To study the nursery raising and transplanting of tomato
The seed rate depends upon the germination percentage of the seed. Normally 300-400 g and 100-150 g seeds for open-pollinated varieties and hybrids respectively are required for planting one hectare of land.
- Approximately 200m2 area will be sufficient for raising the seedlings to plant one hectare. Generally, nursery beds are prepared in the size of 7.5 m long, 1-1.2 m wide, and 10-15 cm high. Well, decomposed farmyard manure is properly mixed into the top soil of the bed at the rate of 3 kg/ m2. A fertilizer mixture of 0.5 kg NPK of 15:15:15 per bed is mixed in the soil at least 10 days before sowing the seeds.
- For raising healthy seedlings, seeds should be treated before sowing with captan or thiram @ 2g/kg of seed is essential. The seeds are sown in a bed either broadcasted or in a row, at a distance of 7.5 cm between the rows. After sowing, the beds are covered with a thin layer of dry grass or compost, thereafter the beds are irrigated with a rose can. Light watering is required daily in the evening. Every week, if required, a fungicide such as Mancozeb or Difolation 0.25% should be sprayed to reduce the post-emergence damping off. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting after 4 to 6 weeks of seed sowing.
- Now a day’s various kinds of plastic seedling trays (Pro-trays) are used for raising seedlings. These trays provide a congenial environment for the growth and development of seedlings.
Advantages of raising seedlings in pro-trays:
- Uniform, vigorous, and healthy planting materials can be raised for better growth, development, and yield.
- The economy of seed rate cuts down the cost of cultivation, particularly for hybrids.
- Favourable growing conditions can be provided through convenient protection against biotic and abiotic stresses.
- Efficient time management for preparation of the main field.
Preparation of field
The field is first ploughed with soil turning plough followed by 4-5 ploughings with a country plough or harrow. Leveling should be done after ploughing and bring the soil into fine tilth and also provide better drainage facilities. At the time of soil preparation, raising the planting bed above ground level facilitates drainage during the rainy season.
- Seedlings should be hardened before transplanting by withholding watering for 4-5 days so as to reduce the available moisture to 20 percent Hardening can also be achieved by adding 4000 ppm NaCl to the irrigation water or by a spray of 200 ppm cycocel+ZnSO4 (0.25%) + 25 mm proline at time of transplanting. The tomato seedlings are transplanted on flatbeds or on the side of ridges. In the initial stage, seedlings are transplanted at the side of the ridge, and later earthing up is done to keep the plant in the middle of the ridge.
- In tomatoes, plant spacing is decided on the basis of growth habits of the variety and purpose such as fresh marketing or processing. The closer the spacing, the higher the yield but this reduces fruit quality. There is especially a reduction in the size and more incidence of insect pests and diseases. Different spacings are followed such as 60cmx45cm, 75cmx60cm, and 75cmx75cm on flat and raised beds. In some areas, 100cmx60cm spacing is also followed. The plant population of 35,000/ ha is considered to be optimum for producing a fruit yield of 40 tonnes/ha.