TOMATOES – VALUE AND TIPS FOR A HEALTHY HARVEST

The rise of the coronavirus as the most frightening public health challenge over the past few months has brought undue hardships to a significant percentage of the population in Nigeria. How so?

Therefore, it’s only fair that we evaluate and weigh the implications of public health intervention against the present task of combating hunger.

Aside from the fact that oil is the base of the Nigerian economy, agriculture provides the main source of livelihood for most Nigerians. While we are still combating this pandemic, what if you want to go into tomatoes farming? Do you have any idea how to start? The market and other related questions? Well, sit back and don’t stop reading as we go into details.

Tomatoes – Marketable or Not?

The vegetable is not only popular in Nigeria but all over the world. If you don’t believe in the importance of tomato farming, the recent tomato scarcity will clear that. Numerous nutrition and health benefits of tomatoes include; source of vitamin C and E, a very good source of antioxidant agents, and also enhances healthy eyes. 

However, tomatoes are always in high demand in Nigeria. Statistics have shown that Nigerians consume over 1.5 million tons of fresh tomatoes in the form of tomato paste. Tomato farming is easy to start and is potentially a 100 billion Naira worth marketable.

Varieties of Tomatoes

There are several varieties of tomatoes that I will be explaining for better understanding. Read on…

First, we have the Cherry tomatoes, such as pear drops, sun gold, and Napa Grape. This variety of tomato has the quintessential sweet-tart flavor and is great for salads and snacking. The fruit is small and they are usually the first to mature.

Next, we have the Sauce tomatoes, such as big mama, Amish Paste, and Roma.

Now, this variety comes with a richer flavor and much lower water content. They are the best for spaghetti sauce. However, Roma is most popular in Nigerian markets. With its unique hardback, low water content, and long shelf life. As of now, a paint rubber of the see cost about 4,500 to 6,500.

Last on my list is Beefsteak tomatoes, such as Brandywine, Cherokee, and Mortgage Lifter. This variety comes with big fruits and has the greatest range of flavor and form. These varieties can be eaten like an apple and it is commonly sliced for sandwiches.

Tips for Farming Tomatoes

Going into tomato farming is lucrative and easy to start. As with any farming, there are different material parts for success in your tomato farming. Your success depends on these four material parts.

1.    Choose a marketable kind

2.    Preparing planting beds

3.    Soil management, fertilization, and land tillage

4.    Care – protecting your crops from pest diseases.

Tips for your Tomato Garden Care

These are some awesome tomato farming tips for your garden.

•    When tomatoes get more sun, they bring out more fruit

•    For best results, you should intercrop with carrots, onions, ginger, and basil.

•    You can also remove the suckers using fingers or just pruning snips to do it.

•    When the fruits begin developing, water deeply and daily.

•    Cultivate the use of fertilizer appropriately.

Tips for Preventing Tomato Pests

It’s good to place tomatoes closes, but when it gets too close it will increase the possibility of diseases spreading.

•     Yes, rats are the common animals to destroy a good harvest. Find a way to control or completely eradicate them from your tomato farm.

•    One very efficient way to prevent pests is to rotate crops on the same land.

•    In all these measures, maintaining healthy soil, free of impurities is highly necessary for healthy crops.

•    Finally, always apply a layer of mulch to help the soil take care of the temperature and humidity level. This will help in favoring the soil’s fertility.

Tips for Farming the Best Tomatoes Ever

Are you going professional with tomato farming? Here are some professional tips for you.

•    Want to get good profits, start with varieties that resist diseases.

•    For a strong plant, more roots should be ensured.

•    Understand that the seedlings won’t surprisingly begin to arise. Be sure that the soil and air temperature persist heat continuously.

•    Use black plastics to ensure that the air and soil remain warm.

•    Ensure to use straw mulch. 

•    Remember that tomato hornworm eats the leaves, flowers, and fruits. However, there is no easy solution to it. You only have to handpick them from your plants.

•    Ensure, you always use a PH meter to measure and ensure the level of nitrogen and potassium. This is the most essential feed for a good harvest.

Harvesting Tips

Are you ready to harvest your crops? Follow these tips to ensure you harvest properly.

•    Harvest your tomatoes when they are red and ripe.

•    To harvest properly, hold them with your hand and simply twist until they come off. Harvest tomatoes without having to damage the stems.

•    However, for commercial farming, fill the pot with a mixture of earthworm hums and coconut fiber. This is for preservation.

Final thought

Tomatoes are vegetables we do not miss in our diet. It is highly nutritional and marketable. It is very wise to prepare your marketing well ahead of harvesting. Why so? Tomatoes is highly perishable except of course you have built a storage system.

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