Which Tomatoes for Hydroponics !
Which Tomatoes for Hydroponics !
I must confess that tomatoes are probably the best and most rewarding things that you can grow. Also, they are a great choice for hydronic gardeners as well as conventional growers. Because of this, many growers think that they would do best in a hydroponic environment. Compared to being in a greenhouse or outside, I have tried all methods! This year, I grew in my usual greenhouse and have had mixed results.
I use two plastic water tanks to supply the pots, which are filled with a mixture of clay pebbles and coco peat made by Canna. So, you can buy this at your local hydrostore. However, I’ve discovered that it’s now available pre-mixed and ready to use. I will probably get this for the next growing season.
One of the most important vegetables in the world is the tomato. Many of our favourite dishes utilise tomatoes, a tasty produce that is also healthful. Who eats French fries without ketchup? Everything Italian appears to have a tomato base. Red, plump, vine-ripened, and spotless tomatoes are most desirable. Hydroponics is an intriguing, non-traditional method of growing tomatoes with these characteristics.
Numerous fruits and vegetables can be grown with hydroponics very effectively and efficiently. It entails raising them in water that has critical plant nutrients dissolved in it, known as a nutrient solution. You can carry out this either with or without an artificial medium. Sand, gravel, rockwool, peat, sawdust, and vermiculite are some examples of these mediums. Greenhouses used in hydroponic systems are enclosed, temperature-controlled, and help prevent pest infestations.
One important thing to remember is when choosing the type of tomatoes to grow using the hydroponics method.
Then, you should only choose the “indeterminate” varieties of tomatoes. These grow like vines and can be trained to climb a cane. The flowers that produce the tomatoes will sprout in-between the leaf axils. This can be best seen on this excellent video-
apart from tying them to the canes as they grow. Then the only thing to do is to pinch out any growth that appears to be sprouting on the joints of the branches and main stem. These tomatoes are said to be “truss varieties” because they grow on trusses.
The efficient use of fertilisers and water intake, extremely high yields, lack of seasonality, and pest removal are benefits of hydroponically cultivating tomatoes. By not growing them in soil, factors like pH, salinity, infections, or poor drainage are eliminated that can impede growth. The farmer has complete control over the environment, ensuring that the tomatoes are growing in the best possible conditions. These tomatoes can also be planted all year long to always have fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes available.
Hydroponically cultivating tomatoes has a few drawbacks. Energy and capital inputs are very high. Additionally, success requires above average managerial abilities. Hydroponics is only used for high-value crops like tomatoes due to these drawbacks.
To properly grow tomatoes hydroponically, a variety of outside elements must be managed. Light, temperature, humidity, and air flow are a few of these. Fertility, solution pH, and pruning are additional factors. These are all essential to the plants’ success and require precise, cautious management to function properly.
As the plant grows upward, you will be rewarded with bunches of green and then red tomatoes. As the plant reaches the top of the growing area, nip out the growing tip. thus allowing the plant to stop growing and put all its energy into producing a good tomato crop on the lower stems.
Just a mention that the determinate tomato varieties grow as a bush and are more suited to other types of growing methods.
Cluster (Truss) Tomatoes
Because of my age (now very old), these are my first-choice tomato varieties. These are the types that look like regular tomatoes or vine tomatoes. As I have said, they grow in trusses and attain the regular-looking size of tomatoes. Of course, most gardeners recognise the names of these varieties because of their regular good performance and dependability. Old favourites such as Alicante, Ailsa Craig, and Moneymaker are still very popular varieties. Also, I grow a few F1 hybrid varieties such as “Shirley” and “Cristal.”
However, if you want to save the seeds for your next year’s crop, F1 hybrid seeds will not come true to variety. Finally, I find that the truss tomatoes have an excellent taste and are perfect for the salad bowl. I also like to cook them for breakfast with some eggs and bacon; they taste delicious.
So, these are my second-preferred variety to grow. These can grow very large, and I must admit to showing off their size when we have visitors to the house! I first saw this type of tomato when I was a young man and went to Spain for my summer holidays. They were not available in the UK at the time and were considered exotics. They looked great sliced on a lovely Spanish salad.
Later, when I visited France, I bought some “Marmande” seeds in a local garden centre. These were not the giants, but they were very similar to the beefsteak tomatoes found in Spain. Beefsteaks can also come in F1 varieties, so beware of saving the seeds as they won’t come true. This year, I tried a variety called “Pink Brandywine.” So, when sliced, they just fit into a slice of bread. The flavour is good, and they are excellent sliced with a pinch of salt and some good “virgin olive oil” sprinkled on top.
I would try your one choice, though. Sometimes it is worth buying a couple of different plants from your local garden centre to find your one preference. Believe me, it is well worth the effort, and there is nothing tastier than your own homegrown tomatoes.
Plum Tomatoes gaining popularity-Which Tomatoes for Hydroponics
Italy is becoming a very popular tourist attraction, and I believe it is the true home of the “plum tomatoes.” Again, these would only be found in canned tomatoes and would be inaccessible to UK gardeners. However, they are now widely available and are worth a try. They grow in the same way as a vine and are popular for their delicious flavour and plum-shaped fruit. I love to grow plum tomatoes and have been successful with the varieties “Roma” and ” San Marzano.”
So, both these varieties have grown very well next to my regular crops and the flavours are very tasty. I love these cooked with a little oil and two fried eggs on top for my breakfast. Fresh from my greenhouse then life could not be better!
Now there are many different colours!-Which Tomatoes for Hydroponics
During the past few years, “cherry tomatoes” have become a popular choice for salads and also for mixing with mainly Italian dishes. because they can be kept whole and remain in shape when cooked. However, I am not a fan of these, and so far I have not grown any. There are types that can be grown in a hanging basket and cascade from the basket called “Tumbler” . I may try these, but so far I’ve given them a miss.
Anyhow, to make the salad bowl more interesting, it is possible to buy tomatoes that have many different colours. Hence, orange-coloured varieties are now popular, including “Orange Santa” and “Orange Wellington.” Dark-coloured tomatoes don’t look right to me ! They have very dark skin, despite not being completely black. Varieties such as ” Black Opal” are available, but these are not for me.
A very nice looking striped tomato is available called “tigerella“. hence with a red back ground and yellow stripes. I have grown these, but my family thought they looked sick! Not for everyone, but certainly unique.
Finally all your growing mediums and plant care materials are available online from all over the UK via the “Hydrostore” website.