Field Production

tomato field

A staked tomato field in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Fieldgrown tomatoes lead retail market sales in the U.S.

2012 Southeastern U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook
This comprehensive resource was developed from research and Extension projects conducted at 12 land-grant universities, including N.C. State. The handbook contains everything tomato growers need, including which variety to plant, planting dates, fertilizer recommendations, cover crops selection and conservation tillage options, pesticide selection, fertigation, plasticulture, postharvest handling, alternative pest management tools and more.

Commercial Production of Staked Tomatoes in the Southeast
All of the information a grower needs to start producing staked tomatoes is in this guide from N.C. State University. Get advice on choosing cultivars; budget expected costs; learn about equipment; discover pest management practices; and consider marketing methods that will help sell staked tomatoes.

Fresh Market Tomato Production – Piedmont and Coastal Plain of North Carolina
Includes production basics in a nutshell including varieties, field preparation, pest control and harvest expectations. Don’t miss the 10 tips for successful tomato production.

Tomatoes for Processing in Eastern North Carolina
A quick reference covering the production practices for tomatoes grown for processing. Selecting the appropriate varieties and training workers to harvest fully mature fruit are two aspects that differentiate growing for the processing market and growing for the fresh market.

A Closer Look At Production Practices

Production of Tomato Transplants in Float System Greenhouses (PDF)
The float system may be a less labor-intensive alternative to conventional tomato seedling production. This publication discusses the float system, its potential benefits and proper nutritional practices.

Using Plastic Mulches and Drip Irrigation for Vegetable Production
Tomatoes have shown significant increases in earliness, yield and fruit quality when grown on plastic mulch. This publication outlines the advantages and disadvantages of plasticulture.

Fertigation: The Basics of Injecting Fertilizer for Field-Grown Tomatoes
Fertigation refers to injecting fertilizer into a drip irrigation system for field crops. Nutrients can be applied to plants in the correct dosage and at the time appropriate for a specific stage of plant growth.

Pruning and Supporting Tomatoes
Tomato plants have two general growth habits: determinate and indeterminate. This publication will help identify the growth habit and provide type-specific spacing and training information.

Additional Production Guides

The following resources are not North Carolina-specific; however, they contain general information that N.C. growers may find valuable. Be sure to recognize differences in climate, disease pressure and seasonality as you review this material. For cultural information such as planting dates and pest control options for N.C. tomato production, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension Agent.

Commercial Tomato Production (University of Tennessee) (PDF)
Commercial tomato production requires a high level of management, large labor and capital inputs and close attention to detail. This publication looks at the three distinct production areas in Tennessee.

Frequently Asked Questions: Tomato, Pepper and Eggplant (Mississippi State University)
Tomato, pepper and eggplant are commonly grown using plastic mulch and drip irrigation. Extension personnel from Mississippi State University maintain a list of FAQs for commercial vegetable producers.

Tomato Production in Florida (University of Florida) (PDF)
This is a comprehensive resource for Florida producers. Scope of information includes varieties, integrated pest management and cost considerations.

Tomato Breeding Program

The fresh market tomato breeding program emphasizes the development of improved, disease resistant cultivars adapted to production in North Carolina and surrounding areas. The program has just published four research papers on trial breeding varieties.

‘Mountain Vineyard’ Hybrid Grape Tomato and Its Parents: NC 4 Grape and NC 5 Grape Tomato Breeding Lines

          ‘Mountain Majesty’: A Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus-resistant Fresh-market Hybrid Tomato and Its Parents NC 714 and NC 1CS

           ‘Mountain Honey’ Hybrid Grape Tomato and Its Parent NC 6 Grape Breeding Line

            ‘Mountain Vineyard’ Hybrid Grape Tomato and Its Parents: NC 4 Grape and NC 5 Grape Tomato Breeding Lines

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