Growing aquaponic tomatoes is a great idea for different reasons which we will discuss in this post. Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables worldwide. At the same time, aquaponics is a green food production method that produces plants and fish in one place or system.
The system depends on a mutually beneficial relationship between fish and tomatoes. Fish provide nutrients for tomatoes in the form of fish waste. While the tomatoes biofilter the water so the water becomes healthy for fish.
Why Plant Tomatoes in Aquaponics
Planting tomatoes in aquaponics has unique advantages, the following are convincing reasons to encourage you to grow aquaponics tomatoes:
Organic and efficient Nutrient uptake
Aquaponic plants are eligible to be labeled as organic products. This is due to the nature of the plant’s nutrients that the system provides. In the aquaponic system, the fish waste is converted organically to Plant nutrients through a special type of bacteria. This bacteria is one of the major players in the aquaponic system.
Also, the nutrients in the system are efficient and consistent due to the nature of the system itself. Your tomatoes will absorb the nutrients they need consistently from the organically processed fish waste. This means you don’t have to worry about nutrient deficiency.
The aquaponic tomatoes consume less water compared to the ones that grow in the soil. This is because of the water recirculation nature of the aquaponic system. So when you use an aquaponic system for your tomatoes you are following green and sustainable practices for water conservation.
Aquaponic systems allow you to control the temperature, humidity, and light. Therefore, it will allow you to grow tomatoes at any time regardless of the season. So you can enjoy delicious and organic tomatoes consistently.
Better Pests and disease control
Due to the controlled environment of the aquaponics system, your tomatoes will be healthier. Because you can control the system inputs, you can control pests and diseases to a great extent without the need to use chemical pesticides.
The Aquaponics system will allow you to use spaces for growing tomatoes more efficiently. Especially vertical aquaponic systems which allow you to use small spaces for maximum harvest. Therefore, growing tomatoes in aquaponics is a great idea, especially for people with limited space.
Sustainability and eco-friendly
Growing tomatoes in aquaponics is an environmentally friendly farming approach. Because it consumes less water and minimizes or eliminates the need for inorganic fertilizers. And eliminates the need for chemical pesticides.
Which Tomato Variety is Good for Aquaponics?
All tomato varieties can grow well in aquaponic systems. However, the following varieties are more suitable to be grown in aquaponic systems because of factors like growth habits, size, and adaptability:
Roma (Plum) Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are known for their tasty flavor, They are best suitable for aquaponic systems because they grow near each other. This makes them a great option for aquaponic systems in limited spaces.
Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are known for their small size and adaptability to different growing conditions which makes them a great choice for aquaponic cultivation.
How to Grow Tomatoes in Aquaponics
Now you know the benefits of growing tomatoes in the aquaponics system. And the best varieties for the aquaponic system. So let’s get into how to do it step by step.
Step 1: Aquaponics System Setup
The first step is to make sure that all the aquaponic system components are installed and functioning well. Remember problem in one component will lead to the failure of the whole system
A. Fish Tank: Install a fish tank that has a compatible size with the available space you have, and the fish production capacity you intend to have.
B. Grow Beds: Install a good quality grow bed to work as a host for the growing medium. Also, grow beds in the aquaponic system work as biofilters to break down fish waste into beneficiary nutrients through bacteria living in the bed. The grow bed can be made from materials like wood or plastic.
C. Growing Media: Your tomatoes whether it is planted in soil or somewhere else need media to hold their roots. In aquaponic systems growing media serves this need besides it biofilters the fish waste alongside bacteria into nutrients for your aquaponic tomatoes.
You can use gravel as growing media for your aquaponic tomatoes or any other growing media of your choice.
E. Water Pump: Make sure to install a water pump in your aquaponic system. The water pump draws water from the fish tank to the grow bed for the tomato roots to absorb the nutrients.
Therefore the water pump that functions well is essential for both the fish and tomatoes in the aquaponic system.
Step 2: Choosing fish that is compatible with tomatoes
Trout, Tilapia, Goldfish, Koi, and Angelfish are great matches for tomatoes in an aquaponic system. This is because of their tolerance to relatively warm water temperatures.
Step 3: Transplanting Tomatoes to the aquaponic system:
Once you installed your aquaponic system, and the fish tank becomes a home for fish, you can bring tomatoes to their new home.
Gently rinse the tomato seedling roots from the soil. Then cover the roots with the growing media. Congrats! now you officially have aquaponic tomatoes.
Caring for Aquaponic Tomatoes
It is important to care for your aquaponic tomatoes by following the best practices to make sure you enjoy a delicious bountiful harvest. The following is the checklist you need to check consistently:
pH Level Aquaponic Tomatoes
Tomatoes need the water pH level to be between 5.5 and 6.5. So regularly test the pH level of the water in the system and adjust it to the mentioned range.
Water Temperature For Aquaponic Tomatoes
Tomatoes will thrive in an aquaponic system that which its water is in the range between 75 F and 85 F. So make sure to keep the system water temperature within this range.
Tomatoes need full sunlight exposure. So make sure your aquaponic system is located in a place where it allows tomatoes to be exposed to full sun.
Final Thought on Cultivating Aquaponic Tomatoes
Aquaponic systems allow you to grow tomatoes in a way that is more green, sustainable, and organic. Whether you want to grow aquaponic tomatoes for your personal use or for commercial purposes. Following the best practices in this guide will lead to an economically viable and tasty harvest.