TOMATO (Lycopersicon esculentum) Tomato is a vegetable crop commonly grown by peasant farmers in West Africa. The fruit called berry when ripe can be eaten raw, used for soup or stew preparation, or in preparing vegetable salad and other food.
Land preparation for tomato planting
Varieties/Cultivars of tomatoes
These include money-maker, valiant, pork, dwarf gem, marglobe, Ife plum, Bonita, roma, local varieties.
Climatic and Soil Requirements for tomato planting
Method of propagation of tomato
These are seeds which can be propagated by drilling or broadcasting.
Planting Date for tomato
Tomato is planted in early September and October.
Seed rate for tomato planting
5 – 10kg of seeds/ha
Nursery Practices for tomato cultivation
(i) It is done on ground, beds or seed boxes/trays with top soil, thoroughly mixed and watered.
(ii) Seeds are sown in drills, 5cm apart and 2.5cm deep.
(iii) Shading, mulching, weeding and watering are done.
(iv) Nursery lasts for three weeks when the plants are at the three-leaved stage.
Spacing for tomato planting
(i) 60cm x 60cm without staking
(ii) 50cm x 30cm with staking.
how to Transplant tomato from nursery
Seedlings with four to five leaves, 15cm – 20cm tall and about 25 – 30days old are measuring 5cm deep are dug and seedlings are transplanted to the field either in the morning or evening.
Cultural Practices in planting tomato
(i) Weeding: This should be done at regular intervals.
(ii) Watering: Soon after transplanting, seed-lings should be watered every morning and evening till the plants are able to stand on their own.
(iii) Fertilizer Application: Apply N.P.K 15:15:15 fertilizer to each plant three weeks after transplanting at 250kg/hectare; or apply any organic manure like compost or farmyard manure at 30-40 metric tonnes per hectare.
(iv) Staking: Provide stakes to enable plants to stand erect and prevent lodging. Stems are tied or trained to the stakes. Staking allows for good fruiting and keeps fruits from disease attack. Arising from contact with soil. Staking should be done before flowering.
Maturity period of tomato
This occurs between two to four months after planting.
Harvesting period of tomato
Matured or ripe fruits are harvested by handpicking and stored in dry, cool place. Harvesting (of crops) starts as from two months.
how to Process tomato
Tomatoes as called by some, is either used or consumed after harvesting, or it can be processed into tomato juice or paste.
It can be stored as canned paste.
Pests of Tomatoes, symptoms and their control methods
(i) Cricket and Beetle: These eat up leaves or cut off young seedlings and cause damage to crops.
Control: Spray with insecticides, e.g. Vetox 85
Diseases of Tomato, symptoms and their control methods
Fusarim Wilt (root rot)
It is a fungal disease (Fusarium oxysporium) which is spread by wind.
These include gradual dropping of leaves followed by wilting and drying up of leaves of the whole plant.
(i) Treat soil with copper fungicide
(ii) Practice crop rotation
Root knot disease
: It is caused by a nematode. Roots develop galls or knots with yellow, curled leaves and dwarf plants.
(i) Treat soil with nematicide
(ii) Plant resistant varieties
(iii) Practice crop rotation
: This is caused by a bacterium called pseudomona solaraceurium. It is transmitted through the soil and it attacks roots.
Symptoms include wilting of the leaf, death of the affected plant, and slimy exudation from the stem
(i) Practice crop rotation
(ii) Avoid infected soil
Leaf spot disease
: This disease is caused by a fungus called Chadosporium spp. It is an air borne disease whose spores are deposited on leaves.
Symptoms include circular white patches which appear on the leaves. Dead spots also appear on the leaves
(i) Use copper fungicides like Perenox and Bordeaux mixture
(ii) Practice crop rotation
(iii) Use resistant varieties
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