November 23, 2020 at 2:29 am #13111ArnelKeymaster
Tomatoes is one of the most interesting crops to grow in a garden but it is a challenge to sustain its productivity the whole year round. Tomato fruit is rich in Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and Lycopene and this is why the use of tomato for daily dish and for salad is essential for health and source of nutrients..
In the Eco-Agri Farm, there are three varieties of tomatoes growing but the most common variety is the cherry tomatoes because it adopts well in the local environment and it survives in different seasons throughout the year.
As practice, tomato seed are sown in a mixture of compost and soil wrapped with banana leaves and keep them in the nursery. While the seedling are growing in the nursery, if there is no rain, watering is important as a regular maintenance. At least twice a week, it needs application of biopesticides to ward-off young leaf eater insects. It is important not to destroy the roots system of the seedling during the transplanting stage of the seedlings to the beds. Put a generous amount of vermi cast or organic compost as it mix with soil for each plant as it is helpful for the seedling to prepare for the first vegetation stage.
For us, February and May is the best time to grow tomato because relatively it require a dry climate and there is less infestation of pest and diseases. However, put enough mulching materials around to keep the moisture level of the soil and micro-organism active while supporting the growth of the plant. Application of the foliar fertilizer is essential, fermented tea manure is very good for the formation of leaves as it is rich of nitrogen and helpful for preparation for the plants for flowering. Chopped banana leaves and pseudo-stem are good materials for mulching because it is rich in potassium.
Tomato plants needs trellis to avoid stem from bending as the fruit start to develop. A-type of trellis is good because it support to whole structure. We use branches of bamboo for trellis and smaller round log as poles one for each both ends of the plots and another 2 in the middle. Stake the trellis with a distance from the growing tomato for it is dangerous for the roots structure to be disturbed and a torn part of the plant can be an easy entrance for the virus and disease. Abaca (Manila hemp) is use for tying, not this plastic straw available commercially.
Application of concoctions and fermentation’s are very helpful once it is applied properly. Application of Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) from a young banana shoot is helpful to induce good formation of shoots and leaves, while application of Calcium-Phosphate from fermented roasted egg shells with coco vinegar is important for the flowering and fruiting stage. Calcium is very important for any fruit bearing plants.
What are the challenges in growing tomatoes?
Tomato is Solanacious, thus don’t plant okra, eggplant and even corn next to them. In Eco-Agri farm we planted spring onion in between the lines of tomatoes and at the corner of the plot keep some marigold or citronella for they have natural properties that can ward-off unwanted pests. However, just plant few of these around the tomato plot because sometimes if is too much it competes the nutrients available on the ground and sometimes if not maintain it will become a host of other pests as well.
Pest management and control is very challenging and all the more during wet season. Most of the common problem one, is Tomato Fruitworm (Helicoverpa zea), you can see a spot of darkened part and if you cut the fruit presence of young larvae can be found and inside is watery. Second, Bacterial Wilt and Southern Blight are also the most difficult problem to manage in growing tomatoes, although there are many advice’s available online but to deal with it in reality is difficult. Our immediate response on this is to uproot the infected plant and burn them immediately for we know that is coming from a bacteria and virus.
Blossom-end Rot is a common problem during wet season, although its an indication of calcium imbalance and this can be addressed by consistent application of good compost material. Crop rotation is helpful also to maintain a balance for the soil.
For those who are practicing conventional farming , they immediately know what to do, buy a bottled chemical anyway its available in the local store and spray a plenty of it to the plant, to soil and to the surroundings which kills also millions of micro-organism as well and simply because they don’t see them. Accessible, easy and no need to think about the complication as to why they are persisting in the crops.
The problem encountered in growing tomatoes is an indication of a clear challenge on how to help the soil to regain its natural health and balance. It is a question of how we can assist the soil and the “living system” to work together. To describe this living system can be easily emphasize in words but it takes so much action and time as daily practice in relating on the land and ecology.
1. What are the practices do you have in growing tomatoes that works and did not work but you tried at least and what were the results?
2. What problems have you encountered in terms of soil quality for growing vegetables and what are some simple methods you found helpful in enriching soil nutrients?
3. How do you find resources, supports and what makes you feel committed to stay and understand the “living system” behind the organic agriculture?December 1, 2020 at 6:46 pm #13176Raiza JavierKeymaster
@arnelsantander I’m not very knowledgeable about organic farming yet, but we have a few tomato plants at home, and these pieces of information you shared are very helpful! We’re going five months now without harvesting any cherry tomatoes because of tomato fruit worm (which I just learned from your post).
Why are we not supposed to plant okra, eggplant, or corn next to tomatoes? How do they affect solanacious plants?
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