Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grow Tomatoes on your roof top without soil using simplified hydroponics

Grow Tomatoes on your roof top without soil using simplified hydroponics by Pritham 'metal farmer' D'Souza

Tomatoes are the most widely consumed vegetable in India, where it is used in a variety of cuisines. it is also very popular as puree, sauces & ketchups. however it has always been very challenging to grow tomatoes in the coastal belt as soil becomes the most important factor.
it grows well in black soils not in the coastal red soils.

since hydroponics doesnt need soil, half the battle is already won. following is how i have grown tomatoes without soil, successfully.

in the field, tomatoes are soaked in water or curds for a few days and when the seeds start to sprout, they are braodcast in raised seed beds.
the above pic shows germination just 4 days after sowing. photo taken on feb 5 2009

the above 2 pics show 99 percent germination. even i didnt expect such an amazing and excellent germination percentage. photo taken on 9 feb 2009.

even though it has reached transplanting stage, i decided to wait for some more days to see if over crowding the plants will have any detrimental effect. the only problem i had was the occurence plant hoppers which ended up spreading mosaic virus. i managed to control the problem with neem sprays daily till i didnt see any further spread.

a close up of a tomato plant with distinct leaf structure. bothe the above photos were taken on 25 feb 2009.

after 1 week on march 1 2009, i decided to transplant tomatoes in sepatate growers.

since the grow bed was wider and deeper, i decided to utilize every space available to me. so i transplanted 3 plants together in the same grower as seen above. tomato has fibrous root system, so the roots will produce a number of lateral roots & spread like a very thick network in the grower.

immediately after transplanting i supplied nutrient water till the substrate was saturated and excess water started draining as seen below

transplanting was done on 1st march 2009

20 days later, the growth has to be seen to be believed. the above pic taken on march 21, 2009.

tomato successfully grown without soil.

all photos and data by pritham dsouza. to view photo in original size, click on photo to enlarge


  1. Hi there Pritham, just stumbled across your blog today. Very informative .. thanks. I just got to know of hydroponics and am extremely interested. Would just like to know what brand of nutrients you use and in what quantities. Thanks in advance.

  2. hello Preetham,
    nice 2 look at ur beautiful tomato plants on ur house-top.I am so impressed with the way u hav illustrated the hydroponic method for a new incumbent like me and I would like 2 follow ur guidelines 2start my home garden soon. Thankful 2 our gurujis Mr CV Prakash& Ms Peggy Bradly for .bringing this wonderful technology
    to India through ISH,thus we all
    b involved for a common cause of a great growing activity. JayHo....Preetham.
    - mitra from hyderabad.

  3. yes Mr Ramdas... in fact i have got tomato from my hydroponic garden. but have been busy with my nirmal farm work, that i am not able to update the blog n upload new photos... thanks... check this in the meanwhile, my other blog, where i have uploaded the tomato pics...

  4. Hi, I came across your wonderful blog, as i was trying to know through internet why my Ridge-gourd flowers were falling off.I am amazed to see the Hydroponics technique. By the way, I would be grateful if you let me know how to stop the flower loss...

  5. Dear Preetam,

    After visiting to your blog, I also collected raw materials like rice husk and coir pith to start growing vegetables in soil less media. I am grateful to you if you give me how to get or prepare the nutrient solution ?

    With warm regards,


  6. Hi Pritham,

    I wanted to know where i could get the hydroponics nutrients in tamilnadu......

  7. what are the nutrients you have used to grow tomatoes without soil. where can i get these nutrients. we live in hyderabad.

  8. thanks for checking my blog... for more about nutrients... pls contact my mentors...."Sangeeta Bojappa" , "C V Prakash Cdr (Retd)" ,

  9. and

  10. hi ,i am growing tomatoes in my garden ,but its now rainy season.i have seen some plants have became big giving fruits but its leaves from roots seems to be wilting and some black paches are seen,while some plants are very small nt yet started wht should i do to enhance the growth of tomato plant and to get good fruits. thx aruna

  11. thank u Aruna... can u please somehow send me photos to my email id and i will be able to tell u what exactly is wrong with it.
    by what u have described, i looks like blight disease since there are black patches , also could be infection caused by white fly which spreads virus... so please send me photos of the diseased parts and also of the plants and i will give u suitable suggestion.