Tomatoes cultivation can be quite lucrative because it is a widely consumed vegetable in the world. The demand for tomatoes is high as almost every meal contains tomatoes especially in this part of the world.
Tomatoes cultivation can be cheap. A couple of tomato seeds can sprout into multiples of juicy tomatoes. Tomatoes are easy to grow and you can have a garden of tomatoes in your balcony or backyard.
There are varieties of tomatoes as they come in different shapes, flavours, and even culinary tastes. Your choice for tomatoes cultivation should be based on a cultivar’s adaptability, reliability, quality, and susceptibility to diseases.
However, when comes to tomatoes cultivation, it is advisable to opt for hybrid seeds because they are more resistant to diseases and they produce a high yield that is more durable. Common varieties include; Rio Grande, Star, and so on.
Tomatoes cultivation requirements
Tomatoes cultivation well-drained loamy soil and heavy clay-loam soil free of hardpan. A well-drained loam is highly suitable, it gives the best result, tending to give red, firm, and juicy tomatoes.
The soil should be rich in humus or organic matter, other soil nutrients. Also, the PH value of the soil should be between 6 to 7.
Propagation of tomatoes
They are best brought up using seeds. However, you can also use cuttings from mature plants to get more seedlings
Optimally, tomatoes cultivation is carried out using seeds but cuttings from mature plants can be used to get more seedlings.
Seeds can be dispersed on a raised bed and lightly covered with soil.
Alternatively, the seeds can be placed in shallow lines and covered with little quantity of soil.
Usually, seedlings are transplanted 2 to 3 weeks after they are sowed. You can plant over 8000 seedlings with a spacing of 2 by 2 feet on an acre of land. Seedlings must be transplanted on moist soil.
In tomatoes cultivation, fertilizers such as DAP or farmyard manure can be used during transplanting. Few granules of fertilizer should be placed in a hole, covered with soil then transplanted. In the case of farmyard manure, two handfuls should be applied in a hole, mixed with soil then transplant seedling.
In tomatoes cultivation, it is essential to apply fertilizers as tomatoes tend to grow well with the application of fertilizers.
You should begin the application of folliar fertilizers after one month of planting tomatoes and it Is advisable to use fertilizers like Vegimax to boost the growth of the tomato crop.
To have luxuriant tomatoes cultivation, you have to rely heavily on nutrients both organic and inorganic. This is particularly essential for commercial tomato farmers.
Generally, weeds tend to compete for soil nutrients with plants causing inadequate ingestion of nutrients and poor growth.
Weed affects the growth of tomato plants as they tend to choke the plants and deprive the plants of adequate space and soil nutrients. Control of weed can be done either chemically or mechanically. Chemically, pesticides are used to control the weed. Simple farm tools such as hoes and cutlasses can be used to clear weeds.
Do not use herbicides when tomatoes are already planted in the field.
This involves reducing excess leaves and branches of tomato plants to allow for adequate ingestion of soil nutrients and the development of fruits.
In tomatoes cultivation, the practice of pruning involves the removal of lateral branches in the leaf axils of the tomato plants. This causes fresh flowers to bloom and subsequent growth of tomato fruits.
This involves using materials like dry grass, coffee husks, sawdust, and so on to cover newly planted tomatoes to prevent moisture loss and prevent weed growth.
The practice of mulching will help keep the tomatoes lock in moisture in the plants as well as control the growth of weeds which can choke the plants and prevent them from growing well.
Pests such as insects, worms, and rodents can infest a tomato garden. This will greatly affect the growth of the plants thereby causing low yield. Since tomatoes can be affected by pests and fungi, you need to use insecticides and fungicides to control pests and diseases.
You should begin spraying insecticides and fungicides every week for one month until the plants begin flowering. It is advisable to seek the advice of a professional on the use of insecticides and fungicides because the application of some of these chemicals requires know-how.
This involves using strings to tie plant branches or using standing logs tied to the plants. This is to support the tomato plants because their stems get weak.
Strings are tied to the plants and propped upward. Logs are driven firmly to the ground then the plants are attached to the log. Stalking is essential as the weak stems of the tomato plants require support.
After planting, endeavour to water the plants especially when it is a dry season. Watering should be done in the morning and evening.
Sufficient watering percolates into the soil and the tomato plants absorb the water which plays a significant role in the growth and maturation of the plant.
It is advisable to harvest tomatoes before they get fully ripe and to leave a few inches of stalk on the fruit. Leaving a few inches of stalk will help keep the tomato fresh for a longer period.
Tomato is a perishable item, hence, the need to take certain measures, as mentioned above, during harvesting.
Note that harvesting should be done two weeks after spraying pesticides. This is to allow the effect of the pesticide to fade off so the tomatoes can be safe to use.
Tomato is a staple vegetable and it is used across homes worldwide. In Nigeria, almost every meal come with tomatoes hence, tomatoes cultivation can be highly lucrative if one engages in it on a large scale for commercial purpose.
The management practice discussed above will determine how well your tomato cultivars will thrive. A brightly red, fresh, and succulent tomato will fetch high income in the market. And a properly managed tomato garden will produce a high yield of healthy-looking tomatoes.