Today we’re talking about an iconic crop. The tomato is probably the most widespread fruit in the world and also one of the most economically valuable. Its demand increases continuously and with it its cultivation, production and trade. The annual increase in production in recent years is mainly due to an increase in yield and, to a lesser extent, to an increase in cultivated area.
The history of tomato began in South America, in the coastal area of Peru, although other sources say that emerged in southern Mexico, with the Aztecs, around 700 BC.
The word tomato derives from the Nahuatl (language spoken by the Aztecs) word “tomatl” and, although many argue about it, it is a fruit. This vegetable traveled from Peru in 1519 to Spain across the Atlantic.
What are the most common types of tomato in the markets? Some of the main types of tomato (although there are many in world markets), are the following:
- Beef type. Vigorous plants up to the 6º-7º bouquet, from which it loses enough vigor coinciding with the fattening of the first bouquets. Fruits of great size and little consistency. Early and grouped production.
- Marmande type. Plants little vigorous that emit from 4 to 6 usable bouquets. The fruit is characterised by its good flavour and its ribbed, flattened and multilocular shape, which may vary depending on the growing season.
- Vemone type. Thin and narrow leaf plants, of indeterminate bearing and very dense plantation frame. G calibre fruit with a high degree of acidity and sugar, induced by the farmer when subjected to hydric stress. It is harvested in green, marking the shoulders well.
- Cocktail type. Very fine plants of indeterminate growth. Fruits weighing between 30 and 50 grams, round, very sensitive to cracking. There are also aperados fruits for consumption mainly fresh.
- Cherry type. Vigorous plants of indeterminate growth. Fruits of small size and thin skin with a tendency to crack, which are grouped in bunches of 15 to more than 50 fruits. Sweet and pleasant flavor. There are cultivars that present red and yellow fruits. The objective of this product is to have a production that completes the annual cycle with homogeneous quantities. In any case, a tomato resistant to virosis and cracking is pursued, as it is very sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.
- Ramillete type. Increasingly present in the markets, it is difficult to define which type of tomato is ideal for bouquets, although the following characteristics are generally sought: M calibre fruit, bright red colour, inserts in bouquets.
The tomato is a crop very sensitive to both the lack and excess moisture in the soil, so in greenhouses will have to resort to irrigation (usually by drip). In the open air, and given that tomatoes are normally grown during the driest times of the year, it is also essential to take care of the irrigation of the crop.
Do you know the needs and requirements of a good irrigation system for tomato cultivation?
In this article we are going to explain it in detail, but before we know a little more about the cultivation of this solanacea (Solanum lycopersicum).
Tomato cultivation: Some brushstrokes on the main edafoclimatic requirements.
The tomato is less demanding in temperature than the aubergine and the pepper. The optimum development temperature is between 20 and 30ºC during the day and between 1 and 17ºC during the night; temperatures above 30-35ºC affect its fructification.
The ripening of the fruit is very influenced by the temperature with regard to both precocity and colouring, so that values close to 10ºC as well as above 30ºC give rise to yellowish tones. However, the temperature values described are merely indicative, taking into account the interactions of temperature with the rest of the climatic parameters.
At the humidity level, the optimum value ranges between 60% and 80%. Very high relative humidity favours the development of aerial diseases, the cracking of the fruit and hinders fertilization, due to the fact that pollen is compacted by aborting part of the flowers. The cracking of the fruit can also have its origin in an excess of edaphic humidity or abundant irrigation after a period of hydric stress. Also a low relative humidity makes it difficult to fix the pollen to the stigma of the flower.
Tomato cultivation is not very demanding in terms of soils except for drainage, although it prefers loose soils with a silica clay texture and rich in organic matter. However, it develops perfectly in sandy clay soils. In terms of pH, soils can be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline when sandy.
Varieties grown under glass are more tolerant of salinity conditions of both soil and irrigation water.
What type of irrigation does tomato cultivation require?
Irrigation is a fundamental factor in tomato cultivation. The availability of water is important throughout the crop cycle, but especially when the plants are in the phase prior to the formation of fruits or on days of high heat. In indeterminate varieties – of staggered production – the needs will be more stable throughout the cycle as the flowering does not cease.
In the case of protected cultivation or in places where rainfall is scarce and it is foreseeable that the soil does not have the correct degree of humidity, a saturation irrigation must be carried out – all the water that can be retained is added to the soil – before transplanting the tomato seedlings to the soil. In greenhouses, it is calculated that water needs are one third compared to the same crop outdoors.
Did you know that in a greenhouse, water requirements are 60% lower compared to the same outdoor crop?
In the cultivation of tomato under greenhouse the supply of water and much of the nutrients is made generalized by drip irrigation.
In tomato cultivation, drip irrigation can save a lot of water and dose both the amount of water provided and the irrigation time. In addition, the soil is moistened more gradually without altering the structure of the soil.
Did you know that the estimated daily water consumption of an adult tomato plant is between 1.5 and 2 litres? (Although it depends on climatic conditions)
Gestiriego offers you an integral solution for irrigation in tomato cultivation. What can you have?
- Our irrigation belt CINDRIP and CINTAPE, the irrigation belt that guarantees great resistance and uniformity in seasonal outdoor crops, incorporates inside flat emitters of turbulent regime (CINDRIP) or turbulent labyrinth (CINTAPE) that guarantee complete homogeneity in their flows and great precision in the flow emitted.
- The pipe with INTERLINEA dripper of Gestiriego, for a culture protected free of obstructions and an excellent uniformity in its emission.
- Pipe with integrated dripper CEODRIP, a classic of our brand. The quality of this turbulent short dripper is guaranteed by 25 years of experience, free of obstructions, resistant and uniform. Ideal for protected tomato cultivation.
- Our new HYDROPONY KITS, whose compensated pressure flow guarantees a constant flow at different inlet pressures and the homogeneous distribution of water and nutrients. These units are designed for irrigation in greenhouses, nurseries, pots and/or containers.
In addition to our accessories for these irrigation options!
CURIOSITY | Carbon fertigation
It consists of the use of carbonated water to irrigate the tomato. The carbonated water is obtained by injecting CO2 under pressure into the main pipe in such a way that when dissolved in the irrigation water it produces carbonic acid that reduces the pH of the water and originates various bicarbonates when reacting with carbonates and other salts present in the water. The carbonated water then receives the usual fertilisers for irrigation, the solubility of which improves in slightly acidic water. In order to add CO2 to the irrigation system, it is necessary to take into account the pressure of the irrigation water line, the distance from the CO2 injection point to the first dropper, the water temperature, the CO2 diffusion system in the water and the amount of CO2 per litre of water.
The use of carbonated water is profitable in the cultivation of tomato; finding the optimum dose around 0.20 g of CO2 / l, it has been estimated that produces higher crop yields and also a larger average size of fruits.
Tomato crops, in the open air or under greenhouse?
In GESTIRIEGO we can help you and give you the necessary advice to install the most suitable irrigation system for your crop, but also help you convert or modernize your current irrigation system.
You can have a look to other articles of culture clicking here.