There are seven main system designs used for growing in Hydroponics, I will introduce you to two systems that are very easy to build and run
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
The NFT system consists of a channel, a nutrient tank, a small pump and some plumbing.
The channel is placed on an angle with the lower end of the channel over the top of the nutrient tank. The nutrient is pumped to the top of the channel where it flows back into the nutrient tank. The channel should be on a gentle slope to allow the nutrient solution to freely flow back into the tank, an angle of around 15 degrees is good.
Common materials used for the channel are plastic rainwater pipe with holes cut into it, plastic guttering or even polythene sheet folded into a triangle can be used.
I always use a small submersible pump that is placed on bottom of the nutrient tank, make sure that the pump is capable of pumping to the height of the elevated end of the channel.
The nutrient tank is preferably made of plastic and should not allow light in, light will cause algae to grow in the tank and the algae will feed on your nutrients Hydroponic Shop Near Me instead of the tomato plants.
For larger NFT systems the addition of an air pump and air stone in the nutrient tank will greatly improve the oxygen absorption of the plants and maintain healthier roots.
The tomato plants will simply have their roots suspended into the nutrient solutions.
Static Solution Technique
The Static Solution Technique consists of a nutrient tank, a lid for the tank with holes drilled to fit the pots, pots filled with an aggregate like small river stones or rock wool and preferably an air pump with air stone.
The plants are planted into the pots with their roots hanging out drainage holes in the pots. The roots need to be dangling just into the nutrient solution in the tank. If the plants roots are not long enough to reach the nutrient solution simply water the pots with nutrient solution until the roots do reach, this will happen surprisingly fast.
The air pump provides air to the air stone which is placed in the bottom of the nutrient tank. The air will stop the roots rotting and will provide them with the required oxygen.
Hydroponic nutrient solution can be purchased online or at your local garden centre or hydroponics shop. The concentration of nutrient required for tomatoes is between 22 and 28 CF. Most nutrients have a guide on the bottle of how much is required for a specific concentration. A device called a CF Meter can be purchased to allow you to precisely measure the nutrient concentration.