Tips for Improved Fruit Yield: Get Quality Tomato Seedlings
Farmers in South Africa benefit from the expertise offered by the agronomists at large’s commercial nurseries that supply vegetable plugs to them for large-scale commercial farming purposes. The seedlings are grown in greenhouse environments where the plugs receive just the right level of sun exposure, water, and nutrients. These tomato plugs receive a chemical treatment before being shipped to the farmer.
Why is it Important?
The farmer needs disease- and pest-free stock to provide the right foundation for crop success. With the plugs already chemically treated, the farmer does not have to be concerned with disease and pest attacks upon transplanting the tomato seedlings. This gives the farmer adequate time to prepare their chemical treatment plan. It implies lower cost in terms of chemical treatments, as the first one is already done. This also reduces the environmental impact of crop farming in South Africa.
Factors That Must be Considered
The nursery grows the plants in a protected environment with sufficient spacing between the plugs. The tomato seedlings have adequate space to branch out. Because the plugs are grown in a greenhouse environment, they receive enough sunlight, also during the winter when the days are shorter. Within this controlled environment, the plugs receive good air circulation, which helps the stems to grow strong. The plugs are grown in soil that is warm enough. For optimal growth, it is essential that the soil and the air temperature are about the same.
The farmer should prepare the soil before the plugs are delivered. The seedlings must be planted in well-watered and nutrient-rich soil. If mulching is used, it is essential to make the holes in the plastic big enough to prevent the plastic from touching the stems. If not done, the plastic that connects with the plant stem can cause the plant to burn. Laying the plastic too early can cause the temperature in the soil to drop. With the plants appreciating warmer soil temperature, it is imperative to raise the soil temperature through natural light. Once the day and night temperatures are high enough, the mulching can be applied.
Importance of Moisture
Tomatoes do not do well with prolonged periods of dry soil. It is imperative to keep the moisture in the soil, and this is where mulching can help.
Importance of Removing Dead Leaves
As the tomato seedlings grow, the plant leaves nearest to the ground may wilt and die. With the leaves also close to soil and subsequent pathogens, these leaves can easily come under attack. It is imperative to remove them to avoid fungal disease taking hold.
Importance of Pruning
Remove any branches that develop in the forks of the stem. This is done through the pinching method. These smaller branches will not deliver fruit and will only take energy away from the fruit-bearing parts of the tomato plant. Guard against removal of too many leaves in an effort to get enough light to the bottom parts. With fewer leaves, the plant will also deliver fewer fruits.
Where to Get Quality Tomato Seedlings
Hishtil SA provides superior quality tomato seedlings to farmers across South Africa. Get in touch for more information about the available varieties.