In the peak of summer, nothing compares to the flavor, texture, and sweetness of a freshly harvested tomato.
The advantages of eating seasonally are well-known, but thanks to hydroponic growing practices and the technology they employ, we can enjoy high-quality tomatoes all year long.
Instead of using tomatoes that have been picked green, chilled, and then turned to bland varieties for consumption in the dead of winter, hydroponics gives us ripe, juicy tomatoes all year long!
In this article, we’ll explore how hydroponics makes this possible and how to grow tomatoes indoors in the winter season.
What Makes Hydroponically Grown Tomatoes Better?
The plant’s root system receives a continual supply of essential nutrients, allowing it to preserve energy and focus on growing its budding fruits.
As the plant progresses through its life cycle, growers can provide it with the nutrients it needs in a timely manner, based on its life cycle.
As an example, a tomato needs a particular level of nutrients during the fruit-producing phase.
It is more difficult to control the nutrient levels of soil. To manage this, farmers conduct daily tests to ensure that they know precisely which nutrients the plants are receiving.
Tomatoes grown in hydroponic systems aren’t typically picked green and kept in a cool area. This is because hydroponic producers realize that the right way to ensure the best flavor, sweetness, and juiciness is by allowing the plant to fully ripen on the vine.
Less food is lost to the environment since they are grown in a controlled atmosphere.
There are far fewer instances of insect infestation destroying hydroponic crops, which means growers can invest more money on higher-quality seed stock.
This results in better-tasting fruits and vegetables.
In addition, they don’t have to stress about the cold since they can heat both the greenhouse and water taken up by the plants in the greenhouse. Hail damage is also prevented by the indoor environment!
Finally, in terms of output, greenhouse-grown tomatoes can only hope to produce about 40 kilograms per square foot, whereas large-scale producers hope to produce up to 55 to 60 kilograms.
Which Systems Can Be Used for Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes?
Tomatoes, as we previously stated, are a popular hydroponic crop. In hydroponics, tomatoes receive a steady supply of water and nutrients.
However, there are a few systems in which they perform better. Choosing the right hydroponics media is essential, as well. However, there are a few tried-and-tested combinations that can set the ball rolling.
Hydroponic tomato plants do well in the following systems and media:
- Nutrient Film Technique – Perlite, Clay pebbles, and coco coir or vermiculite
- Deep Water Culture– Pebbles made of clay and other mixed media.
- Drip System – Pebbles, Rockwool, coco coir, perlite, sand, or vermiculite are all acceptable drip materials.
When growing tomatoes, ensure you have the necessary supports in place for them to attach to, as well as the support they require to ripen.
What are the Best Tomatoes to Grow Indoors?
The best way to cultivate indoor tomatoes is to use kinds that do well in a controlled environment. For indoors, you’ll need a variety that’s compact enough to fit in a small space.
When considering how to grow tomatoes indoors in the winter, small, upright types are the best bet for this purpose.
- Red Robin
- Toy Boy
- Tiny Tim
- Florida Petite
Consider the size, type of fruit, growth pattern, and ability to cultivate in colder temps.
How Long do Indoor Hydroponically Grown Tomatoes Live?
When cultivated outdoors, a tomato plant normally survives for one planting season (6-8 months). However, when cultivated in ideal or regulated growing circumstances indoors, tomatoes can last between 2-5 years.
The lifetime of tomato plants is controlled by the variety, location, and care they receive during each stage of their growth cycle, which varies from plant to plant.
Due to their year-round access to controlled temperatures and humidity, greenhouse-grown tomatoes can expect to live for up to three years.
As a result of the controlled, warm climate, nutrients from the fertilizer and soil are more easily absorbed.
Benefits of Hydroponically Grown Tomatoes
More fruit is produced because hydroponic tomatoes have smaller roots and more plant growth. Hydroponics is a great way to grow tomatoes, and this is only one of the advantages.
The taste of hydroponically-grown tomatoes can often be improved by employing high-strength nutrient solutions. Hydroponic tomatoes are more flavorful and nutrient-dense than conventionally grown tomatoes.
Hydroponics tomatoes are grown in nutrient-rich water. There is no weeding, no insects, or soil-borne diseases to worry about when producing hydroponic tomatoes.
Hydroponics tomato farming is also more environment-friendly since all of the nutrients are reclaimed and recycled in reservoirs.
How to Grow Tomatoes Indoors in Winter with Hydroponics
Once you have selected the hydroponic system and the type of tomatoes you want to grow, you can continue with the following steps:
- Stable Environment
When it comes to hydroponics, a stable atmosphere is essential, and this can only happen inside or in a greenhouse.
In order to keep the temperature and humidity just right, these should be kept in a closed chamber that is not exposed to the elements.
Natural light can be used to grow these tomatoes, but they must be kept beneath a glass canopy similar to a greenhouse that is closed to the atmosphere.
- Growing Medium
Once your seeds have sprouted, you’ll need to provide a lot of light for them to thrive. You’ll need to buy a grow lamp to make this happen. LEDs and tiny fluorescents are only two of the possibilities available.
As development continues, make sure to keep the soil moist. Transfer the little Rockwool cube into a larger, water-soaked Rockwool cube once stems have grown through it.
Once your plants’ roots have been firmly established, it’s time to begin feeding them with minerals for vegetative growth.
Using clay pebbles as a growing media is the best option at this point for transplanting your Rockwool cubes.
Healthy development is encouraged by clay pebble aeration and drainage. Each bucket has a built-in pump that releases nutrient-rich water into the roots of your tomato plant at precisely the right time.
- Fertilizer/Nutrient Mix
It’s essential to use a sterile potting mix when starting tomato seeds. Indoor tomatoes, like any other houseplant, are susceptible to a variety of pests. When growing tomatoes indoors, be on the lookout for aphids and whiteflies.
We recommend using a half-strength all-purpose fertilizer at roughly a quarter cup per plant per week for feeding indoor tomato plants.
To ensure that the plants continue to bear fruit, such as flowers and tomatoes, it is important to feed them regularly.
Overwatering is always a good idea. Drainage holes should be drilled at the bottom of the pot. Tomatoes don’t like it when they’re under-watered, so you can’t really overwater them.
- A Growing Tray
To begin the process of transplanting the seedlings to the growing tray, the plants must first sprout and grow their first true leaf.
Too close spacing will stunt the growth of your plants, so keep them at least 12 inches apart.
Begin using the nutrients as instructed by the directions on your clock and flow equipment. To produce tomatoes hydroponically inside, you need more than just water.
- Grow Tent
Tomatoes necessitate eight hours of uninterrupted nighttime darkness. And that’s where grow tents step in.
At night, they can be shut to keep your plants from getting any light, but they’re also covered with reflectors on the inside to help your plants get the most from their lights’ light output.
Try growing tomatoes indoors this winter; it’s a lot of fun, and the fruits are delicious.
- Extra Tip
It is easier to produce hydroponic tomatoes inside since you have full control over the atmosphere. As a result, they can be grown all year round if desired.
Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, are more likely to yield fruit throughout the year because of their ability to grow continuously throughout the year. It’s also a good idea to include some determinate tomatoes in the mix for best results.
Having a large harvest every so often will help you make ends meet when you do this.
Tomatoes can be watered with ease. One technique to improve your abilities is through trial and error.
However, you may become a watering pro this growing season with the proper practices. You can also come up with your own watering methods by following these suggestions.
- Tomato plants should be watered slowly around them, leaving enough time for the water to infiltrate the soil before it runs away and robs nutrients from the soil.
Allow the water to sink into the soil for at least 5 to 6 inches.
- Tomatoes should only be watered when they are in need.
To begin with, you may just need to water once or twice every day to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Don’t drown your plants; they need air, too.
- Instead of watering the leaves, saturate the stalk.
Tomato sunscald can be caused by overwatering of the plants’ leaves and fruit. Watering around the root of the pot plant instead of directly on it promotes root growth.
- If you’re using a hose, bucket, or any other conventional method of watering, water first in the day.
- Tomato plants are more susceptible to disease in damp, low-temperature circumstances, so avoid watering at night.
Indoor tomatoes can be grown year-round with a little luck and good plants. Tomatoes should bear fruit within three weeks of the plant flowering. What happens if it doesn’t go as quickly as you had hoped? Don’t worry; you’ll figure it out over time!