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  • Author or Editor: Harry Janes x
  • HortTechnology x
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In this paper we review our research of light effects on tomato production. It was demonstrated that, during the production of greenhouse tomatoes, the total fruit yield, as well as time of harvest, was related to light. The date of harvest was inversely correlated with the amount of light the crop received during the seedling phase of growth, while fruit weight was positively correlated with light during the production phase. Additionally, we present information that shows that light was most effective in promoting fruit development between 15 and 45 days after flowering. Some of these relationships were quantified and used to develop a predictive model to help a grower plan a tomato crop to meet market demand. The concept of the Single-cluster Tomato Production System was developed, and the rewards of using our understanding of plant-environment interactions to control plant growth and, therefore maxim&profits were shown. Furthermore, the need to create a more dynamic model and the methods for doing so were discussed.

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Rockwool is an excellent growing medium for the hydroponic production of tomato; however, the standard size rockwool blocks [4 × 4 × 2.5 inches (10 × 10 × 6.3 cm) or 3 × 3 × 2.5 inches (7.5 × 7.5 × 6.3 cm)] are expensive. The following experiments were conducted with less expensive minirock wool blocks (MRBs), on rayon polyester material (RPM) as a bench top liner, to reduce the production cost of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) grown in a limited-cluster, ebb and flood hydroponic cultivation system. Fruit yield for single-cluster plants growing in MRBs [2 × 2 × 1.6 inches (5 × 5 × 4 cm) and 1.6 × 1.6 × 1.6 inches (4 × 4 × 4 cm)] was not significantly different from plants grown in larger sized blocks (3 × 3 × 2.5 inches). When the bench top was lined with RPM, roots penetrated the RPM, and an extensive root mat developed between the RPM and the bench top. The fruit yield from plants on RPM was significantly increased compared to plants without RPM due to increases in fruit size and fruit number. RPM also significantly reduced the incidence of blossom-end rot. In a second experiment, single- and double-cluster plants were grown on RPM. Fruit yield for double-cluster plants was 40% greater than for single-cluster plants due to an increase in fruit number, although the fruit were smaller in size. As in the first experiment, fruit yield for all plants grown in MRBs was not significantly different from plants grown in the larger sized blocks. MRBs and a RPM bench liner are an effective combination in the production of limited-cluster hydroponic tomatoes.

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