As a tomato grower, you have to keep the crop healthy for almost a year. Your focus shifts throughout the cultivation cycle: in the beginning it's on development and prevention, and afterwards on fungi prevention. We end the year with thorough preparation for the new season.
More than ever before, a good start to the season is half the battle. The end of the crop rotation circle has become increasingly important, as this is the only opportunity for you as a grower to thoroughly tackle diseases and pests, without having to fear collapse of the biological system.
This is why the new season actually starts at the end of the current cultivation cycle. During the last six weeks before the harvest it is time to start an offensive to ensure that all the dreaded pests are killed. Focus your efforts particularly on whitefly, Tuta absoluta, and tomato russet mite.
Care more important than speed
An essential aspect during crop rotation is to carefully clean the empty greenhouse, everything in the greenhouse, and equipment, to ensure a clean start. For many years, most growers sought to keep the transition period as short as possible, but nowadays growers invest more time and do a really thorough job. Keep in mind: if you have staggered planting times, you must prevent pests on an older crop from ‘moving’ to the newly planted bays.
Starting new crops
The next step is the preventative hanging of Rollertraps, which is most easily done in an empty greenhouse before planting.
The Rollertraps catch whiteflies as well as other insects. It's also wise to use parasitic wasps and predatory bugs at an early stage so they can develop a sizable population and keep problems under control with ease. But the story doesn't end there, as it's also important to scout carefully throughout the season and adapt your strategy quickly when pests appear.
Attention to fungi
Then the summer draws to a close. The air becomes more humid again and fungal diseases are more likely. Chemical control to prevent Botrytis is often an obvious choice. But you should realize that every time you spray, you cause a temporary plateau in the growth of your crop. This also always causes the loss of some biological beneficials, even if you spray with a fully integratable product.
The end of the growing cycle is the time for more radical solutions, so you can start the new season with a clean slate and the circle is complete again. In short, shift your focus regularly throughout the season. Only by adapting quickly are you guaranteed an optimum result!