If you are short of cash to buy the very expensive seeds of cherry tomato, or if seeds are not available, propagate your planting materials from cuttings. Let us say you already have an initial 100 plants of your favorite variety because that was all you could afford earlier.
Don’t feel helpless because that’s not the end of the world. You can do what Rolly Benosa did in multiplying his favorite cherry tomato variety Pagano. A few years back he revealed to us that he was able to 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, he said.
Rolly said that plants from cuttings are equally prolific like 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.
Ordinary varieties other than cherry tomato can also be propagated by means of rooting cuttings. If we are to produce tomatoes for our own consumption, we would go for the cultivar that we consider native to the Ilocos. This is the one with flat fruits, thin skin and subacid juice. To us that is much better than the tough-skinned hybrid varieties for making sauce with bagoong that goes with grilled fish and meat. Of course that is for small-scale production because its shelf life and shipping quality are not as good as the tough-skinned hybrids.