Cultivation of Tomato ; Lycopersicum esculentum

Cultivation of Tomato ;  Lycopersicum esculentum


Cultivation of Tomato;  Lycopersicum esculentum

The tomato (Solanum esculentum ) belongs to the family Solanaceae or nightshade family, it is very close cousins to plants like; tobacco, chili peppers, potato, and eggplant
Tomato is a herbaceous sprawling plant growing to 1-3 m in height with a weak woody stem. 
Flowers of tomato crops are yellow in color and the size of the tomato fruits of various cultivated varieties varies in size from cherry tomatoes which are about 1–2 cm in size to beefsteak tomatoes which are to be about 10 cm or maybe more in diameter. Most cultivars produce red fruits when ripe
Tomato originated in Peru of South America. It is one of the most important commercial vegetable crops in India. It is the second most important crop in the world after the potato. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C, potassium, and minerals.
The major tomato-producing states are Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Climate Requirement for Tomato Cultivation ;

The tomato is a warm-season crop. The crop does well under an average monthly temperature of 21°c – 23°c. Temperature and light intensity are the major important factors that affect the fruit set, fruit pigmentation, and fruit nutritive value. The long dry spell and heavy rainfall conditions caused detrimental effects on the growth and fruiting of the tomato crop. 
Soils Requirement for Tomato Cultivation ;
The tomato can be grown on all kind of soils  Which varies from light sandy soils to heavy clay soils. Light soils are well suited for an early crop, while clay loam and silt-loam soils are well fit for good yields. Tomatoes cultivation must be done in the best-suited soil that has a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. For the soil is acidic liming is essential.
Land preparation  Required for Tomato Cultivation ;
The land is prepared to a fine tilth by thorough ploughing or digging 2 – 3 times.  Apply the organic manure and 10 kg carbofuran granules or 200 kg neem cake at the time of the last ploughing 
Seed rate ;
For raising the seedlings in the nursery bed 300 – 400 g/ha seeds are required. Hybrid seeds of tomato crop are very expensive therefore it is required seeds are to be sown in Polystyrene seedling nursery trays. Which are readily available in the markets 
Time of Tomato Planting planting ;

1) Tomato crops can be grown in any season because of their day-neutral Characteristics.
2) Mostly three crops of tomato are taken in the northern plains, but due to the frost prevailing conditions in the northern plains, the rabi crop is not so fruitful.
3) The best time for tomato transplantation is the month of July for the Kharif crop, October – November month for the rabi crop, and February months for the Zaid crop.
4) As there is no danger of frost in southern plains, Tomato transplanting can be started in the month of December-January as a first crop, Second transplanting can be done in the month of June-July and the third transplanting can be done in the month of September-October As per the prevailing irrigation facilities.

Raising seedlings for Tomato Cultivation ;

1) Seedlings are grown for one month by transplanting raised beds of 60-100 cm width and of convenient length.
2) Soil solarization of nursery beds is done by covering them with white transparent polythene sheets for one month and it should be done in hot summer months. It will destroy the major disease-causing microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, and nematodes as well as simultaneously kill the insects and seeds of weeds.
3) For a one-meter square nursery area apply a dose of 5kg well-rotten FYM and a 20 g dose of each N, P, and K fertilizer, and for managing the disease and pest of the nursery apply the 2.5g carbofuran or 200 g of neem cake along with 10-25 g Trichoderma.
4) For nematodes apply the neem cake /castor cake/ neam leaf/ castor leaf/ Pongamia leaf/ calotropis leaf has to be incorporated @ 400 g per square meter at the time of preparing the nursery beds.
5) Mulch the seedbeds after sowing with green leaves and irrigation must be given with a rose regularly daily in the morning till the proper germination of seeds. Mulch must be removed immediately after germination of the seeds.

6) Restrict the irrigation one week before the transplanting and irrigate heavily one day before the transplanting.
7) Protect the nursery bed from the damage of virus-transmitting insects with the help of a fine nylon net.

 Seed treatment ;
1) To avoid damping-off disease treats the seed with Trichoderma @ 5-10 g/Kg seed or carbendazim 2g/Kg seed.
2) The treated seeds are dried in the shade for 30 minutes and then sown sparsely along the lines at ½ cm depth and then covered by the topsoil.

Transplanting ;
The transplanting is done in a small flatbed or in a shallow furrow depending upon the availability of irrigation.
In Case of heavy soil, Plants are usually transplanted on the ridges, and during the rainy periods, ridge transplanting is also advantageous.
The seedling of the indeterminate varieties/hybrids must be staked by using bamboo sticks of about two-meter in length or may be planted in a broad ridge of 90 cm width and 15 cm height. The seedlings which are planted in the furrows must have a spacing of 30 cm for allowing the plants to spread on the broad ridge.
Spacing Requirements in Tomato Crop ;
The recommended spacing in tomato crop is 75 cms. x 60 cms. for the autumn-winter crop and   75 cm. x 45 cm. for the spring-summer crop
Transplanting the Tomato Crop ;

The transplanting is done in a small flatbed or in a shallow furrow depending upon the availability of irrigation.
In the Case of heavy soil, Plants are usually transplanted on the ridges, and during the rainy periods, ridge transplanting is also advantageous.
The seedling of the indeterminate varieties/hybrids must be staked by using bamboo sticks of about two-meter in length or may be planted in a broad ridge of 90 cm width and 15 cm height. The seedlings which are planted in the furrows must have a spacing of 30 cm for allowing the plants to spread on the broad ridge

Manuring Requirement for Tomato Cultivation ;
Apply well rotten farmyard manure/compost @ 20-25 t/ha at the time of land preparation and mix well with the soil. Apply the fertilizer dose of N:P 2O5:K2O / ha 75:40:25 kg N:P 2O5:K2O / ha. Apply a half dose of nitrogen, a full dose of phosphorus, and a half dose of potash as basal before transplanting. 25 percent of nitrogen and 50 percent of potash should be applied 20-30 days after planting. The rest of the quantity should be applied two months after planting.
Irrigation Requirement for Tomato Cultivation ;
Irrigation to the tomato crop is very important because it requires sufficient water at the right time, therefore, It is very important to maintain an even moisture supply. In the summer season crop, irrigation at the interval of  5to 7 days is necessary, whereas in the winter season crop 10 to 15 days of an interval is sufficient.  
 Note; A period of drought followed by sudden heavy watering at the time of fruiting the period may cause cracking of fruits.
Weed Control ;
There is a need for light hoeing during the first four weeks in the field which encourages crop growth but also removes the weeds from the field.  Hand hoeing helps in loosening the soil surface Hand hoeing should be done after each and every irrigation as soon as before the soil became dry enough. All weeds should also be removed along with the hand-hoeing process.
Mulching of the crop beds with the help of straw or black polythene or maybe many other materials have been found to be more beneficial in conserving soil moisture and controlling weeds and some diseases.
Plant protection ;
Insects ;
1) Gram pod borer Heliothis armigera ;
Tomato Gram pod borer


It is polyphagous, attacks most of the cultivated crops, a major pest of tomato, and is widely distributed throughout the country. Young larvae borer feeds on tender foliage of the plants, while in the advanced stages borer attacks on the fruits of the tomato crops. The larva bores circular holes in fruits of the tomato crop.
2) Serpentine leaf miner Liriomyza trifolii ;

Tomato Serpentine leaf miner


Serpentine leaf miner is polyphagous by nature and it is very widely distributed throughout the Indian subcontinent. Maggot mines into the leaf and feeds on the mesophyll of the leaves making serpentine mines/galleries.
3) Tobacco caterpillar Spodoptera litura ;

It is also polyphagous in nature, a major pest of tomato, distributed widely. Freshly hatched larvae feed gregariously, scraping the leaves from the ventral side, later stages, feed voraciously at night on the foliage. Spodoptera larvae may also feed on fruits and create a hollow path in the fruits.
4) Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne spp. ;
Tomato -  Root Knot Nematode


The root-Knot nematode has a wide range of host,  it is widespread to all over India Which affects all most all of the vegetable crops, But quite often to the vegetable crops like tomato, brinjal, okra. Root-knot nematodes are small, microscopic, males are slender and females are swollen. The most characteristic symptom of the root-knot nematode is the production of root galls on the roots of the plants and due to Symptoms like stunning plant growth,  foliage Chlorosis,  wilting susceptibility, and low fruit production can be easily observed above the ground.
Insects Management ;
Marigold plants can be used as a trap plant against the insect infestation of  H. armigera because marigold plants attract egg-laying of H.armigera Hence two rows of marigold plants (40 days old) for every 16 rows of tomato (25 days old) can be grown as a trap crop. 

1) For killing the early stages, larvae Spray 5% neem seed kernel extract
2) Deploying of 15-20 bird perches ( usually T shaped) per ha helps in inviting insectivorous birds.
3) Apply a Spray of NPV @ 625 LE/ha during the evening hours.
4) Mixed the Jaggery @ 1 kg, sandovit or Teepol(100 ml) with NPV and as per need basis spray 2 ml Endosulfan, Chlorpyriphos or Quinolphos per litre of water
Chopped leaves of Pongamia or Crotalaria application reduces disease severity caused by the nematode.
5) In some areas Farmers uses garlic+ chilly extract and slurry of cow dung + urine for protection against pest and diseases.

Disease Manaement in Tomato ;
A  vast range of fungus, bacteria, and viruses attacks the tomato crop. The diseases like anthracnose, bacterial spot, bacterial blight, bacterial canker, buckeye rot, damping-off, early blight, fusarium blight, late blight, leaf curl, mosaic, powdery mildew, rots, and septorial leaf blight are the most common diseases of tomato crops. A few of the major diseases are discussed below.
1) Bacterial Wilt Pseudomonas solanacearum ;

Bacterial Wilt of Tomato


Bacterial wilt is a deadly disease of tomato. The major symptoms of this disease are the Wilting, stunting, yellowing of the foliage and due to which entire plant get finally collapse. The lower leaves may droop first before wilting occurs.
2) Damping Off  Pythium aphanidermatum, Rhizoctonia solani ;

Tomato Damping Off


 Damping-off is one of the most common diseases  occur in several parts of the country,  It mainly Occurs  in the nurseries of crop like  Tomato, Tobacco, Chilies, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brinjal, and Cucurbits. The Young seedlings of the crop are killed before they emerge out through the soil surface or the collar region of grownup plants get rotten and the toppling of small plants is seen in the nursery bed.
3) Early Blight Alternaria solani ;
Early Blight of Tomato
A common disease of tomato occurring all over India. The symptoms of the leaf spots and blight initially visible as small, isolated, scattered pale brown spots on the leaf which later on also visible on the stem and fruits of the plants. Fully matured spots are irregular in shape, brown to dark brown in colour, and with concentric rings inside the spot. Under the severe attacks the entire plant may be defoliated.
4) Wilt Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. Lycopersici ;
Tomato wilt


This disease is one of the worst disease of tomato crop commonly occurring over entire India. First symptoms appear as chlorosis of the leaf. Soon the petiole and leaves droop and wilt. When the plant roots and basal stems of the plant are split into two parts an open dark brown or black discolouration of the vascular tissues can be observed.
5) Tomato Mosiac virus /Tobacco Mosaic Virus  ;
Tomato TMV


The common symptom of the mosaic virus is the mottling of the leaves. Normally the green colour of the leaf is interspersed with a light green to a pale yellow island of irregular patches. In the comparison of healthier leaves, the edges of the leaf turn downward and are became stiffer.
6) Powdery Mildew Leveillula taurica ;
Powdery Mildew of Tomato


A light powdery covering of the lesions may occur on the lower surface. Heavily infected leaves die but seldom drop from the plant.
7) Septoria Leaf Blight; Septoria lycopersici ;

Septoria Leaf Blight of Tomato


This is one of the major disease of tomato across all over India. The main symptoms of this disease are that In the young plants, numerous spots appear on older leaves or on plants having poor growth. Small, circular spots are firstly visible as water-soaked areas on the undersurface of the lower leaves. As the spots enlarge, fully developed dark brown marking and sunken, white or grey centres can be easily observed.
8) Rots ;

Black mold rot Alternaria alternata, Stemphylium botryosum ;

Black mold rot of tomato


Sunken or slightly flattened lesions with water-soaked in appearance occur on fruits.  Soon these lesions become brown to black in colour. when these tomato fruits come in contact with the surface soil are attacked by soil-borne fungi causing rotting of the fruits.

Disease Management ;

a) Soil solarization or partial sterilization of the soil can be done by burning the trash on the soil surface
b) Treatment the seed with 5-10 gms. of Trichoderma or with carbendazim 2 gms. or thirum 3 gms. per kg of seed.
c) Field sanitation
d) Crop rotation with non-solanaceous
e) Providing better drainage, forming raised beds
f)  Uproot the heavily infected or virus-infected plants
g) Sanitation and crop rotation reduce the disease incidence
h) Treat the plants by spraying a mixture of Streptocycline 200 ppm and Copper oxychloride 3g per liter of water gives fairly good control of the disease.

Protected cultivation ;

A) Cultivation of tomato under shade net;

During summer, the hybrid tomato can be grown in a shade level of 35 percent under paired row planting system (80 x 40 x 60 cm – between pairs, rows and plants) with a basal application of 50 kg each of N and K and 250 kg of P / ha and fertigation of 200 kg each of N and K through straight fertilizers.
B) Protected cultivation of tomatoes in the poly house ;
In the rainy seasons, the tomato hybrid of indeterminate growth characteristics has to be grown in a medium consisting of FYM: composted coir pith: sand (2:1:1) with irrigation the recommended schedule application of 20kPa and basal application of 50kg each of NPK/ha as direct fertilizers and 250 kg each of NPK as water-soluble and direct fertilizers through the fertigation along with black polyethylene mulch of approx. 50 microns.
Duration ;
110- 115 days from transplanting (135 – 140 days from sowing)
Yield ;

 Varieties: 30 – 40 t / ha
Hybrids: 80 – 95 t / ha

The Boom flower – N spraying at 2ml / liter in three sprays on 30 days, 55 days, and 75 days of the plant maturity stages which will result in an increase the crop yield.

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