Tomato production is one of the major agricultural activities in Uganda. It is a very profitable venture but have its own challenges.
Botanical name: Lycopersicon esculentum (L)
Roma VFN, Pectomech VF, Tropimech, Rio Grande, Jaguar, Lindo, Titao Derma
Tomato requires warm days, bright sunshine and cool nights for optimum yields. High temperatures and low humidity cause excessive flower drop and reduce yields drastically. Soils should be well drained and fertile.
In tomato production, a thorough land preparation is important in enhancing early crop establishment and adequate weed control. Incorporation of well-decomposed poultry manure at the rate of 25ton/ha at land preparation may be beneficial. Prepare ridges or bed across the contours on which seedlings may be transplanted. Construct a farm pond to collect excess water and reuse for irrigation.
Seeds can be sown in seed beds in seed trays or seed boxes. Prepare seed beds at 1.2m wide and at any convenient length and then level beds. Water beds, cover with dry grass and burn or solarize soil with transparent plastic sheets for 5-8 weeks to sterilize the soil.
Sow seeds in drills 10cm apart. Cover beds with well dried non-seeded grass or palm fronds. After emergence, remove dry grass and provide shade over the bed. Thin out weak, mal-formed seedlings to avoid overcrowding. Prick out seedlings at first true leaf stage. Transplant seedlings 3-4 weeks after emergence on the field at 5-leaf stage. Two weeks before planting on the field, apply a liquid feed of 5g/L of NPK 15-15-15. harden seedlings 1 week before transplanting by decreasing shade until at least 1-day full exposure to sunlight and/or reducing irrigation.
Planting preferably late in the afternoon. Plant 60×30 cm in the dry season and 60×60 cm in the wet season.
Timely weed control is necessary for healthy crop growth. This may be achieved by frequent shallow hoeing. Application of pre-emergence weedicides 3-4 days before transplanting will enhance weed control.
Water supply is very important, especially in the dry season. The most critical time for ample soil moisture is during bloom and early fruiting stages.