Tomatoes are a valuable part of a healthy diet that’s a good source of several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and folate. They grow best in warm conditions and are fairly adaptable.

NURSERY: Prepare a good nursery seedbed to ensure good plant establishment. The seedbed should be raised and be 1m wide. If you can afford it, use seedling trays.

Make sure that you purchase a tomato variety that is suitable for your conditions. There are different varieties[1] in the market;  each having specific qualities related to preferred conditions for growth, their resistance to specific diseases or pests, their maturity period and maximum fruit weight and overall yield per acre.

Make sure to read the label and follow instructions for the variety you pick.

MAIN GARDEN PREPARATIONS

Manure: If you have some manure, apply 10kg of well decomposed manure per square meter prior to transplanting to improve yields of tomatoes.

Water retainer: While waiting for the seedling in the nurseries to mature, at week 3 you should measure and mark planting holes according to the tomato variety instructions.

Next, dig out the planting holes to a depth of about 12 – 15 cm. Apply ½ g of Okoamaji, a water retainer per planting hole.  The Okoamaji particles should be mixed thoroughly with backfill to ensure even spread without exposing to the sun.

The water retainer will reduce your water irrigation frequency by 50% due to its retention capability.

Tomatoes ready for harvesting.
Ensure tomatoes get between 5-8 hours of sunlight per day. Excessive humidity and temperatures will however reduce yields.

TRANSPLANTING STAGE

Four weeks after sowing seeds in the nursery, when the plants are about 10-15cm high, the seedlings are ready to be transferred to the main planting area

One day before transplanting, drench tomato seedling with Nhance Foliar. Drench solution in the nursery at the rate of 5ml / litre of water. This is important to minimize transplanting shock. Nhance is made from freshly harvested seaweed.

As you transplant be careful to scoop out the seedlings with soil attached to the roots. Ideal time to transplant is on a cool day or late in the evening.

Add 1/2 g of Earthlee per planting hole. Earthlee accomplishes normal function of organic matter which reduces the need for bulk application of organic matter in the soil.

NB: If you are using standard fertiliser like TSP, DAP, MAP, NPK or CAN, coat Earthlee at a rate of 1kg Earthlee for every 50kg of fertilizer.

To minimize pest infestation, apply Achook, a neem based product at a rate of 1ml per 1 litre water. For every tomato seedling, pour 100 ml of the mixed solution.

AFTER TRANSPLANTING

2 weeks after transplanting apply Nhance Foliar mixed at a rate of 2ml per every litre of water. This should be repeated after 2 weeks.

When the tomato plants are 25cm high, top dress with 10g Asilee per plant. Asilee is a soil conditioner prepared from natural ingredients and is certified for organic farming. Asilee enhances the microbial activity in the soil.

PEST & DISEASE CONTROL

Tomatoes like other crops are prone to attack from the elements. Most common of these are nematodes and insects like whiteflies, leaf miners, spider mites, aphids and grass hoppers. Blossom-end rot is a common problem that is caused by lack of calcium and or low soil pH. Diseases that attack tomatoes include early and late blight, powdery mildew, bacterial wilt and fusarium wilt. Most of these diseases may be prevented by using fumigated or solarised soils and certified tomato seed varieties. Proper management is crucial.

To reduce disease risk, choose a nursery site where potatoes, eggplants and peppers have not been grown for the last 3 years.

As a precaution, as the tomatoes grow you should remove the leaves close to the ground to prevent the entry of blight and other fungal diseases.

At the sight of any pests spray the tomato plants with solution of Achook mixed at rate of 1ml to 1 litre of water.

WATERING: After week one, the frequency of watering the tomato plants after transplanting will reduce to 1 or 2 times every week. The Okoamaji will have absorbed and retained most of the water and so be careful not to cause water clog or too much water that may cause other problems.

See Organix products protocol here

Tomatoes planted in open space.
Right side showing crops treated with Asilee and standard fertiliser. These have more tomato fruits and have more developed foliage and look generally healthier than the untreated on the left side

[1] Tomato varieties: Anna F1, Bravo F1, Cal J VF, Chonto F1, Faulu, Harmony F1, Joy F1, Kentom F1, Libra F1, M 82, MonaLisa F1, New Fortune Maker F1, Onyx F1, Oxly, Prostar F1, Rambo F1, Riogrande, Samantha F1, Sandokan F1, Strike F1,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *