Hydroponic Tomato

frank1esMay 14, 2013

I'm growing a Black Tula in a 5 gallon DWC bucket.

I use rain water, PH ~6.5 Cal-Mag, Flora Duo (strong bloom blend)

4 HO T5 bulbs. 2-2500k 2-6500k and a CFL 2500k

Anyway, the plant just keeps growing and growing. I have had many blooms but only one tomato.

It was out of control so I removed all the suckers, and started cutting huge branches off so it could fit into a cage. It was stagnant for a few days, then began to grow out of control again, over my lights. Picture AFTER I cut it back a week ago.

Any suggestions to promote fruiting and control the growth?

My dream of year-round tomatoes is turning into a nightmare.

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My first guess is Room Temperature could be too high. Tomatoes like cooler night in order to set Blooms.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:53PM
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Its possible, it is in an unheated den but the temperature remains fairly constant.

Can't think of a practical way to solve this issue less removing my insulation. lol

I live in Kentucky, it's been cool but it's starting to get warm.

fyi lights run on/off ~16/8

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:10AM
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What is that Constant Temperature??? Remember Hydroponics is about controlling all the environmental Factors to optimize growth and food production.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:22AM
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Lessen your light cycle, maybe 14 on / 10 off. cut back on you nitrogen and increase your phosphorus to promote fruiting.
if you want to lower the plant, cut off all leaves beginning after the set below the lowest fruit and simply coil the stem to get it lower. to slow its upward growth squeeze and twist the stem between the nodes. don't break it in half but mangle it up pretty good.
Make sure you keep the lights as close to the top of the plant as possible.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:00AM
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I am new to Hydroponics but have been gardening for a while if and extensive research has came to the conclusion to promote bloom and fruit set in tomatoes to clip the top of the plant to where it can't grow taller so then it focuses on blooming and fruit set, and then you can take that clipping and use it as a clone and have a baby identical to the one you have growing to replant when that plant is done just what i know from research my tomatoes aren't big enough to do that to yet so i haven't yet tried it myself.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:30AM
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Not sure if this is the case but I know too much nitrogen does cause more veg than flower.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Black from Tula is an indeterminate variety of tomato. For your space, you need a more compact variety. A determinate would be a little better. A bush or dwarf variety would be even better than that.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Not sure if this is the case but I know too much nitrogen does cause more veg than flower.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Potassium not Phosphate causes Blooming. Phosphate helps Flower and Fruit to grow.

Here is a thing I wrote about Fertilizer many years ago. It is copyright 2002 protected.

What is fertilizer?

There are 17 chemical elements used by a plant as nutrients to make there own food. The roots of a plant will only up take what it needs no matter how much is there. Fertilizer burn occurs when we apply too much in an un-useable form. Fertilizer chemicals must be broken down into a useable form in the soil by microorganism. Fertilizer burn occurs when water first activates it and energy in the form of heat is given off. Salts are also given off as these compounds break down. If we apply too much fertilizer we can in fact poison the soil with salt.

The life cycle of the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom work together. We use oxygen (O2) and give off carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants use CO2 and give off O2. Plants make their own food from photosynthesis. That is the energy of the sun and the right temperature plus air and water to make carbohydrates. Therefore Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are primary elements. Carbohydrates are the food and we can express this chemically: 6 H2O + 6 CO2 -----> C6 H12 O6 + 3O2 or simple sugar and oxygen.

Primary Elements

Carbon, C, is used in photosynthesis. Plants get carbon from both air and soil. Carbon is essential for all life forms and is the key of organic chemistry.

Hydrogen, H, is supplied by water. The logarithm of free hydrogen ions, pH, is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution or mixture.

Oxygen, O, is a part of water and air. Oxygen is used in respiration and transpiration by living organisms. Oxidation is a process of chemically breaking down other elements.

Nitrogen, N, causes cell elongation and division (growth). It is important for the development of all tissue in a plant, but it is most important for leaf growth Nitrogen fully translocates systemically within the plant and leaches readily from the soil. Pound for pound it is one of the cheapest fertilizer chemicals to produce and shows the greatest response (green) in plants. For this reason fertilizer manufacturers overuse this product.

Nitrogen Deficiencies, cause reduced growth rate of the entire plant, then loss of color on the older leaves. Then older leaves turn yellow and a general decline occurs on the entire plant.

Phosphorus, P, is important in root development, flowering, fruiting, and germination. Phosphorus fully translocates systemically within the plant and is subject to leaching in the soil depending on its form. The Jacksonville area of Florida. has a problem with phosphorus contamination. Our area is rich in phosphorus and it has been mined here since the 1890s to the present. Most fertilizer blends sold in our area are low in phosphorus. The need for high phosphorus blend fertilizer is new sod, sod plugs, gardenias, and bird of paradise plants.

Phosphorus Deficiencies, cause purpling of lower leaves first, then move on up the plant and reduce flower production.

Potassium, K, develops vascular flow, which is important for setting flowers, stem strength, vigor, disease resistance and overall hardiness. Its most important contribution is root development for drought stress resistance. Potassium fully translocates systemically in the plant. Potassium leaches readily from the soil. I personally like to use potassium on a one to one ratio with nitrogen even though it is a more expensive fertilizer.

Potassium Deficiencies, first cause yellowing between veins of older leaves, then yellow specks in the veins. Leaves finally turn brown on the outside margin.

Secondary Elements

Macro Elements

Calcium, Ca, is essential for plant strength. Calcium does not translocate within a plant, nor does it leach from the soil. Luckily our soil has more than its share of calcium. Calcium nitrite is the cure for weak flushes of growth and fruit rotting at blossom end. It helps high traffic area turf.

Calcium Deficiencies, cause weak stem growth or growth of soft leaves.

Sulfur, S. functions with nitrogen to produce growth and photosynthesis. Sulfur compounds helps to reduce pH. Acid forming fertilizers are important in our area and use sulfur or sulfur combined material. The label on fertilizer will state whether sulfur is free or combined. Sulfur does not translocate in the plant but does leach out of the soil.

Sulfur Deficiencies, first cause yellowing on new growth then the entire plants slows its growth. Finally the plant goes into decline. If you have ever put fertilizer on turf and had areas grow but turn yellow, you have seen what a sulfur deficiency can do. Sometimes if we leave these areas alone they green up. The reason is that nitrogen breaks down in the soil first and is in useable form before sulfur.

Magnesium, Mg. Commonly available as Epson's salt is more important in maintaining green on older leaves but also helps new tissue. It helps in photosynthesis and helps to green up plants. Magnesium is mobile in the plant or translocates. It also readily leaches from the soil I have personally found it to make strawberries sweeter but cannot prove that.

Magnesium Deficiencies, cause older leaves to show yellowing between the veins. It looks like yellow triangles if you step back. On palm trees older fronds will yellow or brown early. Palm trees that have long ground sweeping green fronds do not have Magnesium or Manganese deficiencies.

Micro Elements

Iron, Fe. Plays a major role in photosynthesis and helps keep our plants green. Iron does not translocate in the plant. Iron will become soil bound in high pH soils and unavailable to the plant. Iron does not leach from the soil.

Iron Deficiencies, first signs are lack of dark green color on new leaves. Lack of iron causes yellowing between veins of the newest leaves first, and the green veins appear narrow. Soils with pH of 6.5 or higher lock up iron and it is unavailable to the plant.

Manganese, Mn. is used in photosynthesis and helps to keep our plants green. It is essential for new tissue development. It does not translocate in the plant and is stable in the soil. It does not leach.

Manganese Deficiencies, also cause yellowing between the veins of new leafs. Veins appear wider than iron deficiencies. On palm trees frizzle top or yellowing on new fronds is the result of Manganese deficiencies.

Boron, B, is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant. and does not readily leach from the soil.

Boron Deficiencies, cause interveinal or tip and marginal yellowing on new leaves as well as distorted and brittle, small leathery leaves.

Copper, Cu. is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

Copper Deficiencies, cause young leaves to become cupped, wrinkled or roughened. New leaves yellow overall or between veins and tip burn can be present. New twigs die back.

Zinc, Zn. is essential to development of new tissue. It does not trans-locate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil. Yes, this is word for word the same as B Cu and Mo.

Zinc Deficiencies, cause yellowing between veins on newest leaves first. New growth is tiny pointed narrow leaves.

Molybdenum, Mo. is essential for development of new tissue. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

Molybdenum Deficiencies, lead to distorted new leaves and stems. B., Cu., Zn., and Mo. all show the same or similar signs of deficiencies. These elements are generally sold as a minor element package, either liquid, water soluble power or granular. It is not important to know which element is deficient. Only to, treat the signs with minor elements.

Chlorine Cl. has only recently been found to be essential for plant life. Its primary function and how it works is not known. So we do not know what the signs of a deficiency are. Chlorine is a byproduct of the chemical manufacturing of fertilizer. Too much chlorine can poison the soil and burn plants. If you ever spill swimming pool chlorine on your yard you will see this for yourself. If you do not treat this with gypsum it might be a long time before you have grass. The lower the percent of chlorine in a bag of fertilizer, the better.

Nickel Ni is another element found to be utilized by Plants. However how it is used has not yet been determined. Agronomy is the oldest science known to man yet it is one of the sciences that man knows the least about.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:53PM
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I wanted something that would produce year round that is why I shows and indeterminate variety.

Thank you for the replies, thank God they didn't involve spending more money. I do enjoy growing but at a certain point it isn't worth it.

What I decided to try was to pinch off any branch that was growing someone I didn't want it to grow. Hopefully that teaches the plant to stop expanding and start producing. That made sense to me.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Tomatoes don't think, so reason rarely works with them.
Crush and twist between leaf nodes is the best way to slow growth. search this forum for "supercropping" to see previous discussions on it. If you pinch the top, the plant will not produce anymore flowers as the clusters are produced at the new leaf nodes.
Since your interest in in continuous production, look into coiling the plant as it grows to keep it under control.
This shows What I'm talking about.

Realize that even with an indeterminate variety, they still eventually play out. You'll just be harvesting from them for 3 or 4 months vs all at once with a determinate variety.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:18AM
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