In tomato cultivation we explain that the tomato plant is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family and although nowadays tomato cultivation is worldwide.
It is highly appreciated for its rich fruit, fleshy and red, which is called tomato and is used daily both raw and processed in different ways such as fried tomato, dried tomato…
As for its cultivation, it needs abundant irrigation and direct sunlight, as well as specific nutritional care. It is not the best crop to start in the world of gardening, however, we are going to list the fundamental steps for its cultivation and the main aspects that you should take into account when you start gardening with it.
WHEN AND HOW TO SOW
The cultivation of tomato brings many of us upside down, because depending on the area where we live we can start our seedlings from December-January to April-May.
Everything will depend on the climate of the area where we live and the varieties of tomato we choose for our garden, potted garden or urban garden.
As for how to sow, the first thing we have to do is to prepare the soil where our seeds will germinate, I recommend that you make a mixture of 75% substrate and 25% of our 100% Organic Worm Casting Humus. This will create the perfect balance for our seeds to grow healthy and strong from the beginning.
The next step will be the choice of the seed of tomatoes, remember that it is very important a good choice of varieties according to our growing space if we have little space the best choice are the determinate tomatoes, which are those that grow to a certain height, if on the other hand you have plenty of space choose indeterminate tomatoes.
Once we have everything clear and the substrate prepared we put it in the seedbeds. We are ready for tomato cultivation. Place at least 2 seeds per hole and moisten the substrate. We can also do direct sowing, but for this we need a climate that accompanies because if we had a frost our plant will die and all our work will have been in vain.
As advice I recommend you to water with warm water and to have the seedbeds in zones with constant temperature, so we will help their germination to be faster.
In tomato cultivation one of the most important moments for our tomato plant, this is when we take them out of their cradles where they have been growing for a while and put them in their new home…
Before doing this we have to prepare it, when we go to a new house we like that this with all the services ready to use … light, water, doors …. Well the tomato is the same, we have to prepare the ground to have sufficient reserves for the plant to grow without problems and without nutrient deficiencies as this will directly affect us in the production that this plant will have in the future.
The ideal would be to prepare the soil correctly making a perfect mixture, from CULTIVERS ECO we recommend a mixture of our flours, so you will create a fertile and balanced soil for optimal growth and development.
Once we have the soil ready it is time to put the seedling, for this it is better that the substrate of the seedbed is somewhat dry so that the root ball is not disassembled and thus to be able to conserve most of the root, remember that if the 2 seedlings have left, before the transplant we have to cut the one that is less vigorous and healthy, always staying the one of better aspect and form, avoiding malformations.
We already have the seedling out of the seedbed, the soil ready… Then we make a small hole in the ground and introduce the seedling as deep as we can, as this will make our plant create more root and its subjection and assimilation of nutrients will be better, since it will create more root surface.
And finally, the only thing we have to do is to water it, so our plant will begin to receive moisture and its transplant will be a success.
We irrigate a lot… We irrigate little… One of the questions that perhaps brings us more headaches in the cultivation of tomato … Is it better to water a lot and every few days or to water a little every few days? All this is conditioned by the access to water that we have because if we do not have water network irrigation will not be the same as having.
From my own experience, if we have mains water, it would be ideal to water at least every 2 days in summer and if the heat is very strong, once a day, always avoiding the hours of highest sunlight incidence, that is to say, either in the early morning or late at night, so that our plants take better advantage of the moisture that we are providing and it does not evaporate so fast that our plants suffer.
If we do not have water of network and our irrigation is limited, at least it is convenient to make 1 intense irrigation to the week in time of heat soaking very well the ground so that thus our plants have that good during more time, in addition it would be ideal to place Mulch or Padding on the ground to conserve this way even more that humidity.
Remember that plants get used to what we give them and if we give them a lot, they get used to that water level, if on the other hand we look for dry land varieties these are genetically accustomed to receive less water and if we do well the guidelines these will last much longer without the need for continuous watering.
And as last recommendation, do not wet neither the leaves nor the fruits of the tomato plant in the hours of incidence of the sun, since these will make the magnifying glass effect and will burn them, as well as the less they get wet the less possibilities that our plants receive the visit of the unwanted Fungi.
TOMATO AND THE NEED FOR GUIDANCE OR TRELLISING
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are 2 types of tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. The first ones do not need to be staked as they are low growing and grow without problems.
As for the indeterminate varieties, we have cane and creeping varieties. As their name suggests, creepers do not need to be trained and develop perfectly at ground level.
On the other hand, the trellising is necessary because they develop a lot and need to be guided and supported so that they grow without any kind of problems.
There are many types and forms of tutors, among them we highlight the barracks with canes, the rope-guided and the individual tutors. These three types have a multitude of variants and are among the most widely used.
As for tomato pruning, here we enter another swampy ground… In tomato growing there are people who do it and people who don’t, what is the right thing to do and what is not, that’s more what one’s experience says. We are going to expose you some things and based on the information that we will give you, you will choose.
As for tomato pruning can be done in 2 ways:
- Despunte. Here what we achieve is that once the tomato plant has a suitable height we carry out an apical pruning. We prevent the plant from growing more upwards and if it does so in width,
- Deschuponado. It consists of pruning the stems that come out of the axils of the leaves, these form new arms from which flower clusters will also emerge.
Now what happens, I personally usually leave tomato plants with 2 to 3 branches to have some more production and that tomatoes do not lose much caliber, if on the contrary we do not remove the suckers tomato plants grow and grow and the energy is distributed, not only will give us fruit if not grow like a bush.
What are the positives and negatives of each method:
- Pruning. By pruning we manage to keep the plant in shape and height, we achieve a better caliber and decrease the possibility of being attacked by pests. On the other hand, the number of tomatoes will be lower.
- Do not prune. Higher production but smaller caliber, possibility of having more pests as it is denser, occupies more space and greater demand for water and nutrients. We prevent the fruits from burning.
And now what do we do… Well, we leave this in your hands.
HOW AND WHEN TO HARVEST TOMATOES
It has to be harvested at the right time and for this tastes … and for tastes colors. There are people who like them greener, others like them very ripe and others at the right moment. And when is this, how do we know?
Well, the rule of how much red is harvested is not always applicable, since as you know there are many varieties of different colors on the market, from black to white, through all the colors we can imagine.
So one of the ways to know when a tomato is ripe is to touch it. When we notice that we can squeeze the tomato and this something soft is the ideal time to be harvested and become part of our pantry.
On how to collect it is very simple. Normally when the tomato is ripe, when the fruit is bent, it only detaches from the stem that holds it to the bunch, another option is to cut with scissors with the idea of leaving the whole bunch.
COMMON DISEASES AND PESTS
I NSECTS ON TOMATO CULTIVATION
- Spider mite (Tetranychus spp.) Spider mites suck up plant material by absorbing cellular juices as part of their diet. The affected tissue stains a yellowish color that necroses with time. In advanced pests, a characteristic spider web is generated around the entire plant.
- The green chinch bug (Nezara viridula) is a phytophagous hemiptera, that is to say, it feeds on plant sap. Since it feeds on plants, it is very common in all types of crops.
- Heliothis (Helicoverpa armígera) is a greenish caterpillar with a cylindrical body, ranging in size from 3 to 5 cm. Damage to the tomato plant is caused by larval bites on the leaves or on the fruit in the stage of formation, leaving concavities, generally near the peduncle.
- Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) The female whitefly lays its eggs on the underside of bell pepper leaves. Visible white spheres appear. To feed, it sucks the plant, weakening it and eventually causing general wilting.
- Leafminer ( Liriomyza spp.) The galleries formed by this pest can be distinguished with the naked eye on the upper side of the leaf. The adult is 2 mm in size, black and yellow in color and has light-colored wings. Damage to the tomato plant is caused by the adult biting the leaf to lay eggs or to feed. The galleries that form become necrotic over time, weakening the plant.
- Tomato moth (Tuta absoluta) This lepidopteran has a high reproductive capacity, producing between 40-50 eggs during its life cycle, with no winter dormancy. The damage to the tomato plant is caused when the larvae penetrate leaves, stems or fruit to feed. Originating galleries that necrotize with time.
- Thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) Thrips are elongated insects measuring about 1- 2 mm (visible to the naked eye and recognizable with a magnifying glass) and are brown in color. These insects suck plant material from the tomato plant. The area where it has been suctioned presents a silvery coloration and eventually necroses.
DISEASES IN THE TOMATO CROP.
- Anthracnose (Colletotrichum sp.) Anthracnose appears on tomato when fruits are in the ripening process. On them appear circular spots of watery aspect (as rotten) that sink towards the interior. The center becomes even darker with time and rotting increases.
- Cladosporiosis (Fulvia fulva) This common disease of tomato only affects leaves under high humidity conditions (above 70%). To locate this disease, a yellow-brown spot should be seen on the underside of the leaves. The most effective remedy is prevention. Acting at the first outbreaks that appear on the leaves of tomato plants, avoiding stagnant or free water that may remain on the leaves.
- Downy mildew (Phytophthora infestans) This fungal disease attacks the aerial part of the plant in conditions of high humidity (90%). Detection of the presence of the fungus is due to the appearance of irregular spots that eventually necrotize on the leaves. Brown spots appear on the stem and irregularly shaped brown spots appear on the fruit.
- Powdery mildew (Leveillula taurica) This fungus manifests itself on tomato plants with a whitish mycelium that can be seen with the naked eye. The germination temperature of the fungus fluctuates between 10 ºC and 35 ºC, with temperatures below 30 ºC being optimal.
- Gray rot (Botrytis cinerea) Brown spots (grayish powdery mildew ) are produced on leaves, stems and flowers, which is the gray mycelium of the fungus. A soft – watery rot is produced in the fruits.
PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND FOR THIS CROP