The tomato, also called the tomato fruit, is the popular edible, red berry-like flower of the plant, Solanum lycopericum, otherwise known as the tomato plant. The variety originated in central and western South America and central and South America.
The Nahuatl language gave birth to the English word, tomato, which evolved into the English name, tomato. The Aztecs and Mayans had various uses for tomatoes and other plant-life. In Aztec times, tomatoes were used for making tomato paste. Mayan papasans cooked tomatoes raw in water until tender, then ate the papasan-cooked tomatoes raw or fried.
In North America, the tomato was cultivated primarily for use as a vegetable, for cooking and for use in salads. The early settlers, who first arrived in North America, did not have much else to grow so they grew tomatoes in containers. Today, the tomato can be grown easily indoors and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Tomato plants are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases. One of the most common is the tomato hornworm, which can infest a whole plant. It sucks blood from the plant’s leaves, roots, stems and fruits, and can survive for up to two years in a host plant. To prevent damage, cut off the caterpillar’s head and the rest of its body before it lays eggs. To get rid of the caterpillar itself, crush the leaf of the tomato with a pestle or a knife to dislodge the caterpillar.
Tomato black spot, on the other hand, is a bacterial infection caused by a strain of Vibrio cholera. A tomato that has this bacterial infection will develop dark spots resembling those of cholera. The spots are usually on the inside of the fruit and can become very noticeable. If left unattended, the spots can spread to other parts of the tomato and cause severe damage to the leaves, stem and fruit. In time, the damaged parts may eventually die off.
Another common disease that affects the tomato plant is tomato leaf spot. Leaf spots may appear on any part of the tomato plant, even on the underside of leaves. They appear as small brown, red spots that appear to be coming out of nowhere and do not go away even though they are covered with a film of clear mucus.
Tomato spot can be avoided by removing the spots on the tomato plant before they appear. This is best done by rinsing the plant completely with hot soapy water. To prevent new black spots, the spot should be removed before the tomato fruit is picked. The spot should be wiped clean with a cotton ball or a paper towel and a solution of bleach.
For larger scale infestations of pests or diseases, there are several options available for controlling tomato plants. One of them is to simply prune the infested plants. Pruning can be done in stages by removing the damaged sections of the tomato plant, depending on the size of the infestation.
Cutting off the infected leaves and stems of the tomato plant is one of the easiest ways to remove the pests or bacteria from the entire plant. Once the leaves and stem have been removed, it is important to wash the plants thoroughly with a solution of bleach and water, or by wiping it with a moist cloth.
Once the infected areas are removed, the remaining parts of the tomato plants should be sprayed with a solution of bleach and water or wiped with a cloth to remove the black spots. The plant should be left to dry overnight, after which it should be rinsed and dried for a day or two. After rinsing, the plant should then be soaked in water and left to dry for a day or two before it is pruned again.
For larger scale infestations of tomato plants, tomato growers can resort to applying organic pesticides. These sprays are available at nurseries and can be applied on the leaves, stems and fruit at the same time of application. These pesticides can be diluted with water before spray directly onto the tomato plants. Once sprayed, the pesticide is allowed to dry.
If the organic pesticides are not effective enough, spray a liquid nitrogen fertilizer over the affected plants to improve the growth of the plants. Fertilizing tomato plants will provide nitrogen to the plants. This will ensure that the plants grow strong and healthy. This method is more time-consuming than the traditional methods, but it can provide much-needed nutrients to the tomato plants that help in combating the problem.