Growing Tomatoes and lettuce in same system?

gmcdOctober 4, 2009

Anything wrong with growing lettuce or any other "low ppm" plants is the same system as high ppm plants like tomatoes? I would obviously have my PPM set for the Tomatoes,

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you'll likely get tip burn on the lettuce leaves. and the high nitrogen levels may deform your lettuce plants.
Also, on another thread, someone mentioned lettuce liking a higher pH than is normally used for tomatoes.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 8:28AM
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Hi gmcd!
"High PPM" as commonly said for tomatoes is a relative matter: while tomatoes do not need more than 150 PPM of nitrogen, - 200 are classically recommended for lettuce. High N, induces too much vegetative growth with tomatoes (and may interfere or prevent blooming and fruiting), while lettuce is a purely vegetative (leafy) specie. Some 280-350 PPM of K are kinda standard for tomatoes, while a classical lettuce formula got only about 210 PPM. Hence both ideal nutrient requirements (and formulas) are obviously not compatible.

The other reason why tomatoes and lettuce do actually not fit very well in the same system, is that lettuce does not need any support to grow big, while tomatoes (except some true dwarf varieties) badly need support. Although this is not a major issue (where one could compromise), it's one more reason to think it over.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 8:32AM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

I dropped a link from my Web site showing the EC and pH of most commonly grown stuff. You'll see right off the bat that the nutrient requirements for lettuce an tomatoes are vastly different.


Here is a link that might be useful: EC & pH Chart

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 12:24AM
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According to THAT chart, the PH (even though much different from my knowledge) should be pretty compatible and could still be settled at 6 as I proposed earlier. The EC of 2.0-2.5 for tomatoes given at this chart is leaned on a high feeding strategy at final stage. But I wouldn't recommend that concentration for smaller plants. 1. Tomatoes grow very well with much lower EC. 2. Especially with tomatoes, there are good nutrient formulas and plans with much lower EC! In fact strength wise compatible with lettuce until first cluster and further. Theoretically, with such a strategy, there 'd be time enough to grow lettuce until EC is due for a raise. From my perspective, the ACTUAL key problem of the compatibility remains the clearly different elemental requirements of both plants (as in N and P).

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 2:49AM
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Thanks for the answers, so everyone runs separate pumps and reservoirs for individual plants or those with roughly the same requirements? Damn my wife is going to kill me now that I need to buy more pumps, reservoirs and air pumps :D

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:09AM
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Hi again gmcd,

Just a little add here to avoid that you get a wrong idea at the end!
Actually lettuce and tomatoes are quite an extreme, when talking about compatibility (growing in the same system).

Many other plants can be (and are actually) grown together - even in symbiosis, so to speak. Some nutrient formulas are what one can call "general purpose" and many plants can be grown under a common PH (mostly around 6) , obviously in the same setup or system.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 8:50AM
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Since you're new to hydroponics (which I'm assuming since you don't already have multiple pumps and such), you may want to start with a single plant. It generally makes the first go a less bumpy ride as you're not trying to appease or trouble shoot multiple plants at the same time. and you won't need additional equipment.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 11:13AM
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i agree with grizz... i have a real desire to grow a number of plants hydroponically... but until i get things going consistantly well with basil I will be keeping them at that point... soil for the rest :)
Lucas out of curiousity what plants grown together do you prefer... say your top 6? (top 3 pairs or tris ect.) not a loaded question just impressed with many of your suggestions thus far.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 9:44PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

All I grow is tomatoes and strawberries and I've found out over the years that the easiest and most-productive method of growing tomatoes at least, is to build a simple DWC system out of a 5-gallon plastic pail, a net pot and a fish-tank air pump & air stone.

It's a no-brainer and you'll get great toms. I threw in the chart that was easiest to read in my previous post on this thread. If you go to my Web page, you'll see there are two other charts and the numbers do not necessarily match up between the three charts.

From personal experience, I run an EC of 1.8 to 2.0 from seed to sandwich and have had tremendous success. I grow in a small greenhouse with 70% shade cloth on the roof and white-washed sheet plastic walls by the way.

I "super-crop" some and others I just let grow. I grow indeterminate tomatoes only. My method of choice is to just let them do their thing and if it starts looking like the Little House of Horrors, I trim things back a bit!

Tomatoes are pretty forgiving plants and the only REAL problem I've encountered over the years are those nasty horn worms. A light spraying of BT every few weeks takes care of those rascals!

Hope this helps someone.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 1:41PM
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it does! actually both posts here and in the weak basil stem post have been great ... I run DWC and want to do some toms this winter... do you have a prefered variety of tomatoes? I have only gathered seeds from my local garden shop which i don't care for.. any help is AGAIN appreciated! gracias!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 11:13PM
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Thanks for all the answers, decided I will grow my toms in DWC.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 7:42AM
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