Growing hydroponic tomatoes at home
Hydroponics is a new gardening technique, different from the regular way of growing plants. The finding that plants take up nutrients from water in the form of inorganic ions is the base for the development of hydroponic gardening. According to this theory, soil acts a medium for supplying nutrients and supporting the root system. But it is not directly involved in the growth and development of plants. Hence, if we provide the necessary nutrients in another way, plants still continue to grow and bear flowers and fruits.
Under the methodology of hydroponics, vegetables are grown in a soilless medium, after enriching with essential plant nutrients. The result of this soilless gardening is really impressive. For some cultivars, the yield is much higher than regular plant growing techniques. Although mass scale cultivation of crops is not so easy, you can try growing hydroponic tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, culinary herbs and other seasonal vegetables at home.
How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes at Home?
Commercial growing of hydroponic tomatoes is done in greenhouses. The general advantages of hydroponics are, it doesn’t require soil preparation, easy regulation of nutrient quantity, less water usage, easy control of pests and stable crop production. The disadvantages with hydroponic gardening is high cost for setting up the plan and more importantly, you should know the basic concept behind soilless culture. If you are thorough with these requirements, you can experiment growing hydroponic tomatoes at home.
Nowadays, most garden supplies sell hydroponic systems for home growers. You can select a kit of a particular size, based on your budget and requirements. Other supplies needed to start a hydroponic project for growing tomatoes are plant nutrients, tomato plantlets, supporting stakes, measuring spoons and light source (if necessary). It is to be borne in mind that hydroponic tomatoes seeds are no different from regular tomato seeds.
Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes
Once you have the supplies ready, decide where you want to maintain the hydroponic system. In case, you don’t want hassles for installing artificial lighting, it is best to place the system near a window, balcony or outside the porch. The only thing is to protect hydroponic tomato plants from night frost. The next step for starting hydroponic gardening is setting up the system with reference to the given instructions.
Refer to the guidelines while filling up water, especially for maintaining the water quality and levels. Then add hydroponic tomatoes nutrients as per the recommended concentrations. Ensure that you measure the ingredients in accurate amounts and add in the water. Otherwise, lower or higher concentration can reduce tomato yields. Having done this, clean the rocks provided with the kit (if any) and add in the hydroponic system.
Now, you are ready to introduce tomato plants in your hydroponic system. Gently remove tomato plantlets from the pot or containers. Try removing the adhering soil particles from the roots as far as possible. You can wash the roots to get rid of soil components. Then place tomato plants in the system and cover their roots with rocks. This will support the plants and prevent from bending.
Complete the installation part (hose and drip ring) for growing hydroponic tomatoes. Start the system and check for proper functioning. If you notice water dripping from the ring at regular intervals, then it is working fine. After you have completed setting up the hydroponic system, the next steps are focused on maintaining it, such as regular filling of water and supplementing nutrients.
So, this is how you can grow hydroponic tomatoes at home. You may need to change some portion of water on a regular basis, say once in two weeks. Follow the basic tips for staking and pruning tomato plants, particularly when they reach to a height of about 2 feet. With correct water levels and proper nutrients, your hydroponic tomatoes will develop flowers, and soon you can enjoy homegrown hydroponic tomatoes.