Interview with Italian tomato grower and consultant Tony Agnone

Sicily's Antonino "Tony" Agnone has 20 years of experience in greenhouse production. Youi might recognize his face, because in 2011, Tony created a Facebook page (click here to visit) to promote his experience in greenhouse cultivation. He also has a blog (click here to visit).

"People from all over the world visit my Facebook page and my blog! I am addressing all producers/entrepreneurs, seed companies, manufacturers or distributors of products for agriculture: if you want your crops to be in good hands contact me! I am willing to move anywhere in Italy and around the world."

As regards the current greenhouse operations, Tony reports that "I have transplanted Pixel tomatoes grafted on Big Power rootstocks and Tyty and Creativo cherry tomatoes on Inter Pro rootstocks on 20th September. I am also testing 200 plants of Haruki cherry tomatoes. From tests I had carried out in previous years, I noticed that Pixel tomatoes adapted perfectly to Big Power rootstocks, the opposite of Tyty and Creativo. Tyty grew too much because of its bigger grades and Creativo had worse colour and delayed ripening, therefore I have decided to change it with Inter Pro, which is less vigorous."

In order to sterilize the soil, Tony uses the solarisation technique for 60 days and, before transplants, he uses liquid nematicides during fertigation.


Solarisation.

"I have transplanted 70 cm plants in rows and will cultivate two branches. I have had the nursery garden trim the plants on the second leaf, so I can have two branches with uniform buds and I was able to reduce the risk of plants breaking above the grafting."


Second leaf trimming.

According to what the producer tells us, this year plants took root well because temperatures weren't as high as last year. "In fact, this year plants developed their root system straight away, so the first floral stage developed really well (in the photo). Internodes are tight even without using growth retardants. This was also helped by the white/black mulching plastic."

At the moment, greenhouses are free from aphids, cutworms or Tuto Absoluta, which the producer has learned to manage successfully. In addition, there are no plants affected by TYLCV.

"In order to protect myself against harmful insects, I carry out leaf treatments periodically using specific insecticides and I use anti-aphid nets. As regards fertilization, I maintain a high phosphorous/potassium ratio. Fruit setting is carried out by bumblebees already at the first-stage phase."



As regards the 2013/14 campaign, Tony planned it as shown in the chart.

Date
Transplants
20/09/20131,800 sq m Pixel tomatoes grafted on Big Power
20/9/2013 2,200 sq mTyty cherry tomatoes grafted on Inter Pro
20/9/20131,600 sq m Creativo cherry tomatoes grafted on Inter Pro
5/10/20131,300 sq m Akyra tomatoes
7/10/20131,600 sq m Ventero tomatoes
5/11/20131,400 sq m Frankone yellow peppers
5/11/20132,000 sq m Airone red peppers
5/11/20131,300 sq m Cariddi red peppers

Contacts
Antonino "Tony" Agnone
Cell.: (+39) 339 8355611
Email: tonyagnone@alice.it
Skype: tomatogrower80
Linkedin: it.linkedin.com/pub/greenhouse-manager-tomato-and-vegetables/59/425/956
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Specialist-Crops-Tomato-and-Vegetables-in-Greenhouse/124518370963150
Blog: greenhousemanager.blogspot.it

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