Tomatoes are very popular and versatile. However, growing them traditionally in soil doesn't work so well when the climates change. Hydroponic gardening makes it possible to have these plants right outside your doorstep all through the year. And that not all--controlling the environs for these vegetables also produces juicy and nutritious tomatoes. You won't have to go for the artificially ripened flavourless ones anymore. However, if you're thinking of growing tomatoes hydroponically, here are a couple of tips to get you started.
Know your technique
There are a number of hydroponic techniques you can use to grow the tomatoes. If you're just testing the waters, then the ebb and flow System is a great start. It's cheap and ideal for beginners due to its ease of operation. The nutrient solution is periodically pumped to the roots of the tomatoes on the grow tray after which the solution is drained.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) places the plant roots in a slope, and the nutrient solution is trickled down for the tomatoes to absorb. Unfortunately, NFT causes the plants lower down the slope to receive less nutrients.
You could also go for the drip system, where the solution is pumped to individual plants. This technique offers more control over the system but is harder to grasp correctly.
No matter what system you opt for, ensure you purchase quality hydroponic supplies from a reputable gardening supply store. You don't want your pump failing a few weeks in gardening your tomatoes. Such faults can lead to huge losses.
Grow from seeds
You'll save a lot more money growing your tomatoes from seeds as opposed to purchasing seedlings. All you need to do is grow as many seeds as possible and then pick out the best performing seedlings. In addition, you'll also be in a position to grow a lot of heirloom types of tomatoes that are commercially unavailable. Planting your own seeds also reduces the probability of spreading diseases and infections.
Get the best lighting
Your lighting is one of the top contributors to healthy tomatoes. Purchase an LED glow light, as it is one of the most preferred lighting sources. The tomatoes need to be exposed to light for 12-16 hours. However, you need to cover the roots, because exposing them to light may damage them.
You could also use a grow tent to provide even better lighting. When purchasing one, ensure that they've got a highly reflective interior so that your tomatoes can benefit from maximum light. It'll also be much easier to provide the required 6-8 hours of total darkness tomatoes need to grow.