The Kratky method of growing Hydroponic Tomatoes
When it comes to the Kratky system, one may think that the expenses on the power supply will be less since a motor pump isn’t involved. However, there comes the point that not all plants can be grown using the Kratky method.
So, today we will be discussing the Kratky method of growing hydroponic tomatoes with their requirements, pros, and challenges.
The Kratky method
Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without the need for soil by utilizing a nutrient-rich water solution; however, you can’t just place a plant in nutrient water and expect it to grow—the roots still require oxygen.
The benefit of hydroponics over traditional soil growing is that it consumes less water and allows room for better fertilizer management. A conventional hydroponic arrangement will employ an electric air pump or another technique to provide oxygen to the water to keep the plants happy.
Dr. Kratky observed that if you keep specific roots exposed without allowing them to dry out, a plant will produce roots that will take oxygen from the air. Thus this was the invention of the Kratky system.
Benefits of this growing hydroponics tomato using kratky method
- It’s an entirely passive system. Once you’ve got everything set up, you won’t have to touch anything else until it’s time to harvest. It is straightforward and stress-free to grow your plants using this method.
- When compared to soil gardening, hydroponic tomatoes require less time to harvest. If you compare growing tomatoes in a hydroponic system to growing tomatoes in the soil during the same period, you will see that the hydroponic system produces a higher yield. Switching to hydroponics increases the growth rate by 30 percent to 50 percent.
- Plants generate a lot of fruit and develop fast. For the sake of simplicity, you aren’t sacrificing any delicious veggies.
- Producing tomatoes hydroponically gives an edge when it comes to growing them in a controlled environment. Said that you will be in charge of around 80% of the plant’s harvesting. With the appropriate climate, you can get ten times the yield.
- Water savings of up to 90% compared to soil cultivation.
- You are not using an electric pump, so imagine the amount you are saving.
Can you grow all types of Tomatoes using this method?
In the Kratky technique, a seedling is placed in a cup with a small amount of medium on top of a big container filled with the solution until the solution touches the cup. The plant consumes the nutrient solution, decreasing its concentration and creating an “air gap” through which the plant’s roots may obtain the oxygen they require.
Because the plants’ impact on the solution is milder due to their smaller size, nutritional imbalances caused by plant absorption and exudates in the solution are reduced.
Effect of Kratky Method on Larger Plants
It’s a very different story with larger plants. A robust, heavy-producing tomato plant will use 20-30 gallons of water over its whole cycle. Therefore a basic Kratky technique would require a large container to produce a plant comparable to one grown in standard hydroponic methods (think a 55-gallon drum).
Attempting to accomplish this in smaller pots yields poor results because of the changes in the nutritional solution caused by the tomato plant.
Extreme pH fluctuations and significant imbalances will obstruct nutrient absorption and result in severe dietary shortages and difficulties in the plants.
In the best-case scenario, the plants will be stunted, have restricted output, and produce lower-quality food, while in the worst-case scenario, they will die and provide no harvest.
So while using the Kratky method, always go for these varieties of tomatoes:
- Cherry Cocktail.
- Golden Grape.
- Golden Nugget.
- Green Grape.
- Tumbling Tom.
- Baby Red Pear.
Requirements to grow hydroponic Tomatoes using Kratky Method
- A large container or storage tank (ideally a 5-gallon bucket) is required.
- The cover or lid, which is very important, keeps pests out and keeps the water in the jug away from evaporating.
- The growing medium is best, which has adequate aeration and is pH-neutral. Hydroton is the better option.
- Net pots.
- Tools for measuring pH in hydroponic nutrients might help you keep track of your system’s pH.
Steps to grow hydroponic Tomatoes using Kratky Method
The following is a step-by-step guide to grow tomatoes using the Kratky method:
Step 1: Set up the seeds:
To begin, you’ll need tomato seedlings, which come in three varieties:
- Going to the nursery and purchasing – this is the quickest and most time-saving option.
- Purchasing seeds and growing seedlings on your own
- Preparing tomato seeds – no need to buy; simply remove the seeds from the tomato before eating.
Step 2: Setting up the cup
Make holes in a cup using a drill or a soldering iron. The tall 16oz cup can be used. You may use various sizes of party cups, but you’ll need a different-sized hole saw.
Step 3: Preparing the bucket
Drill a 3-inch hole in the bucket’s lid using the hole saw. You may need a different-sized hole saw if you use a different-sized cup.
Bury the bucket. But why?
To prevent the water from being excessively hot during the day and too chilly at night, do this. It also keeps the light out, which inhibits the formation of algae.
Apart from that, it also allows you to maintain a tomato cage around the bucket if you’re growing hydroponic tomatoes.
Step 4: Preparing the plants
To prepare your plants, you must first remove the soil. To do so, soak the soil in water and loosen it up with your fingers.
Step 5: Put the hydroton
Use the hydroton as your growing media and put your plant in your cup. The hydroton is made of clay and is effective in holding and wicking up nutritious water from the bucket. The new plant requires a lot of moisture. To ensure that the roots are driven down to the bottom, submerge the entire cup, hydroton, and plant in water.
Step 6: Add the hydroponic fertilizer
Put the cover on the cup and follow the directions mentioned in the pamphlet or cover to make your hydroponic fertilizer nutrient solution. Fill the bucket to the point where just 12 inches of your cup is immersed in water.
The roots won’t be able to receive enough air if the roots are too high. There’s also no need to seal the lid; it may merely lay on top of the bucket.
If you have rainwater, use it. Tap water contains chlorine and has a high PH, which plants dislike.
Step 7: Refill when needed.
The roots will expand as the plant grows. You may fill up your water solution as needed as it starts to run low. From this point on, though, you should leave the top 5 inches of the roots open to the air.
Different nutritional media are required at different stages of tomato development. Seedlings are primarily intended for vegetative development when they are first planted.
Look for a package that has a lot of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), sometimes known as NPK. Until the plant enters the blooming period, one-part nutrition solutions like Dyna Go Grows can be used.
Challenges you might face while growing Kratky method tomatoes
1. Pests might infect your plant:
Because you aren’t using a pump to stir the water, it will be motionless. Mosquitoes, for example, could be drawn to it. Make sure your reservoir is clear of insects; keep checking this on a regular basis.
2. Ensure that the water level is adequate:
Because you won’t be changing or adjusting the water in your reservoir, utilizing high-quality water is essential, to begin with. Water that is within the correct pH range is essential. To begin, add purified water, then your nutrients, and lastlu=y, adjust the pH with the help of a pH meter.
Of course, the Kratky method won’t be feasible for the growth of your desired choice of tomatoes, however, you will get to experience the sweetness of cherry tomatoes in sweet simple seven steps.
1. Which hydroponic methods can be used for growing tomatoes?
Deep Water culture is the first of the two finest hydroponic systems for tomatoes that we’ll look at. The passive systems are Kratky technique hydroponics, which is among the most basic and inexpensive hydroponics systems available.
2. Is there any change in the flavor of Kratky method-grown Hydroponic tomatoes?
The majority of hydroponic tomato growers are happy with the flavor of their crops. If you don’t provide your plants with the right nutrients or growth conditions, you could end up with tomatoes that aren’t as flavorful as they could be.
3. How is much yield in tomatoes increased while using the Kratky method of hydroponics?
The yield of a single tomato plant is determined by the type you select as well as the care you provide. In general, varieties that produce smaller tomatoes, such as cherry and Roma, will yield more individual fruits than types that produce big tomatoes.
4. Does the Kratky method of growing tomatoes grow faster than soil-grown tomatoes?
Tomatoes cultivated in hydroponic systems can grow up to 25% quicker than those grown on soil. Because you can ensure that your plants get the right quantity of nutrients and water by growing them in a closed system with no runoff, most plants grown in hydroponic gardens develop faster than those grown in soil.