Kharif Season Blog #4 - Cultivating Tomato
Tomato is a high-yielding, short duration crop, and an excellent option for those looking to harvest a commercially important crop, four times a year. It is also well known as a protective and healthy food source, due to its special nutritional values. Tomato is one of the most versatile vegetables, with wide ranging use in Indian culinary tradition. The estimated area under cultivation in India is about 350.000 ha. That’s why this vegetable crop is also very important from an economic point of view.
Variety Requirements for Fresh Market Tomatoes
As already mentioned in our previous Kharif blogs, a thorough analysis of the right variety is crucial for the whole cultivation cycle and a productive yield.
For fresh market tomato production, the following points should be considered when it comes to variety selection:
- Market requirements / shipping quality
- Relative maturity / growing conditions / plant characteristics
- Yield potential / disease resistance / firmness
- Seasonal requirements / desirable fruit types
It is recommended that the selection of the best variety should be made with input from buyers and your customer base, several months in advance of planting. Our #PlantiXperts in the community would love to help you in case you still need more information.
To achieve a fine slope, plough and prepare the ground 3 to 4 times. During the last ploughing, add approx 10 tonnes/ha of farmyard manure (FYM) or 1-1.5 tonnes/ha of vermi-compost/compost per hectare.
For suppressing weeds and plant root nematodes, it is also advisable to consider green manure for areas with expected rainfalls. In this case, green manuring means growing crops like sunn hemp and ploughing them into soil after 45 days. Once the sunhemp has decomposed, the soil will benefit significantly from the nutrients. If you prefer to grow your tomatoes in a greenhouse, we recommend that you also read this article about best practices for greenhouse cultivation.
Tomatoes can be vulnerable to a variety of pests and diseases. Since many of them are not easy to control after they break out, the key to growing healthy tomatoes is to take into account the following preventive measures.
- Remove Remnants: It's recommended to remove all diseased plant remnants and burn them or throw them in the garbage at the end each growing season. Do not put diseased leaves in the compost pit.
- Crop Rotation: With crop rotation you can break the disease cycles of pathogens that survive in the soil.
- Insect Nets: If possible, install an insect net up to 2m in height, along all boundaries. This will result in an obstruction for all possible sucking pests.
- Spacing: Maintain proper spacing between the plants to provide adequate air circulation.
- Mulching: Two or three inches of compost, leaf, mould, straw or hay prevent soil dwelling fungal spores from spraying onto the lower leaves when it rains. The fixation of polyethylene mulch is also gaining popularity among tomato growers. Cover crops. Organic matter. Source of green. Root system
- Intercropping: Marigold flowers attract egg laying moths. Two rows of marigold per 16 rows of tomato can be used as a trapping plant.
- Traps: Install 150 yellow and 100 blue sticky traps per hectare for maximum physical control against all sucking pests
- Farm hygiene: To prevent disease transmission, always disinfect agricultural equipment as well as the tomato boxes before use.
- Plant Supports: Apply Sulfur 80% WP to last season's plant supports such as bamboo sticks and wires (cords) before installing them in the field. This will disrupt the transfer of mites from one generation to another.
If you want to grow tomatoes in the coming season, set up a Crop Advisory with Plantix: The top crop pundit!