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Tomatoes

Location for planting:- Water proximity should be as close as possible to the planting field to avoid added costs of pumping water. Although water tanks can be used and this is specifically suitable when using drip irrigation system.

The previous crop planted:- Tomatoes should not be planted immediately
after potatoes or pepper and a 3 month break should be observed. This is to minimize on risk of diseases and reduce costs on disease management.

Topology:- Gently sloping land is best as it facilitates drainage during rainy periods
especially for open air method.

Soil:- The soil should be deep well drained loam. The soil should be prepared well and loosened and broken down well. The optimal pH for tomatoes is around 6-7.5. Soil analysis can be done to determine this and help you come up with the list of required fertilizer to prepare the land. If the pH is low, lime can be used to raise it and if high, gypsum can be used to lower it.

Tomato Farming in Kenya – Fertilizer Application

phosphate fertilizer is applied at the base for root development and urea or CAN used for leaf development after transplanting. Urea is applied at 2-3 weeks or CAN after 5 weeks. At the start of flowering, top dress with NPK and this can be repeated after the first harvest. Remember that fertilization is done to compensate for soil deficiency.

Tomato Farming in Kenya – Watering

It is important to ensure that the plants get adequate water supply. Excessive watering is however not good for the plants as it may cause leaching of nutrients.

Tomato Farming in Kenya – Tomato Support

This is done by tying a plant vertically using a string and poles. Two poles are connected using a wire and
plants suspended using strings that are tied to it. This method increases productivity of tomatoes. The plants grow vertically having several fruit clusters along the stem. Support should be done early after transplanting when the plant is still young to avoid stem damage/breaking later on.

Diseases include:-

Tomato blight
it is a major fungal disease caused by phytophthora infestans. It is the most serious of the tomato diseases. Dry brown lesions on stems, leaves and fruits are some of the symptoms of attack by the crop. Fungal spores germinate when there is moisture in the leaves and fruits.

Bacterial wilt
Tomato plants that are attacked by this parasite will eventually wither and die when the weather conditions of a particular place. Certified seeds are used in the control of the pest.

Blossom end rot
Manifested in the roots where the blossom ends appear rotten and water –soaked plants. Regular watering ensures that the produce does well in places with plenty supply.

Tomato Farming in Kenya – Harvesting

The tomatoes should be ready for harvesting as from the 70th day onwards depending on the variety planted.