ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO                                                       RGANIC             OMATO                  ...
information available on growing greenhouse           SCHEDULING      THE   CROPtomatoes. Your local extension agent is an...
SOIL AND SOILLESS MEDIA                              Once a pest problem has set in, there are few                        ...
houseplant can be a vector for many diseasesthat attack vegetable crops (4).                                Good (Green)ho...
Optimum air temperature for                            Table 1. Common Disease        sustained tomato growth:            ...
Table 2. Disease-resistant Greenhouse Tomato Varieties*.            Disease                                Resistant Varie...
ing nutrient-rich soil in a greenhouse environ-       even reach a remarkable 25 to 30% after sev-ment takes extra time an...
house Tomatoes” by Janet Miles. This article         the bees begin to die out and the process startsincludes detailed rec...
pH and fertilization levels improves disease re-           bama Cooperative Extension.sistance and increases yields. Using...
Greenfire offers a wide range of organic fertiliz-     Commercial Greenhouse Tomato Production    ers for both soil and so...
Insect and Disease Problems of Tomato                   By Mardi Dodson, Janet Bachmann,Texas A&M University, Aggie Hortic...
APPENDIX ONE                                       PROBLEMS IN THE GREENHOUSE                                       PROBLE...
2. Major Bacterial Diseases of Greenhouse TomatoesName                      Damage                                        ...
APPENDIX TWO                           Transplant Production:                                                      1) Seed...
3 tbsp. Catalyst                                 • 85% Fafard’s Special Organic               5 tbsp. Grow                ...
mulated to provide the following            Recipe for Magna Gro™: Stage 2              N-P-K concentrations:             ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

Organic Greenhouse Tomato Production


Published on

Organic Greenhouse Tomato Production

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Organic Greenhouse Tomato Production

  1. 1. ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO RGANIC OMATO PRODUCTION HORTICULTURE PRODUCTION GUIDEAPPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FOR RURAL AREAS Abstract: This publication offers an overview of organic greenhouse tomato production. To be successful, the small-scale producer needs to do thorough production and marketing research, find or create a niche market, and produce a consis- tently healthy crop. Maintaining optimum fertilization and moisture levels, practicing rigorous pest management, and ensuring good pollination can increase crop yields. Information in this publication includes organic management methods for major diseases and insect pests; organic fertilization recommendations; a list of organic fertilizer suppliers; and a directory of further resources available on the Internet.By Mardi Dodson, Special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth M. Lamb, VegetableJanet Bachmann, Extension Specialist, University of Florida Instituteand Paul Williams of Food and Agricultural Sciences, for reviewing thisMarch 2002 publication. INTRODUCTION Table of Contents Tomatoes are the leading greenhouse vegetable crop in the United States and Canada. In the INTRODUCTION ............................................ 1 U.S., the total acreage in greenhouse tomato EDUCATION IS KEY ..................................... 1 production increased by 40 percent between MARKETING ................................................ 2 1996 and 1999. Statistics for 1999 show that SCHEDULING THE CROP .............................. 2 the U.S. had about 800 acres in greenhouse SOIL AND SOILLESS MEDIA ........................ 3 vegetable production, with tomatoes accounting PEST MANAGEMENT ................................... 3 for 750 of those acres (1). The leading states in RESISTANT VARIETIES ................................. 5 greenhouse vegetable production are California, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, and NUTRITION .................................................. 6 Pennsylvania—each with more than one million GROWER PROFILE ....................................... 7 square feet in production (2). The vast majority POLLINATION .............................................. 8 of greenhouse tomatoes are produced in SUMMARY ................................................... 8 greenhouses using conventional production REFERENCES ................................................ 9 systems. Conventional and organic greenhouse RESOURCES ................................................. 9 production differ in the types of potting media, ORGANIC FERTILIZER fertilization practices, and pest control methods DISTRIBUTORS ................................... 9 they use. INFORMATION ON THE WEB .................. 10 APPENDIX ONE ................................... 12-13 EDUCATION IS KEY APPENDIX TWO ......................................... 14 Education is the first step toward a successful greenhouse tomato crop, and there is a lot ofATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center operated by the National Center for AppropriateTechnology under a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Theseorganizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. ATTRA is located in theOzark Mountains at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702). ATTRAstaff members prefer to receive requests for information about sustainable agriculture via the toll-free number800-346-9140.
  2. 2. information available on growing greenhouse SCHEDULING THE CROPtomatoes. Your local extension agent is an ex-cellent source of information for your area. Greenhouse tomatoes bring the highest priceExtension publications from all U.S. states are from Decemberavailable on the Internet. Most publications can through April, when `be downloaded and printed at no charge. Cali- Days to Maturity: it is too cool for lo-fornia, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Geor- Very Early 45-50 cal field-grown to-gia, and Mississippi all have excellent informa- Early 50-60 matoes. Wintertion on growing greenhouse tomatoes. Dr. Mary Midseason 70-80 growers mayPeet’s Greenhouse Vegetable Production Website is choose between aan especially good resource with links to many one- or two crop system. With the one croprelated websites (see the Web Resources section system, plants are set in September and growfor the website address). This website offers through the winter and spring until late June.valuable information on sustainable production This system works best in the cooler and lessand integrated pest management, with specific humid northern regions and is also used by mostinformation on individual crops. Mississippi Florida growers. In a two-crop system, the fallState Extension Service has many publications crop is succeeded by a spring crop. Tomatoand articles on greenhouse tomato production plants that have been growing since Septemberwritten by Dr. Rick Snyder (see the Web Re- do not have the same vigor as the younger trans-sources section for the website addresses). This plants. The older plants tend to have a denserwebsite focuses mainly on conventional green- growth by winter, which reduces airflow andhouse production; however, much of the infor- aggravates problems with humidity. Plants heldmation is valuable to both organic and conven- over winter are more likely to be infected withtional growers. diseases that thrive on high humidity and cooler temperatures, such as Gray Mold (caused byMARKETING Botrytis cinerea) and Leaf Mold (caused by Cla- dosporium fulvum).Sell your tomato crop before you plant it. It isimportant for small growers to explore niche In a two crop system, the fall crop is seeded be-markets such as selling directly to the public via tween July and September. Check with yourroadside stands or at farmers’ markets. Mar- local extension agent for planting times in yourketing your products as “locally grown” is a area. If the crop is planted too early, high sum-possible strategy to explore. It may also be fea- mer heat can stunt the young plants and delaysible to wholesale your product directly to local harvest. For premium prices, try to scheduleand regional retailers that sell organic produce. the first harvest to coincide with the first frost in your area. In some southern states, first frostDirect market sales are affected by competition may come as late as mid-November to early De-among local greenhouses and by cut-rate whole- organic produce. The market can changerapidly, and greenhouse producers must be Seed the spring crop in mid- to late November.adaptable to change. The popular press and If possible, the seedlings should be started in aadvertising can have a powerful influence on separate house, in case there is a disease or in-consumers. Niche markets can fade overnight sect problem with the fall crop. The seedlingswith the arrival of large wholesale operations will be ready to transplant about six weeks af-or simply by a change in consumer demand (3). ter seeding. Expect to see the first harvest inFor more information, request the ATTRA pub- late March or early April. The spring crop islications Direct Marketing and Organic Market- usually grown until the summer crop of fielding Resources. tomatoes is ready to harvest.PAGE 2 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  3. 3. SOIL AND SOILLESS MEDIA Once a pest problem has set in, there are few options available to organic greenhouse produc-Greenhouse tomatoes can be grown in soil or in ers. For detailed information on specific green-soilless media. In soil culture, crops are grown house tomato pests and controls, see Appendixat ground level or in raised beds. The soil is One. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is ausually amended with approved compost and strategy that can be used in organic productionother approved organic additives. The poten- as well as in conventional production systems.tial for disease and nematode build up in or-ganic soil-based greenhouses is quite high in IPM promotes a variety of tactics, including themany areas. Tomatoes, in particular, are vul- use of pest resistant varieties and biological,nerable to many soil-borne diseases, including cultural, and physical controls. Pesticides are aVerticillium and Fusarium wilts. Nematodes that control tactic used in IPM, but they are usedcan cause root knot galling can also be a prob- only when needed. Pesticide use is thus mini-lem in some soils. Many growers go to the added mized without jeopardizing crop quality orexpense of grafting onto disease and nematode yield. Organic production systems use all ofresistant rootstock. (Additional information these, with the exception of chemical pesticides.about grafting is available at http:// Other pesticides, such as insecticidal soaps, .) biopesticides, botanicals, and mineral-basedSteam pasteurization and solarization in the pesticides, are allowed. For more detailed in-summer are approved pest control methods for formation on greenhouse IPM, refer to thenematodes, Verticilium, Fusarium, and other soil- ATTRA publication, Integrated Pest Managementborne pathogens. for Greenhouse Crops. Cultural Control Methods For general information about green- In a closed environment, some diseases can lit- house organics, see the ATTRA pub- erally spread overnight. Pathogens come in con- lication Organic Greenhouse Vegetable tact with the plants in many ways. Infested soil Production. or plant debris, air movement, water, and con- taminated hands, tools, or clothing can all spread disease. Good ventilation and air circu- lation, rigorous sanitation practices, and main-Soilless cultivation methods—sometimes collec- taining optimum temperatures and humiditytively (and loosely) known as hydroponics—are levels are effective methods of disease controlcovered in the ATTRA publications Greenhouse in the greenhouse.and Hydroponic Vegetable Resources on the Internetand Aquaponics: Integration of Hydroponics with SanitationAquaculture. Rigorous sanitation practices are essential forPEST MANAGEMENT healthy and productive crops. Before a crop is planted, it is important to thoroughly inspectOne key to a successful organic greenhouse op- the greenhouse. Screens, doors, and wallseration is maintaining rigorous pest manage- should be checked periodically for any tears orment. A pesticide-free greenhouse means that other openings. Mulching around the plantsgrowers must practice good sanitation and pest and using landscape fabric on walkways helpsmanagement methods from the beginning. to reduce weeds and soilborne pathogens. It isPathogens or insects can become epidemic in a not advisable to store houseplants in vegetablegreenhouse environment in a very short time. production greenhouses. A seemingly healthy //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 3
  4. 4. houseplant can be a vector for many diseasesthat attack vegetable crops (4). Good (Green)housekeepingDuring tomato production, debris and cull piles [ Keep doors closed and make sure allare a prime source of many plant diseases. screens are in good working order.Promptly remove all plant debris from the [ Make sure all plant debris and cullgreenhouse areas before an infection can take piles are removed Work surfaces should be made of non- [ Sanitize hands, tools, and machineryporous material, such as stainless steel, and ster- when moving from house to house.ilized after each use. Laundry bleach is an ac- [ Have a shoe wash at each entrance.ceptable disinfectant, providing the residual [ Wash clothing regularly in hot water.chlorine levels in the bleach-water do not ex- [ Do not store houseplants inceed those set by the Safe Drinking Water Act production greenhouses.(4 ppm).Proper sterilization of hands, feet, and clothingwhen moving from house to house greatly re-duces cross-contamination. Before entering thegreenhouse, hands should be washed in hot Ventilation, temperature control, andsoapy water. For tobacco users (both smokers humidity reductionand chewers), a rinse of 1– 3% trisodium phos-phate prior to washing in hot soapy water is Temperature control and humidity reductionrecommended to avoid the introduction of To- play a major role in maintaining greenhousebacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) into the greenhouse. crop health. During the fall, winter, and spring,Because TMV can survive on clothing for long when the majority of greenhouse tomatoes areperiods of time (up to 3 years in a darkened grown, high humidity and limited air circula-closet), it is important that clothing and over- tion give many diseases an ideal growing envi-alls be changed daily and washed and dried at ronment. Moisture condensation creates humidhigh temperatures. A shoe wash with a disin- conditions within the foliage, encouraging fun-fectant-soaked mat at the entrance to the green- gal and bacterial infection (6).house will help eliminate pathogens brought inon shoes. Adding a small enclosed entry porch Good ventilation and proper temperature con-to the greenhouse provides a place to decon- trol are critical for reducing humidity and con-taminate shoes, tools, and equipment, and also trolling airborne fungal diseases. To ensure goodhelps keep out pests. In situations where there ventilation, allow several feet of airspace aboveis a contagious disease such as bacterial canker, the plants and use proper spacing between them.all tools, machinery, and electromechanical pol- Pruning the suckers just below the first fruit setlinators should be sterilized at the end of every also helps to maintain good air circulationrow with ethanol or 0.5% sodium hypochlorite within the canopy. To increase ventilation, Mike(5). Collins of Old Athens Farm in Westminster, Vermont, culls the bottom leaves once his plants are four feet tall. Collins cuts the leaves off an inch away from the stem and snaps off the stubs at the next pruning to minimize Botrytis infec- tion sites (7). Some greenhouse producers also “lower” their crop—move the plants on their supports, so the sections ready for harvest are always at the same level, enjoying the same tem- © perature.PAGE 4 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  5. 5. Optimum air temperature for Table 1. Common Disease sustained tomato growth: Abbreviations*. Disease Abbreviation Day: 75–85°F Bacterial Speck BSK-O Night: 60–70°F Early Blight (Alternaria) EB Fusarium Crown & Root Rot FCRR or FrWi Verticilium Wilt Race 1 V Fusarium Wilt Race 1 F1Temperature control can be maintained inseveral ways. Polyethylene tubing works best Race 2 F2for maintaining even temperatures throughout Race 3 F3the greenhouse. With this system, fresh air Leaf Mold (Cladosporium) C2, C5, C7from the outside can be warmed with fan-type Nematode Nheaters to maintain optimum temperatures.Fans inside the greenhouse, mounted above Powdery Mildew (Oidium) Oithe crop, help keep temperature uniform. Gray Leaf Spot (Stemphylium) StWith a pad and fan system, the air can be too Tobacco Mosaic Virus TMVcool at the cooling-pad end and too warm at Tomato Spotted Wilt TSW or TmSwthe fan end. Temperature differences of 10–15ºF can occur within the same greenhouse, Tomato Mosaic Virus ToMV *These are examples of common abbreviations. Suppliers maywhich can cause catfacing, uneven growth, differ in abbreviation styles.failures in fruit set, and devastating foliagedisease (6). And the higher the humidity, the To indicate disease resistance, a series of abbre-less efficient evaporative systems are. For even viations is usually listed with the description ofheating from the ground up, heating pipes can the cultivar. Each abbreviation stands for a spe-be placed between alternating rows. The cific pathogen. For instance, Tobacco Mosaicheated air rises and pushes the cooler air to Virus is TMV; Fusarium Wilt race 1 is F1, etc.the floor, helping to maintain good airflow. (8). Fusarium Crown and Root Rot may beIn hot climates, greenhouses need higher roofs printed as FCRR or FrWi depending on the dis-to keep hot air away from the plants. tributor. See Table 1 for examples of major greenhouse tomato diseases and their abbrevia-RESISTANT VARIETIES tions. See Table 2 for a list of resistant green- house tomato varieties.Using disease-resistant seeds and transplantswhenever possible is one of the organic green- Once a variety of tomato has been selected, thehouse producer’s best lines of defense. For next task is to decide whether to grow trans-best results, use good- quality seed from a repu- plants from seed or to purchase plugs. Eithertable source. Organic growers must use or- way, all transplants must be grown using ap-ganically grown seed if it is commercially proved organic methods and inputs. The ad-available, or untreated seed from a conven- vantages of producing plugs in-house includetional source if it is not. For a list of organic an efficient use of greenhouse space and rapidand untreated seed and transplant suppliers, production. The disadvantages include extrasee ATTRA’s Suppliers of Organic and/or Non- labor cost for seeding and transplant produc-GE Seeds and Plants. tion and increased heating costs in winter (plugs //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 5
  6. 6. Table 2. Disease-resistant Greenhouse Tomato Varieties*. Disease Resistant Varieties Tolerant Varieties Fusarium Crown and Root Rot Trust Fusarium Wilt Race 1 Caruso, Trust Vendor Race 2 Caruso, Trust Vendor Race 3 Leaf Mold (Cladosporium) Buffalo, Capello, Caruso (races A thru E), Cobra, Dombito, Jumbo, Match, Pink KR15 and Pink CR-864 with gene Cf-5, Trend, Trust (races A thru E), Ultra Sweet & Ultra Pink with Cf-7, Vision, Furon and Vetomold with Cf-2 Powdery Mildew (Oidium) DRW 4409, Belliro (DRW 4369) Grace, Milano Gray Leaf Spot (Stemphylium) Tobacco Mosaic Virus Boa, Caruso, Cobra, Trust Vendor Tomato Spotted Wilt DRW 5719 *Remember, you must use organically grown seed if it is available commercially, or untreated seed if it is not.are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations). NUTRITIONThere are many issues to consider when decid-ing whether to use seed or transplants. The size A well-fed plant is a healthy plant. Maintain-of the operation, available labor, and cost of ing optimum nutrient, light, and moisture levproduction are just a few considerations. Ac- els will result in healthier plants that are bettercording to Kessler and Behe (9): able to fend off diseases and insect pests. To- matoes are heavy feeders because of their rapid The decision should be based partially on growth and long production season. Tomatoes market considerations, labor availability and need 75 to 100 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre expertise, the number of plants to be pro- and moderate to high levels of phosphorus (P) duced, the cost per plug, and the special- and potassium (K) for maximum yields. Soil ized equipment and facilities required. This tests can establish what nutrients soil needs. investment is often not economically practi- cal unless production is large or plugs are Some growers add a mixture of animal meal by- marketed to other growers. For most small products, rock phosphate, and kelp meal to pro- to medium sized growers, especially [begin- vide needed nutrients. Fertilizer efficiency is ners], it is often more economical to highest at a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. To help maintain purchase…plugs from specialized growers proper nutrition and pH levels, a pH meter is a and concentrate on producing finished con- handy tool. For more information on organic tainers. The issue of grow versus purchase fertilizers and the nutritional needs of tomatoes, should be reviewed periodically as the needs see the ATTRA publication, Organic Tomato Pro- and facilities of the grower change. duction.For more-detailed information on plug produc- According to the National Organic Standards,tion, see the ATTRA publication Organic Plug it appears that organic greenhouse crops mayand Transplant Production. be grown either in soil or in soilless media. Build-PAGE 6 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  7. 7. ing nutrient-rich soil in a greenhouse environ- even reach a remarkable 25 to 30% after sev-ment takes extra time and effort, but the results eral years. For more information on large-scaleare well worth it. Compost is the main nutrient composting, see ATTRA’s Farm-Scale Compostingingredient used in soil beds. One grower in Resource List.Canada applies compost at a rate of one or twocubic meters per 100 square meters of bed space Soilless technology shows promise for increas-(1.2 to 2.4 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet). ing yields and reducing economic losses to soil-The beds are then covered with straw mulch. borne diseases. Dr. Mary Peet and Janet MilesFive to six applications were added to the beds of North Carolina State University have recentlyat five- to six-week intervals in the first year. concluded a study to develop organic fertiliza-The compost was applied in smaller amounts tion regimes specifically for greenhouse toma-and less frequently through the fourth year. A toes using soilless media. See Appendix Tworich, healthy soil was the result. Soil organic for a copy of the article, “Recommended Fertili-matter usually ranges from 10 to 12% and can zation Practices for Producing Organic Green- GROWER PROFILE Six years ago, Mike Duda, a market gardener from Victor, Montana, was just sick about his tomatoes: The high winds and cool nights around Victor were costing him two-thirds of his crop. That was when he decided to try greenhouse production. He bought a 30’ x 90’ metal- frame greenhouse kit, erected it himself, and installed an inflateable poly cover. A second-hand oil-fired funace supplied the heat. An old attic fan furnished ventilation exhaust, and some used house fans moved air around inside the greenhouse. And not much has changed since then, except that Mike’s tomato harvest has tripled. Duda grows in soil, on raised beds. As he describes it: “We live in cattle country, so manure is easy to find. I use aged (three years) cow manure about two inches deep, dolimite lime, rock phosphate, and a little homemade wood ash. I use a soil test to gauge the amounts and hand- dig the beds. . . . I also fertilize with seabird guano every couple of weeks. I use drip tape for irrigation and tie the tomatoes to twine attached to the greenhouse for support. “I start the tomatoes from seed on December 26. . . . Harvest starts the last week in May and continues through October. It peaks mid-June to mid-August, when we get 250 pounds a week. “I use garden variety tomatoes, not greenhouse varieties. They’re bred for shipping, not taste. I use Brandywine with good results, Oregon Spring with excellent results (they don’t need pol- lination), and Sungold with excellent results (they produce until Thanksgiving). “I spray with kelp weekly until the fruit set. It works well. You eventually get some disease, but it’s near the end of the crop, so you tolerate it as long as you can, then remove [the diseased plants]. We do see a few aphids. I use soap spray when they get too bad. This year I’m going to try some beneficial insects; it’s hard to spray effectively when the plants are big. “We sell all of our tomatoes at the farmers’ market, all at retail prices. It’s good for us, and the customers love fresh tomatoes. This will be our sixth year for greenhouse tomatoes, and I can’t imagine not having them. It’s fun to be able to start gardening in the middle of winter, and tomatoes always sell well.” //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 7
  8. 8. house Tomatoes” by Janet Miles. This article the bees begin to die out and the process startsincludes detailed recipes for each stage of ma- over again. However, due to breakthroughs inturity. bumblebee breeding, full-strength colonies of bumblebees are now available year round.POLLINATION For commercial production, the bees are shippedTomato plants have both male and female re- by airfreight and placed in the greenhouse asproductive organs on the same flower, so with the first flowers begin to open. Stocking ratea little help, each flower can self-pollinate. In varies from one hive for a small greenhouse tothe natural environment, wind and insects pol- two to four hives per acre for larger facilities.linate tomatoes. In a greenhouse environment, The hives are usually replaced every 8 to 12more attention must be paid to the pollination weeks as the colony begins to die out. Thereprocess to ensure maximum fruit set. Today, are two primary species of bees produced intomatoes are pollinated in greenhouses either Canada and the United States: Bombusby bumblebees or by mechanical pollinators. occidentalis for the west and B. impatiens for the east. According to the USDA and AgCanada,Mechanical pollination is done with a battery- the dividing line is at the 100th meridian, whichpowered, hand-held pollinator or by electric runs through the middle of Texas, Oklahoma,vibrating benches. The hand-held pollinators Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. To avoidare labor-intensive. Workers have to hand pol- confusion, the USDA has classified these stateslinate each plant two or three days each week as “eastern” states in the case of bees. Beesduring flowering. Vibration benches work on West, Inc., supplies western species, andan automatic timer and do not require much Koppert Biological Systems, Inc., supplies east-labor after installation, but they are expensive ern species (10).and not cost-effective for small- to medium-scalegrowers. SUMMARYMechanical pollination of tomatoes was pre- A successful organic greenhouse tomato opera-dominant in U.S. and Canadian greenhouses tion will require research into all aspects of theuntil the mid-90s, when the use of bumblebees business. Before planting the first seed, it is im-was adopted from European growers. Today, portant to locate a niche market in your areamost greenhouse tomato growers in North and schedule harvests to coincide with times ofAmerica are using bumblebees, which work high market value. Soil systems have manyevery day of the week, selecting only the flow- advantages compared to soilless systems; how-ers that are ready to pollinate. Bumblebees can ever, they can be sources for soil-borne diseasespollinate up to 30 flowers a minute. It is not such as Verticilium and Fusarium wilts. Main-unusual to have 100% pollination, which results taining rigorous pest control is key to maintain-in higher yields than are achieved with me- ing a healthy, productive greenhouse operation.chanical methods (10). Successful pest control includes incorporating Integrated Pest Management practices, includ-Bumblebees are mild-mannered and easy to ing cultural control methods, and the plantingwork with; they rarely sting without provoca- of disease resistant varieties. Organically growntion. They start a new colony each year, with seed must be used if available. If not, commer-only a single queen hibernating over the win- cially available untreated seed may be used. Allter. This queen then starts a new colony in the transplants, whether purchased or grown onspring. By mid-summer the colony can num- the farm, must be grown using approved or-ber in the hundreds. At the end of the summer ganic methods and inputs. Maintaining properPAGE 8 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  9. 9. pH and fertilization levels improves disease re- bama Cooperative Extension.sistance and increases yields. Using bumblebees < pollination can also increase yields and re- extcomm/publications/anr/anr-596/duce labor costs. anr-596.htm>. 16 p. 10) Kueneman, Tom. 1995. The pollinator.REFERENCES Greenhouse Product News. Vol. 5, No. 9. p. 8, 10.1) Snyder, Richard G. 1995. Greenhouse Tomatoes—The Basics of Successful Production. Proceedings of the Green- RESOURCES house Tomato Seminar. August 3-4, 1995. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Organic Fertilizer Distributors2) Census of Agriculture. 1997. U.S. Cen- Agri-Growth International, Inc. sus of Horticulture Specialties. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Com- Agri-Growth International, Inc. is a manufac- merce, Washington, D.C. turer of organic plant nutrients and stimula- tors. This website offers information on their3) Snyder, Rick. No date. Greenhouse products.Send e-mail to, Tomato Handbook. Mississippi State Ex- or contact them at 1-780-484-0102 for a dis- tension Service. tributor listing in your area. < pub1828.htm>. Alternative Garden Supply Dr. Craig Anderson, Horticulture Exten- Alternative Garden Supply offers a complete sion Specialist, University of Arkansas, online store and a listing of retailers in your area. Personal communication, June 2001. They carry a variety of liquid organic fertilizers such as Earth Juice, Fox Farm, Pure Blend,5) Jarvis, William R. 1992. Managing Dis- Maxicrop, and Age Old Organics. eases in Greenhouse Crops. The Ameri- can Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, Atlantis Hydroponics Minnesota. p. 148–149. 1035 Baxter Street Athens, GA 306036) Wittwer, S. and S. Honma. 1979. Green- (706) 543-9980 house Tomatoes, Lettuce & Cucumbers. Toll Free: (888) 305-4450 Michigan State University Press, East Fax: (706) 543-9919 Lansing. p. 72. http://www.atlantishydroponics.com7) Grubinger, Vernon P. 1999. Sustainable Atlantis Hydroponics offers a wide range of or- Vegetable Production from Start-up to ganic fertilizers and stimulants: Alaska Start- Market. NARES. New York, New York. up, Earth Juice, Fox Farm, Neptune’s Harvest, p. 229–233. Pure Blend, and others.8) Sanders, Doug. 1999. The Perfect Vari- Greenfire ety. American Vegetable Grower. Vol. 347 Nord Ave. #1 47, No. 12. p. 47-48. Chico, CA 95926 (916) 895-83019) Kessler, J. and Bridget Behe. 1998. Pro- Fax: (916) 895-8317 duction and Marketing. ANR-596. Ala- //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 9
  10. 10. Greenfire offers a wide range of organic fertiliz- Commercial Greenhouse Tomato Production ers for both soil and soilless media. Greenfire Colorado State University; Cooperative Exten- is an Earth Juice distributor. sion Service den/07606.pdfsales@growlight.com Dr. Mary Peet’s Greenhouse Vegetable Pro- Online catalog with a distributor list for retail- duction Website ers in your area. Organic products include North Carolina State University B’Cuzz Growth, Root, and Bloom Stimulators; Nitrozime; and Age Old Organics Liquid Grow, greenhouse_veg/resources/ Bloom, and Kelp. Resource page with links to conversion tools, print information, and related Websites.Harvest Moon Hydroponics Environmental Control for Greenhouse Harvest Moon Hydroponics offers a complete Tomatoes online store with a wide range of organic fertil- Mississippi State University, Cooperative Exten- izers and stimulants: including B’Cuzz, Earth sion Service Juice, Pure Blend, Superthrive, Nitron A-35, Grow Big, and Big Bloom. The website includes a list of Harvest Moon retailers in your area. Florida Greenhouse Design University of Florida, Cooperative ExtensionHome Harvest® Garden Supply, Inc. Service3807 Bank Street, Maryland 21224 htmlgen.exe?DOCUMENT_AE0161-800-348-4769Voice: (410) 327-8403 Grafting, De Ruiter Seeds Inc.Fax: (410) 327-8411 (Guidelines for Grafting) Earth Juice, Fox Farm, and others. (Rootstock Germination)HydroMall™ Greenhouse Tomato Handbook Mississippi State University, Cooperative Exten-Organic_Fertilizer/ sion Service HydroMall™ offers organic fertilizers from Agri-Growth International, Inc., such as: Myco-Net Biological Inoculum, Nutri-Max, and Greenhouse Tomato Production others. Order online from HydroMall™ or see Oregon State University, College of Agricultural their Stores Directory for a retail store near you. Sciences on the Web tomatogh.htmlBudget for Greenhouse Tomatoes Growing Hydroponic TomatoesMississippi State University, Cooperative Exten- The University of Arizona, College of Agricul-sion Service ture index.htmPAGE 10 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  11. 11. Insect and Disease Problems of Tomato By Mardi Dodson, Janet Bachmann,Texas A&M University, Aggie Horticulture and Paul Williams NCAT Agriculture Specialistsimagemap/mgmaps/mgprob.html Edited by Richard EarlesNorth Carolina State’s Greenhouse Food Pro- Formatted by Cynthia Arnoldduction WebsiteNorth Carolina State University March 2002 IP 190 Topics include culltural control, biological con- trol, and organic production.Single Truss Tomato Production SystemBioresource Engineering DepartmentRutgers University - Cook College, New Jersey A Greenhouse BusinessMississippi State University, Cooperative Exten-sion Service Vegetable TransplantsMississippi State University, Cooperative Exten-sion Service Greenhouse Management HandbookTexas A&M University, Aggie Horticulture Plant Problems FAQ, by Kay Klier An overview of tomato plant problems and or- ganic cures. The electronic version of Organic Greenhouse Tomato Production is located at: HTML PDF //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 11
  12. 12. APPENDIX ONE PROBLEMS IN THE GREENHOUSE PROBLEMS IN THE GREENHOUSE 1. Major Fungal Diseases of Greenhouse TomatoesName Damage Control Use resistant cultivar; Sanitation at Leaves have brown spots withEarly blight season end; Mulching; Air circulation; concentric rings and yellow "halos";Alternaria solani Avoid water on leaves; Rotation; Increases in warm, humid weather. Copper spray. Tops of plants wilt; Dark brownFusarium Crown & Root Rot colored root rot at soil level; Stems Use resistant varieties; Transplant whenFusarium oxysporum sp. radicis- may have red-brown vascular soil or media is 680F or above; Removelycopersici discoloration; Symptoms appear just first fruit to allow plant to recover. before first pick. Clearing of veins and chlorosis of Use resistant varieties; Sterilize seed; lower leaves; Wilting leaves and Use of soilless media or hydroponics stems; Marginal necrosis of leaves andFusarium Wilt Fusarium reduces incidence of disease; Use good eventual defoliation; Roots may beoxysporum sp. lycopersici sanitation practices; Avoid excessive stunted; Stems may have borwon warming of cultivation beds (keep discoloration; Prefers warm below 820F). greenhouses. Older leaves affected first. Small Use resistant varieties; ReduceGray Leaf Spot Stemphylium brown to black spots on leaves, humidity and increase air circulation;solani enlarging to gray centers that drop out Keep canopy dry; Avoid water on to make several tiny holes in leaf. leaves; Destroy infected plant material. Keep canopy dry; Avoid water on Gray, velvety coating of spores on leaves; Reduce humidity (below 85%);Gray Mold fruit, stems, and petioles. Thrives at Increase temperature and airBotrytis cinerea temperatures below 650F. Begins on circulation; Ventilate at night if flowers and spreads to fruit. possible. Good sanitation practices; Use resistant Chlorotic (yellow-green) spots on varieties; Proper row and plant upper surface of older leaves; spacing; Avoid excessive Nitrogen; Undersurface may have olive greenLeaf Mold Reduce humidity (below 85%) and spores; Spots merge to affect entireFulvia Fulva increase air circulation (heated air); leaf; Prefers poorly ventilated, cool,(syn. Cladosporium fulvum) Avoid water on leaves; Burn or bury humid conditions; Spreads by air, infected plant material; At seasons end, water, workers and insects; Affects remove and destroy all crop residue soil or hydroponics. and sanitize greenhouse. Avoid water on leaves; Humidity Leaves develop irregular, bright control; Sulfur sprays; BiofungicidePowdery Mildew yellow blotches; Severe infections can AQ10 (Ampelomyces quisqualis); BakingOidium lycopersicum kill leaves; Sunscald from leaf loss. Soda (see ATTRA pub Use of Baking Soda as a Fungicide); Copper sprays. Numerous small brown water-soaked spots on leaves, petioles & stems with Rotation; Avoid water on leaves; Burn gray or black centers; Leaves turn or bury infected plant material;Septoria Leaf Spot yellow and drop; Sunscald may Maintain optimum temperatures andSeptoria lycopersici occur; Spreads by wind, water, hands, humidity control; Aphid control (see tools & aphids; Favors warm, dry ATTRAs Greenhouse IPM: Sustainable days and damp nights (85%-100% Aphid Control); Copper sprays. relative humidity).PAGE 12 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  13. 13. 2. Major Bacterial Diseases of Greenhouse TomatoesName Damage Control Use disease-free seed or sterilize Very contagious; Wilting lower seed in 1300F water for 25 minutes; leaflets; Older leaflets curl upwards Use drip irrigation to reduce splash; and die from margin inward; Cankers Reduce humidity and increase airBacterial Canker may form on stems; Brown, dry, circulation; Maintain optimumClavibacter mealy pith in later stages; Small, temperatures; Use sterilized soil ormichiganensis pv. raised white "birds eye spots" on fruit; potting mixes; Disinfect benches,michiganensis Spreads from infected seed (systemic) hoses, tools, etc. between crops; or tools, hands, insects, or splashing Sterilize or discard wooden stakes; water (local); Infection is favored by Destroy infected plant material; warm, wet conditions. Copper sprays. Use resistant cultivar; Use disease- free seed or sterilize seed in 1300F Most severe in 3-5 leaf stage; Small, water for 25 minutes; Reduce dark lesions with yellow rings onBacterial Speck humidity and increase air circulation; leaves; Superficial, brown, rough spots Maintain optimum temperaturesPseudomonas syringae on fruit; Retards growth and delays (Bacterial Speck disappears withpv. tomato fruit maturity; Spread by sprinkler warmer temperatures); Use drip irrigation; Infection is favored by cool, irrigation or mulch to reduce splash; wet conditions. Remove and destroy infested plants if severe; Copper sprays. 3. Major Insect Pests of Greenhouse TomatoesName Damage Control Sucks sap; Vectors disease; Creates honeydew which Insecticidal soap; Beneficial attracts sooty mold; insects (ladybugs, lacewings, Misshapen foliage, flowers, etc.) Beauvaria bassiana;Aphid and fruit Pyrethrum; Rotenone Destroy infested fruit; Bt; Row*Fruitworm Feeds on foliage, flower, fruit covers; Neem; Ryania Destroy infested fruit; Till at Fruit has narrow black season end to prevent*Pinworm tunnels overwintering; Sabadilla Insecticidal soap; Yellow Distorted, yellow leaves; sticky traps; Beneficial insects; Honeydew which attracts Garlic oil; Pyrethrum;Whitefly sooty mold Rotenone; Beauveria bassiana *Affects mostly field tomato crops but has also been known to infest greenhouse crops //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 13
  14. 14. APPENDIX TWO Transplant Production: 1) Seeds: 4-7 days until first true leaves RECOMMENDED FERTILIZATION appear PRACTICES FOR PRODUCING ORGANIC a) sow in sterile seedling mix GREENHOUSE TOMATOES b) Place seed trays in a mist bed with bottom heat i) Temperature: 75-80°F BY JANET MILES ii) 16 hours fluorescent lightJanet Miles developed these recommendations 2) Transplant Seedlings: 4-6 weeks depend-as part of an M.S. thesis under the supervision ing on Fall or Spring cropof Dr. Mary Peet. The thesis is entitled: Organic, a) 4” pots with peat or coir-basedBiorational and Conventional Growing Systems substratefor Greenhouse Tomatoes, 2000, North Caro- *note: We used a special mixlina State University, Raleigh, NC. provided by Faford which is equivalent to their commercial 4-P, but withoutFor more information on this study and on or the starter nutrient charge or wettingganic production, visit the North Carolina agent, which would not be acceptableGreenhouse Food Production website: for organic certification. (See Substrate<>. Recipe in the Greenhouse Production section).These recommendations were devised from b) Nutrients:studies performed on ‘Grace’ tomatoes—a vari- i) Constant feed of fertilizer/waterety bred specifically for greenhouse production, solutiongrown in 5 gallon upright plastic bags with soil- ii) Earth Juice™ brand: Thisless substrates in polyethylene greenhouses. product is comprised of three different formulations. TheyFor current requirements for organically certi- also have a source of K2O and afied greenhouse vegetable production, consult source of micronutrients.the National Organic Program website <http:/ Grow: analysis 2-1-1. Ingredi-/>. Draft recom- ents: bat guano, Norwegianmendations for greenhouses are available at: Sea Kelp, natural sulfate of<http:/ potash, feather meal, oat bran,nosb/recommedations/Crops recommenda- blood meal, and steamed bonetions/greenhouse.pdf>. For additional com- meal.mercial materials which may be allowable for Bloom: analysis 0-3-1. Ingrediorganic growers, consult the Organic Material ents: bat guano, Chilean seaReview Institute website<>. bird guano, Norwegian SeaA list of suppliers of organic fertilizers and hor- Kelp, natural sulfate of potash,ticultural substrates is available from ATTRA steamed bone meal, oat bran,<>. and rock phosphate. Catalyst: analysis 0.03-0.01-This study was begun in 1998, before the initia- 0.10. Ingredients: oat bran,tion of national standards and with few poten- kelp, wheat malt, molasses,tially certifiable materials available. It can be and yeast.used as a guideline for selecting and using or- Earth Juice Recipeganic fertilizers for greenhouse tomato produc- Mixed in 2 gal. water for directtion, but growers are advised to check the fertilization:ATTRA and OMRI sites for new materials and (Not concentrated for injectors)with their certifying agency to see if particular 3 tbsp. Bloommaterials are allowable.PAGE 14 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
  15. 15. 3 tbsp. Catalyst • 85% Fafard’s Special Organic 5 tbsp. Grow Mix1: Ingredients: Canadian 2 tbsp. K2O sphagnum peat moss, * To provide 90 ppm N, 45 ppm vermiculite, perlite, gypsum, P, and 195 ppm K. dolomitic lime, pine bark iii) Magna Gro™ brand: • 15% Vermicycle (commercial HydroponicBase Mix analysis worm compost) 2-3-6. Ingredi ents: poultry • J.H. Biotech2 “Natural Wet” 2T./ compost tea, pasteurized blood gal. meal, calcium phosphate, and • 1.25 lbs./cu.yd. each, blood meal, seaweed. This also contains bone meal, and potassium sulfate trace minerals with • ½ lb/cu. yd. elemental sulfur fermented molasses in the form of Zn SO4, Mg SO4, and Several commercial organic mixes are now Fe SO4. 19% N from available, but were not tested in this project. poultry compost tea and Sun Gro Horticulture, Inc., has a retail and pasteurized blood meal. K-9: professional line of soilless mixes which is 9% K2O from seaweed. Or- OMRI approved. They can be used for trans- ganic forms of trace minerals planting or in containers. Sun Gro produces supplied as 6% B, 6% Fe, 6% retail potting mixes under the Sunshine and Mg, and 6% Ca. other brands (Phone 888-896-1222). McEnroe Magna Gro Recipe Organic Farm, 194 Coleman Station Road, Mixed in 2 gal. water for direct Millertown, NY 12546 (518-789-3252) offers fertilization: both a light growing mix and a potting soil, (Not concentrated for injectors) which they suggest combining with vermicu- 2 tbsp. Hydroponic Base Mix lite for a seed starting mix. You can also search 1/8 tsp. 19% N for organic and OMRI-certified supplies at 1/3 tsp. 9% K Peaceful Valley Farm Supply (http:// *To provide 90 ppm N, 45 ppm P, and 195 ppm K. 3) Nutrition:Greenhouse Production: *Note—Stage 1 = From transplant to the first fruit set1) Transplant when seedlings have 5-7 Stage 2 = From first fruit set to true leaves—BEFORE any flowers “topping” the plants—when they have opened. are about 6’ tall2) 5 gal. plastic “grow bags” filled with Stage 3 = From topping to the end peat or coir-based substrate that has of the crop not been amended with a starter a) Fertigation using ½ gph emitters is nutrient charge or wetting agent, as ideal: these products are most likely from Stage 1: 6 minutes/cycle, 4 cycles/ inorganic sources and not acceptable day, to supply 0.89 liters/plant/day for use in organic production. We Stage 2: 8 minutes/cycle, 4 cycles/ blended our own mix from day, to supply 1.20 liters/plant/day commercial blend specially formulated Stage 3: 13 minutes/cycle, 4 cycles/ to omit the wetting agent and starter day to supply 1.77 liters/plant/day charge. b) Commercial fertilizers should be for-1 Fafard’s Special Organic Mixture: Contact Hugh Poole, Fafard, 6406 Carmel Road, Suite 30, Charlotte, NC 28226, SC 29622 Phone: 1-800-845-1664 or 1-800-722-7645 email:; Wetting agent: Harold Uradomo, 805-650-8942, J.H. Biotech, Inc., 4951 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura, California 93003 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION PAGE 15
  16. 16. mulated to provide the following Recipe for Magna Gro™: Stage 2 N-P-K concentrations: To make 1 gal. of stock to be injected at Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 a rate of 50:1 90 ppm N 125 ppm N 165 ppm N 1 qt. + ¼ c. Hydroponic 45 ppm P 45 ppm P 45 ppm P Base Mix (HBM) 195 ppm K 195 ppm K 310 ppm K 1/3 c. 19% N ¼ c. 9% K i) Earth Juice™. In addition to products listed under the Organic Transplant Pro- Recipe for Magna Gro™: Stage 3 duction section, they also have a pro- To make 1 gal. of stock to be injected duct called: at a rate of 50:1 “Microburst Three”—derived from sul- 1 qt. + ¼ c. Hydroponic fates of Magnesium, Cupric, Ferrous Base Mix (HBM) Manganese, Zinc, Borate, and Kelp to 1 c. 19% N provide micronutrients. K2O is a 10% K 2 c. 9% K source. c) The start-up nutrient charge that was Recipe—Earth Juice™: Stage 1 added to the growing medium will pro- To make 1 gal. of stock to be injected at vide enough nutrients to last 2-3 weeks a rate of 50:1 after transplanting. At this time, plants 1 qt. Grow will probably have progressed to Stage 1 qt. Catalyst 2 of development. 2 c. Bloom 1½ c. 10% K2O Recipe—Earth Juice™: Stage 2 To make 1 gal. of stock to be injected at a rate of 50:1 1 qt. + 1¼ c. Grow 1 qt. + 1¼ c. Catalyst 1¼ c. Bloom 1¼ c. 10% K2O ½ c. Microburst Three Recipe—Earth Juice™: Stage 3 To make 1 gal. of stock to be injected at a rate of 50:1 1 qt. + 3 c. Grow 1 qt. + 3 c. Catalyst ¾ c. Bloom 2¼ c. 10% K2O ½ c. Microburst Three ii) Magna Gro™ Recipe for Magna Gro™: Stage 1 To make 1 gal. of stock to be injected at a rate of 50:1 1 qt. + ¼ c. Hydroponic Base Mix (HBM) ½ Tbsp. 19% N ¼ c. 9% KPAGE 16 //ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION