If planning to grow greenhouse vegetables , you will discover that tomato is big favorite with greenhouse owners. However, before you plan a tomato greenhouse, you need to get aware about the several methods used to produce tomatoes in a greenhouse. After all, there are certain techniques and aspects to keep in mind to get a healthy produce of tomatoes.
The right environment
As the temperature plays a critical role in the producing quality fruit, make sure to maintain proper temperatures between 60 degrees – 65 degrees F. Thus, pay close attention to the kind and model of greenhouse heaters you buy for your tomato greenhouse. During daylight hours, do not artificially heat the greenhouse. When the temperatures exceed 80 degrees F, make use of maximum cooling. The right circulation and movement of air are also important in tomato production. When the exhaust fans are not operating in the greenhouse, the air should be circulated so as to keep a constant level of humidity.
Row and Spacing for the tomato plants
In a tomato greenhouse, it is seen that the work aisles between tomato rows are kept at 36 inches, and these rows should be no closer than 28 to 30 inches. The idea is to allow proper light to reach the lower leaves of plants in the narrow rows. The spacing of the plants in the row should be 3.1 to 3.4 square feet per plant. The narrower the rows, the greater may be the yields, but the quality of the crop may suffer. Thus, you may not get a very satisfactory result and moreover, the costs may add because of the increased labor to care for the additional tomato plants.
Schedules for Planting
The Single crop rotation generally takes place in July or by early August, and the transplantation is done within10 to 30 days of seeding. Harvest starts within 85 to 100 days of planting. The termination of pollination takes place about six weeks before the close of the crop. The Fall crop or Two crop rotation occurs at the same time as the Single crop rotation. Generally speaking, the fall crop gets terminated from late December to mid-January and the cessation of pollination takes place 55 to 60 days earlier, Harvest starts in late March to early April and carries on through June in the tomato greenhouse.
Pruning and Training of the crop
Tomatoes in greenhouse get trained to a single stem. The farmer removes all side shoots developing in the axils of the leaves. These suckers are removed by breaking them off or rubbing on them when quite small every week. When the plants grow more about a foot in height, they need support with the help of a plastic twine that is tied to the base of the plant. The string should be wrapped in the same direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise. When the plants in the tomato greenhouse grow to the overhead wire, they are lowered by about 2 to 2 ½ feet and lowered again with the same procedure if the plants again. The lowering is accomplished by loosening the twine. At the end of the season, the top of a plant in a row can grow more than 10 feet. Remove the leaves laying on the ground to prevent any disease hazard.
The transfer of the pollen from the anthers to the stigma is essential to create the tomato fruit. This is done by vibrating the flower clusters with the help of the wind. In the tomato greenhouse, pollination is accomplished with assistance from electric vibrators, mist blowers, electric toothbrushes, striking the overhead wires while walking down the rows. There are automatic systems that can help shake the overhead wires. The electric vibrators are found to be the most adequate for the purpose. Direct the air stream of the mist blower sat the individual flower cluster for efficient results. Experiments in a Midwest tomato greenhouses show that vibrating the flower clusters with the help of vibrator every day or every other day makes no difference in number or size of the fruit. However, it is seen that pollination before ten a.m. or after two p.m. results in lower number and size of the fruit.
Harvesting the tomato crop
Generally speaking, the tomatoes are harvested three times a week. The yields are usually low during the winter. Harvest the fruit when they are full red in color and ripen on the vines. The heavier the fruit, the more flavorful they are. When the fruits are left on the vine to mature in the tomato greenhouse, they are seen to increase by 20 percent in weight.
Poetical Issues and Problems in a tomato greenhouse
When farming tomatoes in the greenhouse, you may face certain issues. For example, because of too little calcium, Calcium deficiency can lead to blossom-end-rot. Too much potassium and magnesium can lead to a lack of aeration in the growth medium. Carbohydrate deficiency can occur due to inadequate sunshine and cover and create Square and puffy fruit. Manganese deficiency too can lead to puffy fruit and blossom drop. The blossoms drop occurs when there is maximum load for a plant and when the fruits begin to ripen. Too little moisture and lower nitrogen can lead to thinner stems near growing point. Other problems are low total nutrient as well as excessive total salts or nutrients. Excessive total salts or nutrients can result in bun at edges of lower leaves and dark green shoulders on fruits. You can leach growing media and water to get rid of excessive salts.
Check heat exchangers and allow sufficient outside air inside the tomato greenhouse. The deficiency of manganese occurs especially during December and January and will prevent the flower buds to develop into blooms. Iron, manganese or zinc deficiency can create Interveinal chlorosis in newer leaves. The decrease in nitrogen or restriction of water can lower nitrogen availability. The bloom buds will not develop into flowers. Too high nitrogen with low boron can make the new leaves twist and curl downward, leading to a ball-like growth.