DID YOU KNOW that if you plant tomato cuttings your plants could start fruiting in just 45 days from planting? Yes, that’s the experience of Rolly Benosa of Sison, Pangasinan. On the other hand, seedlings grown from seeds take 80 to 90 days before they start to bear fruit.
OUR MEETING – We met Rolly some years back during a field day at the Harbest Agribusiness in Pangasinan. A few years before we met him, he revealed that he was able to save a few thousand pesos by planting rooted cuttings instead of seedlings from seeds.
1,500 CUTTINGS – He revealed that he could not afford the high cost of seeds of his favorite cherry tomato variety Pagano at that time. So he bought only 100 seeds which became his mother plants for rooted cutting production. From the 100 mother plants he grew from seeds, he was able to produce 1,500 cuttings which he planted in his farm in Sison.
EASY TO ROOT – He harvested cuttings from seedling plants that have started to flower and rooted them in composted rice straw. Cuttings from healthy mother plants readily produced roots and were ready for planting in three weeks, he said.
PROLIFIC AND EARLY BEARER – 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.
ALSO OTHER VARIETIES – Ordinary tomato 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.
FOR SMALL SCALE – 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.