How to grow tomato seedlings
A crimson treasure trove of vitamins. Part 3
Read the previous part: What is a tomato plant and what does it like
Growing tomato seedlings
In the conditions of the Leningrad Region, it is possible to obtain a high yield of tomato fruits, including mature ones, both in the open and in protected ground, only by planting over-aged (55-60 days) potted seedlings.
Usually, it takes about eight weeks from germination to the appearance of buds in early ripening varieties, and from the beginning of flowering to the ripening of the first fruits, it is also about eight weeks.
The fruiting period of tomatoes in the open field in our conditions does not exceed 20 days. Therefore, for open ground, early ripening standard varieties should be used, seedlings should be 55-60 days old, with the first inflorescence in the bud or flowering phase.
This will allow getting the main harvest of fruits on August 15-20 and avoiding the defeat of late blight, which causes the death of the crop. The timing of planting seedlings in open ground is determined by the presence of heat, in different years they range from May 25 to June 10.
Since frost and return of cold weather are very often observed in our conditions, we recommend planting in open ground in several stages and have seedlings of different ages. So, for planting seedlings on May 25, seeds are sown on March 30, June 10 - April 5-10, respectively. However, without the use of the simplest shelters, it is not possible to grow tomatoes in the open field every year.
That is why the most stable crop of good quality can be obtained only in protected ground using glass greenhouses, film greenhouses and simple shelters.
Depending on the type of cultivation facility in which the tomatoes will be grown, it is necessary to change the varieties, choosing according to early maturity, height, power and type of growth.
The time of planting in protected ground is determined by the presence of heat and light. Under film shelters - from May 15 to 25, in film greenhouses without heating - May 10-15, in film greenhouses with heating - from mid-April. It must be remembered that growing tomato seedlings until mid-March requires mandatory highlighting.
Technology for growing tomato seedlings well known to our gardeners. And it boils down to the following.
Calibrated large seeds are heated for 3-4 hours at 45 ° C, etched for 30 minutes in a 1% solution of potassium permanganate, washed, kept for 2-3 days under a damp cloth in a warm room until they swell completely. Those who have mastered the technique well and are not afraid to take risks can be hardened by keeping the swollen seeds for three days at -1-3 ° C.
This technique accelerates the germination of seeds, increases the resistance of plants to low temperatures, ensures earlier fruiting, and increases the yield. Naklyuchnuyu seeds are sown on a school in a box filled with a mixture of turf soil, humus and peat (1: 1: 1) with the addition of wood ash, superphosphate. The distance between rows should be 4-5 cm, between seeds 1-1.5 cm, planting depth 1-2 cm.
The box is kept in the dark at 19-25 ° C, periodically moistening the soil until shoots appear, and then transferred to a lighted place. For tomato seedlings, a temperature of 18-23 ° C is required during the day, and within 16-17 ° C at night. When the first true leaf appears, thinning is carried out, leaving the plants after 3-4 cm, the aisles are sprinkled with wood ash and loosened. After 10 days, the seedlings are fed with a solution of ekofoski 3-4 g per 1 liter of water.
With the appearance of the second true leaf, the seedlings dive into various pots and cups.
Protect the root system from damage. To obtain an over-aged, but compact, low seedlings, it should be grown with a lack of moisture in the soil, but do not allow the soil to dry out. Every 10 days, liquid fertilizing with ecofos is made, after feeding the plants are watered.
Ready-to-plant tomato seedlings should have at least eight true leaves, 20-30 cm in height, and the stem thickness should be at least 1 cm.If natural conditions do not allow planting seedlings, watering is reduced to a minimum, but so that the plants do not wither , air humidity should be 60-70%. Before planting seedlings in the ground, it is advisable to harden them at a temperature of 0 ° C, first they are kept for 1 hour, and then put on the balcony for the whole day.
Read the next part: Caring for tomatoes in the beds →
Doctor of Agricultural Sciences,
All-Union Research Institute of Plant Industry named after N. I. Vavilova
The resulting gruel, where the seeds are located, must be placed in a room where the temperature is +22 and above. The fermentation period is 2 to 3 days. The most valuable seeds are those that have formed farther from the stalk in the upper half of the fruit.
When the fermentation process has come to an end, you need to wash the seeds. There are several recommendations for flushing them:
• cold water is gradually added to the container
• it is important to watch when the seeds settle, then the rest of the gruel can be drained
• the procedure is repeated several times until the water in the container becomes clear.
The best varieties for the region
Dana is one of the most suitable varieties for outdoor use. Unpretentiousness and productivity are its main advantages. Siberian early ripening and Tsar Peter are leaders among soil varieties. The first type is distinguished by the large size of the fruits and rapid ripening, the second - by low demands on care (rarely affected by bacteriosis). Other examples of hybrids for unprotected ground:
- Scarlet dawn
- Talalikhin 186
For growing in a greenhouse, Buran F1 is recommended. This is one of the best hybrids bred for distillation under film cover. Another leader among greenhouse tomatoes is Big Ben. Gardeners characterize the variety as the most reliable and productive. Other examples of greenhouse tomatoes:
- Kostroma F1
- Arletta F1
- Macarena F1
- Blues F1.
The most early ripening varieties include the Flash and the Pink Miracle F1. The ripening period of tomatoes is from 85 to 100 days. The first type is suitable for open ground, the second for forcing in a greenhouse.
Large-fruited and high-yielding
Among the many varieties, the most large-fruited can be distinguished. These include:
- Altai masterpiece. The mid-season variety is resistant to infections and
- pests, not prone to cracking.
Pink honey. Differs in a small number of seeds in fruits, resistant to top rot and brown spot.
- Large-fruited tomatoes also include Vladyka, Superbomba, Ural F1.
One of the most productive varieties is Altai pink (from 1 m² you can get up to 16 kg in a greenhouse and up to 8 kg in open beds). Bovine heart pink - tomatoes for cultivation in greenhouses (up to 12 kg per 1 m²). One more fruitful variety is the Amur tiger. Even in cold summer conditions, it gives a large number of ovaries, is resistant to viruses and cold (from 1 m² you can get 11-12 kg).
Among the achievements of breeders are more than a hundred high-yielding varieties adapted to harsh climatic conditions. By choosing the right material for seedlings, you can get a tomato harvest at the end of the summer season on your own plot.
How does vermicofe affect plants? Soaking seeds in Vermicof.
The instructions for Vermicofe say that you can germinate seeds in it, I have never done this, but many use it. Here's an example, a photo taken from the Dacha Forum. Excellent result in 4 days.
Test from the Dacha Forum: soaking seeds in water and in Vermicof.
As I said, I sow tomatoes with dry seeds into the ground, then I put the cassettes in trays with water and Vermicofe for 20-30 minutes, all the soil is saturated with moisture through the lower holes in the cassettes in abundance, I take it out. I cover the cassettes with lids and put them in a warm place. The temperature should be 27-28 degrees, maximum 30 degrees.
Yeast is a very useful product and, most importantly, natural in its composition. Yeast feeding nourishes plants with microelements and vitamins, contains proteins, carbohydrates, beneficial bacteria. Using a yeast solution can significantly affect the growth and development of plants, yield indicators, increase the immunity of tomatoes.
Yeast can be used at all stages of the growing season of tomato bushes. Such a top dressing is especially useful for young plants that are just beginning to form. After the application of yeast feeding, accelerated development of roots and aerial parts of plants occurs. The seedlings that received such fertilization tolerate picking better, take root faster, and do not outgrow. Tomatoes form more buds, which means the harvest will be better. Ripening of fruits after applying top dressing with yeast is accelerated.
Presowing seed preparation
I have it minimized: disinfection in a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide: (100 ml of water and 3 ml of peroxide). I heat the solution to + 40 ° C and keep the seeds in it for 10 minutes. For germination, I take several cotton rags of fabric, number them, write down in a journal which number is which grade.
I moisten the cloth, put the seeds on one edge, placing them so that they do not touch each other. Then I cover it with the second edge of the flap, press it down a little, and place it in a plastic container. I close the container with a foil, but not tightly, to leave air access.
Several times a day I remove the film, ventilate the crops. Tomato seeds germinate quickly, after 2-3 days they are ready for planting. But keep in mind: depending on what type of seeds you use, the methods of their pre-sowing preparation change.
Tips for choosing seed
How to choose a variety: buying correctly
Correctly selected seeds are half the success of the future harvest. If you buy them from any retail outlet, do not look at the overly bright, attractive packaging. Packages without pictures are usually cheaper, and there may be even more seeds. There is a risk of purchasing a low-quality product in both cases. Therefore, ask the seller about the availability of a quality certificate.
Both have pros and cons.
Pay attention to zoning.
- Tomatoes with small, sparse leaves that grow well in cold climates may not yield the expected yield in the south due to excess sunlight and inadequate soil composition.
- Abundant foliage of a plant bred for southern zones, planted where there is little sun and high humidity, will shade the fruits and interfere with air circulation. This can affect the quality and quantity of products.
Choose seeds with a suitable ripening time, type of growth and growing location.
- Indeterminate Tomatoes - late ripening, with a ripening period of more than 110 days, can reach a height of three meters. They are high-yielding, but they need greenhouse conditions and require a lot of attention.
- Determinant - medium and early ripening, medium height, ripening period 90-110 days. Grow well in open ground in different climatic zones.
- Ultradeterminate - ultra-early ripening, undersized, compact tomatoes, ripening in 75–90 days. They are unpretentious, do not require pinching, and grow well in cold climates.
Tomatoes are also divided according to other criteria - salad and universal, perishable and high shelf life, in color, shape, size and taste. The choice is only yours.
How to prepare seeds at home?
After harvesting, keep the fruits in a warm place until they are soft and rich in color, characteristic of the variety. This usually takes 2-3 weeks. Then cut the tomato, squeeze the seeds or spoon out into a glass container. Leave to ferment for a few days, at a temperature not lower than 20 ° C. Remember to stir occasionally.
The process is considered complete when the liquid becomes clear and the seeds settle to the bottom. Rinse them several times with cool water, discarding pop-ups. When the seeds stop floating, rinse them in a saturated saline solution (for 1 glass of water - about 2 teaspoons with top of salt). Throw away everything that pops up. Rinse the rest with clean water.
Place on paper or saucer and leave to dry, stirring occasionally, until flowing. Pack in a paper bag, store in a dry place. Germination is maintained for at least 5 years.