Introduction to Tomato Farming – Package of Practices:
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) belongs to the family Solanaceae. Tomato is one of the most popular and widely grown vegetables in India. Tomato is also rich in high medicinal value. The pulp and juice are digestible, mild aperients, a promoter of gastric secretion and blood purifier because of the presence of high nutritive content.
Land requirement for Tomato Cultivation: The land must be well fertile with high organic content. Highly free from volunteer plants with good drainage facilities is recommended. Good irrigation facilities is also needed.
Soil for Tomato Cultivation: Tomato is grown in many types of soils from sand to heavy clayey loam soils. Good texture of the soil is very important. Tomato crop prefers a soil ranging from pH 6.0 to 7.0.
Climatic conditions for Tomato Cultivation:
Tomato is a warm-season crop, requires long season to produce a highly profitable crop. It is a very soft plant and will not withstand a hard freeze. High humidity with high temperature favours the development of many diseases. The optimum season for sowing is May – June and November – December.
Nursery preparation steps for Tomato Cultivation:
Step 1 Bed preparation for Tomato Farming:
Apply FYM 10 kg, VAM 50 g, enriched Superphosphate 100 g and Furadon 10 g per square meter before sowing for getting healthy seedlings.
Step 2 Seed treatment for Tomato Farming:
Seed treatment with Trichoderma viride 4 g or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10 g or Carbendazim 2 g per kg of seeds 24 hours before sowing. Before sowing, seed treatment with Azospirillum @ 40 g / 400 g of seeds ids effective. Otherwise, seed treatment with hydrogen peroxide (0.2 to 0.6%) for two to four days at 21°C gives an early emergency of seedlings for about one week.
Step 3 Seed rate for Tomato Cultivation
About 300-400 g seeds for varieties and 100-200 g of seeds for hybrids are normally needed for raising crop in one hectare. The seed quantity depends upon the season and area of cultivation.
Step 4 Transplanting of seedlings in Tomato Cultivation:
Seedlings are ready for transplanting at 4 to 5 weeks after sowing. At this stage, the seedlings attain 15 cm height.
Main field preparation of Tomato Farming:
Plough the land to fine tilth and pulverize the soil. Thoroughly prepare the field by adding FYM @ 25 t/ ha and form ridges and furrows with a spacing of 60 cm. Apply 2 kg/ha of Azospirillum and 2 kg/ha of Phosphobacteria by mixing with 50 kg of FYM and sand. Irrigate the furrows and transplant the seedlings on the sides of ridges.
Spacing in Tomato cultivation: The spacing recommended for varieties is 45 X 30 cm and for hybrids is 60 X 45 cm.
Mulching in Tomato cultivation: Mulching is done with black low-density polyethylene sheets of 25-micron thickness and bury both the ends into the soil to a depth of 10 cm.
Manures and fertilizers in Tomato cultivation: The basal dose is FYM 25 t/ha, and NPK is 75:100:50 kg / ha and micronutrients like Borax 10 kg and Zinc sulphate 50 kg / ha followed by top dressing with 75 kg N/ha on 30th day of planting or during earthing up.
Weed control in Tomato Farming: Apply Pendimethalin 1.0 kg a.i./ha or Fluchloralin 1.0 kg a.i / ha as pre-emergence herbicide, followed by hand weeding once at 30 days after planting for efficient weed control.
Irrigation/ Water management in Tomato Farming: After proper establishment of seedlings, irrigate at weekly intervals and as and when necessary.
Insect pests and Diseases in Tomato Farming
Insect pests in Tomato cultivation
Fruit borer of Tomato: Grow simultaneously 40 days old American tall marigold and 25 days old tomato seedlings @ 1:16 rows for efficient control. Setting up of pheromone traps at the rate of 12 / ha. Spray quinalphos 25 % EC @ 1.0 ml / l.
Tomato Serpentine leaf miner: Spaying of neem seed kernel extract @ 5 % is found effective.
White fly infesting Tomato: Install yellow sticky trap @ 12 / ha. Remove alternate weed host Abutilon indicum . Spray dimethoate 30 EC @ 1.0 ml / l.
Epilachna beetles infesting Tomato: Spraying of endosulfan or dichlorophos or chlorophyriphos at 0.1% is found effective.
Tomato Thrips: Spraying of 36% DMTP wettable powder and 50% MEP emulsifiable concentrate or either soil application with granular formulation of 5% acephate and 5% monocrotophos is found effective.
Diseases in Tomato farming :
Damping off disease of Tomato: Seed treatment with Trichoderma viride 4 g/ kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10 g / kg of seed 24 hours before sowing. Application of Pseudomonas fluorescens as soil treatment @ 2.5 kg/ha mixed with 50 kg of FYM.
Leaf spot disease of Tomato: Spraying Zineb or Mancozeb 2 g/lit is found effective for control of this disease.
Leaf curl disease of Tomato: Spraying of systemic insecticides like methyl demeton @ 2 ml to kill the insect vector.
Tomato spotted wilt disease: Application of Carbofuran 3 G @ 33 kg/ha in nursery at sowing and second application @ 40 kg /ha on 10 days after transplanting in main field and 3 sprays of phosalone 35 EC @ 1.5 ml/lit @ 25, 40, 55 days after transplanting is found effective.
Harvesting in Tomato Cultivation:
Tomato matures at 130 -140 days after sowing and harvesting can takes place during this stage. Tomatoes are normally picked at 4-day intervals during warm season and at weekly intervals during cool season. Tomatoes can be picked with a twisting motion of hand to separate fruits from stem. Fruits picked in mature green stage develops good color on ripening under favorable conditions. Tomato grown for processing will be harvested during fully ripe stage in order to ensure desired quality and red color of the product.
Yield in Tomato farming: On an average in India, under favorable conditions the yield of tomato for varieties is 16 – 25 t / ha and for hybrids is 60 – 8- t / ha.
Conclusion: Many commercially producing tomatoes are also grown in soilless environments using an artificial fertilizer solution. It is one of the most rewarding crop mainly grown for its attractive color and for its flavor by the farmers.