Plant Database forum: Tomato data fields

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 21, 2011 8:30 PM CST
First, is there still a way to get at a test version of the database? A way to find out what options exist under data entry withOUT accidently creating new, bogus entires in the mod queue?

I don't know much about the "Primary Plant Details" within a genus, but could these be added to the tomato genus Solanum or Lycopersicon?

Maybe as an extra radio button under "Habit, Vine":
- Determinate
- Indeterminate
- Semi-determinate

Vine Length (under optimum conditions):
- free text, maybe allow multiple comments

Fruit Size:
(either a comment field that could be "1-2 inches" or (2-4 ounces)
or a radio button:
- currant
- grape
- cherry
- small (?-? inches)
- medium (? - ? ounces)
- large (over one pound)

fruit shape:
- globe
- pear
- plum
- oval
- beefsteak type
- other

fruit color:
- red
- orange
- red-orange
- gold
- yellow
- pink
- dark
- purple
- other (free text, such as "lemon-yellow", "mahogony-brown", "X striped with Y")

Relative Earliness:
(When the search feature becomes elaborate, this may be used a lot.
(I suggest AGAINST days-to-maturity because that varies so much by temperature and how fast Spring warms up and how early you start.)
- ultra-early
- very early
- early
- semi-early
- mid-season
- mid-late
- late season


Flavor: (subjective, maybe incrment the number in each button for each vote)
- mild
- full, rich
- sweet
- acid
- fruity / tropical
- other (free text)

Thanks for considering these!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 21, 2011 8:59 PM CST
I love all that information. Boy would that be useful when looking for new tomato varieties. Thumbs up
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 21, 2011 9:27 PM CST
Thanks, Lynn. That why I've been collecting it for myself - especially since Tania chnaged the Tomatobase web address to include a ":88". Effectively locking me out until i wrestle IE7 into submission, or install FireFox ... or do without.

My fallback is the Territorial seed catalog (25 cents!). They have a lot to say about most vegetables, and being based in OR, it seems relevant to me.

I like the fact that not every tomato they list is the "earliest", "most productive" and "best flavor".

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 21, 2011 9:39 PM CST
They do a great job of providing seeds and plants that do well in our PNW climate. I love Territorial Seed Company. Thumbs up

Rick, Firefox takes nothing to download. If I can do it anyone can. I have never regretted making the change. Thanks to Dave. : )
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Oct 22, 2011 6:21 AM CST
I am a computer idiot, but I find firefox much easier and better than IE as a browser. After a horrible virus on our computer a few years ago my son (a B.S. in computer science) convinced me to switch to firefox. He said it's much less susceptible to virus infection. I really like it better, find it easier to use. And I use gmail insteal of outlook.

I only use IE now for photobucket, which I just can't get to work with firefox.

Karen
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Oct 22, 2011 6:53 AM CST
Same here on FF - I'm the computer idiot in our family but after Dave, convinced two of my son-in-laws that it was the best. One sil always had tons of viruses with IE and they both only use FF now.
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
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threegardeners
Oct 22, 2011 3:59 PM CST
I'd really rather have it mention "days to maturity".
In my climate, with only a 90 day growing season, "early" just doesn't cut it.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Oct 22, 2011 4:03 PM CST
Yah, that's the thing with the different growing conditions in different locales. Confused Confused
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 24, 2011 10:20 PM CST
I agree that it's a huge problem: how to list very important data that varies a lot from region to region.

"Ultra early" might mean 50 days in a warm climate, but 70 days in a cool climate.

I think that "frost-free growing season" means little to tomatoes.
Is there any name for the period between
"when nights stay above 50 degrees and days below 95"?
Or those numbers might have to be 55 and 90, or 100 ...

I doubt if it helps much to say that Territorial Seeds lists
Ultra Early varieties from 55-65 days.
Extra-early 68-80 days.
Early 75-80 days.
They're in Cottage Grove OR (97424?)
50% frost date April 22?
USDA Hardiness Zone 8b: same as parts of Texas and the PNW, wildly different climates.

I picked the vaguest possible terms because they hopefully have some meaning as relative terms.

"Ultra early" should be earlier than "very early" almost everywhere (unless some variety is especially sensitive to something like "how fast spring warms up".

Then people in evey region would need to learn how "ultra" or "very" acts in their region, their micro-climate, their soil, and their style of gardening.

Perhaps a solution would be Dave's "mouse over pop-up". If that can be a multi-line box, it could define each vague term with something like:
Very-Early:
50-65 days in Texas Zone 8
60-70 days in NY Zone 6
70-80 days in Western WA Zone 8
Add 5 days if not South-facing or South-east-facing
Add 10 days for partial shade.
Add 10 days for heavy wet clay.

Probably not practical!

I think that listing the actual number of days to maturity claims more detail than can really be true: it depends on the year and your micro-climate and probably many other things. Asking experienced neighbors may be the best way.

If I knew a LOT more, I would try even to just LIST the relevant factors, and maybe pick a few representative regions and micro-climates and methods:
- transplanting outdoors ASAP under plastic or with wall-o-water
- transplanting outdoors ASAP "naked"
- transplanting outdoors conservatively late without protection
- direct sowing under plastic, clocjes or with wall-o-water
- direct sowing naked.

Some people have said that the fancy early-start tricks don't really get them tomatoes earlier, that the earlier you start them, the longer the time to ripeness. I don't know, but it is fascinating!

My suspicion is that days-to-ripeness may depend most heavily on something like degree-days: for each day the averge daily temperature (or max temperature?) is above 68 degrees, add the number of degrees above 68 to a total.

If true, that makes me sad, because it would be easier for me to "beat the frost" or even to "keep nightime lows above 50" than it will be to create "warmth" all spring and early summer.

Hence my interest in ultra-early and cold-tolerant varieties. I don't really know yet which I need more (coastal PNW, USDA Zone 8b, Sunset Zone 5, long cold wet spring, short cool dry summer).

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