Growing Tomato: Lycopersicon esculentum Mill; Solanaceae

Tomatoes are a popular and nutritious fruit that belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae. They are native to western South America and Central America and have been cultivated for thousands of years by indigenous people. Today, tomatoes are grown in a variety of climates and are enjoyed by people all over the world.

There are many different varieties of tomatoes, ranging in size, shape, and colour. They can be round, oblong, or pear-shaped, and can be red, yellow, green, or even black. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red colour and has been linked to numerous health benefits.

Tomatoes are most commonly eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes, but they can also be cooked in a variety of ways. They are a key ingredient in many sauces, soups, and stews, and can be roasted, grilled, or baked.

Tomatoes are a popular choice for home gardening, as they are relatively easy to grow and can be grown in a variety of climates. They are usually grown from seedlings, which are started indoors in early spring and then transplanted into the garden once the weather has warmed up. Tomatoes require full sun and well-draining soil and should be watered regularly to ensure healthy growth.

Many different techniques can be used to grow tomatoes successfully. One popular method is called “stake and weave,” in which the tomato plants are staked to support and the vines are woven through the stakes as they grow. This helps to keep the plants upright and reduces the risk of disease. Another common method is called “pruning,” in which excess branches and leaves are removed to allow more sunlight and air circulation to reach the fruit.

Several diseases and pests can affect tomato plants. One common disease is called “blight,” which is caused by a fungus and can result in blackened leaves and stems, as well as rot on the fruit. To prevent blight, it is important to avoid overwatering and remove any infected plants from the garden.

Pests that can damage tomato plants include aphids, cutworms, and tomato hornworms. These pests can be controlled through the use of pesticides or by introducing natural predators, such as ladybugs or lacewings, into the garden.

In addition to being a delicious and nutritious fruit, tomatoes have also been used for their medicinal properties. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, and some research suggests that they may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Overall, tomatoes are a versatile and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether eaten raw or cooked, they are a tasty addition to any meal and offer numerous health benefits.

Growing Tomatoes

Varieties: PKM 1, CO 3 (Marutham) and Paiyur 1.

Soil: Well-drained loamy soil rich in organic matter with a pH range of 6.5-7.5.

Season of sowing: May – June and November – December

Seed rate: Apply FYM 10 kg, Neemcake 1 kg, VAM 50 g, Superphosphate 100 g and 10 g furadon per square metre before sowing.

Seed treatment: Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride 4 g or Pseudomonas fluorescents 10 g
or Carbendazim 2 g per kg of seeds 24 hours before sowing.

Just before sowing, treat the seeds with Azospirillum @ 40 g/400 g of seeds. Sow in lines 10 cm apart in raised nursery beds and cover with sand.

Preparation of field: Plough the land to a fine tilth. Form ridges and furrows and transplant 25 days old seedlings on one side of the ridges.

Apply 2 kg of Azospirillum, Phosphobacteria per ha mixed with 100 kg FYM before planting.

Spacing: PKM 1, Paiyur 1: 60 x 45 cm

CO 3: 45 x 30 cm

Irrigation: After the establishment of seedlings irrigate at weekly intervals.

Application of fertilizer: Apply FYM 25 t/ha, N 75 kg, P 100 kg, K 50 kg, Borax 10 kg and Zinc sulphate 50 kg/ha as basal dose and 75 kg N/ha on the 30th day of planting during earthing up.

Spray 1 ppm (1 mg in one lit) Triacontanol, 15 days after transplanting and at full bloom stage to increase the yield.

Weed control: Apply Pendimethalin 1.0 kg a.i./ha or fluchloralin 1 kg a.i/ha as pre-emergent herbicide followed by one-hand weeding 30 days after planting.

Mulching: Black LDPE sheets of 25-micron thickness and bury both ends into the soil to a
depth of 10 cm.

Plant Protection (PEST & DISEASES)


Fruit borer: Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera litura (common for both) Grow simultaneously 40 days old American tall marigold and 25 days old tomato seedlings @ 1:16 rows.

i. Set up pheromone traps @ 12/ha.

ii. Collection and destruction of damaged fruits and grown-up caterpillars.

iii. Spray endosulfan 35 EC 2 ml/lit or carbaryl 50 WP 2 g/lit or Bacillus thuringiensis 2g/lit or quinalphos 2.5 ml/lit.

iv. Release Trichogramma chilonis @ 50000/ha release coinciding with flowering time and
based on ETL.

For Helicoverpa armigera: H.a.NPV 1.5 x 1012 POBs/ha

For Spodoptera litura: S.l. NPV 1.5 x 1012 POBs/ha

Provide poison bait with carbaryl 1.25 kg, rice bran 12.5 kg, jaggery 1.25 kg and water 7.5 lit.

Serpentine leaf miner: Spray Neem Seed Kernel Extract 50 g/lit.

1. Install yellow sticky traps to attract the adult.

2. Spray dichlorvos 76 WSC @ 1 ml/lit or triazophos 40 EC 2 ml/lit or fish oil rosin soap 25 g/lit. or dimethoate 2 ml/lit or methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/lit. Add wetting agent.

3. Remove alternate weed host Abutilon Indicum
Nematode: Application of Carbofuran 3 G at 10 g/sq.m at sowing and 1 kg a.i./ha in the main field one week after transplanting.

Treat the seeds with antagonistic fungi Trichoderma viride at 4 g/kg seed along with pressmud at 5 kg/m2 for nematode disease complex.


Damping off (nursery)

Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride 4 g/kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10 g /kg of seed 24 hours before sowing. Apply Pseudomonas fluorescens as soil application @ 2.5 kg/ha mixed with 50 kg of FYM.

The stagnation of water should be avoided. Drench with Copper oxychloride at 2.5 g/lit at 4 lit/sq.m.

Leaf spot: Spray Zineb or Mancozeb 2 g/lit.

Leaf curl: Spray systemic insecticides like Methyl demeton or Monocrotophos or Dimethoate
at 2 ml/lit. to kill the insect vector, whitefly.

Tomato spotted wilt virus: Carbofuran 3 G 1 kg a.i./ha in the nursery at sowing and second application at 1.25 kg a.i./ha 10 days after transplanting in the main field and 3 sprays of Endosulfan 35 EC 1.5 ml/lit @ 25, 40, 55 days after transplanting.

Harvest & Yield

PKM 1 : 30-35 t/ha
CO 3 : 40 t/ha
Paiyur 1 : 30 t/ha


Season: May – June, November – December

Seed Rate: 150 g/ha

Seed Treatment: Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride @ 4g/kg of seeds 24 hours before sowing and with Azospirillum @ 20 g/150 g just before sowing.

Nursery: Hybrid seedlings can be raised in portrays filled with composted coir pith (98 cells) with 1.25 kg composted coir pith.

Fill the portrays with composted coir pith and sow 1 seed per cell and water with a rose can.

Field preparation and planting: Thoroughly prepare the field with the addition of FYM @ 25 t/ ha and form ridges and furrows at a spacing of 60 cm.

Apply 2 kg (10 packets) of Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria 2 kg/ha by mixing with 20 kg of FYM.

Irrigate the furrows and transplant 25 days old seedlings, with the ball of earth, on the ridges adopting a spacing of 45cm between the plants.

Basal Dose: NPK 50:300:50 kg/ha

Top dressing: N and K each 150 kg/ha in 3 equal splits at 30, 45 and 60 days after

Irrigation: Irrigate the field on the third day of planting and subsequently at weekly intervals.

Weed control: Apply Pendimethalin 1.0 kg a.i./ha or fluchloralin 1 kg a.i/ha as pre-emergence herbicide followed by one-hand weeding 30 days after planting.

Mulching: Black LDPE sheets of 25-micron thickness and bury both ends into the soil to a depth of 10 cm.

After cultivation
a) Weeding and hoeing on the 30th day and earth up.

b) Stake the plants 30 days after planting with 1 – 1.5 m tall stakes.

c) Remove the side branches up to 20 cm from ground level.

d) Foliar spray of ZnSO4 0.5 per cent thrice at 10 days intervals from 40 days after planting.

Plant Protection

Apply carbofuran 3 G granules 7 days after transplanting to control sucking pests/vectors.

Spray methyl demeton or monocrotophos or dimethoate 1 ml/l against thrips and whitefly.

Spray endosulfan 2.5 ml/l or carbaryl 2.5 g/l to control fruit borer.

Spray Zineb or Mancozeb 2 g/l to control leaf spot diseases.

Harvest & Yield

Harvest: Harvest the fruits when they turn red.

Duration: 110 – 115 days from transplanting (135 – 140 days from sowing).

Yield: 80-90 t/ha

(This research was carried out directly at the Tamil Nadu University of Agriculture in India).