A guide to tomato farming in kenya Sucessful Farming Made Possible
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There are many people sitting in offices thinking of venturing into farming as a way of earning some extra cash. This as many have come to realize is a brilliant idea worth following up on. But there are several questions they all end up asking themselves especially when they have no prior experience in farming, “where do I start?.”

In this article, I intent to provide farmers with the relevant information necessary information to start tomato farming. The intention is to make farmer understand as much as they can about the planting and maintenance process. Other tutorials/guides will follow on other crops. Feel free to suggest the crops to be featured next in.

This tomato farming guide will look at the process of planting, maintaining and harvesting tomatoes. We will also address the factors to consider before planting tomatoes.

First, you need to choose a suitable location for planting. An important factor is access to water. Water proximity should be as close as possible to avoid added costs of transporting/pumping water. Alternatively water tanks can be used and this is specifically suitable when using drip irrigation system.

The previous crop planted on the land should also be considered as tomatoes should not be planted immediately after potatoes or pepper and a 3 month break should be observed. This is to minimize on risk of diseases and reduce costs on disease management. Gently sloping land is best as it facilitates drainage during rainy periods especially for open air method.

The soil should be deep well drained loam. The soil should be prepared well and loosened and broken down well. The optimal pH for tomatoes is around 6-7.5. Soil analysis can be done to determine this and help you come up with the list of required fertilizer to prepare the land. If the pH is low, lime can be used to raise it and if high, gypsum can be used to lower it.

Seed Beds Preparation

The tomatoes can be raised in seed beds or trays. I personally like trays as they increase the chances of the seedlings surviving. Seed beds are prepared by raising soil around 15cm high and leave spaces for walkways of around 30cm or more between beds. The soil should be fine and made up of small particles. This is to make it easier for the small seeds to break through. The seeds should not be buried deep into the soil but planted at a depth of around 1cm.You can use your finger to draw the lines in which you plant the seeds and covered just slightly with soil. Spacing between rows should be around 15cm. To increase moisture level, the bed is covered with hay or dry grass. This also reduces splash effect during watering.

Watering is best done in the morning and the seeds are expected to start showing/sprouting in around 8days. The watering should continue until a week or two before transplanting where it is reduced to harden the seedlings. It takes about month before transplanting is required. Regular checks for pests and diseases should be carried out, the earlier diseases are spotted and treated, the better the survival rate.

Transplanting

This is done using a pang or trowel. It is good practice to ensure that the roots carry abit/a ball of soil during transplanting to increase success rate after transplanting. The seedlings are then planted in holes with spacing of around 60*45.

There is a general concept of fertilization where phosphate fertilizer is applied at the base for root development (DAP or TSP) and urea or CAN used for leaf development after transplanting. Urea is applied at 2-3 weeks or CAN after 5 weeks. At the start of flowering, top dress with NPK and this can be repeated after the first harvest. Remember that fertilization is done to compensate for soil deficiency. For the best results

Irrigation

This is important to ensure that the plants get adequate water supply. This method is mostly used in greenhouses but is also effective with open air farming. Greenhouses mostly come with 500ltrs water tanks that can serve only one tank. For bigger farms, especially outdoor, one big tank can be constructed or bought to serve the entire network of drip pipes. Excessive watering is however not good for the plants as it may cause leaching of nutrients.

Plant Support

tomato farming guide

This is done by tying a plant vertically using a string and poles. Two poles are connected using a wire and plants suspended using strings that are tied to it. This method increases productivity of tomatoes as compared to traditional open air methods. The plants grow vertically having several fruit clusters along the stem. Support should be done early after transplanting when the plant is still young to avoid stem damage/breaking later on.

Pruning is removing side shoots, old leaves, diseased leaves and laterals. This should be done weekly to remove side shoots before they develop. Weeding should be done regularly as weeds compete for nutrients with the plants.

The tomatoes should be ready for harvesting as from the 70th day onwards depending on the variety planted.

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Eric K. (Farming Afrika Admin)
Eric K. (Farming Afrika Admin)
I am a farmer and business man, I love travelling, exploring and meeting new people. I think I was born a farmer. I want to make farming great again and tell the story.So help me God!

37 Comments

  1. Emmanuel Mbaayi says:

    Good article, but you did not cover tomato diseases and how to control them

  2. Emmanuel Oriedo says:

    Hey i have been visiting your blog and i really love what you share. Am a Student of Bsc Agriculture. Please connect me so that i can also contribute to this good things. Thank you.

  3. mary kathomi says:

    thank you for the lovely information

    please enlighten us on tomato diseases and how to control

    also tell me, after planting tomato, what crop can follow on the same piece of land and do wel?

    thank you

  4. Caroline says:

    I am planning to start farming soon and I was for the Idea that tomatoes will be a good start. This article has given me all the great insights that will help in kicking off the project.

  5. wanjiru says:

    Good. Love ua articles. Write on farming tomatoes successfully during wet seasons.

  6. erick omondi says:

    Your ideas are great, i have learnt alot

  7. Michael Nyabala says:

    congratulations for the good job you’ve been doing. i’ve been growing tomatoes but I always fail on how to control the late blight. I always fail to harvest other upper steps but only the first two steps. please,help

  8. bonnie says:

    which is best planting season to time proper marketing

  9. Junius Gitonga says:

    As a new tomato farmer i would like to lean more on tomatoes.

  10. paul mbogua njenga says:

    i like it and so impressed plan to start one (greenhouse) soon.hope nd look for your support and guind.Asante saaana.

  11. Rose Ojwang says:

    Educative article and especially for those aspiring. I am a beginner and I kindly would like to ask for more information in terms of best season to plant. I need to be mentored in this since I have never done farming before but am ready to go.

  12. Dieudonne says:

    Good but more details are to be provided as far as disease and pests control are concerned.

  13. morris says:

    good job..i have developed a great intrest in farming…am starting with tomatoes but also enlighten us with the diseasea n how to control them.

  14. Barrack Elungata says:

    Thank you Eric, got it, the idea! please highlight on how tomatoes do in various part of Kenya.

  15. oscar kibet says:

    Your ideas are brilliant.What about marketing now that i have a plan of planting at least 2 acres at my home that is inElgeiyo marakwet county.Will you be in a position to intervene on this area?

  16. William says:

    Nice…keep it up

  17. kadori says:

    post on pests ,diseases affecting tomatoes and the care.Come out clear on spacing from plant to plant and in between the rows…otherwise thank you very much

  18. Ali Abuyeka says:

    Hi ! Very insightful articles but I need info on how to prevent and or treat diseases of tomatoes.

  19. atimango juliet says:

    keep encouraging and giving us the latest tips

  20. Jane says:

    Your articles are very inspiring. Please advice how to control Bacterial Wilt in tomatoes. Which is the best pesticide. Farming at Kagio Embu, my Variety is Rambo Tomato

  21. lucy mwaura says:

    Thank you for educating us. Next you may consider writing something about onion farming.

    • Eric K. (Farming Afrika Admin) says:

      You are welcome Lucy,
      I will plant onions this coming season and document it. I have a post on some onions i did but they were not succesful

  22. Vivian says:

    Am new in farming….. Planting tomatoes in greenhouse… Advice

  23. josphat ndirangu says:

    I achieved most

  24. kakea says:

    your insight in tomato plantation has been of great help to me and it will stir me to a better start.

  25. frankline murithi says:

    am a diploma holder in agriculture and I like farming ,this a nice occupation when you only know the right procedure to farming, you guys keep it up

  26. Peter Nguta says:

    Good information on farming! Please write on tomato diseases and pests management.

  27. sarah wasike says:

    wow thanks 4 the information. is there a specific season for tomato farming?

  28. Chole Richard says:

    Hi Man,

    Thank you for your very informative article. I have an acre of land of tomatoes. I grew it for the first time early this year and planing to do so ON THE SAME PIECE OF LAND. Is this advisable?

    Secondly, I would onetime like to try green house farming but I find it to be a very expensive venture. Can you recommend for me local materials that I could cheaply if not freely use to make a mini green house? Transparent polythene material? Would that do?

    Thank you

    • Eric K. (Farming Afrika Admin) says:

      Hi Chole,

      It is recommended that crops should be rotated on the farm. Continuous planting of the same crop on a field may promote disease build up in the soils. It is this same problem that faces most greenhouse farmers who get struck by diseases after several seasons of continued tomato farming.
      You can build a greenhouse from timber and polythene. There are contractors out there that do this at almost half the price of the steel greenhouses. I would advice you to however make sure to see other structures done by the contractor as it requires a certain level of skil to do the wooden greenhouse well. Especially the edges. Where are you located? I can link you up with a good contractor

  29. Andrew Teyie says:

    how can i get irrigation kit at acheaper price.

  30. George Kimani says:

    Thanks for that great information about tomato planting.

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