Do you love organic gardening? Are you wondering how to grow hydroponic tomatoes?
Well, here’s what you need to know about how to grow hydroponic tomatoes for your organic garden.
What Are Hydroponic Tomatoes?
Rather than growing in regular soil, hydroponic tomatoes are grown in a nutrient solution.
They are placed in a non-soil material that will support their roots and provide nutrients.
Growing hydroponic tomatoes allows you to control the environment and remove any chance of disease, greater fruit yield and faster growth.
Setting Up The Hydroponics System
1. Choose the type of hydroponics system to grow your tomatoes. These include:
• Ebb and flow system which is very cheap and easy to build.
• Deep water culture which is a simple system for growing small plants and cherry tomatoes.
• Multiflow system which is a larger type of the ebb and flow system relying on gravity. It’s very difficult to build but can support more plants.
• Nutrient film technique where the plants are suspended with their roots brushing against a slope of trickling nutrients.
It’s more expensive and finicky but it’s the most preferable by most gardeners.
Hydroponic Kits and EBB and Flow Systems
1. Search to find a hydroponics kit at your local gardening store and create your own ebb and flow system effortlessly.
2. Choose a good location where you can control the system for proper functioning.
Make sure you choose an area that is closed off from the other rooms and the outdoors.
Here, you should be able to set the right temperatures and humidity to guarantee the best growth for your tomatoes.
3. Choose a large plastic container and fill it with water. It will serve as a reservoir.
If you have a large reservoir, you can count on a stable hydroponics system.
A plastic bucket or trash can works perfectly. Make sure they are brand new to avoid contamination.
Next Steps In Building The Flow System
4. Place a tray above the reservoir. It is used to provide support to the tomato plants.
You can fill the tray with nutrients and water for the roots to absorb. Make sure the tray is sturdy enough to guarantee the best support to the plants.
Choose a plastic tray and not metal to avoid corrosion.
5. Next add a water pump inside the reservoir. The water pump should be strong enough to send water out of the reservoir and into the tray with the plants.
You can choose a strong and adjustable pump and play around with the settings once you have set up the system.
6. Then add fill tubing between the tray and the reservoir. Use PVC tubing in the hydroponics kit and measure the right length to ensure the tray is flooded to the height of the tomatoes.
Improve water circulation by placing the outlet and inlet pipes on the opposite ends.
7. Put an overflow fitting leading back to the reservoir. It should be located at the bottom part of the roots.
When the water gets to this level, it will be drained out through the tube and back into the reservoir.
Make sure the overflow tube is larger than the inlet tube to avoid overflooding.
8. Next a timer to the water pump. Make sure it’s adjustable so you can add or reduce the nutrients being delivered depending on the plants’ growth.
A waterproof timer is the best choice here.
9. Turn on the water pump to test the system and see where the water ends up. If the water doesn’t reach the tray or if it spills over the edges, you should adjust the settings.
Check the timer to see if the pump is working at the set times.
Learn How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes Nicely
1. First by growing the tomato seeds in special material. Bringing plants from outdoors isn’t advisable because you can introduce diseases or pests into the hydroponics system.
Some of the best growing materials include rock wool, coconut coir, or perlite.
2. Once the seedlings have started sprouting you can place them under artificial light for at least 12 hours every day.
Make sure the light doesn’t shine on the roots to avoid a lot of damage. If there are any protruding roots, soak additional material and make sure they are covered.
3. Now you can move the seedlings into the hydroponics system after the roots start protruding from the bottom. It takes about 10 to 14 days for this to happen.
4. Set the water pump timer to run for 30 minutes every 2.5 hours. Check the plants regularly and if they start wilting you can start watering frequently.
You must increase the frequency once the plants bear fruit and blossom because they need more water.
5. Next start pruning and staking the tomato plants. Some will grow to a specific size then stop while others will grow indefinitely.
Stake them so they can grow upright. You can prune them using your hands to break the stems rather than cutting them off.
6. When the plants have bloomed, you need to pollinate them since there are no insects in the hydroponics system to allow this.
Pull back the petals to expose the pistil and the stamens covered with pollens. Use a soft paintbrush to touch the stamens and the pistil and repeat this every day.
Growing tomatoes hydroponically might seem challenging but it’s very easy if you follow the rules.
Make sure you grow the plants at the right temperature, water frequently, and add the right nutrients for the best results. Install grow lights but stay away from incandescent bulbs because they produce more heat.