Artificial light for outdoor tomatoes?

Our neighbors' giant maple trees continue to encroach on our view of the sky and the sunniest parts of our garden now get only about 2 or 3 hours of direct sun during the summer. With the economy the way it is, they're not interested in any serious pruning for a while. Other than a fortuitous windstorm or maple blight, we're probably stuck this way for years.
The growing season in Minnesota is short enough without this additional handicap.
Can artificial light speed up the ripening of outdoor tomatoes? Can it be done without us ending up with tomatoes at $10/each?
We only have 3 plants, which used to be enough; two "early" varieties and one conventional. One of the early plants will have some fruit ready this coming week, but September is coming fast.
I see Web sites selling all sorts of lighting systems, but I'd like to hear from people who aren't trying to sell me anything.
--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN snipped-for-privacy@iphouse.com

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Is there any place where a pot would get more light than your garden?
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
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If their tree is comming over your property line you can always prune it yourself. You better come up with a solutions quick in time to can them.
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Bert Hyman wrote:

With the cost of the lights and the power to run them it hardly seems worth it to me.
How about this (I am making this up as I go along, never tried it) Could the light intensity be enhanced cheaply with mirrors? I am thinking of an arrangement on the three sides not facing the sun that would reflect on to the plants. Maybe even a curved panel behind the plants. Not glass which is always expensive but aluminium foil laid over (say) cardboard or whatever is laying about. Or maybe thick plastic sheet like used for real estate signs (called coreflute here) painted with silver paint. It would cost very little and last long enough to find out if something more permanent is worthwhile.
David
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A bit late for this but it may trigger a thought or two for the OP.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p532&cat=2,2300,33272
I would bet a diffused light would be better than concentrated, esp. with a curved surface (shades of tomato sauce on the vine).
The best thing that could be done is to open a slot by cutting off the limbs at, or beyond the property line.
I'm doing that right now to limit certain certain trees' drip line and root system and keep as much shade as possible off a couple of gardens and two apple trees (and to forestall an early snowfall like we had two years ago taking down trees and power lines).
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Memories:) Back in the seventies, my high school days, there was a project in the Scientific American magazine for making a parabolic dish for focusing and burning an object. Many art stores sell large sheets of foil backed cardboard. I cut the cardboard out and made my dish and used a fine plastic spray from a can that water proofed the cardboard dish. At night I could put a mike in the center of the dish and hear people talk at least half a mile away. Set sticks on fire when placed in the sun. Scientific American Magazine was much better then than now. Today with internet based news, many of their articles are just junky and dated before the ink dries. Dish was six feet in diameter and Cost about $20.
--
Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
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Dan L. wrote:

I made a similar dish as a solar cook in fifth grade, around 1968. It's very hard to get the foil smooth enough to get the focus sharp enough to use in cooking or to make fires but I did eat a meal cooked on it.
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Ah yes the good old days. The foil-back cardboard was smooth and stiff sold at the local art/drafting supply store then. Store closed it's doors years ago.
--
Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
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My backyard got shaded out a few years ago and I moved to growing tomatoes in pots on my deck. A half dozen plants are enough to supply wife and I.
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wrote:

That's what we do as well, but for a different reason, rain. Here in the PNW we get quite a bit of rain so we put our pots on our 2nd floor deck (off the kitchen). It faces South and gets plenty of sun, plus when it's going to rain, we just slide them under the eve and they stay dry. The only cost is we have to pay closer attention to watering. The pay off is it's only three steps from the plants to the salad bowl ; )
Newb
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On 08/08/10 11:02 AM, sometime in the recent past Bert Hyman posted this:

sure, but it talked about English common law and about not cutting off one's access to the sun. But if the law can't help, and you do use lights, does you neighbor have any outdoor outlets on your side of his house? :)
--
Wilson 44.69, -67.3

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In wrote:

It's pretty clear that I don't know enough about tomatoes.
It's like somebody flipped a switch this past Tuesday and unless we're hit with a big hailstorm, we'll be up to our knees in tomatoes.
--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN snipped-for-privacy@iphouse.com

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