Growing Cherry Tomatoes in Aquaponics

Cherry Tomato: -Â

Tomatoes are an excellent summer fruiting vegetable to grow using all available methods although physical support is necessary.

A higher nitrogen concentration is preferable during the early stage to flower stage. However, potassium should be present from the flowering stage to fruit setting to growth.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, low in calories and a source of lycopene (the "Red" in tomatoes), which has been tapped as a cancer-fighting agent.

If you have experience in growing tomato you know that to get the high-quality products and good yields with a limited space can be quite a challenge.

We'll try to consolidate all important things that you need to know if you want to grow tomatoes, have high-quality products and great yields in your greenhouse. We'll also share our experience and you'll see great benefits of aquaponic systems for profitable commercial tomato production.

Tomato is one of the most demanded vegetables. In the season but also out of the season. It is used as a fresh produce but also an input for the production of many different products like sauces. One of the greatest advantages is that it grows in the air and we can use a lot of greenhouse height for our production.

The main advantages of growing tomatoes in protected spaces (greenhouses) compared to other crops are:

  • It is highly attractive and demanded product
  • We can have very high yields per sqm
  • There are many hybrids that are resistant to diseases.

Growing Conditions: -

  • When you have set up your aquaponic system and decided to grow tomato you need to pay attention to some details. If you make mistakes, in the beginning, you will not see problems usually until it's too late to fix them.
  1. Type of aquaponic system?
  2. How to band tomatoes for the best vertical growth?
  3. How to make tomato grow faster?
  • Each and every part of the aquaponic system that is not synched to specific natural laws can create problems in the future. These problems can be insignificant but sometimes these problems can lead to total disaster. For that reason, it is important to have all the information and to understand each part of the system.
  • The first and most important factor is to choose the right aquaponic system for tomato production.
  • Out of all aquaponic systems, BED system is probably the most convenient for many types of crops. But it is not a profitable system. Because it is quite robust, it takes a lot of space and is quite expensive to construct.
  • For profitable tomato cultivation, one of the best aquaponic systems is DUTCH BUCKET

  • In Dutch bucket aquaponic system we are using a number of buckets for growing our crops in them. In buckets, we put any growing media that is suitable for aquaponics. When we are irrigating crops the water is moving through growing medium and feeding the root of our plants.
  • We need to make sure that there is always some water in the bottom of the bucket.
  • We can achieve this by drilling drainage holes on a certain height of the bucket. For this system to work we do not need any additional siphons.
  • When constructing Dutch bucket aquaponic system pay special attention to the following
  1. Greenhouse space usage
  2. Pipes and nozzle clogging
  3. Space for roots development
  4. Bucket drainage
  • Tomatoes prefer warm temperatures with full sun exposure. Below 8-10°C, the plants stop growing, and night temperature 13-14 encourage fruit set. Temperature above 40°C cause floral abortion and poor fruit setting.
  • Tomatoes have a moderate tolerance to salinity, which makes them suitable for areas where pure freshwater is available. However, higher salinity at fruiting stage improves quality of the products.

Planting Instructions: -

  • Set stakes or plant support structures before transplanting to prevent root damage.
  • Transplant the seedlings into units 3-6 weeks after germination when the seedling is 10-15 cm and when the night time temperatures are constantly above 10°C.
  • In transplanting the seedlings, avoid waterlogged conditions around the plant collar to reduce any risk of diseases.
  • Once the tomato plants are about 60 cm tall, start pruning the unnecessary upper branches. Remove the leaves from the bottom to 30cm of the main stem for better air circulation and reduce fungal incidence.
  • Remove the leaves covering each of the fruiting branches soon before ripening to favour nutrition flow to the fruits and to accelerate maturation.

Harvesting: -

  • Most cherry tomato plants will start flowering in about a month. Flowers will be followed by tiny green fruits. After a few weeks, those turn into full-blown cherry tomatoes you can harvest.
  • A truly ripe cherry tomato will come off its stem very easily and is well worth waiting an extra day for, so hold off on picking them until they're ripe. Then, pluck individual fruits every day for best results. With luck, your plant will continue to produce right up until winter. If the weather turns unseasonably cool or an early frost threatens, you can tuck an old sheet over and around the plant to extend your harvest season.
  • Fruits can be easily maintained for 2-4 weeks at 5-7°C under 85-90 percentage relative humidity.

Tips: -

  • PH: 5.5-6.5
  • Plant spacing: 40-60cm (3-5 plants/sqm)
  • Germination time and temperature: 4-6 days and 20-30 °C
  • Growth time: 50-70 days till the first harvest; fruiting 90-129 days up to 8-10 months.
  • Optimal temperature: 13-16°C night, 22-26 °C day
  • Light exposure: full sun
  • Recommended methods: Media Beds and DWC

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