Information about SIMONA F1 Tomato variety and the seeds and the growing process.
This is an indeterminate hybrid tomato 2577, maturity: Medium, fruit weight: 160-180 grams. Large, juicy and tasty fruits. Very productive selection for the hobby greenhouse and outdoors. Sheltered sowing in a seed box at 20 ° C, seed depth 0.5 cm. Plant the young plants in individual pots and grow them further at 15 to 20 ° C in a place with a lot of light. Plant from mid-May (planting distance 70 cm) in the open ground, in the hobby greenhouse, or in the field prepared with nutritious soil. Let the plants, which need a warm and sunny place, climb on a stick. Optimal germination temperature: 20 ° C Average germination time: 5-6 days. Package contents: 5 grams. Seeds per gram: 300. Resistance: Ve, F1, F2, TSMV and ToMV, excellent fruit color, good taste and aroma, recommended for both greenhouse and open field, fruit Shape: Flattened globe, fruit color: Red.
HOW TO PLANT
Harden off seedlings or transplants for a week before planting in the garden. Set young plants outdoors in the shade for a couple of hours the first day, gradually increasing the amount of time the plants are outside each day to include some direct sunlight. Learn more about hardening off seedlings.
Plant transplants about 2 feet apart.
Place tomato stakes or cages in the soil at the time of planting to avoid damaging roots later on. Staking keeps developing tomato fruit off the ground while caging lets the plant hold itself upright.
Pinch off a few of the lower branches on transplants, and plant the root ball deep enough so that the remaining lowest leaves are just above the surface of the soil.
If your transplants are leggy, you can remedy this by burying up to ⅔ of the plant, including the lower sets of leaves. Tomato stems have the ability to grow roots from the buried stems.
Water well to reduce shock to the roots.
Soil Requirements and Site Preparation
Simona F1 Tomatoes can be produced on a variety of soil types. They grow optimally in deep, medium textured sandy loam or loamy, fertile, well-drained soils. Avoid sites that tend to stay wet. Also, rotate away from fields that have had solanaceous crops within the past 3-4 years. Select sites that have good air movement (to reduce disease) and that are free from problem weeds.
In field production, plants depend on the soil for physical support and anchorage, nutrients and water. The degree to which the soil adequately provides these three factors depends upon topography, soil type, soil structure and soil management.
For Simona tomato production, proper tillage is crucial for adequate soil management and optimal yields. Land preparation should involve enough tillage operations to make the soil suitable for seedling or transplant establishment and to provide the best soil structure for root growth and development.
The extent to which the root systems of tomato plants develop is influenced by the soil profile. Root growth will be restricted if there is a hard pan, compacted layer or heavy clay zone. Tomatoes are considered to be deep rooted and, under favorable conditions, some roots will grow to a depth of as much as 10 feet. The majority of roots, however, will be in the upper 12 to 24 inches of soil. Since root development is severely limited by compacted soil, proper land preparation should eliminate or significantly reduce soil compaction and hard pans.
Tillage systems using the moldboard (“bottom” or “turning”) plow prepare the greatest soil volume conducive to vigorous root growth. This allows the development of more extensive root systems, which can more efficiently access nutrients and water in the soil. Dicing after moldboard plowing tends to re-compact the soil and should be avoided.
Compaction pans are present in many soils. They are formed principally by machinery and are normally located at or just below plow depths. Although compaction pans may be only a few inches thick, their inhibitory effects on root growth can significantly reduce tomato yields.
If a compaction pan exists just below or near moldboard plow depth, this hard pan can be disrupted by sub soiling to a depth of 16 to 18 inches to allow the development of a more extensive root system. Sub soiling also helps increase water infiltration.
If there is an abundance of plants or plant residues on the soil surface, dicing or mowing followed by dicing is usually advised prior to moldboard plowing. This should be done 6 to 8 weeks ahead of planting to bury residue and allow it to decay. Immediately prior to plastic mulch installation or transplanting, perform final soil preparation and/or bedding with a
rotary tiller, bedding disc or a double dis-chiller in combination with a bedding press or leveling board. This provides a crust-less, weed-free soil for the installation of plastic mulch or the establishment of transplants.
Tomatoes are usually transplanted into plastic mulch on raised beds. A raised bed will warm up more quickly in the spring and therefore will enhance earlier growth. Since tomatoes do poorly in excessively wet soils, a raised bed facilitates drainage and helps prevent water logging in low areas or in poorly drained soils. Raised beds are generally 3 to 8 inches high. Keep in mind, however, that tomatoes planted on raised beds may also require more irrigation during drought conditions.
Cover Crops and Minimum Tillage
Winter cover crops help protect the soil from water and wind erosion. When incorporated into the soil as “green manure,” cover crops contribute organic matter to the soil.
Soil organic matter consists of plant and animal residues in various stages of decay. Organic matter improves soil structure (helps to reduce compaction and crusting), increases water infiltration, decreases water and wind erosion, increases the soil’s ability to resist leaching of many plant nutrients, and releases plant nutrients during decomposition.
Crop windbreaks can aid in crop protection and enhance early growth and yield. Frequency or intervals between windbreaks is dictated by distance between tomato rows, spray or harvest alleyway intervals, land availability and equipment characteristics. For instance, bed arrangements may be such that a windbreak is present between every set of four, six or eight beds. Plant windbreaks perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction. When using a taller growing windbreak such as rye, you can expect the windbreak to be effective to a width of about 10 times its height. For instance, with a rye crop that is 3 feet high, the windbreaks can be effective up to 30 feet apart.
Seeding tomatoes directly into the field is not recommended due to the high cost of hybrid seed and the specific conditions required for adequate germination. Most tomatoes are transplanted to the field from greenhouse-grown plants. Direct seeding has other disadvantages:
(1) Weed control is usually much more difficult with direct seeded than with transplanted tomatoes;
(2) direct seeding requires especially well made seedbeds and specialized planting equipment to adequately control depth of planting and in-row spacing;
(3) because of the shallow planting depth required for tomato seed, the field must be nearly level to prevent seeds from being washed away or covered too deeply with water transported soil; and
(4) spring harvest dates will be at least 2 to 3 weeks later for direct seeded tomatoes.
At 59, 68 and 77 degrees F soil temperature, tomato seed require 14, 8 and 6 days, respectively, for emergence when planted ½ inch deep.
Typically, 5- to 6-week old tomato seedlings are transplanted into the field. As with most similar vegetable crops, container-grown transplants are preferred over bare root plants. Container grown transplants retain transplant growing medium (soil-substitute) attached to their roots after removal from the container (flat, tray). Many growers prefer this type transplant because (1) they are less subject to transplant shock, (2) usually require little, if any, replanting, (3) resume growth more quickly after transplanting, and (4) grow and produce more uniformly. Tomato plants produced in a 1-inch cell size tray are commonly used for transplanting. Many growers will use a 1.5-inch cell tray for transplant production in the fall when transplant stress is greater.
Tomato transplants should be hardened off before transplanting to the field. Hardening off is a technique used to slow plant growth prior to field setting so the plant can more successfully transition to the less favorable conditions in the field. This process involves decreasing water for a short period prior to taking the plants to the field. Research shows that reducing temperatures too drastically to harden tomato transplants can induce cat-facing in the fruit.
For maximum production, transplants should never have fruits, flowers or flower buds before transplanting. An ideal transplant is young (6 inches to 8 inches tall with a stem approximately ¼ inch to ⅜ inch in diameter), does not exhibit rapid vegetative growth, and is slightly hardened at transplanting time. Rapid growth following transplanting helps assure a well established plant before fruit development. In most cases, it is more economically feasible to have transplants produced by a commercial transplant grower than to grow them on the farm. When purchasing transplants, be sure the plants have the variety name, have been inspected and approved by a plant inspector, and they are of the size and quality specified in the order.
Set transplants as soon as possible after removing from containers or after pulling. If it is necessary to hold tomato plants for several days before transplanting them, keep them cool(around 55-65 degrees F if possible) and do not allow the roots to dry out prior to transplanting. When setting plants, place them upright and place the roots 3 to 4 inches deep. Setting plants at least as deep as the cotyledons has been shown to enhance plant growth and early fruit production and maturity. Completely cover the root ball with soil to prevent winking moisture from the soil. Tomatoes grow best if nighttime soil temperatures average higher than 60 degrees F.
At transplanting, apply an appropriate fertilizer starter solution (see Fertilizer Management section). After transplanting (especially within the first 2 weeks) it is very important that soil moisture be maintained so that plant roots can become well established.
Tomatoes can be planted in one of many different arrangements that provide adequate space for plant growth. Often the spacing is based on the type of trellising and equipment that will be used in the field. The within-row and between-row spacings are selected to meet these limitations. The optimal plant population per acre may also be influenced by plant growth habit (compact, spreading), plant size at maturity (small, medium, large), vigor of specific cultivars, climate, soil moisture, nutrient availability, management system and soil productivity.
Generally, for production of determinate varieties on plastic mulch, a minimum of 5 feet between rows is used with an in-row spacing of 18 to 24 inches. Six feet between rows is also a popular interval. To space plants 22 inches apart in rows that are 5 feet apart requires 4,760 plants per acre. With 6-foot centers and 18 inches between plants, 4,840 plants are required per acre. Usually a single row of tomatoes is planted down the center of each plastic mulched bed.
On bare ground, space rows 48 to 72 inches apart with 18 inches to 24 inches between plants in the row. For indeterminate types of tomatoes, which produce larger plants, adjust spacing to decrease the population accordingly.
Staking and Pruning
Most commercial indeterminate tomatoes such as the Simona F1 variety are produced using short stake culture for trellising. This type of culture produces fruits that are higher in quality and easier to harvest and enhances spray coverage. In this system, stakes approximately 4 feet long and ¾ to 1 inch square are placed between every one or two plants depending on the tying system that is employed. Stakes are usually driven about 12 inches into the ground. An additional stake can be supplied at the ends of each section to strengthen the trellis.
Stake plants immediately after planting to minimize damage to the root system and to have the trellis ready when needed. Plants are usually tied initially when they are about 12-15 inches tall and should be tied prior to any plants lodging. The first string is usually placed about 10 inches above the ground. Subsequent tying is placed about 6 inches above the previous one. Determinate varieties may be tied as many as three to four times.
The Dutch weave system is one method of tying that is often used. In this system, a stake is placed between every other plant in the row. Twine is then used to tie the plants using a figure eight weave. The twine is wrapped around the stake and is pulled tightly on one side of the first plant and then between the two plants and along the other side of the second plant. At the end of the row or section, the pattern is reversed and, as the twine is wrapped around each stake, the twine is then placed on the other side of each plant going back in the opposite direction along the row. This system uses fewer stakes and encloses the plant with the twine. Subsequent tying often do not weave between plants but simply go along one side of the plants going one way and the opposite side going the other direction.
Another system of tying involves placing a stake after every plant. The twine is then simply wrapped around each stake and along one side of the plant going along the row and around the other side of the plant coming back in the other direction on the opposite side of the row. Regardless of the system used, the twine should be held with enough tension to adequately support the plants. If the twine is too tight, however, it can impede harvest and damage plants and fruit.
Tomato twine should be resistant to weathering and stretching and should not cut into the plants or fruit. It takes about 30 pounds of synthetic twine per acre for tomatoes. A simple tying tool can be made from conduit or PVC pipe that is 2 to 3 feet long. The twine is passed through the pipe to act as an extension of the worker’s arm. This limits the need to stoop over at each stake to wrap the twine. A similar tool can be made from a wooden dowel or narrow wooden strip. With these, a hole is drilled about 1 inch from each end of the piece of wood and the string passed through each hole. This provides the same extension of the hand as the other method.
Indeterminate tomatoes often still require some level of pruning. Pruning is the removal of suckers (axillary shoots). The degree to which pruning is needed will vary with the variety used but can impact yield and quality significantly. Plants that produce vigorous foliage that are not pruned will produce more, but smaller fruit. Pruning helps increase the size of the fruit. It can also enhance earliness of the crown set, reduce pest pressure and enhance spray coverage. In general, pruning will involve removal of one to all suckers up to the first fork (the sucker just below the first flower cluster).
Growers should experiment with individual varieties to determine the degree of pruning needed. Often the seed supplier can provide information on specific varieties regarding pruning. Some varieties require only the removal of ground suckers (at the cotyledons) or none at all. Over pruning can cause reduced yields and increased sunburn, blossom end rot and cat-facing. More vigorous varieties may require the removal of ground suckers plus two additional suckers. Remove suckers when they are small (2 to 4 inches long). Removal of large suckers is more time consuming and can damage the plant. Prune before the first stringing to facilitate the process, since the strings may be in the way. A second pruning may be required to remove suckers that were not large enough to remove easily during the first pruning and to remove ground suckers that may have developed. Prune plants when the foliage is dry to reduce the spread of disease.
The use of plastic mulch in the commercial production of staked tomatoes is almost universal. Plastic mulch is used to promote earliness, reduce weed pressure, and to conserve moisture and fertilizer. Most often drip irrigation is used in conjunction with plastic mulch. There are both advantages and disadvantages to producing crops under this system.
Advantages: Plastic mulch promotes earliness by capturing heat, which increases soil temperatures and accelerates growth. Black plastic will prevent the establishment of many in-row weeds. Mulch will reduce fertilizer leaching from tomato beds and will conserve moisture by reducing soil surface evaporation.
Furthermore, where fumigants are used, plastic mulch provides a barrier that increases fumigant efficiency. Plastic mulch also keeps fruit cleaner by reducing soil spatter. When using drip irrigation particularly, disease is often reduced as the foliage stays drier and, again, soil is not splashed onto the plant.
Disadvantages: Specialized equipment is required to lay plastic mulch, which means increased variable costs for custom application or the purchase of this equipment. Yellow and purple nutsedges are not controlled by black plastic mulch, and suitable fumigants/ herbicides must be applied if nutsedge is a potential problem. The cost of plastic removal and disposal is an additional expense.
In most instances, plastic mulch culture has increased yields and returns sufficiently to offset these potential disadvantages.
Bed height and width depend on several factors including soil type, bedding equipment, available plastic, etc. Standard bed heights range from 4 to 8 inches. Bed width is also dictated by equipment and grower preference. Current top widths of beds range from 28 to 36 inches. Ordinarily plastic mulch must be 20 to 24 inches wider than the bed width preferred, so it will cover the sides of the bed and can be tucked under the soil to anchor the plastic. The plastic must fit firmly over the bed to minimize wind movement and facilitate planting. Mulch must be covered at the ends of each bed to prevent wind from getting under the plastic and fumigant from escaping. Any available opening, such as a tear or uncovered tuck, that allows wind entry will cause problems.
Use trickle or drip irrigation with plastic mulch for maximum efficiency. It is still important, however, to have optimum soil moisture during plastic application. The use of overhead irrigation requires punching additional holes in the plastic to facilitate water entry, which compromises the integrity of the plastic and reduces its effectiveness in controlling weeds and minimizing leaching of nutrients.
Land preparation for laying plastic is similar to that described in the prior chapter on culture and varieties. The site should still be deep turned and rototilled. Usually a hipper is used to form a high ridge of soil down the middle of the bed to assure the bed pan is filled with soil. This creates a firm, full bed. The bed pan should leave a bed with a slight crown in the middle that slopes slightly to each side. This prevents water from standing on the plastic or being funneled into the holes and waterlogging the soil. Generally, fumigant is applied as the bed pan passes and plastic is installed just behind the pan. Drip tape is installed at the same time, just in front of the plastic, and should be buried 1 inch below the surface to prevent “snaking” under the plastic and to reduce rodent damage to the tape. Drip tape buried deeper will be difficult to remove and will not wet the upper portion of the root zone. Soil moisture should be good at the time plastic is installed to ensure a good, firm bed.
Fertilizer Management Under Plastic
Apply any needed lime 2 to 3 months ahead of plastic mulch installation. replant fertilizer application will vary with bed size and planting scheme. On larger beds (4 feet wide or greater), it is advisable to incorporate all phosphorus and micro nutrients into the bed before installing plastic. If drip fertilization is not used, apply all the nitrogen and potassium replant as well.
If narrower beds are used, preplant application of all the needed fertilizer may cause fertilizer salt toxicity. Side dressing is required, therefore, by a liquid injection wheel, through drip irrigation, or a banded application outside the tucked portion of the bed.
Most tomatoes are planted where fertilization with drip irrigation is used. In these cases all the phosphorous (P) and micro nutrients, and one-third to one-half of the nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) should be incorporated into the bed before the plastic is laid. Apply the remaining N and K through weekly fertilization beginning just after transplant establishment. The rate of application of these fertilization will change with the stage of the crop.
This article will come with a second part to complete it. Please keep following for more updates.
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