Tomato Cultivation Guide 2023
Tomatoes are grown in various countries across the world, including China, India, USA, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Italy, Spain, and Brazil, using outdoor fields, greenhouses, and net houses.
According to the FAO in 2016, the global production of this vegetable crop reached 163.96 million tons, making it the third largest after potato and onion.
Tomato is the most widely cultivated crop in India. It is an important vegetable crop in terms of both income and nutrition. Tomatoes are mainly grown during the summer, but can be cultivated year-round.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins such as ‘ A’ and ‘C’, and they also contain antioxidants in abundant quantities. Due to the unique properties found in tomatoes, the demand for them remains consistent throughout the year.
Tomatoes are utilized as both fresh fruits and in various culinary preparations such as pickles, chutneys, soups, ketchup, sauces, and more.
The tomato is a warm season crop that thrives in temperatures between 20-25 °C. The ideal temperature for tomato cultivation is around 21-24 °C, which helps develop the excellent quality red color in tomatoes.
Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can have negative effects on plants, causing them to burn and lose flowers and small fruits. Additionally, temperatures outside of the range of 13°C to 35°C can decrease fruit production and the production of red color.
Tomatoes can thrive in a variety of soils, but they prefer deep, well-drained soils with good drainage. Sandy loam to medium black soils are considered ideal for tomato cultivation.
The optimal soil pH for tomato farming is between 6 and 7, with good drainage properties.
Nursery Making For Tomato Cultivation
- Seedlings are typically raised during specific months for different types of crops.
- Before setting up a nursery, it is important to choose land that is free from harmful bacteria, fungi, pests, and larvae.
- The raised bed should be 3-4 meters long, 120 cm wide, and have a height of about 15 cm.
- Please mark the lines on the bed and sow the seeds in it, then cover them with loose soil.
- Afterward, water the beds and cover them with organic mulch such as paddy straw or green leaves. Leave them like this until the seeds germinate.
- Seedlings are typically ready for transplanting within 30 to 45 days under open field conditions. The nursery should be irrigated as needed.
- When it is not possible to raise nursery in the open field, it can be done in naturally ventilated poly houses in a span of 25 to 30 days.
The following are the names of different varieties of crops: Pusa Ruby, Pusa- 120, Pusa shital, Pusa Gaurav, Pusa Early Dwarf, Arka Saurabh, Arka Ahuti, Arka Vikas, Arka Meghali, HS101, HS102, HS110, Hisar Arun, Hisar Lalit, Hisar Lalima, Hisar Anmol, Co-1, CO 2, CO 3, S-12, PKM 1, Punjab Chhuhara, Pant Bahar, Pant T3, and Solan Gola.
The varieties of tomatoes include Pusa Hybrid 1, Pusa Hybrid 2, Pusa Hybrid 3, Arka Abhijit, Arka Vishal, Arka Shresta, Arka Vardan, Vaishali, COTH 1 Hybrid Tomato, Rashmi, MTH 4, Naveen, Rupali, Avinash 2, Sadabahar, Sonali, and Gulmohar.
- Prior to transplanting plants in the field, it is recommended to treat them with a fungicide such as bavistin and humic acid.
- When transplanting, spacing should be maintained at 75 x 60 cm during the rainy season and 75 x 45 cm during the summer season.
- When using the drip irrigation method for tomato crops, it is recommended to transplant them in a paired row system with a spacing of 50 cm x 50 cm.
Fertilizers And Manure
During the land preparation process, it is recommended to evenly distribute and thoroughly incorporate 20 to 25 tonnes per hectare of well-decomposed FYM into the soil.
The recommended basal fertilizer dose per hectare includes 60 kg of Nitrogen, 80 kg of Phosphorus, and 60 kg of Potash.
After 30 to 45 days of planting, it is recommended to apply 30 kg of nitrogen to the crop.
Supporting Tomato Plants (Staking)
The long growing varieties of tomatoes require additional support during plant growth, which can be achieved by staking the plants with string or wire.
With the use of this support, fruits are protected from contact with soil and water, which helps prevent tomato fruit rot and increases production.
Irrigation for Tomato Crop
To achieve optimal tomato crop yield, it is recommended to use the drip irrigation method. During the summer, water should be given at intervals of 6-7 days, while in the winter season, water should be given at intervals of 10-15 days.
Using drip irrigation can save approximately 60-70 percent of water and result in a 20-25 percent increase in production.
- The first weeding operation should start approximately 20 to 25 days after transplanting. It is important to maintain a clean and weed-free farm, as weeds can compete with the crop and provide shelter for harmful insects. Consider using organic herbicides for weed control, but be cautious of toxic ones, such as those mentioned in the Paraquat lawsuit.
- Mulching is an effective method for weed control. After applying black plastic mulching (50 microns), it can effectively control up to 95% of weeds.
- Another option is to use organic mulch, such as sugar cane trash, which effectively manages approximately 60% of weed growth.
- The first harvesting of plants typically occurs 75 to 90 days after planting. Taking into account market distance and transport mode, tomato fruits should be harvested according to the following guidelines.
- For long-distance markets, it is recommended to harvest tomato fruit when it reaches maturity and has a green color.
- The tomato should be harvested when the green color changes and a pinkish hue appears. It is advisable for such fruits be sent primarily for nearby markets.
- During the maturity stage, tomatoes should be harvested from the tree when they are reddish in color in order to sell them in the local market.
- At full maturity, the fruit is completely red and slightly soft on the tree. These fruits are used to create long-lasting products such as ketchup, sauce, soup, chutney, and more.
- The process involves removing the fruit, grading it, and packing it in corrugated boxes.
The average production of tomatoes per hectare is typically between 250 and 400 quintals. However, with excellent cultivation techniques, it is possible to achieve yields of up to 750-800 quintals per hectare.
1) Fruit Borer: (Helicoverpa Armigera Hubner)
Female kites lay eggs on flowers. The larvae eat leaves after hatching. They then move on to eating fruit. The larvae create holes in the fruit and partially bury themselves inside. This pest can cause significant damage, affecting 40% to 50% of fruit production.
- Using marigold as a trap crop can aid in early pest attack detection, making it an effective management strategy.
- Sprays of Ha NPV viruses were observed 42 days after transplanting.
- Mechanical collection and destruction of Fruit Borer occurs at regular intervals, typically 3-4 times.
2 ) Whiteflies
The whitefly is a harmful pest that affects tomatoes by transmitting the leaf curl virus. It feeds on the leaves, causing deformations in young leaves. Additionally, whiteflies excrete honeydew, which can lead to the growth of sooty mold.
- The yellow stick trap is used for early detection of attacks.
- Following the transplantation, it is recommended to apply need-based sprays of Imidacloprid 20 SL (0.3ml/l) after 15 days of planting. It is important to avoid repeating the application after the fruiting stage to prevent the presence of harmful residues in the fruits.
- To control whitefly activity, apply Dimethoate 30EC at a rate of 2ml per liter when traps indicate their presence.
It is a pest that affects tomato crops, causing damage to the leaves and reducing the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. This can result in defoliation and the production of unusable fruits.
- Monitor and remove infected leaves either during planting or within a week after transplanting.
- The recommended application rate for neem cake in the field is 250 kg/ha at planting, with a repeat application after 25 days.
- The neem seed powder extract contains a concentration of 4%.
- If the incidence is high, it is recommended to remove infected leaves and apply Triazophos 40 EC at a rate of 1ml.
4) Root-knot Nematodes
The uptake capacity of nutrition and water in plants is affected, leading to stunted growth, yellow foliage, and reduced yields.
- Use nematode resistant variety
- It is recommended to implement crop rotation, including the use of marigold crops.
- use seed treatment
- If it is possible, perform the soil polarization process on the soil.
- Carbofuran 3G should be applied at a rate of 1 kg ai/ha during transplanting.
1) Alternaria Blight
Symptoms of irregular leaf spots usually manifest from the edges of the leaves. This disease is commonly observed during the plant’s vegetative growth stage and prior to flowering. Early blight symptoms can be observed on all aboveground parts of the plant.
- It is recommended to always use healthy and certified seeds collected from disease-free areas.
- Crop debris and infected fruits need to be collected from the field and disposed of by burning.
- Summer plowing is done to enhance the drying out of pathogens and infected plant parts.
- Minimizing relative humidity in the plant canopy can help prevent infection.
- Spray Chlorothalonil at a concentration of 0.2% every 8 days.
2) Powdery Mildew
A powdery mildew infection manifests as white, chalky spots on leaves, which quickly spread. Infected leaves turn yellow, wither, and fall off.
- To treat the disease, mix 0.25% Sulphur with water and spray 25 grams of the mixture in 10 liters of water. Apply the spray 2-3 times at intervals of 10 days.
- To control it, mix 10 grams of Bavistin with 10 liters of water and spray.
3) Late Blight
Diseases on leaves typically present as pale green irregular spots that gradually darken into purplish brown and eventually become almost black. The margins of these spots may appear pale green or water-soaked.
Fruits that are infected display a distinctive brown to purple discoloration, typically found on the sides or upper surface of the fruit.
- Utilize and cultivate materials from a designated disease-free region.
- maintain field Sanitation.
- Staking plants can decrease the likelihood of fruits coming into contact with the ground.
- In cloudy conditions, it is recommended to apply preventive sprays of Mancozeb 75% WP at a concentration of 0.25% (2.5 gm per liter water) with a time interval of 5 to 7 days.
4) Leaf Curl Complex
The virus is transmitted by whitefly as well as mechanical injury. This disease typically occurs from September to November. Plants exhibit stunted growth and show symptoms such as downward rolling, curling, twisting, and chlorosis of the leaves.
- It is necessary to maintain field sanitation in order to prevent the growth of weeds.
- Yellow sticky cards are used to control and manage whitefly infestations.
- The recommended application rate for Dimethoate 30% EC is 396 ml per 200-400 liters of water per acre.
- Apply Imidacloprid 17.8 SL at a rate of 60-70 ml in 200 l of water per acre or Thiamethoxam 25 WG at a rate of 80 g in 200 l of water per acre.
In pre-emergence phage, young seedlings perish before they can reach the soil surface. On the other hand, post-emergence infection typically happens near the soil level, resulting in soft and water-soaked infected plant tissues.
As the disease progresses to an advanced stage, the stems become weak and collapse.
- It is recommended to avoid poorly drained soil when cultivating tomatoes.
- The raised beds technique can be used to improve water drainage. Additionally, plastic trays can be used for raising seedlings.
- The seeds are treated with captan 75% WP at a rate of 20-30 g/Kg seed.
- Prepare a solution of Metalxyl 8% and Mancozeb 64% WP by mixing 2 grams per liter of water in the nursery.