the little sunlight in the day, will on-ing the LED lights in the evening say 6pm - 12am work?

5) For my current plant, it is leggy, where and how close or how many LED lights should I place?? On top? Side? Facing the leaves

Thanks alot and please pardon me if they are very newbie questions!
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#2 User is offline   digitalgate 

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:38 AM

What is the variety of tomato ,u are growing? Some variety grow to this height into order to fruit. In general tomato need full sun for 5 hours . No lamp u buy will feed the bill if that is the variety ,I think it is.
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#3 User is offline   oolongmilktea 

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:43 PM

I am not an expert but your tomato plant look good in the pictures. I am not too sure if light is the issue as they already grew to be able to reach the window to absorb more light. 3 plants might be to crowded in a small pot. If it is a indetermined variety, then the pot is definitely too small.
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#4 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:22 PM

I grow tomatos all year long and yes some variety of tomatos grow very tall a couple of mine are 2 metres tall and they branch out after about a metre, however looking at this photo and I could be wrong but I do not see a lot of sunlight. Just like seedlings they struggle to reach the light and what we call leggy.Increase the plant to light as tomatos love the sunshine.
Please respond if this is the case.

PS your container is tiny for a tomato of this size I would be using a plastic pot not ceramic s ceramics are great for orchids but absorb moisture and dry the plant out.

It is too late for this plant now but for future I would use a plastic pot of about 40 to 50 cm to allow root growth as tomatos are gross feeders of nutrients and water which they devour very fast and dry out hence the plastic pot and not ceramics.

For the time being introduce more light , more water, and more nutrients to keep this plant happy.
PS PS I agree with the other comment three plants in a pot is too many one plant only should be planted in a pot similar to the large one in the photo on the right for (1) plant.

This post has been edited by Robert1943: 14 June 2014 - 06:30 PM

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#5 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:14 AM

Dear all,

Thank you for your very elaborate and quick comments, really appreciate it... Shall reply all in a single post...

@digitalgate, @oolong

Not too sure about the variety I planted, I picked it up from a nursery, it's some cherry tomato breed. I don't have full sun of 5 hours in my balcony, the most is 3 hours around 7am- 10am everyday and the funny thing is that it has been cloudy somewhat past few weeks and the sun tends to only pick up in the afternoon !@%!@^... It is also very windy hence I have installed windows to close during extremely windy days.

@robert 1943
Yes robert, I think my plants are very leggy due to the lack of sunlight. It is not that my place doesnt have good sunlight, the buildings opposite and the cloud cover tend to always block out the morning light, it is kind of funny but it happens!

Noted on the pot type and size... That is very useful... perhaps I can heed your advice as I plan another attempt...

I guess, overall, it is kind of hopeless trying to rectifcy the plants now as they are already leggy.... would anyone want to "adopt" my tomato plants? I live in the west, so I wouldn't mind passing it on to someone who can put it in a sunny envinronment to "rescue" it!

Would be planning an indoor cherry tomato plant soon at my room desk area, hopefully with LED lights and desk lighting!!! Would post up some plans here to see if it is doable first before going through...

Cheers... and thanks for the help guys... helpful community :)/>
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#6 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 10:03 AM

View Postbaktao, on 16 June 2014 - 09:14 AM, said:

Dear all,

Thank you for your very elaborate and quick comments, really appreciate it... Shall reply all in a single post...

@digitalgate, @oolong

Not too sure about the variety I planted, I picked it up from a nursery, it's some cherry tomato breed. I don't have full sun of 5 hours in my balcony, the most is 3 hours around 7am- 10am everyday and the funny thing is that it has been cloudy somewhat past few weeks and the sun tends to only pick up in the afternoon !@%!@^... It is also very windy hence I have installed windows to close during extremely windy days.

@robert 1943
Yes robert, I think my plants are very leggy due to the lack of sunlight. It is not that my place doesnt have good sunlight, the buildings opposite and the cloud cover tend to always block out the morning light, it is kind of funny but it happens!

Noted on the pot type and size... That is very useful... perhaps I can heed your advice as I plan another attempt...

I guess, overall, it is kind of hopeless trying to rectifcy the plants now as they are already leggy.... would anyone want to "adopt" my tomato plants? I live in the west, so I wouldn't mind passing it on to someone who can put it in a sunny envinronment to "rescue" it!

Would be planning an indoor cherry tomato plant soon at my room desk area, hopefully with LED lights and desk lighting!!! Would post up some plans here to see if it is doable first before going through...

Cheers... and thanks for the help guys... helpful community :)/>/>/>/>

I would suggest growing some vegetables like Bok Choy or a great Japanese vegetable called Komatsuna both which are great for stir fry and would love to grow in this situation you have. All is not lost!

This post has been edited by Robert1943: 16 June 2014 - 10:04 AM

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#7 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 10:07 AM

View PostRobert1943, on 16 June 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

I would suggest growing some vegetables like Bok Choy or a great Japanese vegetable called Komatsuna both which are great for stir fry and would love to grow in this situation you have. All is not lost!


Ps Ps Have a look at growing tomatos inside hydroponically they do exceptionally well as do all vegetables, many of my friends in the USA grow them inside all year long including their icy and snowy weather.

If you want more information on this great way of gardening please let me know so I can send some information that will brighten your day.
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#8 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:09 AM

Thank you Robert... let me do some research first online... and get back here if I have any issues! The problem with looking for information online is that you have a vast array of information from multiple sources and environments which might not work!
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#9 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:17 PM

Anyone got luck with LED grow lights of 90W to grow cherry tomatoes? Looking at this option... should be a simple setup
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#10 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:21 PM

http://ledprincess.c...G4590W-422.html

and this

http://ledprincess.c...12120W-414.html
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#11 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 04:34 PM

Or luck with T5?
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#12 User is offline   Wisteria 

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 05:18 PM

If you are getting indoor lighting, I suggest you test it on leafy vegetables first. Fruiting plants require much higher light level than leafy vegetables to grow properly. Tomato plants need lots of bright natural light to reach flowering stage. One tube of indoor lighting may enable it to continue growing leaves but may not be enough for it to flower.

A more feasible option is to wait for those months when the sun shifts direction and you get more hours of direct sun during that time of the year before you grow new tomato plants again.
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#13 User is offline   SafeWater 

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 01:06 PM

Any update on your led installation? thanks.
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#14 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:57 PM

Dear all, I have put LED installation on hold for the moment as it's a little costly... I do have some quotes and ideas from LED Princess, if you want them, drop me a message and I can forward them to you...

Currently, I've moved my tomato plants into the serve balcony facing the sunrise sun.... gets about 2-3hours of sunshine .. lets see how it goes!
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#15 User is offline   digitalgate 

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:39 PM

I think cherry tomatoes should be ablessed to grow well in full sun. In door I really have my doubt.
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#16 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 01:25 PM

Latest updates... plants aren't doing too well, I think the fact they are leggy already goes a long way because of the way the leaves r spread..

Anyway,

I'll be starting off ENTIRELY from scratch again... this time with a 120W LED light from LEDprincess that I will be getting for 280SGD... plot covered is a small 3ft x 2ft area, will be looking to plant cherry tomatoes and some chillis.... using white background as a hood to reflect back LED lights to the plants.... Will update along the way perhaps in a new thread and see how it pans out to!!! If 120W not sufficient to grow flowering plants, I'm sure I can still do herbs or others! Exciting times!
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#17 User is offline   oolongmilktea 

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 03:14 PM

choose a heat tolerant variety if possible. it will help with higher chance of success.
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#18 User is offline   baktao 

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 12:24 PM

Hi Oolongmilktea,

Thanks for the comment. Do u mean the plants will react adversely to the LED light? I think it's using ration of red 3, blue 2... about almost purple light...
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#19 User is offline   oolongmilktea 

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 12:30 PM

"Heat Tolerant" refers to our weather. Some varieties cannot tolerate our hot and humid weather and will grow poorly.
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#20 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:45 PM

View Postoolongmilktea, on 02 July 2014 - 12:30 PM, said:

"Heat Tolerant" refers to our weather. Some varieties cannot tolerate our hot and humid weather and will grow poorly.


Here is a great tomato I have grown and still at this moment, I bought the seeds on ebay, and very happy with the fruit size taste etc.And they love tropical weather heat and water tolerant so easy to grow, my plants are only about 75cm tall and full of fruit, and now they are producing another second lot of many fruit, most tomato's produce and slowly die off but this tomato is throwing out new shoots and lots of flowers and fruit, PS hardly any bees so they must self pollinate.
I have attached a link that says it all . PS they are grown all over Thailand and are heirloom not hybridised as most fruit today, in other words you save the seeds and the plant to get again is identical to the original.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m23/kangaroo9/Hydroponics/Thai-tomatos_zps9f1960cd.jpg
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