Setting up the Cucumber and Tomato NFT Systems

I thought I would share a little information about how I setup my NFT (Nutrient Film Technology) systems for growing my cucumbers and tomatoes this year, It’s a few weeks since I’ve done this so you can see how the plants are getting on at the bottom of the post.

I use two sets of channels each year, One for the cucumbers and one for the tomatoes. The tanks themselves consist of a bottom tank made of plastic, Which then has the channel where the nutrient flows layed on top of the tank. The nutrient is pumped from underneath into the top channel and then flows down the channel where it re-enters the bottom tank. Unlike using a nutrient method with lot’s of pipes there is very little risk of leaks using this method as it’s all self contained.

Spreader mat laying in the hydroponic channelAs you can probably see in this picture I’ve already got the nutrient being pumped into the channel ready for the plants, I do this so that the system has a day or two for the nutrient solution to properly mix and settle. So I can take a proper reading of the pH level and the nutrient concentration level. These are probably the most important things in hydroponic growing so I check these and adjust them regurlary. After growing for a few years you seem to get a feeling of how the nutrients and pH levels increase or decrease when the plants are using more or the nutrient’s need changing.

Hydroponic NFT channel with the spreader mat all layedThe photo shows me laying the spreader mat into the nutrient channel. This matting helps spread the nutrients evenly over the channel and also possibly gives the plant roots something to grab onto while they are growing. After the plants have finishing growing the for season this whole mat is about 1 inch thick with roots.

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Lot’s of Fresh Hydroponic Strawberries

All my strawberry systems seem to be working very well at the moment, After only a few weeks each plant is providing several fresh strawberries every day or so.

Here are a few pictures of the strawberry plants at the moment.


First Strawberries in the Flood and Drain System

First Strawberries in the Flood and Drain System


First Strawberries in the Aeroponic System

First Strawberries in the Aeroponic System


The strawberry plants in the water culture system

First Strawberries in the Water Culture System, Unfortunately I’ve eaten the ripe ones at the moment so you can’t see them.

The only thing I’ve been having to do on a nearly daily basis is to check for greenfly or whitefly. A few leaves have had quite a few of these nasty insects trying to destroy them. I’ve found the easiest way to get rid of them is simply to check each leaf in turn for them and simply squish them with your fingers. It’s not the nicest thing to have to do but it’s a lot better for the plants than spraying them every time you see them, and it only takes a few minutes each day.