You Say Tomato...

The pollination has paid off! After giving our aquaponic tomato plants a few good shakes back in January and manually pollinating flowers with Q-tips, we've got baby tomatoes growing indoors on the vine.

With same-flower pollination for plants like tomatoes, gently shaking or vibrating the plants or individual flowers a few times a week (daily is best) after flowers appear is the most straight-forward way to ensure pollinations. Fish water is particularly ideal for tomatoes, providing the right level of nutrients for growth and fruit production. Check out these beauties!

Here are a few great ideas for growing your own aquaponics tomatoes from Aquaponics Online Tips:
  • You must test the pH level of the water to ensure it is between 6.8 and 5.8.  As long as you have a pH stabilizer that is safe for your fish, you can adjust the level as needed.  You should be able to find one in most garden stores or supply stores who carry aquaponic systems.
  • In order to remove dust and other particles that can have an adverse effect on the pH level of the water, be sure to rinse the growing container. Fill the growing container with the medium just about one-third full.
  • Gently rinse the roots of your tomato seedlings to remove any soil or composites.  Be sure to be careful not to damage the roots.  Easy does it.  Go ahead and gently plant your seedlings by spreading out the roots.  After that you can cover them, making sure the plant is secure and upright by covering at least two inches of stem in the medium.
  • If you want to control the algae build up, add some red wiggler worms.  This will also add some nutrients that are healthy for the continued growth of your plants and your fishes.
  • Watch carefully for aphids on your plants, which are little bugs that can eat away at them.  They look like lice but you can generally keep them away by using a vinegar solution that is equal parts water and vingar. As you do this, be sure to ensure the pH level is still secure.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.