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Tips on how to get over 20Kgs/Tree from Tree-tomato farming

Tree tomato Fruit can be red or yellow; personally, I prefer the tangy red ones. The plants grow from seed to about 2m tall, long and leggy, and only fruit after they have formed several branches, usually after Year 2.

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To get the most out of your tree tomato:

  • They only live for about 12 years, so always have a few young ones coming on to replace the old ones;
  • Tip cuttings will fruit sooner, and tend to produce a stronger, more compact bush;
  • In coastal and windy areas, it pays to shelter the trees, and cover them during a frost;
  • Don’t put them in your greenhouse; they grow better outside away from whitefly which covers them like snow otherwise;
  • Feed them like a tomato, with plenty of nitrogen and trace elements;
  • Pruning increases fruit size, so in summer trim some of those leggy growing branch ends back by 60cm.

Combine it all and you can harvest up to 20kg per plant – we have had a crate box full off one tree.

Two Deadly Enemies of Your Tree Tomato

Grafted tree tomato fruitsJust like citrus trees, tree-tomato will die if left to dry out, even if for only a day. In eastern areas you will have to irrigate all dry seasons with a drip line or hand water every few days. In the west, if you’re growing outside, your older plants will get through a few days of dry seasons winds but not many. Get the watering can out or you’ll lose your prized tree. Mulch the root zone to keep the moisture in.

Nematodes are tree-tomatoes worst enemy, they survive by feeding directly off the nutrients pumped through tree-tomatoes roots. They form galls that can reach up to an inch wide where they hide and reproduce, causing many symptoms that point to problems in infected plants’ transport systems. Yellowing plants, stunted growth and general decline are early symptoms, but unless your bed is heavily infected with nematodes, a large tree-tomato planting will only show these symptoms in a relative few plants. They typically appear in soils where tree-tomatoes and other root knot nematode host plants have been grown in the last three to five years, and populations increase the longer an area is used. If you suspect your tree-tomatoes plants have nematodes, start by digging up a particularly weak plant. Roots that have a lot of unusual knobby growths are infected with these parasites.

 

 

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Earn more on tree tomato farming

There are very few farmers who grow tree tomatoes for the market. Tree tomatoes are easy to grow, resistant to diseases and in great demand. Tree tomato is a small, half woody plant with shallow roots. It grows to an average height of 3.5 – 5.0 m depending on the variety.

It produces an egg-shaped oval fruit. The fruit tree prefers well-drained soils and grows best in climates with long hours of sunlight. In hot and dry climates, the trees may require shade to maintain adequate moisture in the soil.

The tree tomato does not tolerate tightly compacted soil since it needs well-aerated soil. The soil must be fertile and light in texture and rich in organic matter. Good drainage is necessary since water logged soils can kill the plants. Tree tomatoes cannot survive in areas with prolonged drought. They must have ample water during the dry season.

The best way to retain moisture in a tree tomato plantation is to apply mulch, which also reduces weed growth. At fruit bearing stage, tree tomatoes need support to prevent branches from breaking off when laden with fruits. The trees can easily be blown over by the wind as they are shallow rooted.

Propagation: Tree tomatoes can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Seeds produce trees with more branches that are erect tree and ideal for sheltered locations. Cuttings develop into shorter bushy plants with low-lying branches, suitable for growing in areas prone to wind or areas without protection from wind. Transplanting can be done at 6 weeks.

Planting: Dig holes measuring   by  feet, put the top soil on one side and the subsoil on the other. The distance from one plant to the next should be 4 feet and space between one row and the next should be 5 feet. Mix one and a half wheelbarrow of well-prepared compost (chickens and pig manure are preferred) with two spadefuls of topsoil to plant the seedlings. Leave a shallow depression in every plant for placing the mulching material – only 1 feet of the tree tomato seedling should be buried while planting just enough to cover the root hairs. Selection of planting site is very important; tree tomatoes do well when planted on land that has not had any crop for two or three seasons. An acre can accommodate about 1200 trees.

Fertilization: To maintain a healthy growth, tree tomatoes require continuous fertilization. Mix farmyard manure with water and apply as slurry and apply in the shallow depression around the plant once every two months.

Disease and pest control: Tree tomato is fairly resistant to most diseases and pests. However, the tree is prone to powdery mildew, which causes the leaves to fall off. Application of copper oxychloride (allowed in organic farming) can control the disease. Neem extracts can also be used to control the disease. The main pests that attack the tree include the aphids, thrips whiteflies and nematodes. Pests can be prevented by continuous application of plant extracts (chilies, African marigold, garlic, neem) at least three times a week. Good field sanitation also controls pests and diseases.

Related Post: Amazing health benefits of tree-tomato

Seedlings are pruned back the first year after planting to a height of 3 to 4 feet (0.9- 1.2m) to encourage branching. In plantations, tree tomatoes reach a height of not more than 1.50m. Annual pruning thereafter is advisable to eliminate branches that are no longer fruiting. New shoots close to the main branches should be allowed to grow so that the tree does not develop a broad top with fruits on the outer edges, which are prone to wind damage.

Varieties: The main varieties grown in Kenya are the Goldmine, Inca red, Rothamer, Solid gold and Ruby red. New varieties being introduced into the country give better yields and a shorter growing period. With grafted tree tomato one can achieve even a higher production.

Yield: New varieties can produce up to 800 fruits per tree every year under good management. The current price for one fruit is Ksh.10.