Winter is often synonymous with a break in the vegetable garden. An option exists if you want to continue producing your vegetables. Jardin Futé has tested indoor hydroponic tomato cultivation for you. Here’s how we did it:
1. Choice of variety
To start this culture we took a branch from a Black Crimean plant that had grown in the garden during the summer and we made a cutting from it. If you don’t have an adult plant to take a cutting, you just need to make your own seedlings.
To find out how to successfully seed in hydroponics, take a look at our article on sowing in hydroponics .
2. Set up the hydroponic system
For this indoor hydroponic tomato crop we have chosen an active system in deep water. That is to say that the plant is placed in a small hydroponic basket, which is above a large reservoir of 10L of nutrient solution. We then placed an air pump to improve the oxygenation of the solution.
For this culture you can very well use another hydroponic system, an Autopot system could work just as well.
Our nutrient solution had an EC of 1.0mS/cm2 to start this culture, and our pH was at 5.5. It is important not to put an EC too high at the beginning so as not to burn this young seedling, especially if you start with a seedling.
3. Installation in your indoor garden
If you place your plant only behind a window in your house, do not expect to have tomatoes this winter. Tomatoes are fairly resource-intensive plants and require suitable lighting. If you install a horticultural lamp in your interior, you can either supplement the existing light or completely replace the sunlight. In any case, the more powerful and longer the light source, the more your tomato plants will grow. Also note that there are different types of horticultural lamps , the most well-known and effective in the world of horticulture being sodium lamps and horticultural LEDs.
For this test, we therefore chose a sodium lamp and a photoperiod of 18h day and 6h night, having found no tangible information on this subject.
For seedlings, only increase the EC when the plant has 5 pairs of leaves.
4. Pollination of flowers
After a few weeks, the plant reaches a size allowing it to produce its first flowers. If you leave it to nature within, the flowers will “sink”, that is to say they will not be pollinated and therefore will not bear fruit.
Several techniques are available to you, the simplest being to place a small fan blowing against your plant, this will reproduce the movements of the winds, the pollen will therefore move and pollinate the flowers. You can also do the manipulation manually using a brush.
We finally got tomatoes that are growing day by day. Although this is just an experiment, it proves that it is quite easy to grow tomatoes hydroponically indoors in the dead of winter. Question tastes and flavors, patience. Jardin Futé will give you more details in a future article. Happy New Year 2019!