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A novice gardener who has decided to grow tomato seedlings with his own hands faces many difficulties.
One of the important problems for many gardeners is to choose where to sow seeds and where to grow seedlings, especially since recently, quite a lot of new and most incredible methods have appeared.
This article will focus on the classic method of growing seedlings, from which the summer resident should start his way in the "seedling business" and we will answer the question - in which boxes it is better to plant tomatoes.
Description of the method of growing tomatoes
Sowing tomato seeds in boxes is considered one of the oldest methods.... Its essence is as follows: pre-prepared seeds are distributed at a certain distance over the surface of the soil, sprinkled with earth and tightened with a film to create greenhouse conditions.
After germination, the shelter is removed, and systematic care is provided for young plants.
For your information. The further the distance between the seeds is made, the longer young plants can stay in the box without damaging their root system. But in any case, this method involves diving seedlings, which can be produced in individual containers or in the same container.
As with any method, the method of planting seeds in boxes has its pros and cons... This method of growing tomatoes allows you to grow a large number of seedlings, but if you tighten it with a pick, then the seedlings in the middle rows will be left without enough light. Plants planted in one container are easier to care for, but at the same time, if one seedling falls ill, then the threat of infection of all seedlings is quite high.
Look at the photo of tomato seedlings in boxes:
A little about capacity
For growing seedlings, plastic or wooden boxes are usually used.... The first ones can be purchased in a specialized store, wooden ones can be made with your own hands from planks or plywood. Each of these types has pros and cons.
Of course, a wooden box is an environmentally friendly container, but the porosity of its structure has a beneficial effect on the development and accumulation of pathogenic microflora on the walls.
Important! Before using wooden boxes for sowing seeds, they must be carefully treated with fungicidal chemicals.
Another plus of a box made of natural material is its low cost, provided that it is made by hand, but plastic containers are not expensive either. In addition, plastic does not need to be thoroughly treated with fungicides; it is enough to wash it with high quality. The plastic container is easier to carry and has a longer shelf life.
When is it better suited?
In boxes, you can grow seedlings of determinant, indeterminate varieties and different ripeness periods (early, middle, late), which can then be planted in greenhouses and in open ground.
The optimal size of boxes for sowing tomatoes: width - 30 cm, length 50 cm, height - 8-10 cm, but these parameters are not fundamental, if only it would be convenient for the gardener to transfer containers from place to place and place them on the windowsill. Another important condition: drain holes must be made at the bottom of the box, which will provide a drain of excess moisture.
Before sowing, containers are usually disinfected: plastic containers can be wiped with a swab dipped in alcohol; wooden - carefully treated with fungicides or a solution of copper sulfate (100 grams per 10 liters of water).
Seed preparation can take place in several stages:
- Checking seeds for germination... Dissolve 30 - 40 grams of sodium chloride in 1 liter of water, immerse the seeds in the resulting solution for 10 minutes. Low-quality seeds will float up, they must be collected and discarded; those that have "drowned" should be selected and rinsed with clean running water.
- Disinfection... Immerse the seeds for 20 - 30 minutes in a solution of potassium permanganate (1 gram per 100 ml of water), which is drained over time, and the seeds are thoroughly washed with water. Another option: the seed is soaked for a day in a 0.5% solution of soda (0.5 grams per 100 ml), or for 8 minutes in a 2 - 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide heated to + 40C.
- Treatment... For better germination, it is advisable to immerse the seeds in a nutrient solution of a growth stimulator (Epin, Zircon, Heteroauxin, etc.); the method of dilution and the duration of the procedure - according to the instructions. You can also use the folk method: immerse the seed for 12 - 24 hours in a solution of aloe juice (1: 1) or honey water (1 tsp per glass of water), after keeping it in the refrigerator for 5 - 6 days.
- Soaking or sprouting... Also, before sowing, the seeds can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water (+ 25C), which must be changed every 4 hours. Another option: germinate the seeds immediately, rejecting all those that will not germinate. For this, the seeds are spread over the surface of a moistened cloth laid out on a plate. The container is placed in a plastic bag and placed in a warm place (+ 23C - + 25C) for 3 - 5 days, during which the fabric needs regular moistening.
Important... The ideal soil for growing tomato seedlings is loose, light, well-drained, with an acidity level of 5.5 - 6.5 pH.
For growing seedlings, you can purchase a ready-made soil mixture in the store, to which experienced gardeners add simple garden soil (1: 1) and dolomite flour or chalk (1 - 2 tablespoons per 10 liters of substrate).
You can prepare the substrate yourself using one of the recipes:
- mix 1 part of humus, sod land, sawdust, peat, add 2 tbsp to the resulting mixture. wood ash, 1.5 tbsp. superphosphate, 10 g of slaked lime;
- garden soil, peat, humus are mixed in equal parts, a little ash and complex fertilizer are added to the mixture;
- sod land is mixed with peat, river sand, perlite, coconut fiber, wood ash in a ratio of 2: 1: 1: 1: 1: 0.5, respectively.
But in any case, the soil should be disinfected, since the spores of most infectious diseases are contained in it. Disinfection of the soil can be carried out thermally (calcination in the oven (+ 180C - + 200C) for 30 minutes or heating in the microwave for 1 - 2 minutes at a power of 850) or treated with fungicides according to the instructions. Alternatively: you can spill it with boiling water or a bright pink solution of potassium permanganate.
How to sow seeds at home correctly?
- At the bottom of the box, a drainage layer 0.5 - 1 cm thick is poured (expanded clay, small pebbles, eggshells, which will also provide additional nutrition).
- The soil is poured into the container for 2/3 of the container volume.
- The soil is poured abundantly with settled (possibly melted) warm water.
- On the surface, it is necessary to make grooves 1 cm deep (for large-fruited varieties) or 0.5 cm (for small-sized varieties), the distance between them is 3-4 cm.As an option: make holes with a pencil with the same deepening parameters, but in a checkerboard pattern (distance between the pits - 3 - 4 cm).
- The seeds are spread out along the grooves at a distance of 1 - 2 cm, sprinkled on top with soil, which is slightly crushed by hands, and moistened with a spray bottle.
- The container must be covered with glass, film or a lid, then placed in a warm (+ 25C - + 30C) place.
- The shelter should be systematically removed for ventilation.
- After the first shoots appear (after 7 - 10 days), the film can be removed, the container can be rearranged on the windowsill, the temperature can be reduced to + 16C - + 18C.
Next, you can watch a video on how to sow tomato seeds in a box:
Seedling care after planting
- Illumination... The recommended duration of daylight hours for seedlings should be at least 10 hours. Otherwise, it will have to be illuminated with a phytolamp.
- Temperature regime... Recommended daytime temperature +16 - + 20C, night - +13 - + 15C.
- Watering... The first watering is carried out with the appearance of the first shoots (1 glass of warm, settled water per box (+ 22C), the second and subsequent watering as needed: it is important not to dry out, but excessive moisture can destroy still immature plants. The frequency of watering should be proportional to the temperature : the hotter, the more often you water.
- Fresh air... If possible, the seedlings should be exposed to fresh air or open the windows: this way the seedlings will "harden" and they will not be afraid of temperature changes in the open field.
- Top dressing... In 2 - 3 weeks after the emergence of seedlings, the seedlings should be fed. It is better if it is natural organic fertilizers based on compost, manure or grass; from the purchased ones, preference should be given to fertilizers based on humic acids and vermicompost. The recommended frequency of fertilization is once a week.
By sowing seeds and caring for seedlings according to these recommendations, you can get your first harvest in the summer.