Hydroponics expert, Scott Dekarske, and Master Gardener, Stephan Leonard, show how to assemble an inexpensive aeroponics system. It only takes an hour or two to assemble.
We have the system in an unused office and it is doing great. The tomatoes have tons of small fruit on them. We have had to start pinching back the tomato plants to keep them from growing bigger than the trellis we built. The cucumber and watermelon died. We have put some rooted cuttings from a bell pepper plant that did amazing this year in the outside soil garden. We hope to be able to take cuttings from these plants in the spring and put it back outside again.
5 Months Later
We have been harvesting tomatoes for the last month and a half. So far we have picked about 50 tomatoes and have tons more blooms and green fruit growing. They taste good.
We have noticed a couple of things about growing indoors. Tomatoes are wind pollinated, the pollen has to fall within the flower. In the still air of the office it won’t do that and the flower will die without setting fruit. In the wild the wind moves the plant around and bumps the pollen and makes it move within the flower. We have found that banging on the wooden frame or tapping the branches with flowers every day gets the fruit to set very reliably. Most of the branches have every flower set a tomato.
Another thing we have noticed is that we have blight. Chris Cooper said it is a type of fungus you don’t see very often in the fields because it only grows in very still air. We have put a fan on the shelf above the plants to try to get more air movement and stop the blight. We have also cut some of the more blighted leaves out.
We are having to add about a gallon a day to the tote to top it off. The plants drink a ton of water. There are days when we have seen drops of water sitting on the leaves of the tomatoes. This is another reason we have added the fan.
We have also turned the tote to take better advantage of the light from the window.
In the next few days we will be pruning the tomatoes to remove all the branches that will not produce any more fruit. The plants are determinant and we had to pinch the tops of them when they got close to the ceiling. Many of those branches have produced and are done. Tomatoes only produce on new growth. Cutting them out will allow the suckers to grow and take their place.
We have some small pepper plants that are from cuttings we took from the outside garden. The have survived but I think they don’t get enough light so we got a smaller grow light for them. They seem to be doing better now.
The best part of the hydroponics so far is the snow-matoes. It might be 10 degrees and snowy outside but there are ripe tomatoes waiting.
How To Change Your Hydroponics/Aeroponics Nutrient Solution
List of Parts for Hydroponic Garden: