Tomato Farming in Polyhouse for Profit – A Full Guide

A step by step guide Tomato farming in polyhouse

Well guys, today we start Tomato farming in polyhouse from seed for maximum profits. Tomato belongs to the genus Lycopersicon under Solanaceae family and its scientific name is Solanum Lycopersicum. Tomato is a herbaceous sprawling plant growing to 1 to 3 m in height with a weak woody stem. The flowers are yellow and the fruits of cultivated varieties differ in size from cherry tomatoes, about 1 to 2 cm to beefsteak tomatoes, about 10 cm or more in diameter.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and the phytochemical lycopene. The Tomatoes are commonly eaten raw in salads, served as a cooked vegetable, used as an ingredient of various prepared dishes, and pickled.

The leading tomato growing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, and Bihar.

Polyhouse Tomato Cultivation.
Polyhouse Tomato Cultivation.

Tomato varieties:

Some of the improved Tomato varieties are Arka Saurabh, Arka Vikas, Arka Ahuti, Arka Abha , Arka Alok, HS101, HS102, HS110, Hisar Arun, Hisar Lalit, Hisar Anmol, Narendra Tomato 1, Pusa Red Plum, Pusa Early Dwarf, Pusa Ruby, Co-1, CO 2, CO 3, S-12, PKM 1, Pusa Ruby, Paiyur-1, Shakthi, Pusa Gaurav, Pant Bahar, Solan Gola and Arka Meghali.

F1 hybrid Tomatoes:

Arka Abhijit, Arka Shresta, Arka Vishal, Arka Vardan, Pusa Hybrid 1, Pusa Hybrid 2, Rashmi, Vaishali, Rupali, Avinash 2, MTH 4, Sadabahar, Gulmohar and Sonali.

Tomato varieties suitable for polyhouse:

Indeterminate tomato varieties are suitable for cultivation under polyhouse farming. Avtar, Indam hybrid, All Rounder, ArkaMeghali, and ArkaSurabhi, etc. are suitable varieties for tomato cultivation in polyhouse.

Now we get into Tomato farming in polyhouse:

Tomato is a high-value vegetable crop for off-season and main season production under polyhouse farming. A partially ventilated low-cost polyhouse with both polythene and agro shed net can be suitable for farmers.

Polyhouse farming should be designed in such a way that smart farmers can produce high-value crops out of season when prices of farm produce are at their highest. This is the way you can get higher incomes and a higher return on the high initial investment. Since you can control light, ambient temperature, humidity, and water for irrigation, you can generate all the crops that fetch a high price in local and regional markets. In polyhosues, you can generate pesticide-free produce or even organic produce that fetch a higher price due to their high nutrition value, better taste, and freshness.

Breeding Tomato suitable for polyhouse cultivation:

The polyhouse cultivation technology in India has a time lag about many countries. But now China, Japan, and the USA are the leading countries having a large area under polyhouse farming for horticultural crops in the world and have developed several tomato varieties through ployhouse breeding.

In India, the area under polyhouse cultivation crop is 1000 hectares, which is mainly in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Jammu & Kashmir.

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Climate requirements in Tomato farming:

Tomato prefers moderate temperature and thrives well in the temperature range of 25 to 30°C. The prevalence of low-temperature range and high humidity causes a severe infestation of diseases.

Soil requirements in Tomato farming in polyhouse:

The Tomato crop can be raised in a wide range of soil ranging from light textured sandy or sandy loam to heavy clay soils. The soil must be rich in nutrients and organic matter. The ideal soil pH level is 6 to 7 for its growth. High organic matter content in soil is highly necessary for higher production and quality.

Interculture and irrigation requirements in Tomato farming in polyhouse:

Tomato is a shallow rooted crop and roots are restricted within 15 to 20 cm of soil so light earthingup should be done after 30 days and 45 days of planting. Good quality water must be applied at 10 days interval. The plants must be provided with strong multiple stakes after one month of planting.

A tomato needs to be irrigated at the correct time. In spring summer, the crop must be irrigated at the interval of 4-6 days depending upon the growth of plants. Under drip irrigation system the measured quantity of water can be applied to plants. It is the best process to optimize plant nutrition without large fluctuation in the nutrient level in the root zone. It minimizes losses by fixation or leaching in the soil thus economically using fertilizers to effect in higher yields and improved quality.

Mulching Tomato plants in Polyhouise:

Straw mulch is most common if Straw mulches are used; apply to the soil when Tomatoes are about 2 feet high. The mulch reduces evaporation of water from the soil and prevents compaction of the surface. White plastic mulches are recommended to control weeds, conserve moisture, reduce humidity and develop light conditions to avoid contact to soil and prevent diseases.

The seed treatment of Tomatoes:

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

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Raising Tomato seedlings for polyhouse cultivation:

  • Seedlings are grown before one month of transplanting raised beds of 60 to 100 cm width and convenient length.
  • Soil solorization of nursery bed by covering them with white transparent polythene sheet for one month must be done in hot summer months. It will kill the disease causing organisms like fungus, nematode, bacteria as well as insects and seeds of weeds.
  • While preparing the nursery beds, neem cake, castor cake, castor leaf, Pongamia leaf, and calotropis leaf has to be incorporated @ 400 g/m2 for protection against nematodes.
  • After sowing the seeds, mulch with green leaves and irrigate with a rose-can daily in the morning time. Eliminate the mulch immediately after germination of the seeds. Restrict irrigation one week before transplanting and irrigate greatly on the previous day of transplanting.
  • Cover the bed with a fine nylon net to escape the damage by virus transmitting insects.

Weed control:

There is a need for light hoeing during the first 4 weeks in the field which encourage the growth but also remove the weeds from the field. The surface soil is loosened by hand hoeing as soon as it is dry enough after every irrigation. All weeds should be removed in this process.

Mulching with straw, black polythene and many other materials have been found helpful in moisture conservation, in controlling weeds and some diseases.

Control perennial weeds before Tomato planting. Many growers use black plastic mulch for weed control, particularly when the crop is grown under plastic row tunnels. Most herbicides recommended for use on Tomatoes will not give complete control of annual weeds and supplemental cultivation is usually necessary. Often herbicides are used to burn weeds from between the rows of plastic mulch. 

Pests and diseases of Tomato plants:

The Tomato plants are susceptible to several pests and diseases, including bacterial wilt, early blight, mosaic virus, Fusarium wilt, nematodes, and tomato hornworms. Many of these problems can be controlled with crop rotation, the use of fungicides and pesticides, and the Tomato planting of resistant varieties.

Diseases

Damping Off (fungi)

Seed can decay, fail to emerge or once emerged develop water-soaked discolored areas on the stem which withers and causes the plant to fall over. Disease incidence and severity is improved by cold temperatures, overwatering, high humidity and overcrowding.

Control: Hot water treats seed and then apply fungicide seed protectant. Tomato plant seeds at the recommended rate into sterilized seeding mix and flats.

Septoria Leaf Spot (fungus)

Causes numerous small grayish color circular leaf spots with dark borders. Survives in crop residue and on seed and wet weather favors disease development.

Control: Hot water treats seed. Apply protective fungicide sprays on an ordinary basis. Plow down crop residue immediately harvest.

Early Blight

Leaf spots are dark brown to black color with concentric rings or zones within the spot. On fruit, large, dark, sunken areas develop mainly at the calyx end or on growth cracks.

Control: Apply fungicide sprays if necessary. Healthy plants which are not stressed could tolerate some leaf spotting.

Late Blight

Irregular greenish-black water-soaked areas show on older leaves. Infected Tomato fruit remains firm but becomes rough with greasy greenish-brown patches.

Control: Apply fungicide sprays and do not plant near potato fields.

Tomato harvesting procedure in polyhouse

The harvesting of Tomatoes starts from 90 days after transplanting. The total crop period for Tomatoes is 8 to 9 month after planting. The harvesting is done daily or alternate day depending on market distance and customer option.

For long-distance marketing, the tomato fruits are picked at matured green or breaker stage. For processing, the fully matured red ripe Tomato fruits are harvested to optimize the quality parameters. The optimum storage condition of 12°C temperature and 86 to 90 percent relative humidity is necessary for Tomatoes.

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