Robert is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Tomato farming is one of the most rewarding agribusiness due to a daily increase in demand on the consumer side. In each and every day almost each and every household are able to consume the tomato fruit (others call it vegetable). Tomatoes does well at high temperatures compared to other crops. The minimum temperature for seed germination is known to be 10 °C with a maximum temperature of 35 °C. Tomatoes performs best in the optimal temperature range of 17 to 20 °C. When doing tomato farming make sure you avoid doing field transplanting during the frost period. An optimum temperature for tomato growth is achieved at 22 °C. The tomato growth rate is reduce when the temperature is above 30 °C and below 12 °C. This article will give in detail on how to grow tomatoes for best results which can increase your profits.
Tomatoes require well drained soils to give the best results. The soil has to be well supplied with organic matter. Sandy soils are suitable for early production while loam and clay loam soils are suitable for later production.
Seeding or Planting
Tomatoes require a long growing season, and for this reason try to start growing them in a greenhouse or hotbed. One hectare requires about 75 to 150 grams of tomato seed. One hectare of land may contain 11,000 to 18,000 tomato plants. Make sure you sow the seeds eight weeks before plants are to be set in the field or tunnel and make sure the field has a temperature range of 27 °C for 1 to 2 weeks for good seed emergence. Tomato can also be directly sown in the rows of peat pots, module trays among others and this reduces the amount of time taken for tomato to grow. This system also reduces labour requirements and transplant shock. Make sure you reduce water application two weeks before transplanting is done and this will reduce soil moisture and increases the air temperature from 13 to 16 °C. This makes the tomato to survive in adverse conditions easily.
Tomato transplanting should be done early in the morning and make sure you cover the translated seed with mulch covers to prevent direct sunlight which can delay the growth. Make sure two weeks before the transplanting is done water moisture should be reduced.
Make sure you use black plastic mulch for weed control and higher yields. A clear plastic mulch gives best results and for early growth. Use herbicides to control the weeds.
Where applicable, apply water through irrigation, but you must make sure the tomato field is not waterlogged as this can be the source of pests and diseases which can reduce the yields.
During harvesting the ripe tomato fruit is picked and put in a container or baskets. Pink tomato requires about 21 °C to ripen in 1 to 2 days and mature-green fruits in 4 to 5 days. Take note that a prolonged exposure to temperatures above 30 °C can inhibit red pigment formation.
Storage and Conditioning
Make sure you keep the mature green tomatoes in a container or any place, having a temperature range of 13 °C to 21 °C. Take note that the optimal temperatures for ripening ranges from 18° C to 21 °C. Make sure you store, the firm ripe tomatoes in a place having a temperature range as low as 7 °C to 10 °C. During storage make sure you observe the relative humidity in all cases and should be in a range of 90 to 95%. Take note that the Mature green fruit can be held 2 to 6 weeks while ripe fruit can only be held 1 week in conventional storage hence keep on monitoring to avoid losses.