Writer: Mr. Mikhail Vorobyev, Agronomist Consultant, Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences

THE CHALLENGE

One of the most common challenges with growing tomatoes is stem damage inflicted by the weight of fruit. When stems kink or snap, the free flow of nutrients is blocked. Therefore, tomatoes ripen slower and harvest may be delayed from 4 to 7 days. Moreover, the resulting fruit may be heterogeneous or small. Thus, yield losses can range from 3%-15%.

Furthermore, all subsequent growth and development of tomato clusters is delayed and plants experience a constant increase in load.

Today, high-tech greenhouses take advantage of a wide range of accessories to improve the tomato-growing process. Modern solutions provide optimal conditions for healthy growth and increase top-quality yields. This experiment aims to quantify how truss arches contribute to cherry tomato cultivation in a simple film greenhouse designed for the spring-summer season.

SAFE AND SOUND

Paskal truss arches are specially designed to ensure both firm and safe stem support. The accessory is applied to a truss during the flowering stage where future breaks may occur. As fruit grows on the plant, the truss arch gently supports the cluster to prevent damage.

For diversity in this experiment, we tested two types of Paskal truss arches with differing flexibility.

  1. Flexible Arch (article 560ac): this arch has a softer structure and bends at a smooth angle, allowing for application at the later stages of flowering without risking damage.
  2. Top Flex Arch (article 561ac): this arch is more rigid and guides the cluster at an ideal angle. It must be installed during a specific time period or it can damage the stem.

EXPERIMENT

The experiment took place in a spring film greenhouse with solar heating, mulching material to retain heat, and moist soil to suppress weed growth.

The seeds were sowed on April 1st and May 2nd. After 45 days, the seedlings were planted in a two-line pattern with four-fold repetition. They were classically cultivated and after five days were trellised as one stem with side shoots removed weekly.

Truss arches were applied to all plant clusters in this experiment.

CULTIVATING CHERRY TOMATOES

CONCLUSION

The effectiveness of the truss arches was determined by the quality and quantity of the harvest. In this experiment, the yield per plant was calculated as the number of tomatoes on one truss, the average weight of one fruit, and the number of trusses per plant.

The results were stunning:

  1. Truss arches significantly reduced the ripening period of cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomato plants with truss arches were first harvested 2-3 days earlier than plants in the control group without arches. Plants in the control group that experienced kinks or stem damage due to fruit weight experienced delayed ripening periods of up to seven days.
  2. Trusses with arches had higher weights.  Trusses with arches weighed about 10-30 grams (6% to 14%) more than trusses without, resulting in a 5%-7% increase in yield.
  3. The right accessory ensures high-quality fruit. Understanding a crop’s needs and peculiarities helps you choose the right tools for better harvests.
  4. Truss arches contribute to profits from cherry tomato plants. Arches are cost-effective and easy for greenhouse workers to install.
Cherry tomato Hybrids Truss Arches Average fruit weight, grams Average truss weight, grams Average yield kg\1 plant.  ±  yield % in comparison with the control data
№1 No truss arches 17 250,6 2,0
Flexible Arch 20 270,2 2,32 +14
Top Flex 19 262,3 2,21 +9
№2 No truss arches 8 175,2 1,40
Flexible Arch 10 179,3 1,45 +3
Top Flex 9 184,5 1,61 +9
№3 No truss arches 14 165,5 1,30
Flexible Arch 15 179,8 1,45 +6
Top Flex 15 172,2 1,35 +2