Tomato farming is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria. Tomato is the most eaten vegetables in Nigeria. It is used for making several kind of meals including soups, salads, ketchup etc. It is rich in Nutrients and helps to boost the body immunity against infections.
Tomatoes are versatile. You can cook anything and decide to add tomatoes. Even some people go as far as eating raw tomatoes because of its body and health benefits.
The population of Nigeria is close to 200 million and each person has eaten tomato at least once in their lifetime. I don’t know how to explain this but tomatoes are one of the most profitable crops to grow in Nigeria.
Just like most vegetables, tomatoes are easy to grow and require less expertise than many other crops. This was proven in such a way that some people even have tomato farm their backyard. Although that is for subsistence purposes alone, commercial farming is what we want to delve into in this article.
In this article, our main focus is how to plant tomatoes on a commercial level. There are enough tips in this article To help backyard farmers to gain more knowledge about this vegetable crop.
Requirement for setting up tomato farming business
- Purchase the best variety of viable tomato seeds from any good source.
- A land rich in organic and humus content
- Prepare a nursery for sprouting the seeds on when planting begins
- Make sure you have time to practice the primary agronomy on your farm.
- Prepare a suitable nursery for your tomato
The first step to starting a commercial tomato farming is to get a nursery ready. You see, you might plant tomatoes at the back of your house without starting a nursery. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a nursery on a commercial basis. Apart from the fact that it’s risky, your tomato will be healthier and grow easily.
You can start your nursery from the normal beds or try this using pots or containers and then storing it indoors. At this point the tomato needs a blink of sunlight to germinate and sprout a little bit before thinking of transplanting.
It is even better to put York nursery under a roof. Tomatoes need a 60 o F, and preferably 80 o F and this is what you will find indoors. After germination has begun, you can now choose to move it out again. If you can maintain this temperature level, then it should start germinating within a week.
Now, to the alternative which is the pot. You can just make use of small pots, there is no big deal in big containers. Now, mix moss, sand and perlite of equal quantity and make sure and pour them in the pots. Also, you can make use of a treated mix which you can buy from tomato experts.
After pouring the mix in the container, the next step is to sprinkle seeds on the mix and add a little amount of mix once again on it. This will help to hold the seeds together. After which you can now water it for the mix and seeds to become even. But do not add too much water to it.
A guide on how to start Tomato Farming
The next step is to start transplanting your tomato after the leaves have started sprouting and the proper root germinating is to transplant to an outer farm land.
However, there are some factors that determine whether your tomato will later survive outside. It is difficult to take this chance but you have to. Moreover, there are ways to easily solve this issue about tomatoes who are hardening tomato seedlings or preparing your lands adequately.
Land preparation is almost the same thing everywhere and I have given you an insight of how a suitable tomato site should look like. Note that the area should be exposed to 6 hours of direct sunlight everyday. Also, the land should be made of a good topography in order to prevent water logging.
Whereas the other method is hardening your tomatoes. Hardening tomatoes is a process of exposing the tomato seedlings to the outdoor factors in bits until they have adapted to the factors very well. Normally, this takes place within 10 days and it is very easy to carry out.
This hardening off process requires you to bring the tomato out for a few hours today, then return them back indoors. After which you have to continue doing this day by day and adding a sequence of time to each proceeding hour of the immediate day. After about a week, leave your seedlings out overnight and see if they can adapt to the weather. All the same you shouldn’t leave them in the harsh weather without providing at least a Colton to cover them and keep them from adverse conditions. However, direct 6 hours sunlight is key.
Post planting operations
After planting and transplanting, the next step is caring for your crop. You need to care for them as much as you would for a new born baby.
Firstly, remove any unwanted plants on the tomato field. These weeds will hinder growth but you might not know about it. Also, keep pests and diseases out of the farm.
Finally apply fertilizer or organic manure to enhance the fertility of the soil.
After 3 month if planting, your normal tomato color will easily tell you that it is ripe enough. However, you might not be able to ripen them all because these are easily perishable products. If you can not sell at once just leave it and then corn back the following week to harvest more.