Our First Fruit!

One of the benefits the Sunflower has to offer is the ability to provide consistent sunlight.  If you were to ask, “who is sunlight important to?” I think one of the first answers that comes to mind is probably “plants”.

When we first jumped into using the Sunflower with plants, we asked around at some local garden shops.  To our horror, many of the trusted shopkeepers we were asking about using mirrors to increase sunlight to plants responded with, “Don’t do it!”

So, maintaining our innovative and engineering minds as we’ve come to develop here, we set about to understand “the science” behind the Sunflower.  I won’t go into detail, but after working out the logistics, we found that the Sunflower reflects and transfers 90% of the sun’s light and spectrum.  So then we were left to wonder, why would this be a “no-no” for plants?

We couldn’t understand why, and extensive Internet research led to the discovery of the “mirror myth” not actually being a myth at all.  Rather, no one seems to be definitively for or against using mirrors on plants mainly because no one has taken enough time to experiment and see what the real results are.

We must admit that we are not in the least bit experienced as gardeners, but we decided to take it upon ourselves to discover the effect mirrors have on plants.  We created our own experiment with upside down tomato plants:

FIVE HANGING TOMATO PLANTS

Plants #1 & #2: hanging from a pole planted by the shed, out in complete sunlight.  Amount of sunlight received: From 830AM-230PM, 6 hours total of morning sun + early afternoon sun.

Plant #3: hanging off the side of the house in a corner.  Amount of sunlight received: 1 hour of morning sun.

Plant #4:  hanging off the side of the house, further away from the corner.  Amount of sunlight received: 1 hour of morning sun.

Plant #5: hanging off the side of the house in the opposite corner, completely in the shade.  Amount of sunlight received: the Sunflower redirects 90% of the sun’s light and spectrum for 6-7 hours a day.

 

Here’s a picture of the experiment layout:

THE RESULTS?

…weren’t as clear or definitive as we hoped they would be.

Plants #1 & #2 were the quickest to ripen but bore the smallest fruit.  It took them about 90 days to flower, bear fruit, and ripen.


A Picture of #1 & #2 taken on September 25, 2012

Plant #1 & #2
August 17, 2012

Plant #3 bore small green tomatoes, but not many of them.  And then animals ate what there actually was to harvest so we couldn’t come to a proper conclusion.

A Picture of Plant #3 taken on September 25, 2012

Plant #4… I’ll get to after plant #5.

Plant #5 bore 10 tomatoes.  The first of which ripened in 90 days, the second in 104 days, the third in 112 days.  These tomatoes were larger than the ones from plant #1 and plant #2.  We’re still waiting for all of the tomatoes to ripen.

SOME PICTURES OF PLANT #4 & #5

Plant #5

August 17, 2012

Plant #5

August 17, 2012

Plant #5 Left
Plant #4 (red tomatoes)
September 25, 2012

Plant #5

August 17, 2012

Plant #5

August 17, 2012

Plant #5 (left)
Plant #4 (right)
September 25, 2012

Now on to plant #4.  Plant #4 produced about 10 green tomatoes, but none of them were ripening.  So we aimed two of the Sunflower’s six mirrors toward plant #4.  What happened?  The tomatoes began to ripen.  Two weeks after we aimed the Sunflower at plant #4, we got our first ripe fruit!

A Picture of some Tomatoes:

***note — in the picture it says plant 3, but I’ve written about the Sunflower only tomato plant as plant #5 in this blog post!  Those two tomatoes on the right came from the tomato plant grown with only Sunflower provided light :)

Key questions here:

Why were #5’s tomatoes larger than #1’s & #2’s? 

We aren’t comfortable concluding that it’s because of the Sunflower, mainly because the experiment wasn’t as controlled as we originally thought it would be:

Plants #1 & #2 were hanging out on a pole in complete sunlight, while Plant #5 hung from the house.  So this means, though both plants stood out during the rain, that plant #5 experienced a different amount of rainfall coming through it it due to runoff from the house roof.  Plants #1 & #2 experienced normal rainfall from the sky.  So does this mean more fertilizer could’ve been washed out of one plant or the other?  Maybe does their differing locations have something to do with it?  We weren’t controlled enough to have the only variable, in the end, be where the sunlight was coming from.

How much sunlight is necessary for a tomato plant to flower?  To bear fruit?  For the fruit to grow?  For the fruit to ripen?

It seems as if the only thing we can conclusively say, to this point, is that consistent sunlight provided by the Sunflower helps tomatoes to ripen.

Maybe plants #1 & #2, receiving 100% of the sun’s spectrum, ripened before the tomatoes had a chance to grow larger.  But we simply aren’t experienced enough as tomato growers or gardeners to understand the growth cycle and how sunlight impacts it.

 

So, there you have it!  We’re reporting our somewhat conclusive findings that it seems the Sunflower’s consistent sunlight helps tomatoes to ripen.  But we’d really appreciate any input from experienced gardeners or tomato growers!

We’re off to experiment some more, hopefully with better control.  We’d love it if you’d like to try it out too.  We’ll even offer you a discount (20% off!) on the Sunflower if you purchase it to conduct a similar experiment and want to share your results with us!

 

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2 Comments

  1. I have a problem with the overall premise of your article but I still think its really informative. I really like your other posts. Keep up the great work. If you can add more video and pictures can be much better. Because they help much clear understanding. :) thanks

    • admin

      Hey Stacy, thanks for the comment and the input! We are always open to constructive [and hopefully friendly!] criticism, if you mind my asking what you would suggest or dislike about the premise we would love to hear your feedback! If you don’t feel comfortable posting it on here, you could also e-mail us at contact@wikoda.com. Thanks again! :)

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