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Hydroponics is a wonderful way to grow plants for those who have minimal room to farm or may be living in an urban setting without available soil. However, even with a lot of room, hydroponics make for an interesting and highly efficient way to grow plants.
With proper hydroponics equipment and hydroponics nutrients, gardeners using a hydroponics system are said to be able to increase the growth rate of their plants by up to 50% in comparison to soil-grown plants. One of these plants that can benefit from hydroponic systems is tomatoes.
Creating a hydroponic system
Before growing tomatoes or any other vegetable hydroponically, it’s essential to first build a hydroponic system capable of being used. If you’ve never put together a hydroponic system before, consider following the steps below:
- Choose a hydroponic system. There are various types of hydroponic systems available for gardeners. If you’re planning on growing tomatoes, you can choose from any system available as tomatoes typically grow well in either. However, for sake of instruction, the following steps will show you how to design an ebb and flow hydroponic system.
- Find the right location. Hydroponics work best in greenhouse and indoor environments where the humidity and temperature can be controlled using hydroponic lights and other equipment.
- Create a reservoir. A reservoir can be made using a large container that is filled with water. It should be noted that a plastic container works best so as not to let in light. Light can reduce the ability to grow algae in the reservoir. The hydroponics nutrients necessary to encourage the growth of your plants depends on the type of plant you intend to grow. However, for tomatoes, up to 2.5 gallons of hydroponics nutrients should be used for each tomato plant.
- Support your plants. Place a tray above the reservoir as an ebb and flow tray. This tray must be capable of holding up your tomato plants.
- Install a water pump in the reservoir. A water pump, typically found at a hydroponic garden equipment store, helps to send water up to different heights in your hydroponic system.
- Install fill tubing. Place up to ½ inch of PVC tubing between the water pump and the tray on your reservoir. This tube will enable the tray to be flooded enough for the tomato roots to get the hydroponics nutrients and water they need. Attach a second tube to the tray with an overflow fitting attached to it to avoid water overflow on the tray.
- Place a timer on the pump. Keeping a timer attached to the water pump will enable a certain amount of nutrients to be delivered to the plants at certain stages.
Hydroponics systems can be incredibly useful and incredibly fun to use for those who are unable to do their gardening or farming outside. If you live in an urban area or simply like the idea of starting a hydroponics system in your own space, consider creating your own system today.