Topic 4 Tomato Cultivation

horticulture guruji

Tomato Cultivation

Vegetable Science

Tomato is cultivated all over the world. And tomato products like puree, sauces are also in great demand. Tomato is rich in vitamins, minerals and many acids. In India, a kitchen without tomatoes is considered incomplete, which is used in every vegetable and dish, tomatoes are also used in the treatment of many diseases. Tomato farming is explained in detail in this chapter.

  • Botanical Name : Lycopersicon esculentum Mill
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Chromosome Number: 2n = 24
  • Origin: Peru or Mexico

Important points

  • Tomato is the world’s number one processing vegetable
  • There is a lot of demand in the international market for puree and paste of tomatoes.
  • The red color of the tomato is due to Lycopene, it is highest at 21-240C temperature and starts to decrease sharply above 270C temperatures.
  • About 33% cultivated tomato varieties are hybrid which are much higher than other vegetables.
  • Pruning and training is done only in indeterminate varieties.
  • In Punjab, spring summer season crop taken due to more incidence of leaf cult virus in winter season.

Area and Production

Sr No. State 2016-17   2017-18  
    Area Production Area Production
1 Andhra Pradesh 49.79 4481.01 61.67 2744.32
2 Chhattisgarh 62.33 1082.34 63.29 1087.33
3 Gujarat 48.76 1411.85 46.61 1357.52
4 Karnataka 60.45 1916.86 64.25 2081.59
5 Madhya Pradesh 95.40 2719.57 84.53 2419.28
6 Maharashtra 50.71 1124.89 45.50 1086.56
7 Odisha 90.99 1311.21 91.01 1312.07
8 Rajasthan 20.37 90.52 18.12 88.73
9 Telangana 37.97 520.47 41.48 1171.50
10 West Bengal 57.35 1233.03 57.46 1265.25
  Other 222.58 4075.71 215.26 5145.18
  Total 796.86 20708.43 789.15 19759.32

Source: Horticulture Statistics Division, Department of Agriculture, Coopn & Farmers Welfare.

Economic Importance and Use

  • Tomato is a good source of income for small farmers. And many mineral and organic acids are present in it.
  • The total sugar content is 2.5 % in ripe fruit and amount of ascorbic acid varies from 16 to 65 mg/100 g of fruit weight. 100 g of edible portion of tomato contains 94.1 g of water, 1.0 g of protein, 0.3 g of fat, 4.0 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of fibre, vitamin A (1100 I.U), vitamin B (0.20 mg), vitamin C(23 mg), malic acid (150 mg), citric acid (390 mg), oxalic acid (3.5 mg), potassium (268 mg), and phosphorus (27 mg )
  • Many products from tomatoes such as chutney, puree, sauce, syrup, ketchup are prepared, sometimes it also termed as ‘Poor Man’s orange’,.
  • Tomatoes also used as medicines such as constipation, indigestion asthma and blood cleansing.
  • The red colour of tomato is caused by lycopine and yellow  of tomato due to carotene.


There are two types of tomato varieties according to Growth

  1. Determinate type:

Almost every internode has inflorescence until the terminals are formed and the growth stops at this point, in other words, it can be defined as self-topping and the main stem ends with a flower cluster.

2. Indeterminate type:

Inflorescence cluster occurs on every third internode and the main axis grows indefinitely.

Important varieties/hybrids

(A) Introduction

Roma, Suiox, Best of All, Tip Top, Labonita, Marvel, Money Maker, Ageti etc.

(B) Selection

Improved Meeruti, Sonali, Pant Bahar, Arka Vikas, Arka Saurabh etc.

(C) Hybrid

  1. Pusa Early dwarf: Improved Meeruti X Red Cloud
  2. Pusa Ruby: Sioux X Improved Meeruti
  3. Pusa Gaurav: Glamour X Watch
  4. Marglobe: Marvel X Globe

Other Hybrids

Pusa Red Plum Sweet 72 Pusa Sheetal
Hissar Lalima Hissar Lalit Hissar Arun
Punjab Chhuhara Pusa Uphar Arka Vishal
Arka Vishal Arka Vardan Arka Abhijit
Rajeshree Pusa Divya (Developed using Male Sterile line)

Private Sector Hybrid: Naveen, Avinash, Meenakshi, Manisha, Krishna

Varieties developed by Private organisation

MAHYCO Seeds: MTH 4, Sadabahar, Gulmohar.

Novartis: Avinash 2. Yields 75 t/ha;

Bejo Sheetal pvt. Ltd- Meenakshi, Talstoi.

(D) Mutant: S-12, Maruthan, PKM-1, Pusa Lal Meeruti

(E) Indeterminate type:

Pusa Ruby Arka Saurabh Arka Vikas
Pant Bahar Best of All Sioux
Pusa Divya Pusa Uphar Narendra Tomato

  • Pusa Sheetal: low temperature region
  • Pusa H -1: For high temperature region
  • Pusa Sadabahar: Suitable of low and high temperature
  • Hissar Arun: Extreme Early variety
  • Flavr-savr: developed using biotechnology
  • Arka Vikas: Suitable for drought condition
  • Leaf curl resistant varieties: Hissar Gourav, Hissar Anmol
  • Pusa Rohini: Recently released variety
  • Sel- 120: Ist rootknot resistant variety

Varieties for different purposes:

Varieties for local market: Pusa Early, Dwarf, Pusa Ruby, Pusa 120, Pant T-3, Arka Vikas, Arka Saurabh, CO-3, Punjab Kesari, Pant Bahar

Varieties for distant markets : Pusa Gaurav, Roma, Punjab Chhuhara, Pusa Uphar.

Varieties suitable for processing : Pusa Gaurav, Rousa, Punjab Chhuhara, Pusa Uphar, Arka Saurabh.

Varieties resistant to abiotic stresses: Pusa Sheetal-low temperature; Pusa hybrid 1-High temperature; Pusa Sadabahar- high and low temperature regime.


It is a hot weather crop. It cannot tolerate frost and the soil should be good drainage. The temperature remains 20-240C appropriate, means temperature below 160C and above 270C is undesirable. Lycopene pigment producing more at 21-240C and, drops rapidly at 270C.


Tomatoes can be grown in a variety of soils, but good drainage soils get a very good yield, which is rich in organic substances with proper water holding capacity. For the early crop, sandy lome soils are best, however, heavy soils rich in organic substances are preferred for higher yield. The best soil pH is 6-7.

Sowing time

  • In the plains, seeds are sown thrice during the year.

1) For the rainy-autumn crop: seeds are sown in the months of June and July.

2) For autumn-winter crop: Seeds are sown in the month of September-October.

3) For the spring-summer crop: Seeds are sown in the month of January-February.

  • Sowing seeds in the hills depends on the height of the place. On the lower hills, seeds are sown in February-April while on high hills in the months of March and April.

Seed rate

The seed rate depends on the germination percenage of the seed. 300-400 g of indigenous varieties and 100-150 g of hybrid varieties are sufficient for sowing of one hec. To produce healthy seedlings, the seeds should be treated before sowing with captan or thiram @ 2g/1kg .

Nursery Raising

About 200 m2 area will be sufficient for growing one hectare land. Usually nursery beds are prepared in the size of 7.5 m long, 1-1.2 m width and 10-15 cm height. The well-decomposed farm manure is @ 3 kg/m2 should be mixed in top of the soil of bed. A fertilizer mixture of 0.5 kg (NPK 15:15:15 ) per bed per fleet is added to the soil at least 10 days before sowing the seeds.

The seed are broadcasted or sown in a row, keeping a distance of 7.5 cm between the rows. After sowing, the bed is covered with a thin layer of manure, followed by irrigated to the bed. Light irrigation is required daily in the evening. Every week, if necessary, a fungicide such as mancozeb or Difolation should be sprayed 0.25% to reduce damping off. After 4 to 6 weeks of planting, the plant is ready for planting.

Today, a variety of plastic sprout trays (pro-trays) are used to grow seedlings. These trays provide a conducive environment for plant development.

Benefits of growing seedlings in pro-trays:

1. Uniform, vigorous and healthy seedlings can be raised for better growth and yield.

2. The cost of cultivation can be reduced by cutting the seed rate.

3. The plant can be provided with favorable conditions through convenient protection against biotic and abiotic.

4. Efficient time management for preparation of main field.

Preparation of Field

The field is ploughed with the first soil turning plough and then ploughing 4-5 from the country plough or harrow. After ploughing, leveling should be done and the soil should be finely made and better drainage facility should also be provided. At the time of preparation of soil, raising the planting bed from the ground level facilitates drainage during rainy season.


The plant should be harden with stop watering for 4-5 days before transplanting so that the moisture available in the plant is reduced by 20%. Hardening can also be used by mixing 4000 ppm NaCl in irrigation water at the time of transplanting or 200 ppm cyclocell + ZnSO4 (0.25%) + 25 mm prolin spray. Tomato plants can be transplanted on flat beds or on the edges of ridges. At an early stage, the transplanting is implanted on the edge of the ridge and later the soil is earthing up with the plant to place in the middle of the ridge.

In tomatoes, spacing is kept on the basis of  growth habit of the variety and use, The closer the spacing, the higher is the yield but this reduces fruit quality. In particular, there is a decrease in size and greater possibilities of pests and diseases. Tomatoes are kept with different spacing such as 60cmx45cm, 75cmx60cm and 75cmx75cm in flat and raised beds. In some areas the 100cmx60cm distance is also kept at this spacing about 35,000plant/hac are planted which is quit best in terms of yield and quailty. 

Manure and fertilizers

The amount of fertilizers in the field depends on a number of factors such as variety, soil and climate, irrigation and weather. The crop grown in the summer or spring will require more nitrogen than the winter season crop. Early mature varieties will need less nitrogen than in the long term. Maintains adequate supply of nitrogen, increase fruit size, fruit quality, colour and taste. Excess nitrogen also increases acidity. High levels of phosphorus throughout the root zone are essential for rapid root development and better utilization of water and other nutrients. Growth, yield and quality require a sufficient amount of potassium.

The recommended dose of fertilizers for different states is given below:

S. No. States  Nitrogen (kg/ha) Phosphorous (kg/ha) Potassium (kg/ha) FYM (t/ha)
1 New Delhi 60 60 0 25
2 Coimbatore 100 80 50 25
3 Bangalore 115 104 64 25

Well rotten 40 tones of FYM and Half the dose of nitrogen and the entire dose of phosphorus and potassium should be given in the form of basal dose, while half of the nitrogen dose should be given as top dressing after 25-30 days of planting. The application of Zn, Cu and B significantly increases the yield and quality, the number of fruits. The use of 20-30 kg of borax and 0.5% Zn is beneficial for fruit yields and good quality.


Tomato plants require sufficient moisture during their growth period. The first irrigation is required immediately after planting. A large amount of water has been found to be harmful at the time of planting and before the set of fruits. Irrigate crops to keep the soil wet at intervals of 3-4 days during summer and at intervals of 10-15 days during winter. During winters, plants are not irrigated at the time of ripening of fruits.

Sudden heavy irrigation can lead to bursting or cracking of fruits after a long period of drought. furrow irrigation method is most used for irrigation of tomato crop in India. Irrigation of tomato crop from Drip Irrigation increases the yield by 50 per cent and saves water up to 30 per cent. Nowadays sprinkler irrigation is also becoming popular which is found to be more economical.

Weed control

For weed control, hand weeding should be done in the first and third fortnight after planting with earthing up operation. Application of pre emergence herbicides such as metribuzin is 0.35 kg/hac. , Fluchlorine 1.25 kg/hec are use to control weeds and significantly increase the yield. Now a days the use of pendimethalin @1.0kg/ha as pre emergence application at three days after transplanting was found very effective in suppressing the weeds.


In indeterminate varieties sport the plant with wooden sticks/ bamboo sticks. Supporting with polyethylene threads improves yield and quality. Staking not only increases yields and improves its quality but also reduces infection by fungal diseases

Use of growth regulators and chemicals

The use of plant growth regulators in tomatoes has been found to be beneficial for increasing yields, quality, low and high temperatures resistance and fruit setting and TLCV (tomato leaf curl virus) resistance. Growth regulators activate root growth, increase fruit setting and yield. They also affect physical maturity and better quality of fruits.

Table – Various growth regulator substances recommended for various purpose are summarized 

Chemicals Common name Doses (mg/litre) Effective
2,Chloroethyl phosponic acid Ethephon 200-500 whole plant spray Flowering induction, better rooting and setting of plants
2,Chloroethyl trimethyl ammonium chloride cycocel 500-100 Flower bud stimulates and enhances pigment  fruit setting 
2,4 Dichlorophenoxy acetic acid 2,4-D 2-5 seed treat whole plant spray Earlyness, more fruit setting, parthenocarpy 
3 Indole butyric acid IBA 50-100 Increase fruit setting
3 Indole acetic acid IAA Foliage spray Increase fruit size and yield
Naphalene acetic acid NAA Spray oil more fruit setting and  increase yield 
Parachlorophenoxy acetic acid PCPA 50 foliar spray More fruit setting in adverse weather
6-4Hydroxy methyl 8 methyl gibberlin GA 50-100 foliar spray Increase shoot growth and increase fruit yield


Mulching is used to increase or decrease the temperature and prevent the growth of weeds and preserve soil moisture. Organic mulch such as straw in the summer season can reduce soil temperature, however, plastics are used to increase soil temperature in the winter season, therefore, it increase the  growth, flowering, fruit setting and quality of tomatoes.


Indeterminate tomato varieties are pruned and trained. Pruning improves the unwanted growth of plants, fruit size and other properties. Pruning break apical dominance, eliminates the crown set and enhances the plant vigour or growth. Total yield and quality are also enhanced from the Training. Plants are trained with wires and bamboo sticks.


In indeterminate varieties usually harvesting starts 70-100 days after transplanting, while determinate is harvested about 70 days after planting depending on climatic conditions. Fruits are harvest on the basis of  used.

Green stage:

A fortnight before the whole red, the fruit is harvested. At that time the fruit completes its growth but still green and the fruits will develop normal colour after ripening. At this stage, fruits are used to export to a distant market.

Pink stage:

At this stage, the lower area of the fruit appears to have a lighter red colour and . At this stage, fruits are harvested for the local market.

Ripe stage:

At this stage, the fruits take full red colour but are still hard and are used to eat at home.

Full ripe stage:

At this stage, the fruit takes full red colour and starts to soften, the fruit of this stage is suitable for processing industries.

Fruits are usually harvested at intervals of 4-5 days in the summer while in winter the fruits are harvested weekly intervals.


The yield varies greatly according to varieties or weather. At an average yield of open pollinated varieties, 20-25 tons/hac. Under normal conditions, hybrid varieties yield 50 tonnes/hac.  or more.

Pest Management

  1. Tomato Fruit worm(Heliothis armigera):- After hatching from the egg, larvae feed on leafs and other vegetative parts of the plants. Finally larvae reaches to the fruit and pierces them . This insect is damaged from October to March


  • The affected fruits should be colected and destroyed.
  • Spray Sevin at intervals of 5-7 days.
  • Baccillus thuringiensis can be used.

2. Jassid (Amrasca biguttula): Jassid sac the sap from tender plant parts and damaged.


  • For the prevention of this pest should spray with 0.02% parathion

3. Tobacco catterpiller (Spodopterra littoralis): This insect damage the tender plant part and fruits by eating at night time.


  • Spray the solution in Nuvan 1 ml per 2 litre of water or Endosulfan 0.05% is also effective.

Diseases Management

  1. Damping off (Pythium spp. OrRhizoctonia spp. Or Phytopthora spp.): This disease more common in the nursery.  Where the stem of the plant is thawed from the collor area and the plant falls into the beds and dies.


  • The soil of the nursery should be  sterilized with formalin or a copper fungicides before sowing.
  • Before sowing  seeds should be treated with Sereson or Agrosan.

2. Fusarium Wilt: First, the lower leaves of the plant turn yellow and later the plant withers and eventually dies.


  • Crop rotation should be adopted.
  • Diseases resistant varieties should be grown.

3. Early Blight (Alternaria solani): affected plant show brown spots on leaves and immature fruits. In severe case fruit drops and whole plant dries up.


  • Seed Treated with Ceresan or copper fungicides before sowing.
  • Spray with Bordeaux Mixture.

4. Late Blight (Phytopthora infestans): Dark water-soaked patches appear on leaves and stem. Fruits also affected. Rains during February- March increase infection of the disease and destroy crop.


  • Spray Diathane Z-78
  • Or use copper fungicide.

Virus Diseases

  1. Leaf Curl: This disease transmitted by white fly (Bemesia tabaci). Leaves of the plant start curling and small in size. Plant growth is stop and plant remain unfruitful.


  • Spray insecticide like Parathion, Thimet or Rogor at early stage to prevent vector.
  1. Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum): lower leaves drops and plant start wilting. The vascular system become blackish brown.


  • Resistant variety should be used.
  • Seeds treated with hot water 500c for 25 minutes

Physiological Disorder

Blossom end rot

A brown water socked spot are formed at blossom end of the fruit, in other words, it can be say that the tip of the fruit start withering. Where the senescent petals are attached while the fruit is still green. The spots are increase in size and darken and the affected part of the fruit becomes sunken, leathery and dark coloured.

This disorder is caused by the following reasons:

  1. A sudden change in the rate of transpiration, especially moisture stress conditations.
  2. Having a continuous high evaporation rate and a large leaf area
  3. Due to excess nitrogen in fruits.


1) This disorder is reduced by increasing the frequency of irrigation

2) Use recommended fertilizer doses. An increase in phosphate fertilizer levels reduces the incidence of this disorder.

3) Liming decrease this disorder.

4) Single foliar spray of 0.5% calcium chloride (CaCl2) at the time of fruit growth also beneficial.

Fruit cracking

There are commonly two types of fruit cracking radial and Concentric. Radial cracking generally seen in full mature fruits while concentric in mature green fruits. Radial cracking is more common and causes greater economical loss than concentric cracking. In radial where surface of the mostly full ripe fruits cracks radially from the stem end of the fruit  or in other words in radial cracking fruit crack top pedicel to down tip direction and concentric cracking, where surface of mostly mature green fruits in diameter of round fruits or cracks concentrically around the shoulder of the fruit. 

  1. Sudden irrigation or rain after a long dry spell.
  2. Due to more pruning, the fruits are exposed to direct sunlight.
  3. Boron deficiency.
  4. Genetic factor which is to be inherited polygenically.


1) Irrigate the crop at regular intervals.

2) Pruning and supporting/staking should not be done during the summer season.

3) Fruits should be harvested before they are fully ripe.

4) 0.3 -0.4% borax should be sprayed over the plant before planting. Then spray again at the time of the flowering and at the time of ripening.

5) Resistant variety should be grow, such as Sioux, Roma, Punjab Chuhara, Punjab Kesari, Pant Bahar, Pusa Ruby, Arka Saurabh etc.

Sun scald

Due to the direct sun heat on the surface of fruit, become a water-like spot or the fruit is scorched. The affected area becomes white or grey in green fruit and yellow in red fruits and sunken inside. Sun scalding may cause inhibition of fruits softening, production of tough tissues and differential fruit ripening. This problem is common in plants that have less foliage.


1) Plants should be protected from defoliation due to insect pest and diseases.

2) In summer season plant should not prune.


The outer wall of grown fruits (two-thirds normal size) continues to develop normally, but the growth of the remaining internal tissues (placenta, mesocarp) is less, resulting in a partially filled fruit, which is lacks firm and lighter in weight. The cross section of the affected fruit shows emptiness. This disorder is due to:

i) Non-fertilization of the ovules

ii) Abortion of embryo after normal fertilization

iii) Necrosis of vascular and placental tissue after normal growth of fruit

iv) High temperatures and high soil moisture are the factors responsible for this disorder.

v) Boron deficiency


1) Avoid over irrigation.

2) Judicious application of nitrogen fertilzers

3) 0.3-0.4% borax solution should be sprayed

Cat face

The deformation of the end of the blossom of the fruit raise various ridges, furrow and indentation in a local area of the fruit. The catface has been named due to these ridges and furrows. Abnormal conditions during blossom period cause death of ovary cells by the end of fruit setting which turn dark to form a leathery blotch at the end of the fruit. 


Especially in night temperatures have a profound effect on the fruit setting of tomatoes. High day temperature (above 320C) and high night temperature (above 200C) is not favorable to fruit set. Low temperature also causes unfruitfulness if it is below 130C. Both high and low temperature affects fruit set mainly by reducing pollen viability and pollen germination on stigma. In winter due to low temperature North Indian areas less fruit setting in tomato. Whereas, in eastern India where in summer temperature remains above critical limit that is also a problem in fruit setting.


1) Varieties that bear at high temperatures should be grown such as HS-102, Punjab Kesar, Punjab Chuhara, Hot set etc.

2) Low temperature tolerance varieties should be grown such as Pusa Sheetal, Cold set, Ostenkinskiz etc.

3) PCPA 50 ppm or 2,4D, 1-2 ppm spraying also remains effective

Gold fleck

In the fruit surface around the calyx and fruit shoulders, small yellow to golden coloured spots or rashes are often visible, called gold flux. These yellow spots occur due to the accumulation of calcium oxalet. From this, fruits become less attractive and their lives are also reduced or stored for a short time. Gold flake occurs for the following reasons:

i) Higher application of phosphatic fertilizers

ii) Higher application of calcium fertilizers

iii) Increase the amount of magnesium in fruits

iv) Summer shade reduces this disorder


It occurs as a shock reaction to infection with TMV (Tobacco mosaic virus), but only those fruits which are developing at the time of infection. 


  • Grow varieties resistant to TMV.

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