Tomato is one of the most cultivated vegetables in the world. Its rapid growth and high productivity make this plant one of the most loved by farmers, since with minimal care you can have an excellent harvest.
However, what can we do to make sure that we are really going to be able to taste that authentic and natural flavor that it has? Read this special . When we finish we will know how to grow tomato without artificial products.
What is the tomato plant like?
The tomato plant or tomato plant, also known as tomato, is an annual herbaceous plant whose scientific name is Solanum. It is native to Central and South America. It is characterized by grow to a height of 1 meterwith branched stems, densely glandular-pubescent with short and long hairs. The leaves are ovate, odd-pinnate or biimparipinnate with a petiole, and measure up to 25cm.
The inflorescence is composed of 3-7 hermaphrodite flowers, without bracts, of yellow color. Once they are fertilized, it begins to mature the fruit that is a globose or elongated berry, up to 8 centimeters in diameter, normally red in color. Inside we can find the seeds, which are ovoid, brownish, 2,5 by 2mm.
How is it grown?
To have good tomato plants it is highly recommended to start growing them acquiring its seeds in spring. In this season, as it is not very hot yet, the seedlings will be able to grow at a good rate. Thus, once acquired, it is highly recommended to place them in a glass of water where they will remain for 12 hours, after which we can discard (or sow in a separate container) those that remain floating because the probability that they will germinate is low.
As a seedbed we will use anything we can think of: pots, plastic trays (for seedlings), cork trays with holes, milk containers, yogurt glasses, plastic bottles with at least one hole for drainage, … Regardless of what we use, we will fill it with mulch, or with a substrate that they sell already mixed in the nurseries that is specific for seedlings or for gardens.
Since tomato plants are very fast growing plants, it is convenient to put the seeds at a distance of 2-3cmsince then they can all grow more or less at the same rate. Likewise, we have to cover them with a thin layer of substrate, just a little dirt so that they are not directly exposed to the star king.
After watering and placing the seedbed in full sun, to prevent fungi we can spread copper or sulfur on the surface. Keeping the soil moist (but not puddled) the seeds will germinate in 3-5 days.
The ringing consists of separate the seedlingsdiscarding those that are growing weak or sick. We must do it when the roots begin to appear through the drainage holes, that is, when the seedlings are about 10cm high. You have to do it very carefullysince tomato plants at this age are very fragile.
Taking this into account, we will extract them from the container, we will introduce the root ball (earth bread) in a bowl with water, and we will gently remove the soil from the roots. As soon as we finish, we untangle them and we plant them in an individual pot 10,5cm in diameter with universal or orchard growing substrate. They must remain in it until, again, roots grow out of the drainage holes.
Transplant or planting in the garden
When we have grown little plants, it will be time to decide what to do with them: if we plant them in a definitive pot or in the garden. Whether we opt for one or the other option, then we will know how to proceed:
Transplant to a pot
- The first thing to do is buy a large pot, about 40cm in diameter.
- Afterwards, we fill it with growing substrate for plants.
- Next, in the center, we make a hole so that the tomato plant can fit.
- Afterwards, we extract the plant from its old pot and place it in the new one, taking care that it is neither too far below nor above the edge.
- We finish filling in if necessary, and we put a tutor for you.
- Finally, we water conscientiously.
Planting in the orchard
- First of all you have to prepare the ground: remove the weeds, fertilize the soil with organic fertilizers, level with a rake and install the drip irrigation system.
- Afterwards, the tutors have to be placed by which the tomato plants will be able to develop well.
- Then, a planting hole about 20cm deep is made, and the plants are planted.
- Finally. it waters.
Tomato plant maintenance
For our tomato plants to be able to produce a large quantity of fruits, it is very important that we provide them with a series of cares, which are:
- Irrigation: it has to be very frequent, especially if we live in a hot area. It is necessary to avoid that the earth dries up.
- Subscriber: throughout the season we must pay it regularly with Organic fertilizers, Such as guano or chicken manure (if we can get it fresh, we will let it dry in the sun for a week).
- Pruning: we must remove all the withered leaves and the suckers (they are leaves that will come out where a branch has already sprouted) that come out below the first branch with flowers.
Tomato pests and diseases
There are many problems that these plants can have. The most commons are:
- Red spider: they are mites that develop on the underside of leaves, where they cause discoloration or yellowish spots. They are eliminated with acaricides, or with neem oil.
- White fly: they absorb the sap of the leaves. The molasses that excrates attracts the bold fungus, which is what causes damage to plants and, above all, to fruits. They can be controlled with neem oil and yellow color traps.
- Aphids: they adhere to the leaves, from where they feed. We can avoid them and / or treat them with yellow chromatic traps, neem oil, or potassium soap.
- Trips: they are parasites similar to earwigs but much smaller (1cm more or less) that adhere to the underside of the leaves, where they cause discoloration and finally the damaged tissue becomes necrotic. They are eliminated with insecticides such as Chlorpyrifos, or with natural products such as potassium soap.
- Botrytis: brown lesions occur on leaves and flowers. It is treated with systemic fungicides.
- Powdery mildew: is a mushroom (tauric level) which causes yellow spots on the beam that are necrotic in the center. You can see a white powder on the underside of the leaves. It is controlled with sulfur-based fungicides.
- Fusarium: it is a fungus that affects the leaves, starting with the lowest ones. Unfortunately, the only remedy is preventive: crop rotation, disinfecting the soil (through solarization for example), and using new substrates in the case of potted plants is what we can do to prevent the proliferation of this fungus. .
- Damping-Off: is the death of seedlings due to stem rot caused by fungi of the genus Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora. It is prevented with copper, sulfur and fungicides.
Tomatoes will be ready to be picked 2-3 months after sowing. When they have acquired their final color, it will be time to harvest them.
Have a nice planting!