Monthly Archives: March 2019

  • How to grow tomatoes in hydroponics from seedling

    Hydroponic tomatoes are the tomato plants that are grown and catered to while in nutrient solution instead of being in the soil.

    Hydroponics can be an economical alternative, capable of delivering fresh luscious and healthy fruit all through the year.

    Hydroponics can deliver fresh fruit that is as tasty as outdoor grown tomatoes from your local grocery store or farmer's market. The main advantage is that you can grow this summer fruit all through the year, even in winters.

    For beginners it is not best option to grow tomato in hydroponics because all fruit plants require more inputs and care than leafy greens and herbs. This includes careful monitoring nutrient mixes, and adequate lighting, not to mention a lot of maintenance and pruning. And tobacco mosaic virus, fungal blight, and various bacterial infections can kill your crop. Whiteflies, many worms, and spider mites can all appear on your indoor grow area, eating and killing your tomatoes.

    Tomatoes can be growing in the following ways

    • Growing tomatoes from seed
    • Growing tomatoes from saplings

    Growing tomatoes from Saplings: -

    • Saplings are the easiest route to having your own hydroponic grow system. You can buy these from your local hydroponics/garden store.
    • But using saplings of tomatoes grown outdoors is not a good idea for a hydroponic system. Seeds germinated in outdoor soil could be contaminated by pests and germs.
    • Just one infected seedling is enough to destroy an entire crop. So, hydroponic veterans prefer to grow their seedlings indoors.

    Growing tomatoes from seed

    The most important of growing tomatoes from seed is to get good quality seeds. There are many varieties of tomatoes. Almost 300 to 400 varieties are there. The varieties differ in the following ways

    • Fruit shape (Cherry tomato)
    • Fruit color (Yellow cherry, Black prince)
    • Fruit size / weight (beefsteak tomato)
    • Plant growing habit (indeterminate & Determinate)
    • Taste and Flavor

    Tomatoes are an excellent summer fruiting vegetable to grow using all methods of aquaponics & hydroponics, although physical support is necessary. Given the high nutrient demand of tomatoes, especially potassium, the number of plants per unit should be planned according to the fish biomass, in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies. A higher nitrogen concentration is preferable during early stages to favor plants vegetative growth; however, potassium should be present from the flowering stage to favor fruit settings and growth.

    Tomatoes prefer warm temperatures with full sun exposure. Below 8 - 10°C the plants stop growing, and night temperatures of 13 - 14°C encourage fruit set. Temperatures above 40°C cause floral abortion and poor fruit setting.

    There are two major types of tomato plants:

    Determinate (seasonal production) and indeterminate (continuous production of floral branches). In the first type, plants can be left to grow as bushes by leaving 3 - 4 main branches and removing all the auxiliary suckers to divert nutrients to fruits. Both determinate and indeterminate varieties should be grown with a single stem (double in case of high plant vigor) by removing all the auxiliary suckers. However, in determinate varieties, the apical tip of the single stem has to be cut as soon as the plant reaches 7 - 8 floral branches in order to favor fruiting. Tomato rely on supports that can be either made of stakes (bush plants) or bound to vertical plastic/nylon strings that are attached to iron wires pulled horizontally above the plant units.

    Planting Instructions: -

    • Transplant the seedlings into units 3 - 6 weeks after germination when the seedling is 10 - 15 cm and when night-time temperatures are constantly above 10°C.
    • In transplanting the seedlings, avoid waterlogged conditions around the plant collar to reduce any risks of diseases.
    • Once the tomato plants are about 60 cm tall, start to determine the growing method (bush or single stem) by pruning the unnecessary upper branches.
    • Remove the leaves from the bottom 30 cm of the main stem to favor a better air circulation and reduce fungal incidence.
    • Prune all the auxiliary suckers to favor fruit growth.
    • Remove the leaves covering each fruit branch soon before ripening to favor nutrition flow to the fruits and to accelerate maturation.

    Pollination: -

    The wind, bees and other insects pollinate tomatoes naturally outdoors. As a hydroponic grower, you must perform the job manually. Transfer pollen using a small paintbrush or cotton swab by dabbing the tip on the stigma of each flower. This procedure is best done between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. when the flower petals are bent backwards, exposing the stigma. You can introduce bumblebees to do the job if you have a greenhouse.

    Harvesting: -

    For best flavor, harvest tomatoes when they are firm and fully colored. Fruits will continue to ripen if picked half ripe and brought indoors. Fruits can be easily maintained for 2- 4 weeks at 5 - 7°C under 85 - 90 percent relative humidity

1 Item(s)