Do you want to know the most eco-friendly methods for how to grow tomatoes hydroponically at home? Read it here for your complete guidance.
Juicy red tomatoes, campari tomatoes are one of the most demanded vegetables that hydroponic farmers can grow easily. Most of all, hydroponic methods can be used to grow these delicious fruits and vegetables.
To learn how to grow hydroponic tomatoes, we will discuss two easy yet efficient hydroponic farming methods to produce these plump and tasty berries in a soil-free and sustainable way.
We will discuss the Kratky and Dutch Bucket methods to grow our tomato vines and bushes indoors or outdoors while explaining these methods’ steps and benefits for growing hydroponic tomatoes with them.
What is the Kratky Method For Hydroponic tomatoes?
It is the simplest type of hydroponics. It is a beginner-friendly method and can be adapted easily by a farmer of any age. You can grow crops in it, from inside a simple mason jar to a 5-gallon bucket or reservoir.
It is believed to be a passive hydroponic technique as we use a static nutrient solution that is neither moved by any water pumps nor oxygenated by air pumps.
We leave some head space between the water and the growing bucket to provide oxygen.
This technique is comparable to DWC hydroponics. The Kratky technique does not require an air pump, air stone, or tubing, which DWC does.
What is the Dutch Bucket method For Hydroponic Tomatoes?
It is a hydroponic technique in which farmers use multiple Dutch buckets connected to the same nutrient supply system.
This bucket system is simple to build, with many Dutch buckets serving as growing fields. It is flexible and ideal for producing a variety of tomatoes on its vines or bushes.
This technique is comparable to NFT hydroponic. Similar to NFT, it employs pipes for nutrient water supply. A single huge reservoir/bucket will hold nutrient-rich water.
From this reservoir, the pumps can send nutritious water into the pipe channels, which after passing through a bucket, recollect and send nutrient-rich water to the reservoir.
Among these, if you are thinking about commercial farming, the Dutch bucket is preferable, and the Kratky method is preferable for indoor gardening of tomatoes.
How to Prepare a Nutrient Solution for Hydroponic Tomatoes?
As we are using the simple hydroponic technique to grow our tomatoes in less time, let’s first discuss the heart of these methods: the preparation of nutrient solutions for bubbleponic, hydroponic tomato farming.
To thrive, tomatoes require potassium, nitrate nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and minor nutrients like zinc, copper, iron, and boron.
To grow them, we must provide them with nutrient solutions that contain a perfect blend of them in proper proportion.
The best thing about the Kratky method is that once the solution is fed to the system, you can add nutrient mix directly into the water without changing it daily as this method does not have any pump.
In a Dutch bucket, you add the nutrient solution to the reservoir from where the solution pumps in buckets, so buckets also don’t require much cleaning.
Steps to Prepare the Nutrient Solution
The amount of nutrients varies as per the amount of water and the nature of the nutrient, like whether it’s in liquid form or powder form.
However, 10 ml or 10 g of the nutrient mix is typically used for 1 gallon of water. The pH of the water must be within 5.8-6.3, and EC needs to be within 2-5.
How to Start Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes
Before we discuss the steps of both methods, let’s again discuss another crucial step: how to get seedlings for our hydroponic systems.
1. Is getting seedlings from the market a good choice?
Commercial farmers prefer to buy seedlings from the market to save time and grow crops quickly.
But in the long term, these market seedlings affect the quality of your tomatoes as these seedlings are grown in soil, and it will take time to adapt to hydroponic.
2. Is seedling growth from seed germination a better choice?
Yes! Tomato seedlings can be grown in a water-efficient medium such as Rockwool or coconut coir. Soak your growing medium with pH 4.5 water and insert the seed.
Use sunlight, or a grow light to provide light for these seedlings for 12 hours until they sprout.
Once your tomato seeds are sprouted, relocate them to any area where they will still have enough light to grow into seedlings.
This is a very important factor for tomato growth in hydroponics. In the case of indoor farming, use proper grow lights with a red and blue lights so your tomato plant will get adequate sunlight.
In the case of outdoor gardening, select a location where sunlight is bright and available for at least 8 to 10 hours.
How To Grow Tomatoes Hydroponically At Home- Kratky Method
Germination occurs before implementing this method, and the first critical step is constructing the system.
Essential Items Required To Build a Hydroponic System to Grow Tomatoes
This method requires these four essential items to build a hydroponic system to grow tomatoes.
|A large container fills nutrient-rich water with a plastic or Styrofoam lid to avoid water evaporation and hold net pots.|
|The webbed plastic net pots with holes to fill the medium and grow seedlings|
|Growing mediums such as coco coir, Rockwool clay pebbles, or perlite supports plant roots and absorbs nutrients and water after their roots filter nutrients.|
|Finally, our nutrient-rich water and nutrient mix must maintain its concentration throughout the tomato growth process.|
After preparing our nutrient solution as discussed above, we transfer our seedlings to our net pots and utilize the following steps to grow Hydroponic tomatoes in the Kratky Method.
- We place net cups on our lids so that only the bottom of the cup touches the liquid. After moving seedlings in those net cups filled with growing medium, only their roots feel the nutrient-rich water.
- Supports are added to net cups as sticks so our tomato vines can creep on them. Use ropes to hold them from bending.
- Because there is air space between net pots and nutrient-rich water, roots can readily absorb oxygen from the air.
- Small size tomato varieties like Tiny Tim, Alberto Shatters, grape, and cherry tomatoes can quickly grow in this technique.
- It takes around one to quarter months to grow hydroponic tomatoes in them and another month to get them mature enough to harvest.
Steps to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes in Dutch Bucket Method
Similarly, this method required the following steps after seedling development and nutrient preparation.
Following materials are required in its construction:
|One large reservoir to store nutrient-rich solution|
|Air and water pump with PVC pipes and fittings|
|8-10 Buckets with lids and holes to fit net pots|
|Net pots with holes to support plants and fill the growing medium|
|Growing medium perlite or hydroton|
|8-10 drip emitters|
- A Dutch bucket system connects containers horizontally, giving lots of space for vertical development. Vining plants are suitable for this since tomatoes grow them in an upward direction.
- Our nutrient solution is present in the nutrient tank from where the pump in our reservoir transports nutrient water to an irrigation line connected with buckets.
- Those irrigation channels deliver water through drip emitters and drop water over the growing medium present in buckets, which after their absorption, filter back to the nutrient reservoir tank.
- Oxygen is also provided along with nutrient-rich water from nutrient tanks due to the presence of an air pump.
- For drip irrigation, a timer of 30 minutes can be used to save nutrient-rich water.
- After transporting to Dutch buckets, it will take one month for them to grow fully.
- Once they turn red, harvest them to use further.
Pros and Cons of the Kratky Method for Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes:
- The Kratky method is easy and beginner-friendly for growing Hydroponic tomatoes.
- It doesn’t require nutrient-rich water recycling; water and nutrients can be added whenever needed.
- It is not profitable for commercial farming.
Pros and Cons of the Dutch Bucket Method for Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes:
- It is water efficient as a timer, drip irrigation avoids wastage of water, and more plants can grow in a limited amount of nutrient solution.
- It is profitable for commercial and home gardening to grow Hydroponic tomatoes.
- Dutch Bucket Method is dependent on electricity; in case of electricity shortage yield of tomatoes will be affected.
Both of these methods can be used to grow tasty and healthy Hydroponic Tomatoes in less time than traditional farming.
How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes FAQS
Q: Do We Need To Use Pesticides On Hydroponic Tomato Growing Fields?
These plants are not easily affected by pests if your nutrient mix contains calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals to grow.
Q: Is It Possible To Grow Tomatoes Using The Kratky Method?
Yes, we can quickly grow small tomato varieties in the Kratky method.
Q: Name A Few Tomato Seeds Which Can Be Grown Hydroponically.
The best seeds we can grow hydroponically are Tiny Tim, Cherry, Plum Regal, and Daniela.
Q: Is Growing Tomatoes Hydroponically Economical?
Growing tomatoes on a commercial scale using hydroponics is economical and good for our health.
Q: Are Hydroponic Tomatoes Tasteless?
No, they are tasty and nutritious, which is beneficial for our health.
Q: What Is The Optimum Temperature To Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes?
During the daytime, a minimum of 26°C to a maximum of 28°C, while at night a minimum of 20°C to a maximum of 23°C for optimum growth of hydroponic tomatoes.
Now you know How to grow Tomatoes Hydroponically, check other veggies below.
To produce healthy and nutritious tomatoes in an environment-friendly and water-efficient way, we have to describe how to grow hydroponic tomatoes using the Kratky Method and the Dutch bucket method.
Both are equally beneficial in providing hydroponic tomatoes in less time with more nutrition than traditionally grown tomatoes.
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