How To Grow Tomatoes In Hydroponics- A Step-by-step Guide

how to grow tomatoes in hydroponics

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Although tomatoes have traditionally been grown in the ground, you can grow them in a hydroponic system as well. Here, in this article, I’m going to show you how to grow tomatoes in hydroponics.

Growing tomatoes hydroponically has a lot of benefits. You don’t have to worry about plant diseases, you can grow them faster and even control the size of the fruits you want.

Hydroponics tomatoes are a great alternative for gardeners who have limited space, or for those who just want a quick, easy way to grow some fresh tomatoes.

It is easy and fun with the right tools and information. If you follow the process I am going to share here, it will yield excellent results.

How To Grow Tomatoes In Hydroponics 

The whole process of growing tomatoes in a hydroponic system can be divided into four parts.

  1. Setting up the system
  2. Planting
  3. Maintenance and care
  4. Harvesting 

Setting Up The Hydroponic System For Growing Tomatoes:

Choosing The Right Hydroponic System:

When looking to grow hydroponic tomatoes, first decide what type of hydroponic system you want to use. There are many options available to suit any need, from very small spaces to large ones, and from beginner growers to professional growers.

Consider your space limitations and electricity usage when deciding which hydroponic system is right for you.

Hydroponics can utilize your existing lighting and different systems to accommodate different space needs. Make sure that the system you choose takes into account how often it will be used, and keep in mind that each plant you grow will need some personal attention.

DIY systems are great if you like to experiment with hydroponics, but they aren’t the best choice if time is important to you. A good option for people who lack space is the NFT hydroponic system where you can grow large quantities of leafy greens; just give your tomatoes some support to handle their weight.

Choose A Good Growing Medium:

Although in a hydroponic system you can grow tomatoes in water only, for the best results, use a growing medium. 

An inert growing medium will allow proper aeration and nutrition to your tomato plants.

You can use coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite, etc as a growing medium to grow tomatoes in hydroponics. 

Another popular medium is expanded clay pellets; they are easy to find, cheap, and work great.

Choose The Nutrient Mix:

To have a thriving tomato garden you‘ll need to use the best nutrients. It doesn’t matter if you‘re growing in tomatoes hydroponics or soil, they are one of the most demanding plants when it comes to nutrients.

Good quality nutrients will help your hydroponic tomatoes stay healthy and stronger. you would also get better growth rates and more juicy tomatoes.

It can be hard to know which hydroponics fertilizers to use for growing tomatoes because there are many different products available. Use a nutrient mix like this one that is natural, has low amounts of nitrogen, and is especially meant for growing tomatoes.

When you buy a hydroponics kit, you will have your nutrients with the bundle.

Choose Your Garden Lights:

Daily sunlight is best for growing tomatoes. However, if you live in a shady location and want to grow tomatoes in a garage artificial lighting is a must for you.

Although there are many artificial lights, LED grow lights work best for growing tomatoes in a hydroponics system. They last a long time and consume very little energy. Setting them up is also fast and easy, and they even work on a timer.

The Trellis:

All tomatoes need a little support, and a trellis is a great option for smaller gardens. A trellis supports your tomato plants both vertically and horizontally.

If you buy a hydroponic tomato growing kit it generally comes with the kit.

Alternatively, you can easily make your trellis support system with stakes (or other support structure), and some twines.

Buy The Tomato Seedlings:

Don’t just buy your tomato seedlings from the first place you see, take some time to do some research. Here are a few things you will need to keep in mind while choosing tomato seedlings for hydroponics:

How much space do you have? Do you want a determinate or indeterminate variety of tomatoes?

Will the tomatoes be for cooking or eating fresh?

What type of tomatoes do you want? Heirlooms? Beefsteak? Cherry tomatoes?

Although the choice depends quite a lot on your personal taste and preferences, in general, tomato seedlings should be young, healthy, and strong. They will need to produce fruit for you after all! 

Prepare The Nutrient Solution:

To prepare the hydroponic nutrient solution, first, fill your reservoir up with water. Then you will need to add your solution mix.

The instructions are on the package, but usually, about 1 tablespoon of nutrients per gallon of water should be enough to grow tomatoes.

Check The Ph And Ec Level:

pH and EC are two parameters that you should keep a close eye on for growing tomatoes through hydroponics. The first parameter is the acidity of the solution and the second parameter is the electrical conductivity of the solution.

The best pH level for tomatoes is between 6.00 and 6.50 and the best EC level for tomatoes should fall between 2.00 and 5.00

You can use an EC meter and a pH meter to keep an eye on those two factors.

Most hydroponic growing kits are equipped with those meters.

Connect Your Kit:

Now it’s time to set up the hydroponic system. First, plug in the air pump in the mains. and put the air stone in the reservoir.

Next, connect the timer to the mains and plug the water pump into the timer.

Put the fetching hose of the pump in the bottom of the reservoir and connect the irrigation hose to the grow tank.

Wash The Growing Medium:

There is one final job to do in order to get everything ready and that is to wash and disinfect the growing medium. You will need to do this every time you grow a plant.

It’s super important to clean your growing medium. Your plant roots will love you if you make sure they are in a nice, clean place to grow. Don’t worry, it’s quick and easy. Use water and alcohol to make sure it’s germ-free.

Simply take your bag of growing medium outdoors and spray it with the hose pipe until they are sufficiently soaked. Then pour on two or three buckets of water before taking the mixture outdoors again.

Put The Growing Medium Into The Mesh Pots:

Once you washed and sterilized your medium as described above. It’s time to fill them in the pots. Here you will now start planting tomato seedlings. 

Planting:

Plant The Tomato Seedlings:

Planting the tomato seedlings in the growing medium is not that complicated, it is more like planting in soil. As a matter of fact, you can do this while putting growing mediums on the pots.

Take a little bit of the growing medium and then cover the roots completely. Make sure to leave enough space for the stem and you’re good to go.

Set The Timer:

Unless you are using a deep water culture you have set the timer for irrigating your tomato plants.

During the day, your tomato plants will sip water from their nutrient solution as they need it. At night, they won’t need to use any. As long as you have the appropriate amount of water in your reservoir, you can forget about watering them for a little while.

These irrigation cycles also change based on the system you choose:

For example in an ebb and flow, use a timer to run the pump for 10-15 minutes every hour. but if it is a drip system you have to be flexible and adjust according to the results.

Switch On The System:

Finally, you can now switch on the pumps and start the hydroponic system. Keep the system well lit and it should work efficiently. From now on, your main job would be to maintain the system and take care of the tomato plants.

Maintenance And Care:

Maintenance Of The System:

Once you’ve started your hydroponic garden, it needs periodic care. The good news is that it is not that tough to do this.

Keep checking the pH level and the EC level every two or three days with an EC meter and a pH meter. maintaining a constant level is crucial for the proper function of a hydroponic system.

Also, keep checking the system for any clogs or algae growth so that the water flow remains intact.

Taking Care Of The Plants:

Pruning:

One of the essential parts of caring for your tomato plants is to do regular pruning.

While your tomato plant is growing, you might notice these small “branches” that seem to grow off of the main stem and between the main stem and the branches.

The best way to remove those suckers is to simply snip them off at the base. Here is a detailed guide on pruning tomatoes.

Give Support to Your Tomato Plants:

Giving your tomatoes some sort of support is almost crucial in hydroponics. Without any support system your tomato plant will bend down and once it starts fruiting the weight of the fruits will make it even worse.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to tie your tomato plants with a trellis.

While tying the plant remember to tie only the main stem and not the branches.

Tie them before they start fruiting so the plants have some time to adjust.

Check For Disease Or Pests:

While soil-based tomatoes get nutrients from the soil, hydroponic tomatoes get from a water-nutrient solution.

Plants grown without soil are generally healthier and are pest and disease resistant. that is why tomatoes that are grown hydroponically rarely catch diseases or are infested by pests.

Having said that, to be absolutely sure, you should check your plants regularly for any signs of pests and diseases.

If you found any pest infestation you can either remove them manually or try organic pest removal techniques to fight those irregularities.

Harvesting Your Tomatoes:

Hydroponics provides the perfect environment for your fruits and vegetables to grow.

If you’re growing your tomatoes in a hydroponics system, and if you’re following our advice, you’ll be enjoying your first harvest from your tomatoes within 2 months from planting the seedlings. This is assuming that the climate is suitable for growing tomatoes and that you give them enough light.

Conclusion:

Hydroponic growing can be an excellent solution for you if you want to enjoy home-grown fresh produce and tomatoes all year around.

Growing tomatoes in a hydroponic system is so easy that anyone can do it. And with Gardening ABC on your side, you can easily achieve this.

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prasenjit

Hi there! My name is Prasenjit and I’m an avid gardener and someone who has grown a passion for growing plants. From my hands-on experience, I have learned what works and what doesn't. Here I share everything I have learned.

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