I love fresh tomatoes on my sandwiches, in salads, salsa, and fried up green. Nothings better than plucking one fresh off the vine and slicing it up. Growing hydroponic tomatoes is easy and can be a very rewarding experience. Here’s what you need to know about growing hydroponic tomatoes.
Getting Hydroponic Tomatoes Started
Germinating seeds- I prefer to germinate my seeds in rapid rooter. Seeds germinate well with 70-80 degree temperature and you should see seedlings in about 5-8 days. I would recommend using a heat mat.
Tomato plants are not difficult to start from seed but can take a while to get from seed to fruit.
Cloning tomatoes- Cloning tomato plants is an easy process that guarantees you to get a plant with the same traits as the one being cloned. You can clone tomato plants using oxygenated water or using rapid rooter plugs.
Transplant plant from dirt Another way to get your hydroponic tomatoes garden going is to purchase a tomato plant from the store and transplant it from the dirt into your hydroponic system.
What Hydroponic Systems Works Best For Tomatoes?
Hydroponic Tomatoes should be grown in a hydroponic system that can support a large, heavy plant. Just like in traditional gardens, you will need to add support for your tomato plant so the branches do not break due to the weight of the fruit.
I prefer to grow my hydroponic tomato plants using deep water culture in 5 gallon hydroponic buckets and dutch bucket systems. These systems work well for large foliage plants and can accommodate plants with a very large root systems. I use 5 gallon net pot bucket lids for my tomatoes. This makes it easy for me to insert a tomato cage over the plant to provide support.
What Is The Best Temperature For Hydroponic Tomatoes?
Tomatoes grow best in warm temperatures, going from warmer in the day to cooler temperatures at night. I try to keep my tomato plants in the 70-degree range during the day and in the 60-degree range in while dark.
When temperatures get too hot or cold tomato plants will slow production.
Spacing Requirements For Hydroponic Tomatoes
You should give your tomato plants plenty of room to spread out. The exact length of spacing is going to depend on the variety your growing and how big you want it to grow. You should also account for the room needed to move around your plant to prune and harvest the fruit.
Tomato plants can typically be spaced 12-24 inches with proper pruning and training. Hydroponic systems like bubble buckets give you more flexibility with spacing since you can move the buckets around easily.
How Much Light Do Hydroponic Tomatoes Need?
Tomato plants love to soak up the light. Plants can grow to be large and produce an abundance of fruit which takes a lot of energy to produce.
Tomato plants are day neutral so they don’t require a specific duration of light in order to produce flowers and fruit. I recommend giving your hydroponic tomato plants about 14-16 hours of light each day.
Recommended pH Level For Hydroponic Tomatoes
The recommended pH level for hydroponic tomato plants is 5.5–6.5.
Hydroponic Tomato Nutrient Requirements
Tomato plants should start off being grown with a nutrient regimen geared towards vegetative growth. A simple one part nutrient solution like Dyna Gro Grow works well up until your ready tomato is ready for flowering.
When your tomato plant is ready to switch to the flowering phase you should switch to a nutrient regimen with less nitrogen and geared towards flower and fruit production. A 1 part nutrient like Dyna-Gro Liquid Bloom is easy to use for the fruit and flower stage of growth. I also use Dyna-Gro’s Pro Tekt throughout the growth cycle.
1 part nutrients are easy to use but don’t allow you the flexibility to tailor your nutrients to the specific crop. When you start to understand the nutrient needs of the plant your growing, you may look to a more advanced nutrient regimen like General Hydroponics Flora Series. Plants can also benefit from various supplements that go by different names depending on the nutrient regiment your using.
Because hydroponic tomatoes get big and grow fast, they take in a lot of nutrients and water. If you’re using hydroponic buckets to grow your tomatoes, you will need to top off and provide new nutrient solution on a regular basis. For this reason, drip and bato setups make caring for hydroponic tomato nutrient needs easier.
*Grow Tip- Tomatoes are susceptible to blossom end rot. To prevent blossom end rot you should add a little calcium and magnesium product to your nutrient regimen. To learn more about preventing blossom end rot, check out this article.
Pollination if Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes Indoors
Tomatoes grown outdoors have help from nature when it comes to pollinating their flowers. If you’re growing your hydroponic tomato plants indoors you will need to assist your plants with pollinating so the flowers will produce fruit.
Check out an article I wrote about 3 methods of hand pollination you can use to pollinate your indoor hydroponic tomato flowers.
Days Until Hydroponic Tomato Harvest
With so many varieties of tomatoes days until harvest varies. Varieties with smaller fruit can be ready to harvest in about 45 days while larger varieties can take as much as 70 days. When properly cared for, Tomato plants can grow can keep producing fruit for up to a year.