Cherry or bush tomatoes will support their own weight without stakes, but larger vine varieties need support. Therefore it is recommended to avoid growing tomatoes on plots that used for other sensitive crops (peppers, eggplants, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, cotton, soybeans and others) on recent years. However you will still need to water the plants, and may want to install an automatic irrigation system. This year, unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan, as production was disrupted by an outbreak of potato tuber moth [Phthorimaea operculella]. He empowers me with knowledge and in effect helps to continually improve my farming skills,” Eleanore says. Tunnel Tomatoes Atletico, Daniella, Gabriella CULTURAL ASPECTS The production of plants The seed required, to plant one hectare varies from about 100 g to 200 g when using seedtrays, to 250 g if grown in seedbeds and up to about 2 kg if directly sown in the production field. Other growers plant through holes cut in weed-inhibiting ground cloth. So I’m planning to plant green peppers instead,” she says. High tunnels and greenhouses also provide a protected growing environment for plants which increases the potential for higher yields and more uniform fruit. Tomato production in South Africa remained constant over the past three years. Eleanore recently secured a long-term contract with Food Lover’s Market, which will help to reduce her market risks, as prices are fixed for a year and she can deliver tomatoes directly after harvesting them. The following year, after she fell pregnant with their second son, Jeandré, Bryan persuaded her to resign and take over the tomato operation on their farm while he conc… At the end of the day a tunnel and a commercial greenhouse generally do the same thing. Price EXCLUDES Delivery which depends on what size tunnel and where. We opened our 1st walk-in store in 2014. “We try to produce a continuous harvest by planting new tomato seedlings in one of these sections every month. In 2002, he grew cucumber plants as an experiment, and after their success began farming both cucumbers and tomatoes and, aged 50, he took early retirement and began farming full-time. Get your copy of our No 1 best seller. We courier them all over South Africa. Tomatoes are, however, seldom direct seeded in the land. Tomato Plant Nutrition: What Nutrients do Tomato Plants Need? Crop Rotation: What to Plant After Tomatoes. The thing is that tunnels are usually quite large, having been developed for commercial use. At the time, Eleanor was working at Boland College in Stellenbosch as a student administrator. Tomato production in South Africa employs between 25 000 and 28 000 people a year, with increased numbers during the summer months when production volumes are higher. “Werner is always available for advice. Greenhouses, however, are more frequently built with a solid concrete floor and then the plants are propagated in growing bags. During a recent violent storm, the farm suffered no damage thanks to early warnings received. Living in Rhodes makes winter growing a nightmare of note. So why not do a bit more homework before you decide which way to grow tomatoes at home? All our Eco Tunnels are Strong | Sturdy | Weather Resistant | Durable | Economical | Sustainable. Tunnel farming has been around in South Africa for almost 4 decades. Eleanore Swart produces tomatoes under cover near Botrivier in the Overberg. DIY tunnels are available and easy to erect. One of the joys of growing tomatoes in pots is that they do so well, and if the pots can be moved as the sun moves then one can pick tomatoes well into winter, which is a real bonus. Hi Mark, Stumbling on your site today was an inspiration! To ensure long-season production of indeterminate varieties, greenhouses need to include crop supports and have the structural strength to carry the weight of a heavy crop, whilst providing the … Growing Tomatoes in Greenhouses and Tunnels Greenhouses and less sophisticated tunnels provide excellent growing conditions for tomatoes, even when temperatures are not closely controlled. Funnily enough the damaging little whitefly is more of a pest in greenhouses that it is when tomatoes are grown out in the open. While tunnels are not quite as sophisticated as traditional greenhouses, they do a really good job. Large varieties will need a few feet of space to stretch out their stems and vines. In New England, tomato yield and quality are usually greatly improved when growing in protected culture compared to the field. These enabled Eleanore and her team to take extra precautions such as placing tree stumps at the bottom of the windshields as anchors. In 2012, Eleanore’s husband, Bryan, received government funding to erect a multi-span greenhouse for tomato production on their 9ha smallholding, Compagniesdrift. Sterilisation is expensive, however, and we have ample access to wood chips from the sawmill.”. Haygrove brings a grower to grower approach. Eco Tunnels are perfect to grow your own all year round. The glass (or polycarbonate) transmits light during the day and can be capable of trapping quite a lot of heat at night. The photo right shows the tomatoes growing in Easy2Grow AutoPots. Werner Bekker from the chemical supplier, Intelligro, has also assisted her with a fertilisation and pest management programme. Walk-in tunnels are a much more modern invention, but strangely not necessarily cheaper than a small greenhouse. A nursery in Stellenbosch produces the tomato seedlings; this enables Eleanore to concentrate on propagating the plants and growing the crop. 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