Tomatoes, a red fruit that is often mistaken for a vegetable, are not easy to grow. The biggest problems arise when growing traditional varieties of this popular crop. What are the most common mistakes and how can they be avoided?
Water – the basis of life
One of the prerequisites for a successful harvest of these red fruits is a sufficient supply of water. Installing an irrigation system, for example, will help to ensure this. In the case of smaller crops, it is sufficient to anchor watering in the daily routine. The plant reacts very quickly to a lack of water. It usually shows its grower this problem by rolling up its leaves. If this ‘warning’ is not followed by watering, the leaves turn brown. This, unlike rolling, is irreversible.
The method of watering is also important. The plant itself should not get too wet during the watering process, otherwise there is a risk of mould forming.
Nutrients and soil
The amount of nutrients will also affect the yield of tomatoes. It is therefore necessary to fertilise regularly with a multi-component fertiliser containing micro-nutrients. A lack of these nutrients can result in growth defects, curled leaves or incorrect fruit formation. As a result of the weakening, the bush is more susceptible to diseases and pests.
The type of soil is also important. Tomatoes thrive best in fertile, humus-type soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
Heat and Light
When tomatoes are grown outdoors, temperature fluctuations are another problem for tomatoes. Excessive temperature fluctuations (e.g. between day and night in summer) can worsen the condition of the leaves, which are more likely to wilt under these conditions.
Light is another important factor. Tomatoes need light to grow, but it is also important to consider its intensity. Exposure to too much sunlight can burn the crop. Diffused light is best.
Diseases and pests
As already mentioned, plants weakened by lack of nutrients or water are most susceptible to disease or parasites. Despite careful attention to all the above points, disease can occur. Among the most common are various types of mould and rot. These can be prevented by using special products.
Pests, on the other hand, are rarely found on tomatoes. The most common ones are aphids, potato mandelina or potato thrips. They mainly attack the leaves, reducing the plant’s ability to produce fruit. They can be combated in various ways. Instead of using chemicals, it is best to use natural means, which are better for the plant itself and the surrounding environment.