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Tomatoes are one of the most popular crops for gardeners. However, in order to get a bountiful harvest, it takes a lot of effort, from buying seeds to properly caring for mature seedlings.
One of the important stages of growing a tomato is the correct planting of seeds for seedlings. Here it is important to follow certain recommendations, which will be discussed below. In the article, we will tell you from A to Z how to plant and grow good seedlings correctly, and reveal the secrets of the technology: what to do with tomato seeds before sowing, whether it is necessary to process and where to put boxes after sowing, and also give a schedule, dates and planting schemes for early ones, mid-season and late varieties.
Where can you plant?
For growing tomato seedlings, both home and greenhouse conditions are suitable.
At home, tomatoes can be grown on a glazed balcony, windowsill and even a table., if equipped with additional lighting, to avoid overgrowth of the seedling stem.
A greenhouse is good for growing a large number of seedlings, in addition, it is useful for gardeners from the northern regions, where the soil for planting remains unheated for a long time. Here, the greenhouse can become a permanent place for tomato growth: from sowing seeds to harvesting fruits.
Here you can see a photo of tomatoes:
Rules for preparing seed for sowing
Seed preparation is one of the important conditions for growing a good harvest. Compliance with the basic procedures for seed preparation will increase the germination rate of seedlingsas well as its quality.
- To begin with, the seeds must be sorted - dip the seeds in a saline solution (2 tablespoons of salt per 1 liter of water), mix, remove the floating seeds, and rinse the rest under running water.
- Further, the seeds that have passed the sorting are disinfected. Disinfection is carried out with a solution of potassium permanganate 1% (2 g per glass of water), after which the seeds are again washed with plain water.
- It is also recommended for tomato seeds to undergo a hardening and germination procedure.
- Place the seeds in a gauze bag and refrigerate overnight with a temperature of at least +10.
- In the afternoon, we take out the seeds and leave them at a temperature of about +25. We repeat the cycle for 2-3 days.
- Next, take a small container, lay out a layer of cotton wool, fill it with water, sprinkle the seeds over the cotton layer so that the water covers them a little, cover the seed with another layer of cotton wool.
- We leave for 2-3 days, until the first signs of germination appear.
- Remember to regularly ventilate the container and change the water.
- It will not be superfluous to treat the seed with bioactive substances (for example, wood ash, aloe or potato juice): this will serve as an excellent catalyst for seed growth.
Preparing the soil for planting
It is recommended to harvest the soil in the autumn., since the winter soil will already be denser. The preparation of soil material is carried out according to the following algorithm:
- The main components of the soil: earth and sand. Before mixing them, you need to thoroughly clean them of debris, possible pests and other things. This is easily done by sieving.
- We start mixing the components: take oilcloth material and pour all the soil components, as well as fertilizers, onto it. After mixing, the prepared soil is laid out in bags or containers.
- If possible, the potting solution is best stored in a shed or in another dark, dry place. After the winter period, about a couple of weeks before the preparatory procedures with seeds for planting, the soil should be placed in a warm room. This will ensure that the ground will be warm enough for sowing.
The disinfection procedure will not be superfluous for the soil. This will get rid of various kinds of pests, their larvae and eggs. Disinfection can be carried out using different methods:
- Freezing. To do this, the container with the earth is left in the cold, hiding it from precipitation. A month before planting, bring it to room conditions, mix the necessary components for the soil and take it back to the cold.
- Processing with a solution of potassium permanganate - 3 g of manganese per 10 liters. water with the addition of antifungal drugs.
- Steaming the soil. We take two containers of different sizes. Pour earth into a smaller tank and put it on a stand in a larger one. We fill the main tank with water and put it on fire. The container with the earth remains open, and the container with water is closed. Bring the water to a boil and leave to steam for an hour. The soil can also be steamed in the oven - at 40 degrees for 30 minutes.
Steaming and processing with permanganate are very dangerous procedures not only for pests, but also for beneficial microorganisms. Therefore, it is possible to use ready-made mixtures for the destruction of pests such as phytosporin and fitoverm.
A container for seedlings can serve as specialized dishes bought in a store: pots, peat tablets, wooden containers, and containers that can be found in any household: cardboard boxes, cups for dairy products. It is easy to put together a wooden box from unnecessary boards with your own hands. The main thing is not to use a metal container. It is not recommended to grow tomato seedlings in it.
How to sow: step by step instructions and work schedule
- Compliance with the timing of sowing seeds is one of the important conditions when growing seedlings at home. Late-ripening and tall varieties of tomatoes are sown at the end of February (15-25 days), thus, already at the beginning of May, 70-80 day old seedlings can already be planted in the greenhouse.
Sowing seeds of mid-season varieties occurs at the beginning of March (from 5 to 10). 60-65 day old seedlings are planted in mid-May in a garden in open ground. Early ripe tomato varieties are sown from March 15 to 25 and already on June 15-20, seedlings are planted at the age of 55-60 days in a permanent place.
- Sowing prepared seeds in a box or other large container is carried out by the ditch method. We spill the soil with water. In the soil, with any convenient object, grooves are made with a depth of 1 - 1.5 cm at a distance of 3 - 4 cm from each other. We leave a gap of 2 - 2.5 cm between each seed. Carefully fill the seeds with earth.
It is not necessary to plant seed material densely, this can cause weak seedlings due to lack of nutrients.
Sprouted seeds are laid out vertically in the furrows with tweezers, sprout upwards, then sprinkled with soil a little and sprayed with water.
- Necessary conditions for growing seedlings. The container, after planting the seed, is covered with a film and sent to a warm, well-lit place. Comfortable temperature - 22-23 degrees. After 5-10 days, when the first sprouts are visible, the film should be removed from the container.
We move the container to a cool place with a temperature of 15-16 degrees for 5-6 days. Then we put the seedlings in a warm place again. During the day for shoots, a temperature of about 24 degrees is comfortable, at night - about 12 degrees.
How to properly care for tomato seedlings?
It is worth moistening the soil as needed. Excessive watering can lead to rotting of the seedling roots. It is not recommended to water the soil until the first true leaves appear, but this is provided that the prepared soil retains moisture well. After that, the soil is watered once a week, and after the appearance of 5 leaves - every 3-4 days.
Watering is carried out with settled water at a temperature above room temperature by 1-2 degrees. Do not forget to regularly ventilate the area where the seedlings are grown.
Tomatoes love good lighting. Otherwise, the seedlings will be elongated and weak. The stay of the seedlings in a lighted place should be at least 12 hours. Therefore, stock up on devices for additional lighting of seedlings. For example, a fluorescent lamp installed at a height of 22-25 cm from the seedlings is suitable.
Subject to all recommendations for the preparation of seeds and soil, additional fertilization is not required.
However, you should pay attention to the appearance of the seedlings: bright green foliage and a strong stem - speak of the normal state of the plant, which does not need feeding. Otherwise, fertilizing will not hurt.
The soil should be fertilized 10 days after the pick. Special food can be purchased at the store. After fertilizing the soil, it should be spilled with water and loosened.
After the appearance of 2-3 leaf plates, the sprouts should be planted in separate containers. with a volume of at least 0.5 liters. For picking, cups with drainage in the form of holes in the bottom are perfect. Thanks to this procedure, the seedlings are hardened, become stronger, and the elongated seedlings reduce their growth, become more squat. Such seedlings are planted in the ground in cotyledon leaves.
The picking process is simple.
- First, spill the seedlings liberally.
- Pour soil into the prepared containers, tamp and make a depression in the center.
- We carefully remove the seedling from the soil, pinch the main root by a third.
- Then we lower the seedling into the depression and cover it with earth.
- The air temperature is raised by 3-4 degrees, and the lighting is slightly reduced. In such conditions, the seedlings will stay for several days, then they are returned to normal conditions.
Many gardeners are happy to grow seedlings at home. This process is simple, besides, vegetables grown with our own hands from seed to fruit delight with taste and appearance at the end of the season more than just purchased fruits in a store.
In the video, we will look at the process of preparing and planting tomatoes: