Aquaponic Gardening

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Quick question. Does anyone have experience transplanting your AP plants to an outdoor soil garden? I have a bunch of tomatoes that are getting way too big for my system and I have decided I would rather grow more lettuces and such anyway (things that don't flower) in the aquaponics. My question is...can you just pull out the tomatoes and put them in soil outdoors? Will the plants deal with the change? Is there anything I can do to help their chances of survival? It is almost mothers day so perhaps it is just about the right time to put them outdoors even (Denver, CO)?

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I have 6 tomato's now planted in soil from my AP.  I would caution that you need to be very gentle in removing the plants so as not to harm the feeder roots.  Also you need to insure that you are planting in a area that is protected till they adjust and water them well.  Mine are doing fine and now have tomato's on them about the size of ping pong balls.

Still too early for Denver. Couple more weeks of protection if you can move them inside at night

Ok, so maybe put them into pots w/ soil and bring them in at night in case it gets cold one last time. I need to remove them from the AP because they are growing up into the lights!!! They grew many times faster than I thought they would. Sometimes aquaponics just works toooo well!!!! The growth rate is amazing when you get the water balanced perfectly.

Thanks for the comments!

Why not try straw bales.  I have been growing tomatoes in straw bales for a number of years with Great success.

I suggest that you go to: www.davesgarden.com  and look up the strawbale community.  There is a bunch of information.

You get a wheat or grain straw bale, (no grass hay,) set it with strings on the ground, water it thoroughly, fertilizing with urea or high nitrogen until the middle is warm not hot, open up a gap and plant your tomatoes.  I usually cut a hole and pull some straw out, plant the tomato then put the straw I removed around  the stem.  They will need water very regularly during warm weather.

Have fun!!

That is why I love this site.  You learn so many things from others.  Thanks for the info Paul.  I am gonna try this just for the fun of it.

Paul Smith said:

Why not try straw bales.  I have been in straw bales for a number of years with Great success.

I suggest that you go to: www.davesgarden.com  and look up the strawbale community.  There is a bunch of information.

You get a wheat or grain straw bale, (no grass hay,) set it with strings on the ground, water it thoroughly, fertilizing with urea or high nitrogen until the middle is warm not hot, open up a gap and plant your tomatoes.  I usually cut a hole and pull some straw out, plant the tomato then put the straw I removed around  the stem.  They will need water very regularly during warm weather.

Have fun!!

The straw bale method is pretty cool...Speaking of which, just make sure to wait until the bale cools down a bit before sticking your seedlings in there...

As far as transplants from AP to soil go...You'll probably have more luck with transplants from media bed as opposed to one that came from an all water environment (the younger the better it seems). Roots that have developed while submerged in all water are structured a bit differently. I've posted pics here before somewhere (forget where now)...

Basically, plants grown in a medium that maintains a high percentage of air to water ratio develop fine root hairs that guide the plant towards water and nutrients, plants grown in water do not seem to develop these hairs. The roots tend to be totally smooth and without those fine hairs they have a hard time adapting to a soil medium. Going from soil to water is a cinch, but in the reverse it doesn't always work out real well all the time...(esp. if the roots were totally submerged in water constantly).

I transplanted my tomatoes from an AP grow bed to a 5 gallon home depot bucket using a potting soil mix and they are doing great. I did this for the same reason you stated. The only downside of this I now have to babysit the soiled tomatoes more often, in the future I plan on rigging up another AP system so I can accommodate more transplanting.

I grow tomatoes in the dirt and aquaponics. Aquaponics is far better in my opinion. I just let them grow up in the raters of my small GH. Had to cut some of the larger branches an transplanted them in my compost bins where they took off as new plants.  Much faster than growing from seed.

I usually snip of a branch of younger plants and use them as clones for replanting. They work better when they're young.

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