Tomato Production Guide for Florida: Cultural Practices ( Publisher's URL )

Material Information

Tomato Production Guide for Florida: Cultural Practices
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Hochmuth, George
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:


Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status:
General Note:
"August 1997"
General Note:
"SP 214"

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Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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1.This document is a chapter of SP 214, last printed in 1990 as Circular 98 C. SP 214, Tomato Production Guide for Florida, last printed in 1990 as Circular 98 C, is a publication of the Commercial Vegetable Guide Series, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A gricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: August 1997. For more information about how to order the complete print document, SP 2 14, call UF/IFAS Distribution at (352) 392-1764. Please visit the FAIRS Website at The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide resea rch, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Servi ce office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean 2.G.J. Hochmuth, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, C.S. Vavrina, associate professor, Southwest Florida-REC, Immoka lee, and S.M. Olson, professor, North Florida-REC, Quincy, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611. The Tomato Production Guide for Florida is edited by G.J. Hochmuth, professor, Horticultural Sciences De partment, IFAS. Figure 1. Mulched beds for tomato production in Homestead on rockland soil. Figure 2. Tomatoes on white-on-black polyethylene mulch.SP-214Tomato Production Guide for Florida: Cultural Practices1G.J. Hochmuth, C.S. Vavrina, and S.M. Olson2Soil PreparationThe field should be plowed and disked to bury old crop refuse. Plowing reduces disease organism carryover between crops. A soil test should be used to determine lime and fertilizer requirements. Lime, if required, is broadcast and incorporated followed by bedding, fumigating, and fertilizing. Bedding can be accomplished by various means including a bed press, bedding disk, or a double-disk hiller followed by a board to level the bed tops. The bed press should be used where plastic mulch will be laid.MulchesVarious types of mulches are available for use, depending on the season. Generally, black polyethylene mulch (Figure 1) is used except for plantings made in the fall when temperatures are high. The use of white (Figure 2), white-on-black, gray, or black mulch with a white band painted over the middle is recommended for early fall plantings to reduce high bed surface temperatures which might desiccate young seedlings. Advantages of using plastic mulches include increased early and total yield, improved weed control, improved moisture conservation, better fertilizer conservation, and better fruit quality.


Tomato Production Guide for Florida: Cultural Practices Page 2 March 1998 Figure 3. Application of polyethylene mulch for dripirrigated tomato in northern Florida where rye windbreaks are beneficial.WindbreaksA sometimes-overlooked crop protection aid is that of crop windbreaks (Figure 3). Several windbreak crops are available to Florida tomato growers including sugar cane, rye, and sometimes oats. Care should be taken to choose a windbreak crop that is adapted to a specific growing region. Tomato cropping patterns often dictate how close the windbreaks will be placed to each other. In general, however, close windbreaks (even between every row), give the best wind protection and might even provide some moderation of the plants microenvironment promoting faster crop development during cool weather. Establishment of a windbreak crop in the previous fall will ensure enough growth to become effective as a windbreak by spring tomato planting time. Tomato beds can be established in the windbreak crop by rototilling the bed area. On seep-irrigated land, windbreaks are usually planted on field-ditch banks, but can also be planted in crop-harvesting roadways. When the windbreak is removed, ensure that this plant material does not clog irrigation ditches. Cereal crop windbreaks between beds can be removed by rototilling.