Help with tomato troubles in my hydro

tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)December 12, 2004

My plants have always done GREAT and now some are loaded with fruit and flowers.

Here is the situation, maybe its normal, I dont know.

At about 11am the tips of the plants on the top branches become very supple and hang down as if totally limp. IN the late evening and by morning they are back to strong and rigid and look very normal.

They are in an NFT system, pumping a lot of fluids, nutes are aereated and pH is a constant 6.4-6.7 Nute temp is in the mid to low 70s.

I upped the fert concentration and no change. I lowered it after a refill and still no change.

I replaced all the fluids with r/o water and ferts and no change.

I never had this problem in the past and will say that the two plants with the most flowers and fruits and the biggest offenders, which almost leads me to think this could be normal?

Anyone ever seen this before? Looking forward to your replies.


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I haven't seen this with my hydro tomato plants, although I've only grown tomatoes in bato buckets.
When I grew in the ground in the past, they would do the same thing on hot days, especially once the plants got really big. I just figured the roots and plant were out of balance. Wouldn't think its that hot now though.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 11:58AM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)

I agree Bill, something is out of whack a bit.

This has been happening for almost a week now and its like clockwork.

It seems I am going to lose em to either this problem or the upcoming cold weather so today I decided to up the fert some. I usually run it low, but this problem seems like some sort of deficiency so I am gradully uping the concentration looking for signs of going in the right direction.

I need to find out what this problem is in case it happens again I can be ready or avoid it all together.

It does look like the plant is thirsty.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 1:50PM
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rosco(New Zealand)

Just a late after thought. Do you use a proper nutrient strength meter to monitor CF.
I have a spare Truncheon type you can have if it will help.
Tomato's seem to grow best for me at a CF value maintained between 22 - 24.
From memory that equates to about 1800 PPM.
Cheers Rosco.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 11:26AM
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I had problems with daytime wilting with my hydroponic tomato. I accidentally planted a tree tomato, & the large size (8 ft.) & fruit load could not take the intense summer heat.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders & take up more nutrients at night partially due to changes in temperature & root pressure. Calcium especially important with tomatoes is taken up at night. The University of Arizona has done much work on hydro tomatoes recommends a night time temp of 61° -65° F.

You did not say what you are doing with your light at night. If you develop other symptoms you may have some variety of tomato wilting disease.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 10:24AM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)

Hello Baci.

I grow outside and they get all nature gives em in the way of light.

I think, but am not sure BUT think I found the problem.

I removed these plants and had a closed casket ceremony and noticed that the nutes were pooling in the nft tube aaround the roots. It seems the angle of the slope was not great enough to prevent puddles in the tube. I raised the system and the flow is very good now. I took the semi concience plants and plopped them in the ground while I clean this system out and move it to a different location.

The roots were kinda mushy and slimely on the plants that were the most ill.

I hole this was the problem!

Thanks for the link and reply


    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 10:40AM
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sounds like pythium which is a problem in NFT solutions. If the roots wern't nice and white, I would also have to think it is pythium. I was told by a doctor at A&M that another sign of pythium on the fruit is that the fruit will have a star that you will see on the fruit. By star I mean that you will see white lines that radiate from the middle of the fruit outward right under the skin.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2004 at 3:39PM
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adrianag(AL z7)


Am I correct in remembering that you are growing in 6" PVC pipes? The problem is that the pipe diameter is too small for tomatoes large roots - regardless of slope you will get plugged flow. Plugged flow = dead roots = dead plants. For tomatoes use larger containers like Bato buckets or 5 gallon buckets.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 7:46PM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)


Hows it going?????? Ya know Iam growing in FOUR inch piping and have seen first hand that SOME plants really know how to clog things up.

I believed ya when you had posted this a while back to mine and some other fellas with small piping BUT now I know it first hand.

I am going to finish this season out as is and then either grow less per pipe or go exclusively to a bucket system. I have one home made bucket system now and its working pretty good. It definately has its advantages over piping.

My wilting problem stopped when I increased the slope and got more nutes flowing instead of pooling in the root masses.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 10:33PM
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