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Information about Tomatoes

Published on December 11, 2007

Author: Pravez


Every Thing You Ever Wanted to Know About Tomatoes:  Every Thing You Ever Wanted to Know About Tomatoes Kevin Schoessow Ag Development Agent Burnett, Sawyer, and Washburn Co. Slide2:  Because of its food value, many uses, and ease of culture, the tomato is probably the most widely grown vegetable by the home gardener. Solanaceae:  Solanaceae Tomato (Meso american) Pepper (Meso american) Eggplant (Asian) Potato (Andean) Tobacco (Meso american) Petunia Nightsade: eastern &bitter black Family includes Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum:  “It is an unwholesome meat, engendering in the bodie many evill humors.” Doddoneasus 1554 Origin is Andes mountain region of South America Domesticated in Mexico Many related wild species in South America “Tomato” is from the Nahuati language of Mexico. “Tomati” was the name used by Native Americans Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum Lycopersicon esculentum:  Lycopersicon esculentum Was considered poisonous until 1700’s First introduced in US in 1710 Thomas Jefferson was one of the first to grow tomatoes, which were called “Love Apples” at the time Related to nightshade (alkaloids) Major alkaloid in tomato is tomatine High in foliage but little in ripe fruit Are they a Fruit? :  Are they a Fruit? Botanically it is a fruit Horticulturally and legally it is a vegetable They are the 2nd most important vegetable crop in the U.S. (the potato is #1) or a Vegetable? Nutritional Aspect:  Nutritional Aspect Low in calories and protein Ranks 16th in vitamins, but #1 in contribution Very high in Vitamin C poor man’s orange Carotenoids nine different identified Beta-carotine Lycopene Beta-carotine:  Beta-carotine Main precursor of Vitamin A Range of 2 to 10 mg/g Highest amounts in some wild species High B-carotine varieties for special markets “Caro-Red” 10x normal Lycopene:  Lycopene Red pigment Health aspects 90% of lycopene comes from tomatoes Most potent antioxidant among carotenoids May protect against some forms of cancer Absorbed better in processed products Fruit Color:  Fruit Color Low High Low High Plant Growth Habits:  Plant Growth Habits Determinate Flower clusters produced with only one or two leaves (nodes) between them After several clusters shoot will terminate in an infloresence (flower cluster) Tend to be smaller plants are suited for caging or sprawling Fruit tends to ripen all at once Plant Growth Habits:  Plant Growth Habits Indeterminate Three to four leaves are produced between flower clusters Shoot does not terminate in flower cluster Since plants continue to elongate they are larger and tend to get viney if not pruned Suited for staking and caging Fruit ripen throughout the growing season ISI Indeterminate Short Internode varieties with the controlled growth habit of a “determinate” with the unlimited production potential of an “indeterminate” Plant Growth Habits:  Plant Growth Habits Determinate Indeterminate Determinate Growth Habits:  Determinate Growth Habits Indeterminate Growth Habits:  Indeterminate Growth Habits Slide16:  Determinate? Indeterminate? or Roots and Leaves:  Roots and Leaves Deep rooted, penetrates below 4 feet Direct seeded develop taproot Transplants develop more fibrous root Compound leaves are covered with fine hairs that emit the characteristic tomato smell when crushed Flowers:  Flowers Individual flowers borne in clusters of 4-8 flowers Largely self-fertilized and primarily wind pollinated Fruit:  Fruit Depending on variety fruit may be red, yellow, orange, green pink, or purple Shape may be oblong, round or pear Under simple genetic control Size ranges from < 1 oz. to several lbs. Under multi-genetic control Composition is typically 5% solids (up to 12% for paste) and 95% water Sugar/acid is prime factor in flavor Low light reduces sugars Vine Ripe Tomatoes?:  Vine Ripe Tomatoes? Why is it that winter store bought tomatoes taste like cardboard? Ripe tomatoes cannot be shipped long distances Harvested as “breakers” Fruit can “ripen” to near red if gassed with ethylene, but never develop full flavor Breaker:  Breaker 5-10% red Growing Tomatoes:  Growing Tomatoes Site Selection Cultivar Selection Recommended Varieties Cultural practices Planting Mulching and weed control Staking, caging and pruning Fertility Diseases and Insects Site Selection:  Site Selection Full Sun Open to good air movement Loam to Sandy Loam well drained fertile soil Soil pH 5.8-7.5 Cultivar Selection:  Cultivar Selection Length of growing season Disease and Pest considerations Type Early vs. Late Cherry vs. Beefstake Paste vs. Slicers Hybrid vs. Heirloom Determinate vs. Indeterminate Early Varieties:  Early Varieties Typically smaller plants and smaller fruits 55 to 65 day (Siberia 48 days) Early Girl, New Yorker, Wayahead, Flash, Daybreak, First Lady, Miracle Sweet, Sunstart Artic, 4th of July, Glacier Main Crop:  Main Crop Widest selection 70 to 100 day (Big Boy, Big Girl 78 day) Better Boy, Big Beef, Beefmaster, Jet Star, Pink Girl, Celebrity, Floramerica, Henz 1350, Ultra Sweet, Campbell 1327, Husky Gold, Husky Red Sun Series, Mountain Series Paste or Salsa:  Paste or Salsa Fewer selections Medium size fruit (2-4 oz.) 65 to 75 day (Viva Italia 72 day) Roma VF, Italian Gold, Sherriff Super Marzano, Aztec, Classica Shasta and 5913 X 5914 two promising new varieties being developed by UW-Madison Small Fruit:  Small Fruit Cherry or Grape sized fruits 60 to 75 day (Sweet 100 65 day) Yellow Pear, Pixie, Small Fry, Tiny Tim, Sweet Million, Juliet, Gardener’s Delight, Patio Colored Fruit:  Colored Fruit Yellows, Golds, Oranges, Green Striped Golden Boy, Golden Girl, Lemon Boy, Husky Gold, Sungold, Yellow Plum, Black Brandywine, Black Krim, Green Zebra, White Wonder, White Potato Leaf, Pineapple Heirlooms:  Heirlooms Family: seeds that have been passed down for several generations through a family Commercial: open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940 Created: crossing two known parents and dehybridizing the resulting seeds for how ever many years/generations it takes to eliminate the undesirable characteristics Mystery: varieties that are a product of natural cross-pollination of other heirloom varieties Heirloom:  Heirloom More lobed and undulated fruit Open pollinated More prone to diseases, fruit cracking 75 to 110 day (Brandywine 100day) Aunt Ginny, Boondocks, Prudens Purple, Striped German, Old German, Amish Paste, Mr. Stripey Slide32:  Plant after last spring frost Spooner last frost Median May 27 90% chance May 5 10% chance June 14 Plant spacing 24 to 36 inches in the row 36 to 48 inches between the row Slide33:  “Trenching-in” long stemmed plants Slide34:  Retain Moisture Reduce weeds Reduce blossom end rot Cleaner fruit Reduce rain splash Mulches Penn. State University research indicates that tomatoes yielded slightly better on red plastic mulch Pruning and Staking Indeterminates:  Pruning and Staking Indeterminates Leave two main stems Remove suckers between leaves and main stem Remove suckers before they get 2 ½ inches long Remove late season (after Sept 1) flower buds Pruning and Staking:  Pruning and Staking Advantages Promotes early, larger and cleaner fruits Easier to harvest May help reduce disease problems Disadvantages Lower yields Increase risk of sunscald and fruit cracking Caged tomatoes:  Caged tomatoes Little or no pruning Produce more fruit Later Ripening Low sunscald Slide38:  Basket Weave Trellis Fertilizing Tomatoes:  Fertilizing Tomatoes Soil Test Sandy soils low organic matter ~6 oz./plant 10-10-10 Heavy soils with higher organic matter ~4oz. 5-20-20 DO NOT over apply nitrogen promotes vegetative growth decreases fruit production increases chance of diseases Diseases of Tomatoes:  Diseases of Tomatoes Fungal Fusarium and Verticllium Wilts Early Blight Septoria Leaf Blight Fruit Anthracnose Bacterial Bacterial Spot and Speck Viral Cucumber Mosaic Virus Slide41:  Soil borne pathogens Survives in soil for several years Plants generally affected through roots Rotation ( at least 2-3 years) Plant VF or VFN resistant varieties Fusarium and Verticillium Wilts Slide42:  Septoria Leaf Blight Survives over winter on infected plant debris, and also on equipment stakes and cages Spores disperse by splashing water (rain, irrigarion) or workers moving through wet plants Favored by moist, warm weather Symptoms generally appear first on lower leaves Slide43:  Septoria Leaf Blight Rotation at least 2-3 years Remove and destroy infected plant debris, sanitize equipment Mulch (plastic preferred) Stake and don’t over crowd plants Avoid overhead irrigation Irrigate in the morning Apply Fungicide Good coverage esp. on lower leaves Apply at least weekly when weather is favorable Slide44:  Survives in infected plant debris Spores are wind dispersed Infections occur first on oldest leaves Rotation (at least 2-3 years) Sanitation Apply Fungicides Early Blight Slide45:  Fruit Antracnose Tobacco Mosaic Virus Slide46:  Caused by insufficient calcium when fruit are forming Result from excessive nitrogen fertilization Rapid plant growth Drastic fluctuations in soil moisture Blossom End Rot Slide47:  Environmental disease Extreme malformations and scarring Effected during initial fruit development Caused by cool weather during fruit set or 2,4-D injury Catface Slide48:  Tomato Hornworm Damage Tomato Hornworm Larva Slide49:  Monitor Frequently Treat if more than one larva per 2 plants Bacillus thuringiensis Tomato Hornworm Adult Slide50:  Scout weekly Insecticide soaps effective Aphids Soft bodied Piercing sucking mouth parts Cause cupping and yellowing of leaf margins Slide51:  Protect young plants with physical barrier Bacillus thuringiensis on older plants Cutworms Cut young stems near soil line Active at night Hide in the soil or under debris May climb and chew on green fruit Slide52:  Installing a cutworm guard made from a paper grocery bag at planting time Tin cans work too Publications available form:  Publications available form A1691 Home-Grown Tomatoes for WI A3687 Growing Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant in WI A3110 Disease-Resistant Vegetables for the Home Garden A2606 Early Blight & Septoria Leaf Spot of Tomatoes A2617 Verticillium & Fusarium Wilt of Tomatoes A1653 Vegetable Cultivars and Planting Guide for WI A2801 Growing Vegetables at Home Q & A A3383 Mulches for Home Gardens and Planting Visit our Horticulture website at Slide54:  Thank you for listening Information in this presentation is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by UW-Extension or the author is implied Barron County Master Gardener Garden Expo March 9, 2002 Special thanks to Karen Delahaut, Rosemary Eiden, Helen Harrison, Brain Hudleson, Jim Nienhuis, Patti Nagai, Phil Pellitteri and Craig Saxe for providing information and images for this presentation.

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