Cultivation Of Tomato

Nutritive Value: Tomato is a very popular vegetable in all kitchen gardens and can be grown in pots and containers. It contains 93 percent water, 3.6 percent carbohydrates and 1.9 percent proteins, 0.6 percent minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, iron and chlorine, and is rich in vitamins A and C.

Soil and Climate: Tomato is best grown in welldrained and fertile soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 8.0. However, soil rich in organic matter is good for tomato cultivation. Tomato requires full and clear sunshine for its growth. Heavy rains and chilling cold are very harmful for growth. Temperatures ranging from 13 °C to 38 °C are ideal for fruit setting, however fruit setting and color development are adversely affected when temperature exceeds 38 °C.

Important Varieties: Pusa Ruby, Arka Sourabh, Arka Vikas and Arka Meghali are popularly grown tomato varieties in South India.

Planting and Irrigation: Tomato seeds are sown on raised beds. When seedlings become 4 to 6 weeks old, they are transplanted in pots or fields at a spacing of 45 cm between two rows and 45 cm between two plants. An indeterminate type is growing vine like tomato varieties which are supported with ropes or poles to grow
vertically and give better yields. Watering should be done immediately after transplanting and irrigation should be provided as and when soil in the pot or otherwise becomes partially dry. The soil or plot to be used for tomato cultivation should be mixed with a sufficient quantity of compost to feed the crop for a longer period.

Plant Protection: Tomato vegetable is mostly attacked by insect pests like the fruit borer whose larvae feed on tender leaves and after fruit setting it enters the fruit and feed on its internal parts. It can be controlled by hand picking the larvae and destroying them or spraying neem cake extract or neemark on the plant. Tomato
can also be attacked by white flies that suck sap from leaves and stems. This can be captured and killed by placing yellow cards spread with grease, when white flies landing on these cards remain their till their death.

Harvesting: The tomato fruit is ready for harvesting 60 to 80 days after transplanting, depending on the variety planted. Fruits that turn their color from yellowish to reddish are harvested and used as vegetables.