Tomato growers adopting an ecologically based system have opted for determinate growth varieties due to their ease of staking and sprouting, and due to the fact that they have a shorter cycle, which reduces phytosanitary problems that usually occur towards the end of the growing season. This study aimed to evaluate yield components and fruit quality of ‘Floradade’ determinate growth tomato in an ecologically based production system with regard to plant density and number of stems per plant in two growing seasons, spring-summer (SS) and summer-fall (SF). Two experiments were conducted in Pelotas in the years 2010/2011 under open field conditions. Plants were trained with two or four stems and four plant densities were evaluated: 2.0; 2.5; 3.0 and 3.6 plants m-2 in SS, and 1.5; 2.0; 2.5 and 3.0 plants m-2 in SF. The fruit number, fruit average weight, fruit yield, ascorbic acid content, total soluble solids and fruit pH were evaluated. The average fruit yield obtained in SF was on average 80% lower than that in SS. The increase of plant density and number of stems per plant led to an increase in fruit number and fruit yield in the two crop seasons. There was an increase in total soluble solids and reduction in the ascorbic acid content of the fruit. Two stems per plant and plant density of 3.0 plants m-2 are recommended for the ‘Floradade’ tomato crop under an ecological production system and SS crop conditions.
Key words: Solanum lycopersicum, organic production, crop management, crop season.