How To Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes At Your Home Garden For Best Results
Hydroponic tomatoes are the tomato plants that are grown and catered to while in nutrient solution instead of being in the soil.
All the same, the tomatoes grow healthy and well in an environment that can support and sustain them well.
Table Of Contents
- 1 The journey of Tomatoes In Hydroponic Gardening
- 2 Tomato Hydroponic Grow Guide
- 3 Best Tomatoes For Hydroponics Farming
- 4 Best Hydroponics Tomatoes Nutrients
The journey of Tomatoes In Hydroponic Gardening
While practicing hydroponic gardening of tomatoes, there are three systems that can be used to sustain the tomato plants. The original method that was in use at the beginning was the ebb-and-flow method from the 1930s to the 1970s.
After then, a new system was introduced known as the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). Later on, the drip irrigation system was invented and offered to the farmers.
Ebb and Flow System
The ebb and flow system are often used at home for domestic use. It also the most preferred for amateurs who are just getting into the business. This is because they are simple and also cheap.
In this system, the solution is usually pumped from the reservoir to the grow tray until it is flooded. The pump is then turned off and the grow tray is drained completely.
The only problem with this is that the nutrient that each of the plants takes in is not in the control of the farmer.
Nutrient Film Technique
The Nutrient Film Technique changed the original concept in that the rooting medium was no longer essential and instead the roots of the tomato plants were bathed in a flow of nutrient solution.
This was made possible because the tomatoes were suspended on a slightly slanted surface. The nutrient solution was then slowly pumped gently or let to trickle down the slope from the reservoir.
Since the roots of the tomatoes would be hanging down, the nutrients could easily be absorbed by the plant. This system was often used commercially.
On the other hand, there could be an issue as the plants higher up could receive more nutrient as compared to the plants at the bottom of the slope.
When drip irrigation was introduced, water, as well as a nutrient solution, are placed at the roots of the tomato plants in bags or even buckets. The selected rooting mediums were coconut coir slabs and Rockwool slab.
Although this system works similar to the ebb and flow system, it is more convenient. This is because the solution is pumped from the reservoir through a network of tubes and eventually drip-fed to the plants.
Here, you can easily regulate how much each plant absorbs. This system has turned out to be quite convenient and well-designed to the farmer.
However, in the recent time, there are numerous selections that farmers can use.
Tomato Hydroponic Grow Guide
The hydroponic tomato growing guide is quite detailed and straight forward. The language and style does not make it complicated even for a usual farmer or even a newbie in the industry.
The guide is essential as it will pinpoint the areas that need close considerations. These will include the best conditions for growing the tomatoes and all other details necessary.
It will let you know which hydroponic system works efficiently as well as the best type of tomatoes to grow. All you need to do is to carefully and strictly follow the hydroponic guidelines.
You can decide to grow tomatoes in whatever way you deem best. However, the tomatoes are specific to the terms in which they grow best.
The best aspect of hydroponic tomatoes is the fact that you can manipulate the conditions so that they can be produced in the fastest way possible.
These includes the conditions that make the tomatoes grow faster, have maximum nutritional value as well as taste delicious and juicy.
The best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes is by taking into consideration the following areas:
Soil Mixture starting seeds
Step one of learning how to grow tomatoes is creating the right environment for your seeds by ensuring the right soil mix. The soil mix you should be a standard soil-less potting mix, add to it a worm casting of around about 10%.
Standard potting mix is usually done with equal parts of:
Then one teaspoon of hydrated lime for every gallon of soil mix is added to help adjusted to the right pH.
When it comes to tomatoes, adjust the pH the soil-mix this way because the lime is a good source of Calcium (which prevents blossom end rot in the tomatoes later on).
Using plain water and thrive alive B1, moisten the initial potting mix little by little. To get the right mix a handful of potting mix is enough then make just a few drops. In case the mix get too wet, add dry vermiculite or you can try perlite (just a handful) then remix.
Starting your Tomato Seeds
In growing tomatoes hydroponically, tomatoes starting seeds are crucial in the success of your crop yield. And when it comes to how to grow tomatoes the same applies.
Best way forward is to begin with a good nursery tray and fill it with the soil mix you have prepared above.
Plant your tomato seeds 1/4 inch deep and about 8 seeds/inch. So as to ensure your seeds don’t dry out, it is advisable to cover them for a few days. Use a seed starting tray that has a lid and in case you don’t have that get a plastic wrapper.
The right atmosphere for tomato seeds germination is 80 degrees for 5 to 12 days. Once the seeds begin to sprout remove any cover you may have on them.
The sprouting seeds need good lighting but make sure a distance of 4 to 6 inches kept from the fluorescent growing LED lights. In order to maintain the right vegetative growth of your tomatoes seeds, your lighting should be kept on for 18 to 24 hours a day.
Once the sprout gets to 1 1/2 inches tall, transplant them carefully into a 6 inch container.
This is amongst the most crucial things that you need to consider when growing tomatoes. This is due to the fact that tomatoes adore light in great abundance.
With enough light, you are guaranteed the best quantity and quality of tomatoes. Tomatoes require that they are kept in a well-lit area for about 18hours a day.
If you have to provide the tomatoes with light on your own, then LED lights are the best source. With these lights, you can ensure that the tomatoes get the right amount of light since you are in control.
Hydroponics is all about the amount of control that you have on your tomatoes and therefore, it makes perfect sense to buy a grow light.
These grow tent enables you to close off the environment for the tomatoes to give you the ideal grow room. These tents are made of fabric and allow the conditions within it to be refined for the best conditions for the hydroponic tomatoes.
They are important especially because the tomatoes desire complete darkness for about 8hours. Usually, it is not very easy to have so much darkness but with the grow tent you can meet the requirements with ease.
Tomatoes desire temperatures of about 18 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius during the day and 12 degrees Celsius to 18 degrees Celsius at night.
These plants are warm weather plants and can survive high temperatures as compared to the temperatures dropping.
Tomatoes can do better if the temperatures rise for short periods as when they are exposed to frost conditions. Frost kills the tomatoes faster than you can imagine. To keep your temperatures moderate, you can invest in a grow tent as it creates an environment that is sealed.
Every plant needs certain nutrients that will enable it to grow healthily. In every hydroponic system, there is a nutrient reservoir that stores water that is fed to the tomatoes.
Soluble nutrients are mixed into the water (for tomatoes Maxsea 16-16-16 is the best to buy) that is given to the plants. You can mix the nutrients in the water to make it desirably rich in the essential nutrients.
Once the nutrients are mixed in the water, it forms the nutrient solution that is fed to the plants. The pH level as well as the electrical conductivity must be strictly put into consideration when growing tomatoes.
Tomatoes love water that is slightly acidic that has a pH level that is between 5.8 and 6.3. You can easily and cheaply buy a pH level testing kit to help you to be accurate with the pH level.
The most ideal electrical conductivity needs you to mix the correct nutrients into the water with adjusted pH. The best electrical conductivity for tomatoes is between 2.0 and 3.5 milliMhos.
Hydroponics Growing Medium
When using the hydroponic system, the growing medium can easily be changed to suit the desired needs. So far Rockwool is great as it has the ability to hold water well.
This enables the plant to take in sufficient water as well as air. This material is available in a variety of sizes and you can pick the best pack to suit your system.
Best Tomatoes For Hydroponics Farming
There are different types of tomatoes but only selected few can do well in the hydroponic system. The best tomatoes that can thrive well in the hydroponic system are the greenhouse varieties.
These ones are stalking and are known as indeterminate. These ones continuously grow upwards and need support from strings or stakes.
Apart from the particular type of tomatoes there are also various varieties.
They are the beefsteak tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes, as well as the cocktail tomatoes. The truss tomatoes are half the size of the beefsteak tomatoes. They are harvested all together on the vine.
However, it does not necessarily mean that you need to harvest all your tomatoes at the same time. It is best to pick the tomato when it has turned red or has a color common to that particular variety.
The tomatoes that you plant should be in relation to the use and need. You may need tomatoes for a different purpose.
There are those that are sweet while some are not but have a strong tomato taste. You could get the big tomatoes or just the medium sized tomatoes.
There are also tomatoes that are grown in the specification of the environment or the area of growth. This is because of the temperatures of the area as well.
Pro Grow LED For Tomatoes
Best Hydroponics Tomatoes Nutrients
In order to harvest the best tasting and most nutritious tomatoes, you must have given the plant the nutrients that it desires.
There are a number of combined nutrients that are usually dissolved in the water reservoir and will be pumped into the grow bed for the plants to absorb.
In order to come up with the best fertilizer to be used on the hydroponic tomatoes, you must be sure of the nutritional needs of the tomatoes.
These nutrients aid in the growing of flowers as well as fruits. And in the end, you will have a great quantity of tomatoes that are big and juicy.
There are different nutrient needs for different plants. Fruit crops such as tomatoes must maintain low levels of Sodium.
For tomatoes, the nutrient solution is prepared in two or three levels that will sustain various stages of their growth.
The macro nutrients are the ones that change and become concentrated as the crop matures. For the tomatoes, the micronutrients are maintained at a balanced amount. The first stage is for the seedlings.
This is the stage between the first true leaves to 24inches in height and the fruit is 1.5cm in diameter.
During level B, you may need to add the amount of potassium and nitrogen. The most acceptable pH of the nutrient solution should be maintained at 5.5- 6.0 or can be lowered using phosphoric acid.