Tomatoes are plants that require a lot of attention to ensure optimum yields. You will need to apply many fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides during the growing period, which can be pretty costly. However, you can be assured of maximum returns by your tomatoes during the harvesting season. You can carry out tomato farming in Kenya in greenhouses or on an open farm. Tomatoes grown in the greenhouse give you more control over the growing conditions than those in the open field. Some of the parameters you can easily control in the greenhouse include the temperature, humidity, water, pests, light and carbon dioxide levels.
Varieties of tomatoes grown in Kenya.
There are two main types of tomatoes grown, i.e., the bush and vine types. The bush variety is usually tiny and grows more horizontally than vertically. Vine types of tomatoes generally grow more vertically than horizontally. The bush variety requires a crop support system to ensure the plants stay upright. Common types of tomatoes grown in Kenya include:
1. Heil room tomatoes – they change from dark red to bright red when they are ripe. Moreover, they are juicy and can either be sweet or tangy.
2. Red Beefsteak tomatoes – the main characteristic that distinguishes these tomatoes is their large size.
3. Cherry tomatoes – these tomatoes come in various shapes and colours, and they are juicy and sweet.
4. Cocktail tomatoes – these tomatoes are softer than the others and have a few seeds.
5. Grape tomatoes – this variety doesn’t shrink when cooked, and they come in various colours.
6. Roma tomatoes – have a pleasing aroma when cooked. In addition to that, they are tasty and fleshy.
7. Green Beefsteak tomatoes – these tomatoes retain their green colour even when ripe.
Climatic conditions for tomato farming in Kenya.
Tomatoes perform well in areas above 2000m above sea level and have temperatures between 200 and 270C. The tomatoes can get chilling injury when grown in places with temperatures below 120C. Furthermore, their growth will be affected when grown in areas having temperatures above 270C. Tomatoes are water-sensitive plants that need an average of 600mm of rainfall in a year. They can grow well in various soils as long as they are well-drained.
Drip irrigation for tomatoes.
Tomatoes are prone to fungal diseases; hence you need an appropriate and effective watering way. Drip irrigation is more suitable for tomato growing since the system delivers water at the root base and in proper amounts. It is also possible to apply fertilisers using the drip system through a fertigation unit.
The area you grow your tomatoes should have a slight slope to avoid waterlogging. If the site is flat, you can use raised beds to plant. It would be best to elevate the beds to a height of 30cm and have a width of 1m. Some of the benefits farmers gain when using drip irrigation for tomato farming in Kenya include:
1. Control of weed growth.
2. Effective fertiliser and water use.
3. Savings on operating costs.
4. Applying water using drip irrigation helps save time.
Eunidrip Irrigation Systems– an ideal company for tomato farmers.
At Eunidrip Irrigation Systems, we have all the equipment you need for tomato farming in Kenya. We can supply, design and install drip irrigation equipment and build greenhouses for those interested in greenhouse tomato farming. Our trellising equipment ensures your tomatoes have strong support and come at a customer-friendly price. You can visit our online shop or our physical shop located at George Morara Road in Nakuru town. Please feel free to contact us on 0728163329 in case of any questions.