Commercial Farming from Tomato Seedlings: Importance and Types of Pest and Disease Control
Many types of diseases, nematode pests, and insects attack vegetable and fruit crops. Tomatoes are not exempt. If not properly controlled, these threats can cause large-scale crop losses, reduction in crop quality, and stunted growth. Pest control is essential for the success of any type of crop farming, even when starting crops with strong and disease-free tomato seedlings.
Farmers who want to propagate tomatoes from seedlings for commercial crop farming purposes will benefit from the availability of pest- and disease-free plugs as can be ordered from Hishtil SA. Apart from starting with disease- and pest-free stock, let us take a closer look at five methods for pest and disease control and reduction as discussed and recommended by the World Tomato Society.
Crop Rotation for Pest Management
Certain pests can survive the cold spell of winter, especially soil borne pathogens. The pathogen populations can increase year after year if they have the right number of host plants. One way to stop this build-up is to rotate crops.
Another method entails growing the plants in containers within greenhouse environments. This makes it possible to grow the plants from seedlings in new growth media year after year. This also helps to protect plants against wind, harsh sunlight, and cold conditions.
Optimal plant spacing
Farmers should heed the guidelines for transplanting seedlings in terms of spacing needs. The majority of pathogens need high levels of moisture to flourish. Although not true for all types of diseases, many of the diseases also flourish in high humidity environments. By following the recommended spacing practices, removing weeds, and pruning plants as needed, it is possible to make the growth area less favourable for diseases and pests. This is applicable to greenhouse and open field propagation of tomatoes from seedlings.
Mulching does not only help to protect the plants from cold or excessive water loss during extremely hot conditions. It acts to create a barrier between the soil and the plant leaves. Many pathogens are spread from the soil to the plant leaves. Since soil-borne diseases can easily reach the plant leaves close to the ground, it is possible to reduce the spread of the disease to the plant leaves through the removal of the leaves near the soil. To this end, it is also essential to plant disease-free tomato seedlings as to prevent a situation where the diseases attacking the seedlings can spread to the soil. It is also essential to have the disease-free plugs chemically treated to protect them against attacks before transplanting.
Avoid Overhead Watering
Pathogen spores can spread through the droplets that fall from infected leaves to healthy leaves. As such, it has been recommended to water tomato seedlings from the ground up rather than through overhead sprinkler systems.
Many other methods are used to reduce pathogen spreading. One way to ensure stronger crops with higher yield potential and improved tolerance for specific conditions entails the planting of grafted plugs. Hishtil SA provides both the conventional and grafted tomato seedlings. These plugs are grown in disease-free environments and are chemically treated before delivery to the farmer.