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I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

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I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Last season I started to grow some tomatoes in large pots outside..


They were regularly watered and fertilized and I had a few tomatoes on the plants..

Then we started to get high daily temperatures reaching into the mid 40's.!!!..

Even with the plants sheltered with shade cloth..they all  died..


This was the second time that it had happened..the first being at another location..

I decided I wouldn't try again..and besides at my age it was becoming impracticable to do any further gardening..


Then one day I happened to come across an article about growing tomatoes all year round indoors.!! This perked up my interest again..

I discovered that one could grow tomatoes indoors in a hydroponic system.!!


I liked the idea because you didn't have to worry about bugs and insects getting at your plants..and the containers were at bench top no watering and you can have tomatoes all year round.!!!


I've always imagined that hydroponics was just for growing Weed, with all sorts pumps and bubblers  with lights everywhere and using lots of electricity.!!

What I discovered is that with simple systems you can grow all sorts of herbs, vegetables and flowers..


There is a system called the Kratky method..It's basically having a container with liquid fertilizer and putting a seedling suspended in the liquid..That's it.!! No pumps or bubblers or expensive lighting..


Looking at you tube video's I found people were even using ice cream containers and large coffee jars to grow tomatoes in.!! Some used what they call in the US Mason jars..

The more sophisticated ones used plastic tanks and grew several plants in them..


I decided to give it a try..The best place I found was in the laundry..It's out of the way and I found that the space between the washing machine and the cupboard was ideal..


In my next post I will describe what I bought for the system and I'll show the little table I made to fit between that space..

Home Improvement Guru

Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Afternoon @Prof 

:smile: Its always interesting following you along the growing path. Id like to try but never get around to it, so i live surreptitiously through your efforts :smile:

My garden bed lettuce always end up bolting :smile: so yeah heaps of leave sand then not so many...



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Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Thanks Dave..


I'm glad you find my tutorial interesting..and like to follow along..


One of the great things about hydroponic lettuce is that it's constant..You cut some leaves off..and they grow back again.!! 😊

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Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Update  October:


I now have all the gear for the Dutch Bucket System...


Finally it's all set up and and I have my first two plants in the system..


First of all I'll post some individual photos and explain what each part is..



This is the Header tank..The nutrient solution is added to this container..and is then fed down into the Reservoir tank below..




This is the reservoir tank..It contains 40L. of the nutrient..You can see the submersible pump that supplies the nutrients to the bucket line..



The float valve regulates the nutrient into the reservoir container...When the level drops the  float valve opens and nutrient is added from the header tank..



The black Poly pipe is the supply line to the feeder tubes that supplies nutrient to the buckets..

The feeder tubes are connected to the supply line and they are then fed into a small diameter PVC pipe which is buried in the medium..In this case Perlite..

The buckets have a small drain pipe in the front which is fitted into a hole in the white run off pipe..You can just see the holes in the PVC tube..

Below in this photo is the timer unit which controls when the buckets receive a fresh supply of nutrients..

The timer sends fresh nutrients for 30minutes 3 times a day..



This is the bucket line..2 buckets will have cucumbers..2 buckets will have tomatoes and 1 bucket will have capsicums..

The white plastic container is germinating cucumbers and tomatoes..




The first cucumbers..



The whole system is basically self sufficient.. All I have to do is make sure there is enough nutrient in the header tank.!




Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

What an amazing setup @Prof! I really love this stuff, and you're making me consider giving it a go myself.


Thanks so much for the update and I look forward to your success with the cucumbers.




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Home Improvement Guru

Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Morning @Prof 

:smile: Love your steps! Makes it a lot easier to get my head around it. Does the nutrients sit in the bottom fo the perlite tubs in between the 3 times fo 30min each per day? 

How long is the day/night cycle?



Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Thanks Mitchell...


Apart from the initial set up..which takes a little time..everything is programmed with timer switches..

The lighting is switched on for 16 hrs. a day and then switched off in the evening..and the nutrient flow to the buckets is switched on for 30 mins. 3 times a day.!! 

So now all you have to do is just sit back and watch the plants grow.!! 😊 

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Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Thanks Dave...


The buckets are designed to have about 50mm. in depth in the bottom of the bucket all the time..This keeps the plant with moisture all the time and the 30 minutes 3 times a day flow cycle adds a drenching to the roots and when they get the nutrient they the roots never become dry..


The daylight cycle begins at 9.00AM and finishes at 5.00PM..

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Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Well it's two weeks now since I started the Dutch Bucket System and things have been progressing very steadily..


The plants have been coming along nicely and recently my capsicum seeds arrived and they are now in the germination process..


The only problem I've had is trying to maintain pH levels.! The level going to the plants is too high even though I started with a pH at 5.50 in the header tank, by the time the returned nutrient water goes back into the reserviour tank..the level has gone up to 7.9 !!..


I've then reduced the level back to about 5.50 in the reserviour tank and then checked it again after the daily cycle..and it's back up again.!!!


Fortunately it doesn't seem to be affecting the growth of the plants too much..and the cucumbers are thriving.!!


One other little problem I've had is algae started to grow on top of the Perlite.! Nothing serious but I did read that the algae likes the nutrient and can take it away from the plants if it keeps growing..

I also discovered that if you spray it with vinegar, it keeps it in check..


The other development I've had is that the whole system iis now automated.!





These are the timers..The one on the left controls the 24hr. lighting cycle..and the one on the right controls the nutrient flow..3 times a day..




The cucumbers..





These are the tomato plants..Both seeds were germinated at the same time but the one on the right grew much slower than the one on the left for some reason..

I guess the advantage of that could be that one of the fruit crops will be later than the other thereby giving me a constant supply of tomatoes.!



Home Improvement Guru

Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Afternoon @Prof 

Always excited for your explanations!

I wonder if the PH can be lowered if you let the water filter through charcole or some other media? So interesting why one plant is going gunshot and the other is taking a laid back approach to life :smile:


Which reminds me I need to replace the three tomatoes along my gabion walls that didnt take to transplanting.



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Re: I'm growing hydroponic tomatoes indoors

Thanks Dave...Good to hear you're enjoying the tutorial..


To lower the pH you need to add an acid to the water..In my instance I use vinegar to do I don't think running the liquid through charcoal or other media is going to work..

If this increase in pH level contimues I think I'm going to have to setup some sort of drip feed of vinegar into the nutrient water..


I think I've found the problem..

I had to run water intially through the Perlite to wash it..That water then filled up the bottom 2" of the bucket which is always there..

You run the water through the Perlite until it runs clear out the bottom spout..


The tap water here is in the high 7.00 so the whole bucket is holding water with a pH of 7.80.!!


So the little amount of nutrient water that is running through the Perlite is not enough to reduce the pH level.!!

It may eventually come down after running enough nutrient through it..but it could take some time..


Unfortunately it's too late to change the lesson learned.!

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