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-   -   Outdoor Dutch Bucket Tomatoes (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4330)

Stan 08-31-2018 02:48 PM

Outdoor Dutch Bucket Tomatoes

This year I changed my system from rail aeroponics (pics in setup forum) to dutch bucket cause I wanted to grow more plants. This year has been the hottest summer I can remember with over 30 days so far of 90+ degree temperatures with 68 - 78% humidity. The high temps not all consecutive but in bunches of 4 - 6 days in a row.

So the tomato plants I'm using are big heirloom (2-4lbs), yellow cherry heirlooms and black cherry. They are grown in full sun for 90% of the day. I have heavy duty tomato cages around each plant.

The cherry tomato plants are all between 10 - 12 feet long. They have grown over the top of the 5ft cages and coming down lower than the dutch buckets. The amount of black cherry and yellow cherry tomatoes I have gotten so far have been astounding considering how hot it has been. The plants are still flowering and fruiting today and I should have tomatoes up until possibly late October.

The big heirlooms are almost 10 feet tall. They have produced an incredible amount of fruit. I've had 2 tomatoes that weighed in at 3lbs. The only problem I've had were squirrels have ravaged my big heirlooms to the point I've had to cut off and throw away at least 25 tomatoes that have been partially eaten or bitten into. The squirrels have decimated my big heirlooms. I still have a couple new fruiting tomatoes i hope will survive the squirrel onslaught.

With all my tomato plants between 10 - 12 feet tall, the temps and humidity as high as they are, they have taken in an incredible amount of water. I have a 45 gallon cooler I use as a reservoir. On the 90+ degree days it will drop down to 1/4 where I have to refill it with fresh water. On days in the lower 80's I refill every 4 - 5 days. Nutrients get added once a week. On every second week I add a very small amount of epsom salt to the reservoir.

I will post more pictures at the end of this years grow. I will have to look for a larger reservoir so I don't have to add every 2 - 5 days. I will also have to set up a small electrically charged fence around the plants next year. Not something that will hurt the squirrels just something to slightly jolt them so they stay away.

Here are links to my aeroponic rails that work nicely for a smaller area.

First aeroponic setup & grow

My second setup with larger reservoir.

Pic of a large heirloom I've been growing

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