Tomatoes are one of the favorite crops in Russia. That is why we have bred many varieties and hybrids with different characteristics of the fruit. On the beds you can see red, yellow, orange, pink, and even black tomatoes, which differ in height, fruit shape, early maturity, and use. In most regions of our country, tomatoes are grown through seedlings. However, it is not always possible to find a wide variety of varieties of ready-made seedlings on the market, so most often gardeners grow them themselves.
It is difficult to grow good seedlings in the wrong conditions. Getting good seedlings is influenced by:
Before planting tomatoes for seedlings, you need to sort the seed material by timing.
There are late-ripening, mid-ripening and early-ripening varieties of tomatoes. It is on these parameters that the time of planting seed material for seedlings depends.
|Ripening period of tomatoes||Seedling age before planting in the ground or greenhouse|
|Early ripening||35-45 days|
|Late ripening||65-75 days|
Let's calculate the approximate time for planting seeds using the example of the De Barao variety and the Katya F1 hybrid. De Barao is a late-ripening variety with a fruiting period of up to 120 days; we will plant it in the greenhouse on April 15, and in the ground - on June 1, after all return frosts. We count from these dates 75 days, we get January 31 - for sowing seedlings in the greenhouse and March 23 - for sowing seedlings in the ground.
Katya F1 is an ultra-early hybrid, ripe fruits appear within 80 days from the moment of germination, therefore we sow on seedlings 40 days before planting in a greenhouse or soil. Since the Katya F1 hybrid is low, it can be planted in the ground a little earlier and covered with a film or covering material against cold snaps. The date for planting in the greenhouse is April 15, in the ground - May 15. We plant seedlings on March 7 (for the greenhouse) and April 6 (for planting in the ground).
Greenhouses with covering material will help save planted seedlings from return frosts
It is very important to observe the sowing time for seedlings. Gardeners often plant tomatoes for seedlings in January and February, without being able to plant them in a greenhouse. Seedlings outgrow, in the winter months they experience a lack of light, stretch out and become frail. One-meter-long plants are difficult to transport into the ground and plant, and after planting, the bushes begin to hurt.
Overgrown tomato seedlings are difficult to take to the garden and plant without breaking the thin stem
Strong seedlings should have a thick stem, developed root system, 4-6 pairs of leaves and one flower race. The height of the seedling will depend on the variety.
Tomatoes are very unpretentious plants. They easily tolerate a transplant, a broken stem takes root well in water, so they grow tomatoes in various ways:
Broken off tops and stepchildren of tomatoes successfully root in ordinary water, so overgrown or broken seedlings can be re-rooted
We will consider in more detail each method of planting below.
Whatever method of growing seedlings you use, good soil is still needed. Now in stores you can find ready-made soil for tomatoes, however, after reading the composition, you will notice that only peat and mineral additives are based on. This is not enough for growing tomato seedlings.
Prepared soil for tomatoes can only be used as part of the potting mix.
Properly prepared soil should be loose, water-absorbing and nutritious.
The best basis for compiling a nutritious soil mixture is sod land, which is best taken from the edge of the forest. You can replace the sod land with fertile garden land harvested in the fall. Before use, this soil should be steamed in a water bath to kill pathogenic microorganisms, larvae of harmful insects and weed seeds. After steaming, it is advisable to spill the earth with EM preparations in order to restore the beneficial microflora.
To disinfect garden soil, the soil is steamed in a water bath
To prepare the soil mixture, take the following components:
All components of the soil mixture are thoroughly mixed and left for 2 weeks in a warm place.
Purchased seeds, treated with special compounds, have a reddish or greenish color. Such seeds are immediately sown into the ground. Untreated seeds can also be sown dry, but it is best to at least soak and disinfect.
To disinfect seeds, you can use:
Pharmayod is used for seed disinfection
Disinfected seeds are soaked in melt water or stimulating solutions based on Epin, HB-101 and other similar preparations, guided by the instructions for use. Soaking times can vary from half an hour to 24 hours.
After soaking, the seeds are planted using one of the methods described below.
Most often, seeds are sown for seedlings in such containers:
This method is very old and consists in the fact that several varieties of tomatoes are sown in rows in one box, which are subsequently dived into separate containers. The advantage of this method is that a minimum of boxes are used at the initial stage. The disadvantage is that the seeds of different varieties sprout unevenly: some varieties need to be harvested into the light and in a cooler place, while others still need warmth.
When sowing different varieties of tomatoes in one box, uneven shoots can be obtained.
Seedling boxes are used in a variety of ways: wooden, plastic, food containers, cake boxes. However, everyone should have drainage holes in the bottom to drain off excess water.
I sow each tomato variety in a separate small food container, and after sprouting, I rearrange them in one large box. This way my plants do not suffer from lack of light or heat at the initial stage of growth.
Sowing seeds in boxes includes several stages:
Soil is poured into a box for planting tomatoes, compacted and lightly watered
Spread tomato seeds on the soil, mark them and cover them with soil
When the first loops of tomatoes appear, you need to move the box to a bright place
Tomato seeds do not lose their germination for 8–10 years. Under favorable conditions, even after 17 years, tomatoes give amicable shoots.
With a small number of seeds or in the case of expensive hybrids, it is better to sow each seed separately, using individual cups for this. Tall cups can be half filled with earth, and then, as the seedling grows, add earth, which will allow the tomato to grow additional roots.
You can sow two tomato seeds in one glass, then remove or transplant a weaker sprout
A hydrogel is a polymeric material in the form of powder or crystals, usually white in color. Before use, it should be poured with plenty of water until the crystals swell completely and turn them into a gel. Usually, the complete absorption of water into the polymer takes 30-60 minutes.
Then they act like this:
Young plants can grow well in the hydrogel until the first pair of true leaves appears, after which you need to pick and plant each sprout in a separate container, pulling it out of the hydrogel with a spoon and leaving the substrate particles on the roots.
Tomatoes grow beautifully in a hydrogel before diving
This is a relatively new method of planting seedlings using various materials rolled into a roll:
This sowing method is especially suitable for those who have very little space on the window.
If there is not enough space for seedlings, you can plant tomato seeds in a "snail"
The stages of planting tomatoes in a "snail" from a laminate substrate are as follows:
Roll out two-layer toilet paper on top of a laminate backing
The seeds are laid out along one of the edges of the "snail"
The finished roll with soil sprinkled on top is placed in a pallet
Sown tomatoes germinate best at 24-290 C, seedlings may appear already on the 3-5th day. At lower temperatures, developmental delay occurs and plants can germinate for up to 2 weeks.
At a temperature of 24-290 C, seedlings may appear already on the 3-5th day
The first 3 days after germination, it is recommended to highlight the seedlings around the clock, while lowering the ambient temperature by a couple of degrees. In the next week, the temperature should be reduced to 130 With the night and 160 C - during the day, while monitoring the moisture content of the soil and in no case flooding the seedlings.
In the second week of growth, the temperature regime rises to 20-220 From in sunny weather during the day or 18-190 C in cloudy, and at night it is desirable to reduce to 17-18 C. This temperature regime is optimal before planting seedlings in the ground.
Lighting seedlings at home
Many people think that a southern window is enough to grow strong seedlings. But a lot of light is absorbed through the glass, it is also covered by neighboring plants, buildings in front of the windows, so even on windows facing south, seedlings can stretch out. To correct the situation, you need to hang lamps over the seedlings. You can use both phytolamps and fluorescent or LED lamps. Daylight hours should be 16 hours.
Phytolamps are well suited for highlighting seedlings of tomatoes and other crops.
Another way is to put a foil screen behind the plants (opposite the window). It absorbs sunlight and additionally gives it to seedlings.
An ordinary foil screen increases the illumination of plants from all directions, so that the seedlings do not reach the window
For 2 years now I have been growing seedlings under LED phytolamps of the bicolor spectrum. The seedling rack is located 5 m from the window, so the plants do not see sunlight. However, the seedlings grow strong, stocky.
In a good, properly prepared soil, moisture is retained for a long time, therefore, for the first 3-4 weeks, it is enough to water the tomato seedlings once a week with warm water at room temperature. This should be done especially carefully after transplanting and picking.
Overgrown seedlings with 3-4 true leaves require more water. In addition, the increased temperature in the room promotes faster drying of the soil, so you have to water it 2-3 times a week. It is especially important to monitor the moisture content of the soil in seedlings standing in the sun on a window.
In addition, air humidity is also important, which is better to maintain around 60–75%. If it is not possible to install humidifiers, periodically spray the tomato seedlings with a spray bottle.
To maintain optimal humidity, you can spray tomato seedlings with a spray bottle
Many gardeners believe that when growing tomato seedlings, there is no need to feed, especially if the soil is prepared correctly. Indeed, when growing seedlings in an apartment where the temperature regime is not observed and it is too hot for seedlings, and there is often a lack of light, overfed tomatoes stretch out and become frail.
However, some signs of the appearance of plants show that feeding is simply necessary:
The purple hue of the leaves appears due to a lack of phosphorus at low temperatures.
Elongated seedlings must be fed with full mineral fertilizer
With a lack of nitrogen, tomato leaves begin to fade, and seedling growth slows down
I feed my seedlings every week, alternating a solution of vermicompost with an infusion of horse manure and an EM-preparation Shining-1. In addition I spray once a week with HB-101, Zdorovy Sad and Ecoberin. Together with good lighting and normal temperature conditions, plants grow strong and do not stretch.
The grown seedlings in the phase of one pair of true leaves should be cut down. Seedlings can be planted either in individual 0.25 liter cups followed by transplanting into 0.5 liter cups, as well as in a large box. The main thing is that the container is waterproof. When transplanting, a young plant is taken not by the stalk, but by the cotyledonous leaves and carefully planted in a new place.
If the seedlings are strongly elongated, then the gardeners immediately cover the plant with cotyledon leaves and water it during transplantation, but this cannot be done. It is after such transplants that the tomatoes "fall". To pick the elongated seedlings, use tall cups, on the bottom of which a little earth is poured and the tomato is planted at the level at which it was in the box. Sprinkle literally 1 teaspoon of earth on top. After 5-7 days, new portions of soil are slowly poured into the cups, and the tomato forms additional roots.
In case of problems with seedlings, you need to be very careful and distinguish between overflow of plants and their subsequent death from bacterial, viral or fungal diseases.
Most often, seedlings suffer from such infectious diseases:
The best measures to prevent the development of these diseases is to prevent:
For prevention, you can:
Colloidal silver provides good prevention of bacterial diseases of seedlings
Fitolavin belongs to biological preparations, which means that it is harmless to plants and humans.
Of the pests on seedlings, you can find aphids or thrips that appear from poor-quality soil. The preparation Fitoverm helps well against these insects, with which plants are sprayed every 4-7 days until the pests completely disappear.
Fitoverm is also a safe, biological agent and is used for prevention and pest infestation.
Before planting seedlings in the ground, it is imperative to harden the seedlings. If this procedure is not done, then the plant will receive severe stress, delicate leaves may suffer from the wind or the scorching sun.
Hardening is carried out a week before planting seedlings. Young plants are transferred for several hours to a balcony, an open loggia or to the street, it is desirable that the temperature is the same as in the room where they grew. Do not immediately expose unhardened seedlings to the sun, even for a few minutes, as the leaves can burn.
For hardening, tomato seedlings are first exposed in the shade and only then transferred to the sun
The next day, the seedlings are left for a longer period, gradually accustoming them to sunlight, and after a few days - overnight. Do not leave tomato seedlings if the temperature drops below +10 at night.0 C, since growth will slow down, and at sub-zero temperatures, the plant may die.
Hardened seedlings are better suited for transplanting into open ground or greenhouses. To relieve stress from plants, you can water and sprinkle them with Epin or HB-101, diluting according to the instructions.
Strong tomato seedlings are made from good seed that has been planted in prepared nutrient potting soil and grown with sufficient heat and light. If there is a lack of lighting, you need to put additional lighting lamps, and in extreme heat - open windows and ventilate the room. It is also important to prophylactically spray seedlings from diseases and pests.
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Straw has been used in horticulture for a long time. First of all, as a mulch, an additive to soil and compost, as well as insulation in greenhouses. And more recently, chopped straw (chaff) is also used as soil, sometimes instead of mineral wool (growing vegetables, as in hydroponics). In this case, craftsmen get record harvests - 40 kg / m2 of tomatoes, instead of the usual 22-25 kg.
And more often straw soil is used as biofuel and soil. But in this case, the results are also very good. Firstly, vegetables do not get sick, and with proper care, the yield is higher. But most importantly, the fruits ripen 1-2 weeks earlier. At the same time, the content of dry matter, vitamin C and sugars in fruits is higher than on ordinary soils.
Straw has good physical properties, besides, undergoing partial decomposition and mineralization, it supplies plants with a significant amount of carbon dioxide during the growing season. In addition to everything, this material has all the properties of an ecological soil.
It is best to use straws of rye, wheat and a mixture of both. It should be free from disease and should not contain herbicide residues. The use of straw bales in a greenhouse as biofuel allows you to completely cope with diseases such as root rot, streak, and brown leaf blight. The harvest is quite high - up to 18 kg from 1 m² and a week earlier than with ordinary soil mixture.
For 1 m², you will need about 10-12 kg of straw. Previously, old soil is removed from the greenhouse, the soil is disinfected with 1% potassium permanganate solution or 3% nitrafen solution. You can skip disinfection, but put plastic wrap under the straw. Now the straw or straw bales need to be packed tightly.
After that, they are abundantly watered with hot water, sprinkled with dry fertilizers and poured again from a watering can with water until they are completely saturated with fertilizers. Then the bales are sprinkled with lime and watered again.
A greenhouse of 10 m² will need 100-120 kg of straw. To prevent the plants from experiencing nitrogen hunger, fertilizers must be applied before the second watering with hot water. For 10 m² you will need: 1.3 kg of urea, 1 kg of potassium nitrate, 1 kg of superphosphate, 0.5 kg of potassium sulfate, 1 kg of lime.
Thanks to heating with hot water, and then the rapid vital activity of microbes, the straw is heated to a temperature of +40 - 50 ° С. You need to wait 7-10 days. During this time, the temperature will drop to 35 - 40 ° C, after which soil is poured on top of the straw with a layer of 10 cm. The seedlings are planted about a week and a half after filling the straw with a layer of earth. It is not necessary to plant it with roots in the ground. The best thing to do is to bury the roots in the straw. If you waited the required 10 days before covering the straw with a layer of earth, then the roots will not burn out and the seedlings will quickly start growing.
Virtually all the necessary fertilizers were applied during the straw impregnation. It remains only every 1.5-2 weeks to water it with a weak urea solution (a tablespoon per 10 liters of water) to avoid nitrogen starvation. To guarantee a good harvest, once a month, it is necessary to feed the plants with complex fertilizer - no more than 1 match. box for 10 liters.
During the "greenhouse" season, the surface of the bales is mulched twice with straw cutting soaked in a concentrated solution of ammonium nitrate, compensating for the subsidence of the straw soil.
These straw beds can also be used outdoors. They are considered especially promising in areas where strawberries are infected with a nematode. Bushes on a straw pad are always healthier, although they require more frequent watering. The most responsive to such soil are cucumbers and pumpkins.
Before planting tomato seeds, you need to fill the containers with the substrate. If you do this poorly, no rules for sowing seeds will help them to sprout. Tomato seeds will simply fall through and will not be able to break through to the surface. It is even worse if the soil begins to settle after the emergence of the shoots.
The substrate is sieved, packed tightly, tamped in layers, but not to the state of the road surface. You can use your own fists, but it's inconvenient and uneven. A wooden rectangular plastering trowel or other similar tool is excellent.
Particular attention is paid to the area near the walls of the box. Here you need to really apply force, touching the substrate with your fingers so that it does not sag with numerous waterings.
There is no consensus on how deep to plant tomato seeds, but opponents do not disagree too much. Some call the figure 1-1.5 cm, others argue that 0.5-1 cm is enough. So a planting depth of 1 cm can be considered ideal, but it is not necessary to adhere to it to a millimeter.
Step-by-step instructions for sowing tomato seeds:
When planting seeds for seedlings, you can not make grooves, but simply mark them on the surface of the substrate, spread the tomato seeds, cover with sifted soil (2 cm layer), compact. When watering, it will additionally settle.
A very good effect is given by pre-planting seed treatment. After such treatment, the seeds germinate quickly and amicably, the plants develop faster and better and bring a richer harvest. There are several options for such processing, choose the one that you like best.
- seeds are soaked in water with fertilizer dissolved in it. These can be microelements (1/4 tablet per 1 liter of water), mineral fertilizers "Growth-2" or "Stimul-1", "Vegeta" (1/3 teaspoon per liter of water), or potassium humate (a teaspoon per 1 liter of water). The temperature of the prepared solution should be 25-28 degrees. Seeds are dipped into the solution in fabric bags (they are easy to make from gauze or bandage) and they are left in the solution for a day. After that, the seeds are removed from the solution, transferred to a saucer and left at a temperature of 25 degrees for a couple of days, until the seeds are pecked. After this treatment, the seeds germinate for 5-6 days!
- the second option is treatment with stimulants. It can be "Epin", "Ideal", "Zircon". Here, the processing technique is somewhat different: the seeds are laid out on a damp cloth, treated with a solution of the drug and left for a day.
It is very important when growing pepper seedlings on time and planting the seeds correctly. Sowing seeds for seedlings is carried out in the third decade of February - the first decade of March
You can use this table to calculate a more accurate time for sowing seeds, depending on whether you will plant them in a greenhouse or in open ground. For sowing, it is better to use a special potting soil mixture for peppers. The classic recommendation is that the seeds are planted in a common container at a distance of 5 cm from, and when two true leaves develop, they are planted in separate pots. I immediately plant the seeds in separate pots. Why am I doing this? Pepper plants have a very sensitive root system that is difficult to tolerate injury. When picking (replanting plants), an inevitable trauma to the roots occurs. Such plants are almost 2 weeks behind in development from those that grew without transplantation.
Sowing seeds for seedlings is carried out in the third decade of February - the first decade of March. You can use this table to calculate a more accurate time for sowing seeds, depending on whether you will plant them in a greenhouse or in open ground. For sowing, it is better to use a special potting soil mixture for peppers. The classic recommendation is that the seeds are planted in a common container at a distance of 5 cm from, and when two true leaves develop, they are planted in separate pots. I immediately plant the seeds in separate pots. Why am I doing this? Pepper plants have a very sensitive root system that is difficult to tolerate injury. When picking (replanting plants), an inevitable trauma to the roots occurs. Such plants are almost 2 weeks behind in development from those that grew without transplantation.
Seedling pots should be perforated at the bottom to prevent stagnant water. If the pots are not used for the first time, then before sowing they must be washed and disinfected in a solution of potassium permanganate. Pre-moistened earth is poured into the pots with a layer of 6 - 8 cm
Please note that I do not fill the pots with earth to the top, this must be done when the plants have real leaves. The soil must be leveled, compacted a little and put 3 seeds in each pot
Cover the seeds with soil, a layer of one centimeter. I put all the seeded pots on one pallet, cover them tightly with cling film to prevent the seeds from drying out, and put them in a warm place. As soon as the sprouts appear, I immediately remove the film and put it in the brightest place.
It is very important that the first week after germination, the temperature is not more than 16 degrees, especially if it is cloudy days - then the seedlings do not stretch. Now an important point - I leave only one, the earliest and strongest sprout, the rest are carefully cut off near the ground with nail scissors
After a week or a little more, when all the seeds have germinated, transfer the container to a moderately warm place with a temperature of 20-22 ° C and wait for at least 3 true leaves to appear.
This period is very important for the formation of healthy seedlings of cherry tomatoes. Follow some rules for plants to grow viable, beautiful and productive:
Make a hole in the ground with a pencil and transplant tomato seedlings, deepening the stem a couple of centimeters - this will form additional roots on it. Now pour the cups with warm water and place them in a bright place with a temperature of about 18 ° C. Don't try to give the plants as much warmth as possible - mild-warm conditions are ideal for root growth.
Water the grown seedlings every 2 weeks with a complex mineral fertilizer. Be careful when preparing the solution - the concentration should be 10 times weaker than for adult plants.
Marigolds are a very resistant plant to external factors and most pests. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his seedlings. In the process of growth, young shoots can sharply change their color, begin to dry out or wither rapidly. There are several reasons for this.
A frequent "symptom" that signals a low temperature. If you grow marigold seedlings at a temperature of +14 degrees, the roots stop assimilating useful elements, in particular phosphorus, which is why the stem acquires a purple hue. To remedy the situation, it is enough to rearrange the pot to a warmer place and spray the plantings with a phosphorus feed solution. On day 4-6, everything will return to normal.