Latin Name: Lycopersicon esculentum
Item #: 366E
TOMATO - GREENHOUSE
250 plants per 1000 sq ft./93 m
CULTURE: Spring Crop - usually sown about the first week of Jan. or about 10 weeks before transplanting. Growth is very slow during the winter months, due to the lack of light.
SPACING: We have found our best results at 4 sq. ft. Per plant (plants 16 in./41 cm apart, rows 2 1/2 ft./76 cm. apart) or roughly 250 plants per 1000 sq. ft./93 sq. m. One oz./28 g of seed should provide about 3000 transplants.
TRANSPLANTING: Most growers try to have this completed by March 15th or April 1t. At the latest. Some growers prefer to transplant into 9 or 10 in./23 cm containers (10 in,.25 cm deep) which are set about 8 1/2 in./22 cm into the greenhouse floor. This keeps the root crown slightly above ground level - where it is a bit warmer and makes "trickle" feeding or watering easier.
GREENHOUSE TEMPERATURE: Never let the ground temperature dip below 65?F/18?C night or day. Plants will not set fruit properly, and those that manage to set will provide poor quality fruit. Keep day temp. at 70 - 75°F/23°C (78°F/26°C maximum) and night temperatures about 67°F/23°C for maximum results. Some growers prefer a wider difference in day-night temperatures, so that plants rest and experience no growth during night periods. This may provide more uniform growth.
FERTILIZER: Soil temperatures should be taken before transplanting to determine fertilizer rates - but under normal conditions 8 - 10 lbs./4.5 kg per 1000 sw. Ft./93 sq. m or 10-52-70 for the first two weeks after transplanting is a good choice. Then start the third week with 20-20-20 feedings at the same rate. Some growers prefer to apply "triple twenty" in diluted solution at every watering in order to keep the plants growing at all times - even if they look healthy - keep feeding them. Larger plants will succumb to diseases at a slower rate.
SPRAYS: Good housekeeping means less chance of Race Two tobacco mosaic, etc. infecting your crop. Keep diseased fruit and leaves removed from the house. Sterilize with steam or gas before transplanting.
POLLINATION: Since this is a greenhouse crop and tomatoes require wind to shake the blossom clusters in order to transfer the pollen grains from the anther to the stigma - each flower cluster must be vibrated artificially to produce fruit. Smaller growers with a few hundred plants use an electric toothbrush. Larger ranges use a motor driven back-pack sprayer to create artificial wind pollination. Pollen transfer during early morning periods or dark cloudy days is very poor. Best results are obtained between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (lunch time) during sunny periods. After school is out - 4:00 p.m. is not a good time to pollinate. You most pollinate every day during the blossom period - or you will loose the 4th and 5th sets. Make sure your greenhouse is nice and warm (75 - 80°F/24 - 26°C) during the pollination period.
YIELDS: A good grower who keeps it warm, fertilizes, pollinates and sprays properly should expect 7 - 10 lbs/4 kg per plant, depending on the spacing and light available during the growing season (hydroponically grown crops about 20 lbs./9 kg per plant.).
FALL CROP: crops will grow faster during this period - about 7 weeks from transplanting to the first pick. Sow seed between June 1st to June 15th.
TRANSPLANT: Same spacing as winter crop (see above). Transplant between July 6th to 15th, but no later than Aug. 5th