Introduction

Tomato is an integral part of our diet. The tomato is the edible, often red, the berry of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum, commonly.

Species: S. lycopersicum

Genus: Solanum

Order: Solanales

Family: Solanaceae

However, if you are not a commercial farmer, you can squeeze seeds from the tomatoes that you use at home, dry the seeds and then plant them.

The tomato is one of the seasonal money makers, that farmers should go for. There are mainly two seasons of tomatoes a year, however, if one uses irrigation, tomatoes can be grown all year round.

The most popular varieties of tomatoes at the moment are Assila, VL 642, Ranger F1, Rounder F1, and money maker. These are popular because they yield well and are resistant to wilts. These can be grown across most parts of the country, as long as the soils are loam, dark and fertile. An acre needs around 10,000 seedings.

However, if you are not a commercial farmer, you can squeeze seeds from the tomatoes that you use at home, dry the seeds and then plant them.

Nursery bed preparation:

Potting (putting seeds in pots) is ideal for producing vigorous seedlings from the nursery.

-Mix one wheelbarrow of soil to another of decomposed manure. Manure can be gotten from livestock farmers, for example, chicken droppings or dung. At the moment, alternatively, you can decompose your kitchen remains, for example, leftover foods, for three months in a covered pit to create manure.

Arrange the pots in order and cover them with grass. Water every morning with each seedling taking at least 30mm.

-Remove the grass after a week or upon germination. You can remove it by plucking it out using your hands.

-Spray the seedlings with a mixture of 1ml of cypermethrin and 5g of mancozeb with a  1litre sprayer.  It protects the seedlings from pests.

-Spraying is done once per week in order to protect the seedlings from fungal diseases and pests.

-Seedlings are ready for transplanting after three weeks.

Transplanting in the evening is ideal in order to avoid the hot temperatures of the afternoon because they may cause them to wither.

Main garden

-Spacing: 90cm by 90cm without staking 75cm by75cm with staking. Staking is when small poles are placed near the plants for them to grow upwards on.

-Create furrows in rows where the seedlings are to be transplanted

-Put manure in the furrows. It can be NPK, with a teaspoon in each hole.

-Dig holes for the transplants and incorporate DAP in holes 5g per hole.

-Mix the blend with the soil in the hole. Put one seedling per hole

3days from transplanting drench the root zone of the seedlings with Fertiactyl GZ. (100mls of GZ in 20litres) 20litres cost sh150,000.  Make the second application of GZ a week after the first application and top dress with 10grams of NPK at 4 weeks from transplanting. Buy fertilizers and pesticides from only certified dealers to avoid fakes.

-Make the second application after 2 weeks.

-If you have irrigation, water the crops at least three days a week, strictly in the mornings and evenings, in order to prevent water evaporation.

Diseases of tomatoes  

It is advisable to plant varieties like Assila have 100% resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus (ekigenge)

Common diseases are early and late blight (ekibabuko), Powderly and downy mildew, bacterial specks.

Control

Avoid the environment that favors fungal diseases I.e avoiding stagnant water on the leaves, avoiding weeds in the garden they can become alternate hosts, remove diseased leaves that have fallen the ground.

-Conduct regular scouting in the garden to check for signs of disease.

-Do preventive sprays of preventive fungicides I.e. Mancozeb and copper-based fungicides

-Preventive sprays should be done at least twice a week in a dry season and thrice in a wet season

In case of manifestation of disease curative fungicides should be used e.g Ridomil, tatamaster or emexyl they all have the same active ingredient I.e mancozeb and metalaxyl. These can be got from certified dealers around the country.

Curative fungicides can prevent, cure eradicate diseases

70grams of preventive fungicides in 20 liters of water should be Ideal dosage for control of the disease, whereas for curative fungicides 50grams in 20 liters of water is ideal.

Common Pests  

Mites, thrips, aphids, whiteflies.  They are commonly sucking insects. They suck the sap out of the leaves, causing leaves to lose the photosynthetic potential because of loss of the green colour.

-Some like thrips feed on the flowers causing flower abortions

They also feed on the fruits hence affecting the market quality of the fruits

Control

Regular scouting for pests is a must. Destroying alternative hosts like weeds from the field Conducting insecticidal sprays. Recommended pesticides include Durban, larva, tarfgor, cypermethrin,  Rocket, Fenenvalate, Malataf.

Note: Alternating these pesticides can be more effective in controlling the pests because sticking to one pesticide can bring about the resistance of the pests to the insecticide

Rocket herbicide should be used more effectively before flowering because when used during the flowering stage,

Insecticides should always be used as indicated on the label.

Harvesting     

Most tomatoes varieties are ready for harvest 75 days from transplanting. An acre can produce around 25 tonnes of tomatoes.

The harvest goes on for at least 3 months depending on how the farm was maintained.  Tomatoes are harvested by picking the mature/ripe fruits off the plant. They need to be stored in cool environments to increase shelf life.

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FarmKonnect

FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited is an agribusiness company whose business is to connect stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The company seeks to enhance farming conditions.

Contact

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Phone: +(234) 905 9102 364
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