Tomato originated from South America where till now there is a wide variety of wild and domesticated species. Undoubtedly, this fruit took on the world. Evidently, Nigerians are one of the leading nations possessing an insatiable appetite for tomatoes.
This fruit/berry is used practically everywhere: Nigerian cuisine cannot live without this red-cheeked ingredient. Tomatoes are consumed fresh, boiled, fried and tinned. They are used to producing tomato paste, puree, ketchup, tomato juice and lots of other dishes and sauces.
Tomatoes are extremely popular food crop in the world, not to mention Africa. They possess precious dietary and nutritious qualities, moreover, there is a big variety of tomatoes. Importantly, this fruit/berry is sought-after owing to a high responsiveness level to applied cultivation techniques.
It is cultivated in greenhouses and hot houses, on bare soil and even at home on window-sills and at balconies. Tomatoes are sought-after and quickly sold in markets. That is why farmers are cultivating them in great quantities for sale. It is a profitable business to be involved in. Let’s get to the bottom in each nuance. The first is the cultivation of tomatoes.
Preparation for seeds sowing
One can hardly find a more favorable spot to cultivate tomatoes than Nigeria. Its climate suits just perfect this fruit/berry. You can grow it all year round if you have got an irrigation system or just give priority to the season of rains.
Apparently, future tomato harvest depends on a right choice of seeds and their sowing preparation. A farmer has to pick big, heavy and nutrient-rich species; this will make tomatoes strong, more resistant to different illnesses and changing weather conditions. Concerning the best species of tomatoes, it should be jotted down that there is a large choice of the fruit variety.
Your preference mainly depends on buyers. If tomatoes are transported far away, the farmer has to pick the hard-peeled species, like a plum variety. It is widely used for different purposes in Nigeria and abroad.
The other popular specie is so-called ‘Italian’. It has got so appetite redness, rich taste and, importantly, ‘long life’. The latter is an essential advantage over the rest because these tomatoes cross the boundary quite often and have to look tasty and possess commercial presentation.
According to experts, it is important to put the selected seeds to saline solution (50 grams of salt per water liter), stir thoroughly and let them ‘rest’ for 10 minutes. The ‘drowned’ seeds are the most suitable for planting. After that: wash and dry them. Done! Start the cultivation phase.
Agronomists advise warming the seeds before sowing at a special place where the temperature rises from 20 to 80 degrees Celsius.
As for various diseases, follow this tip: to prevent plant diseases it is necessary to disinfect seeds keeping them in 1 % solution of potassium permanganate. Farmers claim that seeds ought to be grown at a temperature regime of 22-260 °С to accelerate a process of the first seedlings appearance.
It is important also to make wet conditions for seedlings. In order to adapt future tomatoes for unfavorable weather a farmer can put seeds to cold conditions at night and during day-time the temperature must be much higher. This procedure should be repeated several times.
The plant cultivation
Tomatoes cultivation can be made in greenhouses or on the bare ground. As a rule, the seeds are sawn densely in direct rows. The soil had to be disturbed and fertilized beforehand.
When the first green shoots appear in a greenhouse, the tomato seedlings should be ‘transferred’ to a bare soil, well dug and fertilized with manure that is rich in potassium chloride and super-phosphate.
Agronomists recommend starting seedlings cultivation on cloudy days or in the evenings. The holes should be poured with a weak solution of potassium permanganate to avoid a plant to be infected by fungus. The farmer must be very careful with young shoots and delve them to low leaves level keeping distance for about 30 cm between them. These measures will provide good ventilation and light conductivity.
Seeds sowing on a bare soil
To get a good crop, farmers work really hard. First of all, they begin from fertilizers. And there are some nuances of its preparation. The farmer has to chop wooden splinters, to add some dry hay, poultry manure, and cow dung. The mixture of these ingredients is left to rot for about 4 months. When the fertile humus is ready to use it has got potassium and phosphorus which are so useful for plants.