Sooner or later you have to move the babies into the real world, or at least as much of the real world as you're going to expose them to. In this case I decided to try to do wick systems as the primary hydroponics system and use some plain old potting soil pots for a control and back up system. The problem is that I had surgery on June 17th and I'm just not up to a lot of construction. So here is a sort of status update. I actually have three tubs and each cover has five holes in it. There are plastic cups in each hole with slots cut on two sides with a strip of material threaded through (actually a tee shirt cut into strips about 3/4" by 18" or so, one strip threaded through the cup with a little rockwool in the bottom. The plants were in mesh pots in other little plastic cups and now I just transfered the mesh pots with the developing tomato plant into the cups with the wicks.
Each tub holds about 8 to 10 gallons of nutrient and right now I have the nutrient conductivity factor at CF=19, which is just fine at this stage. I may ramp it up a little later. I'm not trying to oxygenate the tubs so we'll see what problems that poses. Also I'm counting on the roots following the wicks down into the tank. This should be pretty low maintenance as systems go with only an occasional ramp up of the water and addition of nutrient to bring it up to the conductivity factor I want.
The back up is three rather ordinary pots with one plant each. These are in a potting soil mix that came with a system I bought a couple of years ago, nothing very special. I'm running these for comparison and because Jessica says we must get tomatoes this year, so if I blow it with the wick systems at least this will fill the "must get tomatoes" imperative. I'll clue you in on how it's going in a while.