Tomato is an annual plant with a broad root system with a taproot that can reach more than 60cm deep. Its stem is covered with glandular hairs and has 4 to 5 flower floors with a terminal inflorescence. The leaves are compound and odd-pinnate, formed by approximately 8 lobed or toothed leaflets. The flowers are yellow and self-pollinated, appearing in clusters that vary from 3 to 10 flowers. The fruits are full bands and of different shapes (globose, cylindrical or pyriform) depending on the variety.
In Spain There are approximately 56,000 hectares with all types of production systems, although only 35% are protected under greenhouse and other protection systems. Tomato production In Spain can reach 4.7 million tons, being destined for both fresh consumption or industrial transformation. Almería, Murcia and Las Palmas are the provinces with the highest tomato production in the country. Up to 35% of the production is destined for industrial use.
It prefers loose, deep and well-drained soils with optimal pH of 6.5, although it can tolerate lower pH's of up to 5.5. It adapts without problems to moderately alkaline soils. Tomatoes are moderately sensitive to salinity. In case of excessive salinities, it can increase the incidence of blossom end rot and decrease the size of the fruits.
Tomato is a thermophilic plant, although less other plants such as the eggplant. For its optimal growth, it needs temperatures of 18-20ºC for its Germination, 20ºC for its growth and 25ºC for its flowering and fruiting. They endure high temperatures, but only if they are accompanied by good watering. Otherwise it can cause the abortion of flowers and small fruits.
To reach its maximum production it is necessary to grow the tomato in irrigated systems. Its highest water requirement occurs between the vegetative growth phase and fruit ripening phase. Irrigation must be handled with care, as overwatering can cause cracking problems.
Being a widely studied and exploited crop, there are many varieties of tomato. They are mainly separated into two cultivars, those for fresh consumption and those for industrial consumption. Those that are consumed fresh are usually globose like Marmande, Valenciano, Moneandmaker, Català, Carmelo, Mazarrón, etc. Other varieties are used for the industry, such as Roma, Ercole, Peralta, Ace, Elegand, Bandera, among many others. There are also varieties with small fruit per cluster, such as the Cherrand / cherry tomato of the Cherrand Belle, Evita, Bambino or Naomí variety.