Another great season for hydroponic tomatoes – and okra !

Well, its been a tough season for growing tomatoes. A major problem has been the constant heavy rains. We like to tell you to keep the leaves dry, but how can you ? Well actually you can, but you have needed to grow them in a greenhouse like Jimmy has in the Autopot hydroponics store here at Gardenworld.

While the rest of us have had to put up with bacterial spots and verticillium wilt. Jim has been growing trusses of rich red tomatoes. While the rest of us have green tomatoes that are about a month behind schedule, Jim has been eating fully ripe toms for most of the year!

Have a look below at this bacterial damage to many of the leaves on tomatoes around Melboure.

Applications of copper sprays would have prevented this in normal years, but this year not even that would have helped in some situations, particularly if the plant didn’t get enough sun.





Meanwhile of course Jim is telling me about his severe pruning method on these indoor tomato plants. All of the leaves below the trusses of fruit are removed so as to minimise disease but also so the plant can put more energy into the fruiting. It seems to be working!

Do keep in mind that the variety Jim is using is a hybrid trussing variety like a Flavourite tomato you see in the fuit shops. The seeds are over $1.00 each to buy.

One of my best varieties is the tomato plum truss from Oasis. The last 3 days we have had some of the rain that Queensland has suffered through. I now have the indignity of these beautiful and almost ripe crop that I have tendered for for months now suffering from cracking or splitting. They simply got too much water which the fruit took so much of that they virtully cracked at the seams !

Meanwhile the smart alec hydro guy proceeded to show me his cucumbers and they’re not too bad either, just hangin around on some heavy duty reo.

In case you are wondering, the hanging baskets in the background are caper plants. Thats those little exotic things your yuppie sister buys in small bottles for lots of money. The capers are actually flowers that are picked while still in bud. You can just see them at the ends of the branches on the picture below.

Another crop that grows beautifully in hydroponics form is watercress. Someone once told me that this peppery little leafed plant grows best in running springwater ! As I didn’t live in Daylesford, I settles on growing it near the tap, so every time I turned it on, the cress would get another flush of water. Hydroponics also involves moving water, and these plants below are simple loving it.

The final plant spotted at Jims fascinating hydroponics shop was a big pot of okra. This vegetable is gonna be the next hot thing for next summer. Chefs everywhere will be serving stir fried okra with watercress and capers !

Okra is best grown mid to late spring and summer into Autumn. This native of tropical Africa has pods that should be harvested at about 6 or 7cm (before they get too fibrous)

It is related to the hibiscus and the plants will grow to over a metre. The plant will have yellow flowers that form fruit a few days after.

Seedlings and seeds are available now – and I’ll definately be planting some – out in the elements – in my garden – bye !





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>