The taste and aroma of a homegrown tomato is one of the great joys in life. With worldwide populations getting larger and larger, land is at a premium. Many people do not have the property needed to grow tomatoes and other garden staples. There is a solution for this problem.
Hydroponics is a system for growing vegetables and other plants that can be done without the use of soil and can be grown indoors. This system enables the grower to have fresh vegetables year round. Hydroponics uses no soil, and less water than a soil grown tomato would need. There are many different kinds of hydroponic systems that can be used by the home grower.
A nutrient film system and a deep flow system are common and can be used by the home grower. The way these systems operate is a relatively straightforward concept. Deep channels, that contain the root system of the plant to be grown allows a nutrient rich organic solution to flow through to enrich the plants.
Tomato plants have a bigger root system than other plants such as lettuce, herbs, and strawberries, so tomatoes would require a system with larger channels. The grower must monitor the levels of nutrients and replenish the supply as needed. Maintaining the system and monitoring the organic nutrients within the hydroponic system is crucial to healthy and producing plants.
There are many other types of hydroponic systems as well, such as the ebb and flow system, continual flow gravel bed, and soil-less organic aquaponic systems that have all shown excellent results for tomato production. Researching the systems will help the grower decide which is best for the situation.
The crop yield for organic, hydroponic tomatoes grown using this system has been found to be greater than soil produced tomatoes, and the impact on earth is significantly reduced. Growing tomatoes hydroponically indoors will substantially reduce the risk of infestation by insects and soil borne diseases. Many hydroponic systems recommend organic fertilizers that keep tomatoes free of pesticides.
The tomato is one of the most extensively cross bred plants, and many varieties are available. However, the list for the best organic, hydroponic tomato changes yearly as plant breeders are constantly trying new breeds.
Two beefsteak hybrids, Trust and Daniela, have proven year after year to be exceptional tomatoes to grow hydroponically. The Trust organic tomato is a large fruit, with excellent taste, size, and texture. The Daniela is a smaller tomato, with great firmness, taste, and shelf life. There are also some heirloom tomatoes that do well using a hydroponic system, although yields are usually smaller, and firmness and shelf life are less than the hybrid varieties.
However, the taste and aroma of the heirloom tomatoes are better than the hybrids. Another thing to consider is that heirloom tomatoes are more prone to diseases than most hybrids. If heirloom tomatoes are grown, a thorough cleaning of the system is needed to protect future crops from disease.
Plum tomatoes and cherry or miniature types of tomatoes are becoming more popular with hydroponic growers, but again they are more prone to disease. Plant breeders are making progress with hybrid varieties of plum and cherry tomatoes that are showing more resistance to disease.
Growing an organic, hydroponic tomato is a fantastic way to get those incredible tasting homegrown tomatoes. With the hydroponic systems available on the market, anyone can produce them. For those with limited land or no land at all, having a home garden is not out of reach. The pleasure of growing and eating a homegrown tomato is unequaled as compared to a store bought tomato.