- 1 Introduction | Tomato (Solanum Lucopersicum)
- 2 Tomato Growing Conditions
- 3 How to Grow Tomatoes from Seeds?
- 4 Pests and Diseases
- 5 Nutrient Deficiency in Tomatoes
- 6 How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings?
- 7 Tomato Growing Tips
- 8 Health Benefits
- 9 What are the side effects of eating tomatoes?
Introduction | Tomato (Solanum Lucopersicum)
Tomato species are originated in South and Central America. Different varieties of tomatoes (depending upon size, shape & color) are grown in different climatic conditions across the world. The plant typically grows to a height of 1-3 meters. It is used as an ingredient in many ways like dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It weighs approximately 100gms and has 22 calories in it. A single tomato contains 95% of water and 5% of carbohydrates and fiber. Tomatoes contain antioxidants like lycopene, beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, naringenin, flavonoids that help to cure eyesight, digestive problem and skin irritations.
Tomato Growing Conditions
Seed : Hybrid or Natural Variety
Soil : Moist and Well-drained Soil
Seed Germination : 5-10 days
Location : Sunny Site (8 hours per day)
Temperature : 70-80 F
Fertilizers : Organic Compost or Liquid Fertilizers
Plant Height : 3-5 feet
How to Grow Tomatoes from Seeds?
To grow tomatoes in your home start planting the seeds. Purchase tomato seeds from the store or online. Make sure you place the seeds in a pot or container. Use potting mix rich soil or vermicompost soil for better plant growth. If necessary add mulch or organic fertilizers to the soil and water regularly. Shift the pot to the sunny location i.e. 8 hours per day for high yielding. Tomato seeds germinate within 5-10 days and when the temperature is about 70-80 F. After 20-30 days plant matures and produces fruits after 40-50 days of planting them in the soil. Now the plant is ready to harvest and you can collect juicy, reddish tomatoes for cooking purposes.
Pests and Diseases
Pests like aphids, beetles, cutworms, fusarium wilt eat the plant leaves (spoils chlorophyll pigment) and damages the growth of tomato plants. Diseases like black spots and anthracnose are due to the nutrient deficiency in tomato plants.
Nutrient Deficiency in Tomatoes
Tomato plants fail to thrive despite soil, watering and fertilizing it can be due to nutrient deficiency. If deficiency symptom occurs, lack of nutrients like magnesium, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc may be doubted. Here is the list of deficiencies in tomato plants…
Nitrogen promotes green leafy growth in tomato plants and deficiency results in yellowing plant leaves. Organic methods of adding nitrogen to the soil include…
- Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil.
- Planting nitrogen-fixing plants like peas or beans.
Too much of nitrogen promotes lots of lush, delay flowering and restricts root growth. Properly diagnose nitrogen deficiency by supplying extra nitrates to tomato plants.
Magnesium in tomato plants captures the energy needed for photosynthesis process. It requires magnesium when they need the high amount of energy for better growth. To detect magnesium deficiency in tomatoes, leaves show the signs of white stripes along veins and to fix magnesium deficiency issues following procedures can be used.
- Spraying Epsom salt on tomato plant leaves will green up quickly.
- During flowering and fruiting give tomato plants an extra dose of magnesium to boost up.
Potassium is an essential plant nutrient and is required in large amount for flowering, fruiting, and reproduction of tomato plants. Curling leaf tips and leaf edges become yellow are the symptoms of potassium deficiency. To fix potassium deficiency, place citrus peels at the base of the tomato plant or add compost.
Calcium deficiency is a plant disorder that is caused by insufficient calcium levels in tomato plants. It is responsible for holding cell walls of tomato plants. Deficiency symptom includes leaf curling, buds and root tips. To overcome the deficiency in tomatoes, use eggshells rich in calcium, gypsum, and lime.
Due to the insufficient amount of chlorophyll, tomato plant leaves turn pale yellow that results in iron deficiency. It may be due to poor drainage, damaged roots, over fertilization and nutrient deficiencies in plants. To fix iron deficiency issues…
- Determine pH of the soil by lowering it to 7.0.
- Also, reduce the amount of phosphorus in the soil.
Zinc deficiency occurs when plant growth is limited because plants cannot take the essential micronutrients from its growing medium. Leaves show the signs of light bronzing, dwarf leaves and discoloration between large veins. To fix zinc deficiency, simply spray kelp extract or baking soda on tomato plant leaves.
How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings?
Starting tomato plants from cuttings is an excellent way to clone and gives the same result as that of the plant grown from seeds. This method saves your time and money. It takes 6-8 weeks to form seedlings when you start from seeds and cuttings method takes just 10-14 days.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut a branch from the plant. Select the branch for cuttings that has 2 sets of leaves and should be 6inch tall. Place tomato plant cuttings in a bottle or jar of water. Use separate jar for each variety of cuttings. Change water for every 2-3 days to prevent from algae and diseases. Root sprouts and will be light colored, extended downwards into the jar.
Place the cuttings in a well-drained fertile soil. Keep it in a warm shaded area to protect from direct sun. Keep the soil moist and water regularly. Leave it for a week as the cuttings are gradually exposed to sunlight. It grows well within 80 days and produces tomatoes that are ready to harvest.
Tomato Growing Tips
- Choose a bright sunny location to plant the tomato seeds or cuttings.
- Water the soil frequently and not on plant leaves as it hates getting too wet.
- Remove the non-fruiting branches of the tomato plant to ensure fast, better growth.
- Keep children and pets away from harmful tools, fertilizers and plants from spoiling.
- Use organic fertilizers such as compost, manure, eggshells and baking soda for fruiting and to encourage the plant growth.
- Follow instructions, warning labels on seeds when you purchase online or fertilizers before applying on plants.
- Wear safety goggles and shoes to prevent injuries while dealing with gardening tools and equipment for harvesting tomatoes.
Making tomatoes in your regular diet helps to cure…
- Eyesight: Tomatoes are the rich source of lycopene and lutein that protects eyes against light-induced damages like cataracts and AMD (age-related macular degeneration). For AMD diseased people high intake of lutein and zeaxanthin help to reduce 35% of neovascular AMD.
- Cancer: Consuming high amounts of tomato products (fiber and beta-carotene) lowers the chances of prostate and colorectal cancer.
- Skin irritations: Vitamin C is essential for the growth of hair, nails, skins and connective tissue. Its deficiency results in wrinkles, scurvy, blemishes that lead to the damage from sunlight and pollution.
- Heart problems: High intake of potassium and homocysteine in your dietary supplements helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps to reduce the formation of kidney stones and preserves bone mineral density.
- Blood pressure: To keep blood pressure normal maintain low sodium levels in your body. Increasing potassium in your body is responsible for its vasodilation effects.
- Digestive system: It maintains the healthy digestive system by preventing constipation and diarrhea. It also prevents jaundice and removes toxins from the body. The fiber in tomatoes stimulates peristaltic motion in digestive muscles and thereby improving overall digestive health.
What are the side effects of eating tomatoes?
Consuming tomato leaf and tomato fruit more than the required amounts is unsafe to eat (30mg of lycopene in tomatoes) as it results in nausea, diarrhea, bloating and indigestion problems.
Start growing your tomatoes from seeds or cuttings. If you have amazing ideas regarding growing tomato indoors, please share your experience with us.