I’m just getting my NFT setup started but I have some concerns. If I wanted to grow something like hot peppers and tomatoes in my growroom, should the nutrient water be separate systems? I don’t want spicy tomatoes. Or is this even an issue with NFT systems?
Growing tomatoes in the same hydroponic system as hot peppers will not create spicy tomatoes. In fact, a wide variety of vegetables can be grown in the same hydroponic system and share the same nutrient reservoir without issue. The only catch is all the plant varieties within the system should have similar stages of growth and development. Issues arise in multi-crop hydroponic systems when the nutrient requirements differ greatly. For example, a small pepper plant in its early stage of vegetative growth will have very different nutrient requirements than a tomato plant that is mature and producing fruit. Simply put, when growing different types of plants in a hydroponic system, make sure they have similar stages of growth and a comparable duration to maturity.
It is also important to mention that growing tomatoes and hot peppers in an NFT system could be more difficult than in an alternative hydroponic system.
Commercial nutrient film technique (NFT) systems are typically used to grow small, leafy green crops, such as lettuce. These plants have relatively small root masses and mature relatively quickly. Large plants, with relatively long durations to maturity, tend to create big root masses, which can inhibit the flow of the nutrient solution in NFT gutters. The hydroponic systems typically used for tomato and pepper production are top-fed and ebb-n-flow. These systems are customizable to meet the increased requirements of moisture and nutrients. They also are more suitable for larger plants with robust root systems. If you plan on growing tomatoes and hot peppers in an NFT system, it may be wise to seek out a dwarf variety with the shortest duration to maturity. Shorter stature plants will generally have a smaller root mass and will be more manageable in an NFT system. I hope this answers your question.
Side Note — For those who are interested in growing spicy tomatoes, you will not have to wait long. Plant physiologists in Brazil and Ireland are currently researching the use of gene-editing tools to create the world’s first spicy tomatoes.
Keep on Growing,
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