Aquaponic Gardening

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Tomato plant did well, harvested lots of tomatoes, but it has run it's course and is now dying.  How do people handle this?

A) Cut plant off at roots and leave roots in growbed?

B) Pull plant out and then clean the roots of all the media then toss plant?

I'd like to do A because it's a lot less work, but I'm not sure if that's the proper thing to do.  Other facts:

  • 55 gal FT
  • Two 25 gal GBs
  • System about 7 mos old.
  • Grow media, lava rock (separating from roots will be a hassle)
  • Added worms to GBs about 2 mos ago, not sure if still in there or were flushed to FT or even if they are still alive.

Obviously, I'm new at this. This was my 1st AP system and all is working well so far.  Thanks for your thoughts.

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Won't the worms eat the dead roots ?

Gary, you should really pull out those root balls. It would probably go a long ways in keeping anearobic/anoxic zones from forming. Just pull 'em out and dunk them in a big bucket/bin of water and shake the heck out of them (this seems to work well with hydroton, don't see why lava rocks would be drastically different). It's no more, nor less of a hassle than any other thing we do in the process of growing food and maintaining a healthy system...The worms will make a meal out of whats left since it seems impossible to get every bit of root particle out. But leaving in huge root balls will probably just turn into a big stinky anoxic mess before they can take care of it all.

Are you sure the plant is dying or is it just that it has a lot of old leaves which could be cut off?  If it still have a living terminal bud(s), you can root cuttings in your media bed - pull the old plant and stick the cuttings down. 

Thanks guys.  I'll take the extra time and clean it up.

Yeah, the worms in the GB thing is sort of tough.  In the worm bin, I can see them and know how much food they have etc.  Seems I can't monitor in the GB as well.

Thanks again! :)

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