Frequently Asked Questions About Tomato Farming

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Tomato Farming FAQ’s/ Frequently Asked Questions About Tomato Farming:

If you are planning to grow tomatoes plant in an open field or backyard, pots, or terrace, you must be aware of some common questions of growing tomatoes. Here we are presenting “Frequently Asked Questions About Tomato Farming“.

  1. How much do tomato farmers make?

The income from tomato farming greatly depends on the yield obtained from the farm and the sale price of the variety that is being farmed. The average price of 1 kg of tomatoes is estimated to be around Rs 35 per kg. So, the income from the farm could be estimated accordingly.

  1. What is the best time to plant tomatoes or when should tomatoes be planted?

Tomato is a year-round crop, but it is known to be extensively sown during the months of March- April. For spring season tomato farming, seeds are generally sown in the month of November and transplanted in January.  For autumn farming, sowing is done in July-August and transplanted in August- September. For areas with a higher altitude, sowing is done in March-April and transplanted during April-May.

  1. How many tomatoes does a plant produce?

Under excellent growing conditions, each tomato plant is expected to produce an average of 15-20 pounds of tomatoes per season when grown in a garden area. The production could be higher within a farm with much better irrigation and fertilizing facilities.

  1. How long does it take for a tomato plant to bear fruit?

Different varieties of tomatoes have a different bearing period. The general variety or the determinate type starts bearing within 70-75 days of planting. Cherry tomato plants bear fruits in 60-65 days. The hybrids and imported varieties have an average bearing period of 75-100 days of planting.

  1. How many tomato plants can you have per acre?

The production from the farm exclusively depends on the variety of tomatoes one is cultivating and the maintenance of the farm. Sometimes the yield varies depending on whether the farm is organic or inorganic and whether the farm is being irrigated or receives water naturally. It is expected that the irrigated organic tomato farm can produce approximately 15 to 20 tonnes of tomatoes per acre of land. From a traditional tomato farm, the yield for different varieties is Punjab ratta (225 qtl/acre), Punjab chhuhara (325 qtl/acre), Punjab tropic (90-95 qtl/acre), Punjab red cherry (430-450 qtl/acre), swarna baibhav hybrid (360-400 qtl/acre) and Swarna sampada hybrid (400-420 QTL/acre)

  1. How long does it take to grow a tomato plant from a seed?

It takes 5 to 12 days for the seeds of the tomato to germinate and tender leaves appear in 2 or 3 days after germination. The entire process from seeds to bearing plants takes around 6 to 8 weeks.

  1. Will tomato plants produce year-round?

Tomatoes grow as perennial plants in the native habitat, but when they are cultivated they are grown as annual plants. These plants cannot tolerate cold and frost and some extra care are needed to help the plants survive during the end of the season. Yes, under controlled conditions, it is possible to cultivate tomatoes around the year.

  1. What is the best fertilizer for tomato plants?

Tomato plants are considered heavy feeders and perform better when provided with plenty of nutrients. It is advisable to get the soil tested before planting to know the nutrient content in the soil and if the soil is high in nitrogen then a fertilizer with low nitrogen and high phosphorous content is chosen such as NPK 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 to supply the required nutrients. But if the soil lacks nitrogen content, then the most suitable fertilizer would be NPK 8-8-8 or 10-10-10.

  1. How do you prune tomato plants?

Before making any cut on the plant, it is important to know what variety is being grown and then it is important to observe any yellow leaves on the plant. If the plants contain yellow leaves then it is considered to be the right time to start pruning. The suckers on the plants, i.e. tiny new branches that sprout at the junction of stem and old branch should also be removed. Another indication for pruning is when the plant starts flowering. Some important techniques for pruning are:

  • Suckers with their leaves below the first flower cluster should be removed.
  • Thick shoots should not be removed.
  • Four or five fruit-bearing trusses should be left on the plant for indeterminate varieties; the rest should be pruned.
  • Remove all the yellow leaves from the plant.
  • Top the plant before the frost season or last growing season.
  1. How often should tomatoes be watered?

A general rule of thumb is to water the plants every week for about 2 inches. Depending on the weather of the region this could vary a little. During the peak summer season, watering the tomato plants once every two or three days is beneficial. When the temperature lowers, watering should be reduced to once a week. The plants should always be watered at the base to avoid wastage of water due to evaporation and also to avoid the risk of disease in plants.

  1. How often do you need to fertilize tomatoes?

Fertilizers should be mixed with soil and applied at the bottom of the planting hole and should be covered with normal soil before planting. Water the plants well before fertilizing them during the fruit development stage. The fertilizers should be spread 6 inches around the base of the plant. Garden or farm plants should be fertilized once a month, but container tomato plants need to be fertilized once every week.

  1. How tall do tomato plants grow?

Determinate varieties of tomato plants grow to a height of 3 or 4 ft whereas indeterminate varieties grow to a maximum height of 12 ft (average being 6 ft).

  1. What does Epsom salt do for tomato plants?

Epsom salt contains 10% magnesium and 13% sulphur, it is considered to be a mineral compound. Spraying Epsom salt on tomato plants is expected to keep the plants green and bushy; the addition of Epsom salt to the soil helps with germination of seeds, root development, photosynthesis, plant growth and prevents blossom end rot.

  1. How far should I plant tomatoes?

Depending on the variety of the plant, the spacing between the plants is selected. Dwarf varieties of tomato should be spaced at almost 12 inches apart in a row and if the plants are being stalked, then it is recommended to space them at 24 inches apart. Similarly, sprawling and indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are spaced 36 to 48 inches apart.

  1. How many tomato seeds are put into each hole?

This depends purely on the species or variety on is trying to grow because the germination rate of each variety is different. It is suggestible to plant two or three seeds per hole to decrease or reduce the seed failing rate and improve the germination rate.

  1. How much sun do tomato plants need?

So as to have healthy tomato plants, it is recommended that the plants should be allowed to have at least 8 hours of direct sunlight in a day. The availability of sunlight could be either in the morning or in the afternoon; there is no need for consecutive hours of sunlight rather it could be any time during the day for a minimum of 8 hours.

  1. How deep should one plant tomatoes?

Tomato plants should be planted deep such that two-thirds of the plant is inside the ground, i.e. if a plant is 10 inches tall, then it should be planted to a depth of almost 6 inches into the soil. For soil that has poor draining, raised beds of 8 inches height are created and then the plants are planted.

  1. How deep do tomato roots grow and what is the size of the container required to grow tomatoes?

The roots of the tomato plant are expected to grow to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. It is advisable to grow tomatoes in containers that can hold at least 5 gallons of potting soil.

  1. How do you grow tomatoes in pots?

There are a few tips to grow tomatoes in pots in the best possible way, they are:

  • Choosing the right spot in the garden with adequate sunlight and water.
  • Get the best variety of tomatoes for planting in the pots.
  • The right size of the container is very important.
  • Use potting soil of premium quality.
  • Plant the tomatoes properly during the right time and at the proper depth.
  • Provide support to the tender plants.
  • Mulch the plant base properly.
  • Provide sufficient water and fertilizers.
  • Keep the plant location clean and free from dirt.
  1. Is it possible to grow tomatoes from tomato slices?

Yes, it is practically possible to grow tomatoes from tomato slices and the following can be done to start growing tomatoes this way:

  • Fill the container with potting mixture
  • Take slices of tomato that are one-fourth inch in thickness.
  • Place them in the pot in a circular manner.
  • Cover them with potting soil lightly.
  • Keep the soil moist.
  • Do not place too many slices in a pot, a maximum of 3 or four would be enough.
  • After 14 days the seeds start germinating and when the seedlings grow, retain the strongest ones.
  1. What are the signs of overwatering tomato plants?

The plants indicate when they are being overwatered through the following symptoms such as yellow leaves, root rot, leaf roll, fruit crack and blisters on the lower leaves. This situation can be corrected in heavy rainfall areas by placing a plastic sheet over the plants and removing them when it stops raining. Else if the plants are being grown in the pots, they should be shifted into another pot after allowing the roots to drain the excess water.

  1. How long does it take for tomatoes to ripen and how do I get my tomatoes to turn red?

It is observed that smaller fruit varieties turn red or ripen faster than the large fruit varieties. It should be clearly noted that tomatoes do not turn red until they reach the mature green stage. Two elements present within the tomato help them to ripen, they are lycopene and carotene. The temperature required for this to happen naturally is 10-29˚C. A chemical substance that can trigger the ripening in tomato is ethylene.  No external factor can help turn tomatoes red unless they reach the mature stage.

  1. Why do tomatoes split?

The fluctuations in the temperature cause many issues for new tomato plants and that is the reason why the plant base is mulched properly. When there is a lot of rain after a long dry period, it is found that the fruits crack or split. Lack of water is also another main reason for the spilt problem in tomatoes.

  1. How can one prevent tomato cracking?

Tomato Fruit Cracking.
Tomato Fruit Cracking.

The split problem can be avoided by watering the plants adequately, i.e. about 1 to 2 inches of water once a week. It is also advisable to protect the plants from extreme drought conditions to avoid a split problem.

  1. Why do tomato plant leaves turn yellow?

When plants do not receive adequate water, then the yellowing of the leaves on the bottom of the plant can be observed. Other reasons for the occurrence of yellow leaves on the plant are lack of nitrogen in the soil and curly top virus.

The problem can be controlled by deep watering the plants during hot weather conditions, adding compost or transplant mix to the soil, supplying adequate quantities of nitrogen to the soil and protecting the plants from pests.

  1. What causes tomatoes to rot on the vine and how can it be corrected?

This is a condition commonly referred to as blossom end rot and is mainly caused when the growth of the plant starts during the wet season and the fruits set in during the dry season. This problem can be noticed when fruits are half of their size. This is a physiological disorder caused due to calcium imbalance. Supplying calcium to the plants corrects the deficiency and prevents the problem.

  1. Why do the leaves of tomato plants curl up and how can they be treated?

The leaves of the tomato plant curl because of five reasons such as wind damage, herbicide drift, herbicide residue, broad mite and tomato virus.

Removing the infected plant material and destroying it at the end of the growing period can prevent the spread of this problem.

  1. How do you prepare the soil for tomato farming?

Soil for tomato farming should be well-drained and should be rich in sand, silt and clay. The pH of the soil should be maintained at 6.2 to 6.8. The land for tomato farming should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight and it is important to aerate the soil before planting by ploughing. To maintain the quality of the soil, it is treated with peat moss, compost or manure. Add fertilizers when required.

  1. What is the best climate for growing tomatoes?

Tomato plants need 3 to 4 months of warm, dry climate because it is considered to be a warm-season crop. Frost and high humidity are not suitable for these plants. The temperature of the farming region should be around 10-30˚C. Temperatures above or below this range can cause damage to the plant tissues and slow down the physiological functioning of the plant. The plants need medium-low to medium annual rainfall during the growing period.

  1. What are some of the physiological problems in tomatoes?

Adverse environmental conditions have a negative impact on the fruit and cause physiological disorders such as blossom end rot, fruit cracking, blossom drop, catfacing, puffiness, sunscald, graywall (blotchy ripening and internal browning), internal white tissue and rain check. Proper management and proper schedule for water and fertilizer application could prevent most of the disorders in tomato plants.

In case if you are interested in this: How To Grow Organic Lettuce.



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