An Italian grower out of Sicily is seeing healthier and bigger plants thanks to a ‘V-shape’ steering, as the grower calls it. They say this is something new they tried and are already seeing positive results. The grower merged the plant rows to make them double, with a double irrigation line per row. “We put the double irrigation lines at an average of 1 meter away from each other,” he explains. “Each row is 2 meters away from each other. We planted the young tomato plants in the middle – in between the irrigation lines, that is – at a distance of 45 cm from one another.”
“The metal wire plants hang from is not parallel to the irrigation lines, but it’s slightly off, else reaching for the wire can be quite difficult. We hang plants to the wire when they are high enough, allowing us to give them this V-shape steer.” Results of this V-shaped steering can already be seen, says the grower. “Plants are growing well, there’s a lot of air movement and light, and you can already see tomato clusters are quite big.”
But it’s not only a matter of yield that this technique proved itself to be very beneficial to the Sicilian grower. For instance, they reduced the number of plants. “We put 30% fewer plants,” they say. “Considering the current global scenario, it’s crucial to save some money at the start of the cycle.” While the number of plants is lower than in previous cycles, the grower expects to get the same, if not an even bigger harvest.
“This V-shape method also allows us to save on IPM products and all of that.” This is not only because there are fewer plants but also because it is much easier to spray them. “We use a tool called ‘the spear,’ which has multiple nozzles,” they explain. With that, they walk in between rows and flawlessly spray organic protection on the plants. “In this way, our IPM treatments cover the entirety of the plant. Results are not only in terms of pest and pathogen prevention but also in terms of quality and quantity of the yield.”