Tomatoes, First Harvest..


Caro Rich… very juicy and meaty, has a mild flavor..

As it’s an early variety it matures in 50-60 days after transplant

its a heavy produce compared to other varieties I’ve grown.

Some Tomatoes had cracks though the packet from Annadana says it’s crack resistant, another issue was blossom-end rot one plant fell victim to that had to remove those tomatoes early, but none had curly leave virus issues 🙂





Grow Bag Tomatoes almost ready to pick..

Let the pictures only speak…

Below is just 60 Days from transplant.. Caro Rich is really an early variety..

Caro Rich. Its a Orange Beefsteak tomato..

Caro Rich. Its a Orange Beefsteak tomato..



Golden Delight Plant



Poland Pink



Caro Rich



Poland Pink plant has become almost a tree ..


NFT Tomatoes – Fruiting

Just want to share some pictures of the NFT tomato setup which has started to set fruits..

It’s a determinate variety so I’ve not pruned the plants, just removed some suckers from the bottom.. Seeds were brought from Annadana, cultivar name Meghali

22nd Jan 2013

22nd Jan 2013

This was after 1 week of transplant..


after 3 weeks of transplant..


Below is the latest picture, taken 2 days ago..

These plants are 5 week after transplant..


The root have grown up to 2 feets, I couldn’t remove them out of the pipe.

One of my friend is growing the same variety in this DWC setup-




More later..

Hydroponics NFT/DFT 101 – Tomatoes

Hydroponics NFT/DFT 101 – Tomatoes


There are many growing systems in the Hydroponics world today, some time tested, some slight customized, some dare devil, based on a growers requirement & preference they can decide on their own growing systems. As in India Hydroponics is very new hence hobby gardeners like me go for DIY systems. Most of the these systems can be made at home with the proper kind of tools & with the proper pair of hands ;).

NFT as we know, Nutrient Film technique is one of the most widely used hydroponic systems in the world. NFT is technique wherein a very thin stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is circulated continuously past the roots of the plants in a round or square gully, also known as channels. In an ideal system, the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name ‘nutrient film’. This ensures that the thick root mat, which develops in the bottom of the channel, has an upper surface, which, although moist, is in the air. Subsequent to this, an abundant supply of oxygen is provided to the roots of the plants. A properly designed NFT system is based on using the right channel slope, the right flow rate, and the right channel length. The main advantage of the NFT system over other forms of hydroponics is that the plant roots are exposed to adequate supplies of water, oxygen and nutrients. In all other forms of production, there is a conflict between the supply of these requirements, since excessive or deficient amounts of one results in an imbalance of one or both of the others. NFT, because of its design, provides a system wherein all three requirements for healthy plant growth can be met at the same time

Said enough – Lets build the system–

You need below things to build NFT system which you will see at the end of this post–

1. 4 Inch diameter PVC Pipe 12 Foot Cut into 3 pieces ( 5foot x2 & 2foot x1)
2. 3 Elbow Joints
3. 1 End cap of 4 Inch
4. Tank Nipple
5. Drill Machine with Hole Saw attachment
6. PVC binder
7. NetPots of 55 MM
8. Hydrotons Or Rock wool (Preferable Hydrotons)
9. Pipe to connect the drainage
10. Pipe to connect the Submersible water Pump
11. Submersible water pump

Lets build it now–

Now the pictures will do most of the talking..

You need to make 52mm holes using the hole saw drill in the PVC pipes, make sure the holes are in the same line and are drilled at equal distance from each other.

 The below attachment is the hole saw

Once you make the holes, attach the 3 pipes with the elbow joints, it should looks like below-

Now prepare the end-cap, make a small hole in the end-cap at a point where it can still hold some water and pass the most. Like this

Attach a tank nipple to the end-cap

Now fix a pipe of the tank nipple size, any sort of flexi pipe should do the job, but make sure not to use a transparent pipe.

End-cap should look like below once the tank nipple is attached…

Put the end cap on one of the two ends of the pipe structure..

Attach another elbow joint at the other end.. system is almost ready now

This end will be used to pump the nutrient solution..

Now the reserviour

Reserviour doesnt have to be big, I only had a big one so i used it. Make holes for the drainage pipe & the pump.

System’s live a running now-

Make sure to do the leveling right, do not bind the end-cap using PVC binder at this point or even later, the cap is tight enough to not do any leaks. Keeping it loose will allow to you set the water level. In the beginning when the roots are in the netpot you need the water level to be higher, so at that time keep the drain level of the end-cap at middle or at the top, once the roots touch the bottom of the pipe you can turn the end cap to set the level such that only a thin film of water keeps flowing under the roots. Roots exposed over the water will absorb oxygen, that’s the very essence of this system, so set the level right at the right time.

Root growth in 5 days..

More about this project later..

See ya..

Hydroponic Essentials..

Hydroponic gardening is a fun hobby. Some of the fun comes from experimenting by growing different plants in water, that too without going thru all the dirt, sweat, complicated compost making processes, uncertainties surrounding the use of conventional fertilizers.

Even though hydroponics is fun, preparation is also important to success. There are several things you need to do to get your garden setup.

Plants —

First of all one obvious thing you need is plants. Either a seed or plant that is already started growing is needed. Almost any plant with the right care can be grown hydroponically. A good plant for beginners would be tomatoes.

Supporting Medium-

You also need some kind of support against gravity to replace soil. Usually a container that has supports for the plant stems will work well for hydroponic gardening.

Common supporting mediums are- Coco-peat, Hydrotons, Rockwool, Sand, Perlite etc. depending upon your requirement & the availabilty/cost etc. you can decide on which one to go with.

The size of the container you need will depend on the size of plant you are growing. Since even single plants will need room to grow it is better to usually go with a larger container.


Water is the most important thing in hydroponics. Note that the water doesn’t have to be distilled and in fact it’s even better for the plants to use water with minerals in it. It is important for the water to be sterile however so be sure to boil it if needed.

Aquarium Pump/Air Pump (For pure DWC,NFT,Ebb& Flow Systems)

Next you will need to aerate your water since the roots need oxygen. A pump from an aquarium will suffice. Not needed for growing in grow bags.


Another important consideration is getting light to the plants which require about 7-8 hours a day of it. If you can’t supply the plants light needs with natural sunlight then you will have to use artificial lights that are designed for hydroponics.


Making nutrients is also a fun part of growing hydroponically, when you know all the elements for a plant to thrive are in their in your nutes mix you know you are bound to succeed. Making the right nutrient solution is very important for growing hydroponic plants. The most important are elements in a nute solution are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. There are also other trace elements that are important. For the plants to grow the balance of the three main nutrients is important. To ensure that the plants thrive I recommend nutrient solutions made by yourself. NPK is not a good solution for this purpose as it doesn’t contains Calcium & Magnesium, unless you have a formula to add them separately which is again a tedious process. Use hydro-buddy to create your own mixes, PPM values are available in a lot of hydroponic books & is also available in other websites.

Pest Mangement-

Neem sprays & garlic juice will help you keep most of the bugs in control. Buy neem based pesticides, they even work to get rid of pests like mealy bug, aphids etc. Look for caterpillars & worms they do more damage than anything else. If you have a greenhouse you wont be much worried of pests.

PH Meter-

The pH of the water needs to be checked regularly. You need a PH meter for that purpose, ideal PH ranges from 5.5 to 6.2 for most vegetable plants.


Water temperature needs to be kept around 25-30 degree Celsius. The environment where the plants are growing should not be exposed to high temperatures for very long, idle high temps should not go beyond 35 degree cel. If the climate is unfavorable then some sort of protection needs to be provided in the form of shade net, poly house or a controlled green house, even misting plain water helps a lot during hard summer days.

Drip, Reservoir & Drain collection-

You definitely want to look at these aspects even if you have a small setup, automating the irrigation process saves a lot of effort and recycling the nutes is the only way to survive in hydroponic world as the salts used in the nutes are not cheaper, I’ve learned that the hard way. Setups like NFT, Dutch buckets etc are the way forward. Passive hydroponics is not the sustainable way of doing it. Even to survive the heat in summers you need continuous feeding for which a setup like NFT is needed.


TDS & EC tells the strength of nutrients in your the water feed that is supplied to the plants. Nutrients deplete over the feeding cycle as the plant uptakes most of it from the water. A TDS meter will tell you how much nutrients are present in the water at any given point of time, fresh made solution will have more TDS than a solution which is in use by the plant, based on the TDS readings you can decide to add more nutrients or even make a fresh nutrient solution. For starters just go ahead and buy a TDS meter, if not now later you will understand why you need it..

Those are the basic requirements of getting a hydroponics garden setup. Following them will help ensure successful plant growth.

Personal Advice : Please read as much as you can about this subject before you start, watch a lot of videos available on you-tube & there’s lot of resources available on internet, many blogs, sites etc. Please do your homework well it can save you money, time and embarrassment 😉