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Post  kimbertangleknot on 6/29/2010, 2:29 pm

Has anyone had any luck with THESE or THOSE? I'm thinking about ordering the red ones for next year despite the mixed reviews (I feel that unless it's all bad, I should at least give it a try to form my own opinion), but I know that people love the black ones. Just wondering if anyone has their own input on it from a SFG point of view.

thanks
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Post  Chopper on 6/29/2010, 3:06 pm

I have read that these are useless. Perhaps not, but the red is more scam than science from the few articles I happened upon. Apparently they do not do what they are touted to do. I would not waste my money or else do your own experiment. Just remember to keep your variables to a minimum.
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Post  pattipan on 6/29/2010, 5:26 pm

Actually the red plastic for tomatoes and strawberries is not bogus. The study began at Clemson University in SC. Here are three articles I found:

http://www.clemson.edu/hort/research/photo.php
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-326/426-326.html
http://www.noble.org/ag/Horticulture/RaisedBedGardening/mulch_application2.html

That's not to say what the seed catalogs are selling works, but the results in the research are true. And I know nothing about the Tomato Automaters. I have not tried red plastic mulch myself, my tomato plants this year are doing great! I think if I were to try it, I would order it in the rolls (e.g. Harris Seeds sells a perforated red plastic mulch). You would need to secure it with ground staples or something similar since it's the reflected light that is supposed to help the fruit production.

Patti
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Post  Chopper on 6/29/2010, 9:41 pm

Thanks Patti. And appreciate the links. I had heard the opposite but have nothing to refer anyone too so I would expect these are more reliable.
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Post  MsMinchin on 6/30/2010, 12:11 am

I'm trying the automators from SFG foundation this year on both my tomatoes and my peppers. It is my first year trying it but what I can say so far is the plants with the automators are all grwoing vigorously without pest damage. I didn't buy enough automators so about 3 bell pepper plants were planted without them, and these are all eaten up by slugs. Also, the automators make it really easy to feed the plants tomato food, you just put it in the cavities and water.

On the negative side, it is a little difficult to fit the automators within the square foot grid in my pyramid so i damaged a few there, and it is really tough to fit them in adjoining squares - the edges extend under the grid and overlap with the next square. Another con - the automators have to be fit over the top of the seedlings, which was difficult to do without hurting the plant. I am planning to try the red automators from Gardener's supply next year which are similar to the burpee ones. I like how you can slip the tray onto the plant rather than thread the plant through the hole.
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