Growing Tomatoes the Hydroponics Way
Using hydroponics to grow tomatoes can produce a tastier crop and much less dirt. Hydroponically grown tomatoes also tend to be more uniform in size since each tomato receives the same amount of food.
Tomatoes grown hydroponically do not grow in soil but in water enriched with all the food a growing tomato plant needs.
Although not necessary for tomatoes a sterile growing medium is still a good idea. The medium will protect the roots from light and allow oxygen to circulate around them. With a good root base the tomato plants will not start to lean over as soon as they attain any height above a few inches. Raising tomato seedlings in rock-wool as the support medium is successful.
Soil Borne Disease
Since hydroponic gardening does not use soil and the support medium is sterile, hydroponically grown plants are not subject to soil borne disease.
With hydroponics it is possible to precisely control which nutrients are delivered to the plants and the quantity. This enables you to encourage the development of the plant at all stages.
Tomato plants often grow quickly any way but hydroponically they grow very quickly. You will need to provide support for the plants before they start to collapse. It is important that you choose and design the plant supports to prevent damaging the plants.
Using Artificial Lighting
If you are using artificial lighting for your tomato plants you should be aware of how fast they are growing. If you are using low level lights the plants could grow close enough to the lights to get burned.
As soon as your tomato plants start flowering get into the habit of shaking the plants to spread the pollen as widely as possible.
Once the flowering is finished and the fruit starts to develop you can make sure that the ideal food mix is delivered. Theoretically the fruit should all be about the same size but that will only be true if you pick them all at the same time. It might be an idea to check your lighting at this point. Make sure it will provide the right part of the spectrum (red and yellow) to ensure a nice color.
If you have reservations about how effective hydroponics is upon your tomato crop do a little test. Try placing plants on grow bags. Take some of your hydroponically grown plants or start out each type of growth from scratch. See which plants grow quicker and produce the best results.
For some reason growing tomatoes in soil tends to create a disproportionate amount of dirt. This is not a problem with hydroponically grown tomatoes. No soil – no dirt.
The ease of growing tomatoes hydroponically brings them into the reach of any gardener. An aspect of hydroponic gardening that can help improve the size of your crop is vertical growth. Hydroponic plants can be grown in a vertical arrangement making much more use of available floor space.