BY VINA MEDENILLA
Tomato or kamatis (Solanum lycopersicum) is a common plant grown by many home gardeners because it is easy to care for and fast-growing.
A tomato plant can grow up to three meters tall and matures within two to three months after transplanting.
Tomato is a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help prevent the risks of getting heart diseases and cancer.
Here are the steps when growing tomatoes from seeds:
Prepare the materials. To grow tomato plants, one will need vermicast, compost, carbonized rice hull (CRH), polybag, plastic container, and tomato seeds.
Sow and germinate the seeds. Submerge the seeds in clean water for 24 hours. Move them in a shallow dish the day after, then prepare the medium next. The soil media must have an equal amount of vermicast, CRH, and compost.
Add growing media in the polybag. Sow and water the newly planted seeds in it. Then place the plant in a shady spot.
Transplant. After 21 days, transfer the tomato seedlings to a bigger container. Harden off the seedlings by exposing them to the sun for three days. Do not water them in the late afternoon to prevent damping off, a disease that causes root rot.
Maintain. Two weeks after transplanting, apply complete fertilizer (14-14-14) or vermicast to the plant. Water the plant every after application.
Spray fermented plant juice (FPJ) and fish amino acid (FAA) once a week to keep the plants healthy and resistant to pests and diseases. Keep the growing area clean at all times and use homemade natural pesticides.
Use a trellis to support the tomato plant as it grows. Harvest the fruits once they’re ready.
For more information, contact the farmers’ contact center at 09209462474.
The procedure was demonstrated in AgriTalk’s 2 Easy Learning Video Series that presents instructional guides on organic fertilizers and pesticides, urban agriculture technologies, and the production of fast crops. The online series was held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Center (DA-ATI) and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Online.