CHERRY TOMATO: Cuttings Cut Costs

CHERRY TOMATO: Cuttings Cut Costs

Whenever we interview farmers for our articles, we often ask them what strategies they take to cut production costs. Thus, when we met Rolando Benosa during a field day at the Harbest Demo Farm in Rosales, Pangasinan, he related to us a practical technique of producing planting materials of cherry tomato when seeds are too expensive or are not available.

Cherry tomato commands a higher price than the ordinary table tomato.

Rolly specializes in producing cherry tomatoes because they are more profitable to grow than the ordinary table tomato. The cherry tomato commands a much higher price. The only problem is that cherry tomato seeds are more expensive and sometimes they are not available.

One time, Rolly related that he was able to save a few thousand pesos by planting rooted cuttings instead of seeds. From a hundred mother plants grown from seed, he was able to produce 1,500 rooted cuttings which he planted in his farm in Sison, Pangasinan.

He harvested cuttings from seedling plants that have started to flower and rooted them in composted rice straw. Cuttings from healthy mother plants readily produce roots and are ready for planting in three weeks or so.

Rolly said that plants from cuttings are equally prolific as their seedling counterparts. Moreover, they bear fruit earlier – as early as 45 days from planting compared to 80 to 90 days of the plants from seeds. Pagano Constantino is one of the favorite cherry tomato varieties of Rolly. The fruits, he said, are non-cracking, crisp and with good shipping quality.

The indeterminate variety, the one that grows tall, is the best source of cuttings for propagation.

There you are. If you want to save on cost of seeds, you can multiply your tomato plants by means of cuttings. Even the non-cherry varieties can also be multiplied by the same technique. The best varieties to multiply by cuttings are the indeterminate ones. These are the varieties that grow tall.(Zac B. Sarian, Memoirs of an Agri Journalist)

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