Growing Tomatoes in Growbags – Hydroponic way

Whenever I see a commercial greenhouse or farm, I always get this feeling..”why can’t we grow plants like they do?”. The moment this thought comes in, you start paying attention to details. You try to do everything the right way and see if you can perfect the art.

My goal (more like a wish) right from the beginning is always to reduce the gap between commercial and home gardening in terms of  yield.  In some cases I was able to come little closer but in some I failed.

In this post, I will write about growing tomatoes in grow bags. Grow bags are lay flat bags filled with potting mix. Unlike containers, they don’t provide depth but they give enough room for the roots to explore. In this experiment I used grow bags made of coco peat. They don’t contain any nutrient in it and hence its our duty to provide all the nutrients the plants need.

It all starts from the seed. This time, I had some seeds of tomato from IndoAmerican seeds. A variety called INDAM Naveen. I have already grown this variety and was impressed with the productivity.

The seeds were sown thickly in a small  pot and once they showed a true leaf, they were moved into a Pro tray.

Two weeks later they looked like this.

6/2/2010

MyGarden 1012

 

Now this is a typical grow bag. Its ~3 feet long and contains compressed cocopeat slab in it.  Its ideal for growing 3-4 plants per bag.

MyGarden 1256

 

In my case, I wanted to grow 3 tomato plants in this and hence made markings like below. Cut the bag on the lines made so that when you open the flips, you get a square hole cut out.

MyGarden 1257

 

Next is to run water through it. Easiest is to use a pipe/hose tube. Let it soak and as it soaks, it expands as well. You can see the grow bag growing. Give it some time. Once its done, you will have fully expanded grow bag thats ready to take plants in.

Once expanded, these grow bags will look like this below. To transplant, I took juice boxes cut them into three and used them to hold the plant when they are small. Kinda made it look like Rockwool cubes ;) .

Now comes the drainage part. Carefully make a slit 0.5-1 inch above the bottom surface of the grow bag at 2 or 3 places on the sides. As it is covered on most of the sides water loss through medium is very less. The seedlings that were in the pro tray were transplanted 3 per bag.

17/2/2010

MyGarden 1060

You can also see that I have lined the bench with black polythene sheet. This is to collect all the drainage water at one place. There is a slope provided to the bench, so all the drainage flow to the lowest point, where the reservoir is kept

Alright, Now comes the interesting part. How do we water this thing?. Though it can be hand watered ( which I did for first couple of weeks), it can become very difficult as the opening is very small and needs lot of patience to water it. So obviously the next step was to install a drip system and automate it. Thats lot stuff mentioned in a single line right?. we will munch bite at a a time.

So here it is after 10 days time. The stake wires tied out nice and you can also see the spaghetti drip wires. These wires deliver the nutrient water to the plants.

28/2/2010

MyGarden 1081

Dripping in action.

MyGarden 1139

Another shot of the tomatoes on 11/3/2010

MyGarden 1089

Tomatoes already started to form.

MyGarden 1090

 

Setting up Automated Drip System:

Now comes the interesting part. Setting up the automated drip system.  In Grow bag systems the nutrient is generally not recycled. But I didnt have the bandwidth to waste the nutrients. So I thought I would re use the drainage as well.

Things necessary for a automated drip system are :

  • A submersible pump.
  • Programmable timer
  • Reservoir
  • Drip tubes(Usually 12mm)
  • Spaghetti tubes
  • Tee joints & End caps.

 

Submersible Pump:

This pumps are available in SJP Road in Bangalore( Road parallel to SP Road).This is from a company called Tullu. Costs about INR400-500 and there are cheaper chinese counterpart for INR 200 or so. It pumps water at about 400-500 litres per hour to height of 4 feet. It varies with pump to pump. Needs 240 V AC to operate.

MyGarden 1274

 

Programmable Timer:
It took really long time to get this piece of hardware in Bangalore. Myself and my friend Anil Hande were searching and searching. It comes as a bare bone timer and we need to do some more work before it gets usable.

MyGarden 1284

 

Like I said, the timer has just leads for connections and is not very user friendly.  Below is the my version of the completed timer box. I got some help from Anil to get the wiring in place. You
can check out his version and more information on its wiring Anil’s Album

MyGarden 1271

I have programmed in such a way that it operates for 15 minutes every 3 hours.

 

Reservoir: Here is my reservoir. Ok ..Not very nice looking but then who cares as long it is cheap. Another peace I picked up from local plastic recycle shop. The drained water pours in via the black poly sheet. Next to it you can spot the drip tube connected to Pump going out of the reservoir.

MyGarden 1270

Here are some small accessories that you will need to setup a drip system.

They are called joints. On the top left, is simply joint, next is Tee joint and the one below is Tap joint. You can use them where ever you feel they are needed. There is also Elbow joint in case your drip tube needs to bend, I havent shown them in the pic. They cost INR 1 each. Available in SJP Road.

MyGarden 1276

This is called Spaghetti tube. This tube is used to take the nutrient from the main drip tube to all the plants. You have to connect this tube to the one that brings the nutrients from the reservoir. To connect this you need a small connector which is pictured below this pic.

MyGarden 1277

 

This connector is a small piece one side of which goes into the main 12mm drip tube and the other end goes into the spaghetti . Costs very cheap.

MyGarden 1200

This small piece is nothing but a poker to make even sized holes for the connector to go into the main drip pipe.  Handle with care. Its very sharp.

MyGarden 1278

The pump pushes water from one side of the tube, the other side has to be closed to that the dripping happens on all the spaghettis connected to it. Use an endcap like below. You can either use an end cap or use a tap joint and simply close it ;) .

MyGarden 1281

OR

MyGarden 1282

 

This is how it looks when the whole thing is in place, alive and pumping!

MyGarden 1142

 

The tomatoes are growing like crazy and they have already hit the roof. I am pictured below to just show how short I am  ;) .

MyGarden 1269

Also, If you are interested in using grow bags to grow plants. Let me know using the comments. I am ordering them in Bulk from an exporter in Tamilnadu. If you need some I can include it along with my order. People from other states, Let me know if you need more info regarding the seller.

Ok That’s a long post. I think it justifies the long gap between the posts.  Just as I am finishing this post, it started raining outside. Let me go get some cool breeze!.

Ciao

gg

Related posts:

  1. Updates from the greenhouse – Hydroponic tomatoes
  2. Problem of Plenty – Raining Tomatoes
  3. Harvest from the Greenhouse – Beefsteak Tomatoes
  4. More pear tomatoes – Updates
  5. Container grown tomatoes – Updates

134 comments to Growing Tomatoes in Growbags – Hydroponic way

  • indrani

    Helloooo GG,

    Hope you are doing well.

    Thats a very intresting and an informative post. Im guessing that its too complicated for a novice like me to get it working right away. Nevertheless its very intresting to see the stage wise development of the tomato plants in the grow bags. Im guessing that it is quite simillar to hydroponic gardening with the addition of coco peat.

    Please dont make it long before another post and hopefully its not about tomatoes. ;-) .

    Thank you for getting back to me with my queries.

    Warm Regards,
    Indrani

    • geekgardener

      Hi Indrani,

      I am doing good. It is actually hydroponics. It wont be long before another post and I promise you its not on tomatoes. Its on Kohlrabi or knolkhol.

      Happy gardening.
      gg

  • Jeanne

    gg, could you please order three grow bags for me? Also, can I use them to grow tomatoes without drip irrigation?

    When you have the time, do also let me have the phone number of the gardening supplies shop near City Market. I have lost the card, which is a tragedy for me.

    Thanks and regards

    • geekgardener

      Hi Jeanne,

      Sure, I will order 3 more. You can use them without drip irrigation. I have already replied for the phone number query. Anyways here it is The phone numbers are 08026701823, 08026701167, 93412 40187..

      gg

  • The grow bags sounds interesting and cool! Wish I had the royalty of setting up drip irrigation to grow in these. It was really interesting reading through the post on how you setup the irrigation system. May be someday…
    BTW, I finally did start on my veggies! Yipeee! Thanks to you…

    • geekgardener

      Chandramouli,

      You are always welcome.
      I am sure that day is not very far. Congrats on veggie gardening. Keep us posted of your harvest and I will watch out for updates/pics.
      gg

  • Raj

    Hi gg,

    Very very interesting and informative post and has kind of waken me up from my slumber on the topic of setting up a drip for my garden.

    Is there a way I can use a timer system to control the flow of water from a normal tap (mechanical valve) ? Something like, Say I keep a tap open all the while with the drip tube attached and the timer takes care of when to let the water go out and when to not.

    This kind of system will help me immensely when am out on holidays for anything more than 2 days and save on watering time on normal days :)

    One more question: Do you think this kind of drip will work when the garden is in zig-zag pattern with plants/pots in different heights (visualize my garden :) )

    Regards
    Raj

    • geekgardener

      Hi Raja,

      Thanks. I was pushing myself to write this post quite sometime and this scorching heat forced me to do so. May is the month when this drip system can come very handy.

      For your requirement, what you need is a Solenoid valve. It opens on supplying power and closes when you stop. Imagine that as a electrical tap. It is available in SJP Road. I think the price was around INR 600-900. You need only one such piece. So investment though a little high is only once. As I write this reply I imagine your garden and you can do lots of patterns with drip tubes. They have plenty of creative/cool accessories.

      Height of the pots is not a problem since the water to the tap comes from a overhead tank.

      Enjoy!
      gg

      • Hi GG,
        Excellent piece of work. Coincidentally I have also set up drip irrigation for my container garden. Your tomatoes are looking exactly as you get them in google image searches related to tomatoes + hydroponics + cocopeat….

      • rajapanda

        Well, would I require a timer too for controlling the power supply to the Solenoid valve ?? Considering I want to use it mainly when am away on vacation.
        ” They have plenty of creative/cool accessories.”
        Are you talking of any specific shop on SJP road ?

        Regards
        Raj

        • geekgardener

          Yes you require a timer. (Or someone can switch it on every morning). The SJP road has lots of shops only for drip irrigation.

          Check it out.
          gg

  • Eeeks! now i know why you are called a “geek” gardener :P :P

  • Deepak Kukreja

    On sunday I had also made a bag system for growing Coridander…
    In next 2 weeks I will setup a Column system to grow lots of vegetables..

    Seedings are already germinated and will be ready for transplant in 2 weeks.

    Regards,

    Deepak

  • Atul

    Great post, keep it up.

    I have uploaded photos of my bamboo greenhouse and bottle gourd harvest and some chilies and corn.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/49494155@N06/

    Two photos relate to problems I am having with my tomatoes:

    1. On one plant I have lots of flower clusters but the flowers do not open fully – typically only 1 sepal/petal of the flower opens, the rest of them remain closed.

    2. On another plant, all flowers opened but only 1 fruit formed.

    GG or others, do you have any suggestions or advice for these problems?


    If you have any questions regarding bamboo structure or other things, feel free to ask.

    -atul

  • Hetal Karia

    Hi GG,

    Very very interesting and informative post.

    I am located in Jamnagar – Gujarat. Due to very high ambient temperature ( around 42C) hydroponics nutrient water gets very very hot in the plastic container. Due to high temperature my plant gets spoil.

    You have any idea how to cool nutrient water, other then using electrical cooling equipment.

    In this part of India we don’t get cocopeat, here gardener are asking 50 Rs/Kg. what is price at Bangalore.

    Thanks and regards
    Hetal

    • geekgardener

      Hi Hetal,

      Thanks.

      One way of bringing the temp down is to use a shade net. While you can use misting, fogging or cooling pads to cool the area, they are expensive. Cocopeat sells for 50Rs/5Kg bale. On adding water that 5Kg expands to 75litres.

      What kind of setup you have? can you elaborate?
      cheers
      gg

  • fenugreeklove

    Hi GG, This is very impressive! Congratulations…. You are truely a geek gardener.

    Sonali

  • Emm

    Now you made me jealous of those tomato plants!!! I have yet to transplant mine.

    take care!!

  • Hetal Karia

    Hi GG,
    Thanks.
    I used ebb and flow type method with top bucket having course gravel and bottom bucket filled with Nutrients.

    Small electrical pump with tubes fill the top full bucket, due to gravity top bucket nutrient water will empty out.

    Pump is controller by electronics timer with 25 seconds ON and 6 minutes OFF, I selected this particular time because of course gravel used.

    But I didn’t use shade net, I will use it (75% type only available in local market) and update you.

    Thank you very much,

    With Best Regards,
    Hetal

    • Hi,
      This is wonderful, I really appreciate your efforts. Hydroponic setups in India are not readily available and we all are working on some sort of DIY setup and optimizing them for the best performance. It would be great if you could share some snaps of your setup.
      -FG

      • geekgardener

        Yeah I agree with FG here. Good to see many coming up with their versions. Post some snaps. Also, Hetal, I am interested to know about the timer you are using(make, price and availability) and what is the veggie that you are growing in that setup.

        gg

  • Hi GG

    Its always great to visit and read your blog.
    Can you provide me some info regarding some cocopear seller who can deliver it here in HP or if you can arrange to send it here. I’ll pay you.

    Thanks & regards
    Zindagi

  • Sumathy

    Wow GG! Great (geek) work. Very informative and interesting…
    I did not know that so many items are available in the market to grow plants! I am learning new things, thank you.

    regards,
    Sumathy

    • geekgardener

      Thanks Sumathy,

      That is exactly what I felt when I went to city market first time in Bangalore. They have so many stuff. Glad this post was of some learning.

      cheers
      gg

  • Shashank

    Hi GG

    This is great stuff. Very detailed info. What will also help if you could provide nutrient formula and quantity/day.

    Lastly could you send me details of grow bags supplier and price so that i can order to be shipped directly to Pune.

    Shashank

    • geekgardener

      Thanks Shashank.

      For the quantity, i dont have the exact figure. but it waters the plants 6 times a day for 15 mins. Individual plants take approx 2-4 liters / day.

      Check them out.
      gg

  • Hi GG,

    I have to congratulate for your effort and results as well as educating others.
    I am new visitor, I regret that I found your site very late, I would have saved my lot of time and my garden.
    I am experimenting with Hydroponics for almost two years, my success started just now say last six month. I am planning to post my experience and learned lessons in my blog.
    Using grow bag for home gardener or container gardener is new to me. I would like to know cost per bag.
    I use container per plant which costs almost Rs 150/plant including media, setup etc.
    If grow bag is economical than above cost, I may opt for grow bag.
    Note: I use flood and drain setup using reverse flow. (Because I cannot rely on power supply in Bangalore to use other watering system).
    Does this grow bag is effective in such flood & drain system?
    Let me describe below “flood and drain setup using reverse flow”
    In actual flood & drain water is pumped to plants tray or container and then drained back. In this system if there is no electricity for longer period, then plants dies within a day. (This was my first failure)
    In reverse flood and drain – the water sucked out of container to another or upper reservoir, and slowly drains back to lower reservoir – which results in slower refill of nutrients back to container. In this case even if electricity is absent for longer period my plants won’t die, but there is possibility of water logging.
    I guess you got the idea of my system. I will post details soon in my blog.

    Thanks & regards
    Keshav K Shetty

    • geekgardener

      Hi Keshav,

      Thanks for stopping by.Glad you found this blog useful. The price of a growbag will range from 60-100. It differs with companies. Your setup is almost similar to the Hetal who commented on this post. Post some pics.

      Cheers
      gg

  • Hi GG,
    Just came across this – http://www.tomatofest.com/ they list about 600 heirloom tomato varieties. And also a very innovative self watering planter – http://earthtainer.tomatofest.com/ and lot of other information about growing tomato. He is called the tomato man. (like you).

    • geekgardener

      Hi FG,

      I went thru the site. Its awesome. Thanks for sharing. I love their earthbox design too.

      He is “the” tomato man.. i am not even an infant compared to him ;-)

      GG

  • K. Meena

    Very informative and inspiring, GG. Thanks a ton in sharing all the details, making it easy for anyone to start easily … I am amazed. I read that indeterminate tomatoes require a depth of atleast 3 ft as they grow beyond 6 ft in height… Your model defies all such concepts!

    I have made a note of these details and as my gardening experience expands and improves, I would like to try out the hydroponics model; right now, I am still facing challenges and setbacks in setting up a decent terrace garden.

    I have some queries:

    1. The suppliers mention bricks, blocks etc form of cocopeat. For container based gardening, which one would you suggest

    2. I have my dilemmas about the NPK proportion …would like to know if the NPK fertilizer that you use is 100% organic… When I use organic compost and manure, how do I know I am applying the right proportion of NPK?

    3. When I use cocoapeat, I found that the drainage Is too good, on 20kg paint buckets. While a mug of water is held, anything more is getting out immediately. I am worried as my gourd plants are expanding in size and am wondering how many 1-mug watering I ought to do in a day!

    Regards
    Meena K

    • geekgardener

      Hi Meena,

      Thanks. Grow bags are used all over the world for growing vegetables in greenhouses. grow bags give the volume of media that plants need than the depth.

      Coming to your queries:
      1. cocopeat is sold in two forms. Expanded and Compressed. Expanded is what you get in cement sacks( little dark in color) and compressed come in a 5kg bale. Compressed is easier to carry around and stock. I suggest the washed/compressed one. It doesn’t have much salts in it. Also, the compressed bale expands to ~75 ltrs of media.

      2. NPK that I use it NOT organic. They are chemicals. For hydroponics, since the media is only cocopeat, there should be another source of nutrients to the plants. THat is provided by dissolving the nutrients in water and using that water for irrigation. I have both 100% organic and hydroponic systems in my garden. For compost, manure we need to continously add them to the soil. We need to add variety of substance to provide all the nutrients that plant need. This is done by adding different cakes, manures, PG. Normal vermicompost that we get here has NPK of around 1.5-0.5.-0.5. But this varies from company to company. So its is advisable to mix compost from different sources to make a good mix.

      3. Cocopeat does increase the drainage. While this is good, sometimes the plants starve. One way is to mulch the top of the plants so that water evaporation through media is less. And add red soil to the potting mix.

      Hope this helps.. Revert back if you have more questions..
      Happy gardening
      gg

  • Sunil

    Awesome setup GG, but its too much effort for me :) . Even spending whole of weekend I cannot complete my backlogs with my existing garden. I wonder how do u manage your time.
    May be you have to write a topic on time management with your garden :)
    Regards,
    Sunil

  • Deepak Kukreja

    Hi GG,

    I have planed my Tomatoes using Air stone bubble method.

    Its been now 6 weeks and plants have grown upto 2 to 2.5 feet long now..

    I can see few buds also developed and want to know how many days it takes for the buds to develop into a flower and from then to fruit.

    What is the time scale for different stages ??

    Thanks & Regards,

    Deepak

  • Ram

    Hey GG,

    I was trying to grow veggies and thanks for all the info. I brought myself the coco-peat and we make compost at home with the kitchen leftovers. I want to grow the veggies in the very light (not heavy) medium (terrace garden).

    I would be using coco-peat, sand, and compost as the medium. I want to find out if there is any market product to give it nutrients from the bottle, I mean mix it with water and use it straight on the medium.

    Also, I am desperately trying to grow curry leaves plant from a long time. It grows up to certain extent, dries out and dies and then starts again – this is happening from past 2 years. Is there any way curry leaves plant can be grown for a family use?

    Regards, Ramkumar G.

    • geekgardener

      Hi Ram,

      Thanks for stopping by. There are water soluble fertilizers available. In Lalbagh, you get Mangala 19-19-19. You can get a pack. Use it as per the instructions on the packet. I don’t have curry leaves growing. But I dont see why it cannot be grown. Given a decent sized pot, it can be grown very well.

      Thanks
      gg

  • Satish Dayal

    Hi GG:
    Thanks & congratulations for such useful and inspiring information in down to earth language. I am 75 and have taken to serious gardening only recently. Now I am also trying to set up a vegetable garden on the terrace and expect to be able to use all the knowledge you have provided. For this I need some more help from you. Here in New DelhiI have not been able to find any store selling the pipes etc. required for setting up the drip irrigation system. Could you please give detailed information about the shops where you procured the various items in Bangalore. I will then request my brother-in-law who lives in Bangalore to purchase and send all the items to me. Actually, with a little more running about I might have been able to locate some shop in Delhi too but I hope you will appreciate that my advanced age makes that a little difficult for me. Thanks & regards.

    • geekgardener

      Hi Satish,

      Thanks for stopping by and nice to hear that you are starting gardening. All the drip tubes and accessories are available in SJP road in bangalore. I am not too sure of where in Delhi it is available. You can enquire this in some seed shops. They might know.

      Thanks
      gg

  • Ram

    Thanks for all the info GG. I now feel, I can grow Veggis finally with all the info on your blog.

    I had a few capsicum and Zuchini seeds from Australia. I have put it for germination in cocopeat, hoping somthing green pops out in a day or 2. I wanted to know if there are any special varity of the seeds specific to growing them in containers…

    • geekgardener

      Hi Ram,

      Appreciate your confidence. The price of 25/kilo because the cocopeat is washed/sterilized

      Capsicum and Zucchini can be grown in containers. I use the regular varieties available in the market.( sometimes colored ones).

      Thanks
      gg

  • Satish Dayal

    Hi GG!
    May I request you to kindly disclose the brand/make of the timer you have used? It will simplify things a lot. I mean I will not have to reinvent the wheel! I could just benefit from all the legwork you have already put in. Thanks once again. Regards

  • Satish Dayal

    Hi gg!
    Thanks a lot for the information regarding the timer. Really appreciate your promptness and of course your generous openness. I was wondering when and how much fertilizer you mixed in the water for the tomatoes. I mean at what stage is it safe to start feeding the seedlings with chemical fertilisers. The survival rate of the seedlings for various vegetables as well as flowers was very low when I transplanted them. Obviously because I am an amateur like many others who might be tempted to take to gardening after reading all your blogs! Anyway, with some ideas from the web, I have now been able to achieve very high germination rates as well as virtually 100% survival of the seedlings on being transplanted. Can I post how I was able to achieve this? May be I can even post some pictures.

    Thanks and regards

    Satish

    • geekgardener

      Hi Satish,

      Glad to be of help. Tomato seedlings can be watered with weak solution of fertilizer once they have true leaves. You can use half strength solution by mixing a gram of water soluble (19-19-19 NPK) per litre and water them. If it is concentrated the seedlings will get burnt. Start with a weaker solution.

      Regarding transplanting, tomatoes can handle quite well. Even if their roots got cut a little, they can tolerate. Once transplanted, they should be kept in partial shade for a couple of days till they pick up and adjust for the new environment. For other plants, ensure that their roots are disturbed. Also, try to do it the evenings or early morning. Provide shade during the hottest noons. This is just a general guideline. Good to hear that you get 100% survival.

      I welcome your idea on sharing what you have achieved. Please do so. You can write a guest post and i will be more than happy to publish it in my blog.

      Thanks
      GG

  • Satish Dayal

    Hello gg:
    Thanks for the info. Is there a great difference between 19:19:19 and 20:20:20 water soluble NPK? I ask because no one seems to be selling the former in Delhi and I was wondering if I can use the other version. Further, I am sorry for some confusion I seem to have created. I was not referring to tomatoes but to gourds when I talked about a very high rate of survival of the seedlings after transplantation. Actually I am new to blogging and did not realise that in this section we were talking only about tomatoes! Sorry once again. In any case THANKS a lot for the offer to write a guest post. How does one do that? Regards
    Satish Dayal

    • geekgardener

      Hello Satish,

      You can use 20:20:20 by all means in place of 19-19-19. There wont be any noticeable difference between the two of them interms of yield. For the confusion, not a problem at all. Please dont be sorry. You can write it in a document with pictures and send it to me. I will post the same with due credits to you :)

      gg

      • Satish Dayal

        Hi gg:
        Thanks a lot for the info about the complex fertilizers and also for the offer regarding the guest blog. Can I write that in MS Word and mail the same to you? If the answer is positive, please provide your email address. Thanks once again.
        Satish

  • Swetha

    Hello GG,
    Your blog is quite impressive and insightful. I have always loved the idea of growing vegetables in my backyard garden. After reading your post on growing tomatoes, I was inspired to experiment on growing tomatoes myself.
    I started by planting around 10-20 tomato seeds in red soil in a plastic cup of 200 ml size. I have provided tiny holes at bottom of the cup for the water to drain out. I am going to use this setup only until the germination happens, after which I will move it to a bigger pot. I planted the seeds 8 days ago. I water the pot everyday. I still dont see any sign of leaves sprouting. Can you please advice me on where I am making a mistake.

    • geekgardener

      Thanks. Good to hear you are inspired by my blog. 200ml cup might be little small for sowing 10-20 seeds. But thats now why it has not germinated so far. Check the quality of seeds. of see if there are insects in the soil. you can dig a little to see if the seeds are still there/sprouting. Give it another week and if it doesn’t sprout. Repeat the sowing with different set of seeds.

  • [...] Tomatoes in Growbags – Hydroponic way Posted on April 18, 2010 by geekgardener Whenever I see a commercial greenhouse or farm, I always get this feeling..”why [...]

  • Deepak Kukreja

    Hi GG,

    I want to know that can we use panchagavya as organic nutrient solution in hydroponics.

    Has anyone tried that ?

    If yes then what proportion we have to use and what will be the schedule to give the nutrient

    If No then what are the other organic options available to use as nutrient solution in hydroponics.

    Please update..

    Thanks & Regards,

    Deepak

    • geekgardener

      Hi Deepak,

      For using panchagavya, we need to know what % of nutrients are there in it. I have not tried it. I have heard people using chicken manure tea and compost tea in the internet. See aquaponics as well.

      gg

      • Deepak Kukreja

        Hi GG,

        http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_panchakavya.html#Panchakavya

        We can find the chemical composition on this site and looking at this it has good NPK composition.

        I find calcium is less but I think for that we can use calcium rich slaked lime.

        What do you think ?

        It has also got micronutrients which is required for vegetables and plants.

        Do you think it will work if we use it in hydroponics ?

        Thanks & Regards,

        Deepak

        • geekgardener

          Hi Deepak,

          If it provides the mentioned PPM values, I dont see a reason why it cannot be used. I think the challenge is consistency of the product. It might work. Like I said already there was a website that details how to grow veggies hydroponically using Chicken manure tea.

          gg

          • Deepak Kukreja

            Hi GG,

            I am gonna try this sometime in next few weeks. Will update you how it has worked.

            Could you please provide me the link to the chicken manure tea website.

            Thanks & Regards,
            Deepak

          • geekgardener

            Hi Deepak,

            That would be great. It is http://www.tengreenthumbs.com . The reason I didn’t give this website last time was it went down and never came back up. Give it a try.

            Thanks
            gg

  • Hi,
    Seeing these growbags for the first time. Looks like a promising medium for soil less gardening. I am building a small aquaponics system (very interested in it since I found out about it recently). What do you think of using these as a medium for aquaponics? Please let me know. I am just starting off in gardening so very much to learn yet! And do you have any idea where I can find hydrotons in Delhi (I live here) or Bangalore (my bro lives there) ? I have been searching around but cant find any.

    • geekgardener

      Hi Korou,

      I dont have much idea about Aquaponics hence cant be of much help there. Sorry. I do know where you get hydroton. It is available in Ratanshi AgroHortitech in Mumbai. Check with them.

      gg

  • prasant

    hi gg,

    very interesting work. where can you buy coco peat in bangalore, pone no or address would help big time.

    thx

  • Srikanth

    Hi GG,

    Are you still using the grow bags for tomatoes? What else are you growing now in those growbags?

    I planning to setup something similar and looking forward to your experiences.

    Thanks,
    Srikanth

  • Swetha

    Hi
    I have recently moved my tomato sprouts from pots to the earth. I now see that one plant’s leaves are curling, and have zit like things on the leaves. I looked under the leaves, but dont find anything suspicious. Perhaps its time to spray some organic or chemical pesticides. Could you suggest me some? I live in Hyderabad. So if you know any place where I can easily find the pesticides or fertilizers you might suggest, do let me know.

    Thanks
    Swetha

    • Leaf curling could be due to virus attack. If you see any insects (like aphids, mealy bugs), remove them. Those will suck the sap and stunt the plant’s growth. Spray neem oil solution. I am not sure where you get things in hyderabad. You can do a search in this blog and there were some info related to this put somewhere.

  • Swetha

    Hi
    I have recently moved my tomato sprouts from pots to the earth. But few leaves on one of those plants are curling up, with zit like things on them. I looked under the leaves, but did not find anything suspicious. What do you think it is? Perhaps it is time for fertilizers/pesticides. Can you suggest some? I live in Hyderabad. So if you know any place where I can easily find the ones you might suggest, do let me know.

    Thanks

  • Thrinethran P V

    hi,

    can this drip system used with PVC hydroponics?

  • divya malhotra

    hi am very much interested in thework u r doing have lot of experience in gardening on large areas now shifted to acity and constraint of land and greenery is felt . i wud like if u can pass any info on terrace gardening flowers as well as veg. am in north india in jammu. hv two large large terrace s . lets communicate. lets be the green brigade of cities!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ram

    Hi Geek Gardener

    You seem to be the authority of hobby gardening in India. Your foray into hydroponics is what draws me to your sight. I practice hydroponics is a small scale in my apartment balcony in New Jersey. Nothing too fancy a small self made Aeroponic setup. Started out in summer of 2009 with tomatoes, got good yields. Once winter set in here I tried Cauliflower indoors but failed due to insufficient lighting. I underestimated the size of the cauliflower plant when it is ready to flower.

    Anyways long story short I have interest in commercial hydroponics in India in the neat future. Right now I use commercial grade nutrients from general hydroponics and they work out great. I had a question about self made nutrients. When you use your home made nutrient mix does the pH swing wildly in the closed loop / recirculation system you use? How many times do you adjust the pH in a day or week?

    Thanks,
    Ram

    • Hi Ram,
      Good to hear that you are practicing hydroponics from the other side of the world.
      So true about the cauliflower. A full grown plant in container can take 4 sq.ft. Include cabbage also with that.
      Good to hear that you have commercial interest.
      I use cocopeat as a medium and my reservoir is about 35L. Sometimes, I had to refill the tank every 2-3 days. When I make the nutes, I keep the pH at 6.0. So I only have to measure once every 3 days.

  • Ram

    One more question about nutrients. What do you do to compensate for hard water? How do you adjust the chemical compounds for the extra Calcium and Magnesium?

    • Honestly, I haven’t got my water tested. For home gardening purposes, I think its fine. My water is hard. So far, I haven’t altered the formula to suit the water. It shouldn’t be difficult to change the formula based on the water test.

  • Hari Prasad

    Hey, I find this only today, U r interesting guy. salam for you dear. U inspire me a lot but what to do i am a lazy guy living in kerala, of course i had a doubt, can i make the pot mix, i had enough coconut husk in my home. again my salam.

    • Hello Hariprasad,

      Thanks for your nice words. You sure can make your own potting mix. Use Coco husk and compost in equal proportion. You can also add red soil to it if you want some base to make it little heavy mix.
      You can also subscribe to the blog and keep up with the posts.

      Thanks for visiting
      GG

  • Nagaraj

    Hi gg,
    Yr jobs are so wonderfull, I’m practicing hydroponics, past 2 months. I would like to know availability of growbags. Happy diwali
    Nagaraj.D

    • geekgardener

      Hi Nagaraj,

      Thanks. Nice to hear you practice hydroponics as well. I get mine from an exporter from Tamilnadu. Where are you located?

      Happy diwali to you too.
      gg

  • Murali

    Hi gg,

    neat site and good information…but would be more useful if you also publish a “BOM” – Bill of Materials (with prices, if possible) for each project so that the readers can also understand how and what to get…But a very informative site, nevertheless!

    Murali

  • Saritha S.Mukherjee

    Hello GG

    Lots of useful information. Thanks for that. We have a small balcony our home in Bangalore. I want to optimise its usage by growing plants. I am also into setting up my kitchen herb garden. Can you please order one grow bag for me? what other details should i give for this? Thanks again for extending your support to other gardening enthusiasts.

    Best Regards

    Saritha

  • terraceroses

    Hi GG,

    I quite enjoyed reading your blog. I have been experimenting with rose growing and tomatoes on my terrace in Bangalore using a mix of coco-peat, compost and red soil. Your efforts are really very inspiring and the best part is they are well documented.

    I would like to know where you got your grow bags from? I could not locate any in Bangalore. Same with perlite and vermiculite. Do you still use them? I did not have great success with vermiculite. I bought some vermiculite from Keltech; pretty expensive did not yield good results.

    Thanks

  • meenak

    Hi GG:

    I have just resumed gardening, after a long break. I am in the process of setting up drip irrigation, am looking for a simple and effective system, with timer. Can I come over to your place with by contractor, as he does not have experiencein setting drip system. I am facing the problems in watering using pipes which develop leaks fast and hence this request.

    BTW,I cut my sundakkai plants as they had grown too big for the container. I hope they will grow again. I have harvested about 2 kg of the vegetables too. I definitely want to share this with you ( and your mom!). Are you free this week end, I can then come over…

    Regards
    Meena K

  • padma

    hello srikanth,
    iam padma ,resident of hyderabad. i stay in ameerpet . i waana grow little vegetable garden on my terrace. cn u plz help me finding different sizes of grow bags near by my place .

  • Kalyan

    Dear GG,
    This post is very exiting and interesting. Thanks for the same. I am in Hyderabad and just started vegetable gardening 2 weeks ago. I would like to know more about terrace gardening, soil, fertilizer and seed selections, availability of them, grow bag gardening etc. Please let me know how can I reach you on phone. I will call you if you can let me know your contacts.

    Regards
    Kalyan

    • Hello Kalyan,

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your thirst for knowing more about gardening. The best way for you to learn is by reading the articles in this website and also take part in the forum. I prefer to keep the discussion on the forum than on phone. This way many will benefit and I think you will agree with me on this.

      Good luck
      GG

      • Kalyan

        GG

        Thanks for your response. We will continue the discussion in this forum. Firstly, I would like to know what type of seeds we need to select for growing vegitables in pots or plastic bags and where from I can get them, are there any brands selling seeds? What all type of vegetables we can grow in pots or bags? Could you also please let me know what is Hydroponic way of gardening? Who is the vendor in Tamilnadu who supplies growing bag?

        Kalyan

  • Chandran

    Hi GG

    Your tomato plants look good. i am searching all sort of info about hydroponics these days. in your post, you have not mentioned any thing about nutrient solution. please inform me how you managed nutrient and may be i will start my gardening soon, this is the only thing which is not clear.

  • SVRRAO

    i have tried hydropony with water soluble fertilisers about 6 months ago and was not successful. this time, i brought mixigro fertiliser from the u.s and am planning to try out. will appreciate if you can kindly guide me on:

    1. what Indian substitutes can I try when the present stock is finished (for vegetables) and

    2. how to measure the concentration of the water fertiliser mix? what is the most economical instrument i can buy in the market?

    i am a retired central govt officer (power) and am doing this project as a small time hobby.

    regards,

    svrrao

    • Hello SVRRao,

      Sorry for the delay. You can get all the chemicals needed for making a hydroponic nutrient. To measure the concentrtion of water. You need an EC Meter. It is available at around 1200/- and you may need pH meter or strips. Strips are cheaper and works well too.

      Hope this helps and I really appreciate your hobby.

  • svr rao

    been trying to join the blog, my earlier requests and comments not responded, please help

  • svrrao

    hello gg,

    thanks for the guidance. it would be difficult for me to make the fertilizers as i do not have the knowledge and the means. is it possible to get readymade ferilizers courtesy yourself or any other place?

    thanks in advance,

    svr

  • Venkatalakshmi

    Hi!

    Please do let me know where I can purchase general purpose hydroponic nutrient mix in Chennai.

    Thanks

    • Hydroponics nutrients are not available in chennai. You can order it from me if you need.

      • sureshrama

        Hi GG how are you ? i am setting up my terrace to grow vegetables in grow bags can you pls let me know what are the nutrients available and the cost. I am planning to grow tomatoes, brinjal,okra and cluster beans.
        regards
        suresh.

  • enthumaali

    Hi GG
    Truly inspiring !! I am in the process of setting up a drip irrigation system at home. Should be operational soon.
    What are grow bags ? Will they be available in Pune ? Is there any particular company who manufactures them ? How expensive are they ? What is each bags capacity? Can they be reused ? If yes, how many times ?
    Sorry for so many questions. But since i have only 2 balconies i need answers to all this before hand.
    look forward to your early response.
    Enthumaali

  • GLB

    Can sombebody suggest from where can I get perlite?

  • Hi I am impressed by the work youve done, looks like we may have things to do im comming. How can I reach you. Email me at the email specified and I’d be happy to call you. I will be Bangalore April 1st week.

    Cheers,

    Nameet

  • Ajay

    HI GG,
    Very much interested in the technique of growing veggies.Wanted to know how the hydroponics system works i mean what happens to the water that is collected in the reservoir. is it recycled or thrown ? everything i want to learn.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Ajay

    Dear GG,
    I have tried growing tomotoes in containers which i got from ratansi agro in mumbai.
    The seeds germinated within 4 days but when they were about 15 days old they died before their true leaves were out.
    pls advice whether i should use any chemical or fertilizer during this period which i want to avoid as i want to grow them in organic way.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Anand

    hi .. great work…
    few question , the shade net you are using.. whats the percentage of light, and what is the temp outside . I read somewhere that tomatoes need minimum 8 hours of direct sunlight to produce well, but seeing yours i assume they can be growin in high summer heat using the shade nets…
    pl take care
    Anand

  • Jatin Patel

    Thank you GG
    I am a farmer by birth but never done any thing related to farming on my own,after reading the article Growing Tamatoes in Growbags a very inspiring article,I had come across for the first time,I would like to give a try using this kind of grow bags for the home gardening ,can you pl. arrange to send me 10 no. Of grow bags and required material to me. I live at
    Jatin Patel
    A/4 vrundavan township,opp. Nageshwar mahadev,harni road,Vadodara,Gujarat,india.
    my email I’d. jatinmonal@hotmail.com. Cell no. 09824027895.
    I am ready to for the expense.
    Thank you
    Jatin

  • Vinay

    Hi

    Could you please let me know from where can I get cocopeat bricks (5Kg) in Pune for cheap. Any idea of the approximate cost?

    Regards,
    - Vinay.

  • Hi GG,

    your website is in the first bookmark under gardening and am managing to view one page a day and finding it very useful.
    In all your posts i see you using cocopeat at you also offered to buy in growbags. Can i find out the way to purchase them from you and how much would it cost. Based on your posts i have now started tomatoes, mint and coriander(least successful). The soil quality seems to be the biggest problem.

    My contact 9845178874 and i stay in kanakpura road, near Metro cash and carry.

    Rgds,

    Anil

  • GG

    Hei GG,

    I do not believe in coincidences and try to argue that everything is preplanned in order to give us openings to new experiences, if we chose.
    The concidences are as follows. 1. I too is called GG by many of my friends. I was discussing about such a small pump and irrigation system from my drainage system. To add more surprise I was talking to ANIL about this. Anil Nambiar.

    I will require some time to write you more, as some jobs are going on at home.

    Nice post.

    GG

  • Lakshmanan

    Hi
    I am from tamilnadu. can you give the details of the seller of those grow bags!

    thanks
    lakshmanan

  • Hemant Gupta

    Hi,
    Very nice article, I live in a 2BHK flat, I have around 10 potted plants, I am very interested in growing more plants, but the problem is my balconies don’t get sufficient sunlight, what advise would you give to me, what style should I adapt to, I have sufficient space for another 10 pots, what kind of plants should I grow, any advice would be helpful.

  • sadanand

    Dear GG

    Thank you for your posts, Me and my wife have a terrace garden and have planted flower bearing plants in big earthen pots, unfortunately cracks have developed due to the roots growing out, i quickly need to replace and am thinking of MS drums, please advise.

    Further i am impressed with your veggies in cocopeat growbags, i am going to follow your instructions and begin with tomatoes and Okra, will keep u updated

    Thanks
    Sadanand

  • arunkumar laishram

    I love your work very interesting. I am from Imphal Manipur and i would like to know the water requirement and the how it is fertilized .

  • geekgardener

    Sunil,

    Thanks sunil. It is sometimes very difficult to manage several things at the same time. I can totally relate to you. Look at this, I am replying for your comment that you made like 5 days ago. See how my time management is.. well, should I still write a post on time management? :D

    gg

  • geekgardener

    Hi Deepak,

    I don’t have the information like how many days from flower to fruit. Usually 2 months from the date of transplant for you to harvest.

    thanks
    gg

  • Deepak Kukreja

    Hi GG,

    Now I can see few flowers forming.

    But couple of flowers which were formed has fallen.

    Is it normal that first few flowers fall or can it be due to the high temperature because of Summer..

    There is very humidity and temerature has also risen in last few days in Mumbai..

    What could be the reason according to u.. I had checked on few sites and these are mainly the reasons told of this problem..

    Waiting for rain to come.. so that temperatures fall a bit and then see how it goes.

    Please reply back.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Deepak

  • geekgardener

    Hi Deepak,

    Sorry for the delay.

    Flowers fall due to many reasons. Lack of pollination and extreme temperatures are the main culprits. Lack of pollination is also a result of high temperature. Check nitrogen in your fertilizer. If you have excess nitrogen, the flowers will be pollinated but the fruit set will be poor. They will remain very small.

    Is it hydroponically grown?

    Thanks
    gg

  • GLB

    Hi Deepak:It takes a week to see small ovaries capped with green flower sepals developing into tiny fruits.These grow gradually depending env around.Where do you grow the plants in greenhouse or in open? Keep sufficient moisture around the plants, if it is very hot outside. You can increase the level of potash after reducing nitrogen. GLB

  • Deepak Kukreja

    Hi GG,

    Yes it is hydroponically grown using Air stone bubble method.

    The temperatures are really high and I think that could be the reason, waiting for some rain to see how it behaves after the temperatures cool off little bit.

    There is not fruit set yet.. Flowers are opening very well but drying up and falling after 2-3 days..

    Also how can I check the nitrogen level ???

    The formula that I am using is from tomatoland.net website …

    Thanks & Regards,

    Deepak

  • geekgardener

    HI Deepak,

    I think it is the heat. You can try pollinating them manually to see if that helps. I meant if you are using a fertilizer that favors vegetative growth then reduce the nitrogen levels. If the fruits are not set at all, i doubt it is excess nitrogen the problem.
    gg

  • Bhaskar

    Hey Hetal,
    Is there any way to contact you ? Please email me.
    thanks,
    Bhaskar

  • geekgardener

    Hey Srikanth,
    Whats up. Couple of days back I removed all my toms from the growbags and now planning to use them for growing capsicums. My family will kill me if I grow tomatoes again ;) .

    I will definitely post about it.. The transplant will be ready in few weeks. Hopefully it turns out well.

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