Tomato Cultivation Complete Information
Tomato is one of the most important protective food crops of India. It is grown in 0.458 M ha area with 7.277 M mt production and 15.9 mt/ha productivity. The major tomato producing states are Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. In West Bengal, tomato is grown over an area of 43,600 ha with the production 0.588 M mt and productivity of 13.6 mt/ha. Tomato is rich source of vitamins A, C, potassium, minerals and fibers. Tomatoes are used in the preparation of soup, salad, pickles, ketchup, puree, sauces and also consumed as a vegetable in many other ways.
Tomato Crop varieties
Tomato ( Lycopersicon esculentum L.) plant belongs to the family Solanaceae. The commonly grown varieties of Tomato are Arka Abha, Arka Saurabh, Pusa Gaurav, Angurlata, Pant Bahar, Ratna and Rupali. The High yield hybrid variety Arka Rakshak recently gain popularity because of it’s High yield and long duration.
Conventional practices in Tomato
Locally available varieties are conventionally grown with flooding or furrow method of irrigation. Standard method of fertilizer application and plant protection measures are rarely adopted.
Suitable agro climatic conditions for Tomato Farming
The tomato crop is cultivated during winter and summer seasons. The crop cannot withstand severe frost. It grows well under an average monthly temperature range of 21 0 -23 0 C but commercially it may be grown at temperatures ranging from 18 0 C to 27 0 C. Temperature and light intensity affect the fruit-set, pigmentation and nutritive value of the fruits.
Suitable soils for Tomato Cultivation
The best soil for tomato is a fertile loam soil with more sand in the surface layer, and clay in the sub-surface layers. The most favorable range of soil pH is 6.0–7.0.
Preparation of land
The field should be deep (20–25 cm) ploughed once with the soil turning plough. Two to three cross harrowing followed by planking is done to make the surface smooth and level.
The sterilization of the soil can be achieved by both physical and chemical means. Physical control measures include treatments with steam and solar energy. Chemical control methods include treatments with herbicides and fumigants. Soil sterilization can also be achieved by using transparent plastic mulch film, which is termed as soil solarization. During soil solarization, the incoming solar radiation penetrates the transparent plastic film and is absorbed in the soil. The absorbed radiation converts into heat energy, which raises the soil temperature and kills many soil-borne organisms including plant pathogens and pests.
Tomato Seedling rising
Seeds are sown in well-prepared nursery beds in the month of June- July for the autumn winter crop and in November for the spring summer crop. Nursery should be raised in poly house for early germination and protection of seedlings from adverse weather conditions. About 400-500 g seeds are needed for one-hectare area. The suitable height for tomato plant for transplanting is 7.5 cm to 10 cm with a good sturdy stem
Planting of tomato is done after 3-4 weeks of sowing of seeds. The planting geometry for the tomato depends upon soil fertility, variety and season. Wide spacing is given for the spreading type variety grown on fertile soil during favorable season. The spacing recommended for the autumn – winter crop is 75 cm x 60 cm and for spring-summer crop is 75 cm x 45 cm. However, with drip irrigation the paired row planting (50 cm x 50 cm) is adopted.
Irrigation scheduling in Tomato Crop
Tomato plants require adequate moisture throughout their growth period. Drip irrigation is most appropriate to maintain uniform moisture supply. First irrigation is provided soon after the seedlings are transplanted. Daily irrigation is necessary when plants are small. Erratic moisture conditions may cause radial and concentric cracking on fruits . A period of drought followed by a sudden heavy watering during the fruiting period may cause cracking of fruits. The minimum and maximum daily water requirement varies from 0.45 l/plant during the initial growth stage to 1.15 l/plant during the peak growth stage. Irrigation interval of 2 to 3 days is generally recommended with drip irrigation.
Advantages of Drip irrigation in Tomato Farming
- Saves water.
- Enhances plant growth and yield.
- Saves energy and labor.
- Most suited for soils having low water holding capacity on undulating terrain.
- Reduces weed growth.
- Improves fertilizer application efficiency.
- Improves quality of produce.
- Reduces salt concentration in the root zone.
Drip system requirement
Area: 1 ha, Planting geometry: 75cm x 60cm.
Variable Items : 75 mm F PVC/HDPE pipe- 54 m, 75 mm F PVC/HDPE pipe- 102 m, 12mm F LDPE Lateral- 6700 m, Online dripper (2 l/h)-5628 Nos., Control valve- 2 Nos.
Flush valve- 2 Nos., Tees/bends- 1 No. Accessories
Fixed Items: Screen filter (15m 3 / h) – 1 No., Bypass assembly- 1 No., Fertilizer applicator- 1 No Accessories.
Fertilizer management in Tomato Farming
Normally tomato crop requires 120 kg Nitrogen (N), 50 kg Phosphorus (P 2 O 5 ), and 50 kg Potash (K 2 O) for 1 ha. Nitrogen should be applied in split doses. One fourth of N and full P 2 O 5 is applied at the time of transplanting and the remaining N is applied after 30, 60 and 75 days of transplanting in liquid form through fertigation.
Weed control practices in Tomato
Intercultural operations like hand hoeing, weeding, mulching and staking are generally followed for the control of weeds. Implements like hand-hoe, khurpi, land leveler are used. Pre-emergence weedicide like Lasso/Pasaline @ 2-3 kg/ha and post-emergence weedicide like paraquat @ 4 ml/l of water may also be applied to control weed growth. Mulching of beds with black plastic film is also recommended. Red color mulch may be used to improve the color and quality of tomato
Plant protection in Tomato cultivation
The plant protection measures for the main pests and diseases of tomato are stated below.
Leaf eating caterpillar : Spray of 4 ml Cypernethrin or 5 ml Phosphamidon (85 SL) per 10 liter of water at an interval of 8-10 days is recommended as a control measure.
Tomato fruit borer: Spray of 5 ml of Monocrotophos (36 SL) in 10 liters of water at an interval of 8-10 days is suggested.
Tomato Wilt: It is characterized by yellowing and wilting of leaves and finally the entire plant at the premature stage. Often the stem is discolored throughout the plant. Spray of 0.1% Carbendazim or Benomyl and soil drenching are recommended as control measures.
Powdery mildew: A white talcum like substance appears on the lower surface of the leaves while the corresponding upper surface turns yellow. Premature dropping of infected leaves is observed. Spray of Dinocap (0.1%) or Wet sulphur (0.2%) is recommended as a control measure for this pest.
Tomatoes Harvesting, yield and quality control
Maturity of tomato plants is achieved after 8-12 weeks of planting. The yield of tomato depends on variety and season, which varies from 20 to 24 t/ha. Quality characteristics such as flavor, texture and color are better maintained when the fruit is harvested at an earlier stage of maturity. The harvesting time depends on the purpose for which tomato is grown and the distance over which they are to be transported. Tomato should be picked at mature green stage for long distance transportation. Fully ripened and good red colors are desirable for processing and prepare tomato puree and ketchup.
Post harvest handling and storage in Tomatoes
The grading of tomatoes is followed to some extent for specialized city markets. The Indian Standards Institution has specified four grades: Super A, Super, Fancy and Commercial. The optimum temperature is for storage is 12 0 C – 15 0 C. When stored at freezing point, the fruits show low temperature injury. Mature green fruits can be kept for as long as 30 days at 10 0 C – 15 0 C. Ripe tomatoes can be kept for 10 days at 4.5 0 C. The recommended relative humidity for storage is 85 to 90 per cent.
Cost economics for Tomato Cultivation
Area: 1ha, Planting geometry: 75cm x 60cm
Fixed Cost of drip system: Rs. 75,263, Rate of interest 10.5%,
Expected life of drip system: 7.5 years,
Annual cost of drip system: Rs. 10,822
Cost of cultivation: Rs. 11,050, Expected yield: 75 t/ha
Expected Benefit Cost ratio: 6.5