Tomato farming mistakes you should avoid
Tomatoes are one of the most important and popular garden plants in the world, gaining strength from its versatile use and tasty nature, tomato farming has grown from a core agronomist work to causal farmers choice for income.
With Tomato fruit used fresh in rice, salads, processed into tomato paste, tomato sauce, juice, ketchup or cooked as a vegetable, and can also be sun-dried, tomato is an important food product in our various homes.
Tomato is rich in vitamins A and C and contains lycopene, a food component that reduces prostate cancer incidence.
Tomatoes are juicy, sensational and come with great flavour.
Though tomato farming appears easy, it doesn’t go without common, costly mistakes from many tomato farmers, especially among beginners in tomato farming, most of which yes, are easily avoidable.
It is therefore advisable to avoid these mistakes when growing tomatoes so as to enjoy healthy crop all year round,
Here, we will expose you to the common, costly mistakes most tomato farmers make, you may be surprised that you are guilty of one or two of these mistakes.
Our target is to help you identify what should be done and what should not be done in your tomato farm, for optimal production.
With these tips, you can easily avoid being a victim, and comfortably plant or grow your tomatoes in your garden or indoors and be sure of fresh tomato fruit supplies all year round.
Here are the mistakes most tomato farmers make in the tomato farming journey.
1. Not hardening your tomato seedlings
2. Choosing the wrong variety
3. Wrong planting site
4. Growing transplants with buds
5. Removing tomato suckers wrongly
6. Excessive Fertilizer application on the tomato plant
7. Not preventing plants from diseases
8. Not mulching the plant
9. Improper spacing
10. Lack of support
1. Choosing the wrong type
One big mistake most tomato farmers make is not knowing the type of tomato that they’re growing or just selecting the wrong one. Basically, there are two main types of tomatoes.
The determinate and indeterminate tomatoes
So, are you growing a determinate or an indeterminate tomato?
The determinate is one that will
Grow into shorter and bushier plants with a predetermined growth limit
Grow in smaller spaces
Need little to no staking
Their fruits ripen over a given short period of time
The determinate type makes up most of the early ripening varieties. They are easier to manage, good for containers, et cetera.
While the indeterminate are the ones that
Keep forming new vines
Keep forming new fruit
Grow larger and have no natural size limit, growth is not determined and is season detrimental due to weather, which means that your trellising and support strategy has to be different.
Need lots of space
Need staking to support them and maximize their potential
Produce later in the season
Ripen fruit throughout the season
Are great for eating alone
Are more convenient for drying
2. Not Hardening your seedlings
Your tomato seedlings need time just every other plant to adjust to a new environment and therefore need to be gradually eased into the new environment, this helps them to adapt to changes in weather, temperature, wind effect, rainfall and other necessary conditions.
Without hardening the seedlings, this won’t be achieved. On your first week of exposure, you may not want to expose the seedlings to direct sunlight, rain or wind, these elements are capable of distorting the growth of the plant.
You can start by taking them outdoors on a calm weather condition for a few hours, this will be repeated and the number of hours increased, condition of weather moved from calm to little harsh to completely outdoor.
Your tomato seedlings should be ready for full outdoor after 10-13 days of gradual exposure.
3. Choosing the wrong variety for tomato farming
There are numerous varieties of tomato all over the world, and the list keeps growing daily as a result of hybridization and crossbreeding.
From grape tomatoes, Green Beefsteaks, Red Beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Cocktail tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes and so on, the list is endless.
If you are a novice in growing tomatoes, it is better to choose a hybrid variety that you are familiar with.
This is because they are less likely to suffer from diseases and are very productive.
They have also familiarized themselves with the season to season, weather condition of the area and therefore will show less vulnerability towards diseases as well.
Choosing a variety isn’t just about what is obtainable, factors required for such variety to excel should be considered
4. Choosing a wrong tomato farming site
Improper growing conditions are also the reason why your tomato plant might be unproductive, lack of sunlight and shady positions lead to a lesser number of fruits.
Tomato plants perform well under warm conditions and require at least 7 hours of direct sunlight.
Picking the correct type of planting area will ensure the plant stays healthy and productive throughout the season.
You must note that planting in shades areas deprives the plant the amount of sun it needs to produce because fruit production requires a lot of energy.
Tomatoes will put out lots of foliage and no fruits if it lacks sunlight.
5. Growing transplants with buds
Always remove the buds or flowers of tomato seedlings before planting them, removing them helps to strengthen their rooting system, once planted, allow the plant to bud and flower.
6. Removing tomato suckers wrongly
Although determinate variety does not need pruning yet indeterminate may need some, if you don’t remove suckers of the indeterminate variety, the growth of the plant may go out of control.
Plants produce smaller tomatoes at a very slow rate when they are not pruned.
Tomato plants need to be pruned in other to direct nutrient to the fruit and not to new leave of plant.
7. Excessive Fertilizer application on the tomato plant
Overfertilization damages the tomato plants especially, Nitrogen-containing fertilizers, excessive intake of Nitrogen is rather more dangerous than good to tomatoes.
The plant will produce more leaves and stems, but very few flowers, even more, their roots will turn black, use 5 10-5 mixed fertilizer if the soil has high a amount of Nitrogen, and 10-10-10 fertilizer, in soils with a low amount of Nitrogen.
8. Not preventing plants from diseases
Sometimes, gardeners do not take enough measures to prevent plants from diseases, like late and early blight, your tomato plant should be sprinkled with a pest spray to curb the problem.
You can prepare the spray yourself by adding baking soda, detergent and olive oil, you can also sprinkle Epsom salt for better growth once in a month.
9. No mulching of plant
It is important to mulch the soil of the tomato plant, mulching the soil helps the soil retain its moisture which is needed by the tomato plant for growth.
Mulch the soil evenly with peat moss or shredded leaves immediately after planting the tomato plant.
10. Wrong spacing
Improper spacing between the plants often leads to poor air circulation, unhealthy competition for nutrient and water. this likely stunt growth and fruit production in tomatoes.
It also resists the penetration of sunlight which makes the plant vulnerable to diseases.
Make sure to give 25 to 35 inches of spacing between plants, 12 inches for those planning the dwarf tomato varieties.
11. Lack of support
If you are growing the indeterminate varieties of tomatoes you must provide proper support likes staking or caging. Determinate varieties should be supported by stalking else fruits may rot due to disease.
Tomato farming can seem complex when discussed on paper but that’s not the case in practical application. There is a need to take every planting stage serious and careful.
Ensure to apply all of the above-listed steps to reduce costly mistakes.
Moderate the soil moisture content, ensure good compliance with the weather condition, irrigate when necessary, fertilize minimally, if possible, organic manure should be used, select a suitable variety and site. Tomatoes are bound to produce hugely if well taken care of and maintained appropriately.
The above tips are there to guide you, though they do not guarantee total success in your tomato farming journey, they are rather a great stone to stand on when planning your tomato farm.
As always, we would love to hear thought about the above-listed tips, do you follow them, are you guilty of missing any, we value your response.
Do kindly share.