How to properly prepare seeds for planting
Before sowing seeds in the ground, you should properly prepare them. To do this, you can use a solution of potassium permanganate, which is sold at the pharmacy. For seed treatment, you need to prepare a solution of dark cherry color. The seeds should be put in a cloth bag and immersed in the solution for 15-20 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water. Such treatment will save tomatoes from viral diseases and improve seed nutrition.
Then you can soak the seeds in the nutrient solution. For soaking, you can use wood ash or liquid fertilizer “Ideal” (1 tablespoon per liter of water), sodium humate (1 / teaspoon per 1 liter of water), nitrophoska (1 teaspoon per liter of water). In a solution of any of these fertilizers, the seeds are kept for 12 hours, after which they are transferred to clean water for another day. This procedure will be especially useful for large seeds. The dishes in which the seeds are soaked must be placed in a warm place to maintain the temperature of the water or solution at 24-25 ° C.
After soaking, the seeds are hardened, for this they are placed in the refrigerator, on the middle shelf, and left there for 1-2 days, making sure that the seed bags do not dry out. After hardening, the seeds can be sown in the ground.
We start sowing seeds
The optimal timing for sowing tomato seeds for seedlings depends on the variety and method of further cultivation. Tomatoes intended for growing in a greenhouse are sown in February, if the seedlings are planted in open ground, then the optimal sowing time is the first decade of March. Usually, a lot of tomato seedlings are grown, so initially the seeds are sown thickened. For sowing, use boxes or other wide and shallow containers. Each variety must be sown in a separate box. For sowing, you can purchase a ready-made soil mixture, or you can prepare it yourself from equal parts of peat, humus and sod land. To a bucket of such a mixture, add 1 tablespoon of wood ash and 1 teaspoon of superphosphate and potassium sulfate each. The soil should be poured into the boxes in a layer of 5-7 cm, leveled and slightly compacted. Then you need to make grooves 1 cm deep, pour them with a warm light brown solution of sodium humate. Seeds are laid out in grooves at a distance of 1.5-2 cm from each other, sprinkled with earth without watering, and boxes with crops are placed in a warm place. You do not have to make grooves, but simply spread the seeds with tweezers on the surface of the soil, and then press them into the soil with a pencil and sprinkle with earth. To prevent the soil from drying out and seedlings to appear faster, you should cover the boxes with foil.
Now we know how to plant seeds, it’s time to figure out how to properly care for seedlings, how to water and how to fertilize seedlings.
With the appearance of the first shoots, the film must be removed from the boxes, and the boxes must be placed in the brightest place. The temperature can now be lowered and maintained at 12 ° C-15 ° C during the day and & 8 ° C-10 ° C at night. Not far from the place where the seedling boxes are, you need to put a room thermometer to control the temperature. If the daylight hours do not exceed 14 hours, the seedlings need additional lighting in the morning and evening, otherwise they can stretch out. To avoid pulling the seedlings out, do not water them too often and abundantly. After 4-7 days, you can raise the temperature to 20 ° C-25 ° C, do not forget about maintaining the level of humidity in the air: if the air in the room is dry, you can put a bucket of water next to the battery or hang wet towels on the radiators. If the seeds have not been sown deep enough, then the seedlings can not always free themselves from the peel, and this delays the growth of seedlings and can cause its diseases. If such a problem is observed, you need to remove the peel from the seedlings with tweezers, having previously moistened it with water.
When 2-3 true leaves appear on the seedlings, it is time for a pick. To do this, you need to prepare pots or cups with a drainage hole in the bottom. It is better to water the seedlings no later than 3 hours before this procedure. You should not rush to dive, if the seedlings are poorly developed, then it is better to postpone the transplant until 3-4 true leaves appear, and if the seedlings are well developed, have strong stems, then the plants can be dived even in the presence of 1-2 leaves. How to properly dive tomato seedlings to make them strong and healthy? If the seedlings are not stretched out, then the seedlings are carefully, trying not to damage the roots, taken out of the box and placed in pots prepared in advance about 6×6 cm in size, without deepening. The soil around the seedlings is compacted, they are watered abundantly. If the seedlings are stretched out, this can be corrected during a dive. First, you can cut the stem above the cotyledonous leaves before diving. Such a seedling is dived into a separate cup, deepening to the cotyledons, and covered with a transparent bag. After a few days, a new shoot begins to grow on the stem. Secondly, you can place the seedling horizontally in the groove and deepen it to the first true leaf. After a few days, the seedling will begin to grow upward by itself.
20-30 days after the first pick, the turn of another procedure comes – the second pick. Seedlings are transplanted from small pots into a more spacious container, now the pots or cups should be about 15×15 cm in size. When transplanting, do not bury the plants. After the second pick, the seedlings are watered abundantly with warm water. Someone may ask the question: what is the point of double picking? There are two obvious answers to this question. Firstly, frequent transplants slow down the growth of seedlings, and the prone to pulling tomato seedlings turn out to be more robust and squat. Secondly, picking seedlings directly into large pots will not allow you to control watering, the water in such pots will stagnate and the root system of plants will stop growing.
Top dressing of seedlings
The main thing that you need to know for those who want to grow tomatoes: planting and caring for them is impossible without regular feeding. It is important not only to know how to feed the seedlings, but also when and how to do it correctly. The first feeding of a tomato after planting is carried out already & 10 days after the first pick. You can make up a mixture of fertilizers yourself (35 g of superphosphate, 4 g of urea and 12 g of potassium sulfate per 10 liters of water), or you can purchase a ready-made complex fertilizer for vegetable seedlings. How to fertilize – the owner of the seedlings decides, based on his capabilities and convenience. The second feeding is carried out 2 weeks after the first, for this, the same fertilizers are used. Any feeding of a tomato after planting must be carried out before watering, and after each watering, you need to slightly loosen the soil. Water the tomato seedlings regularly, but in moderation. Complete drying out of the soil is unacceptable! Waterlogging of the soil is one of the reasons for the disease of seedlings with a black leg.
Transfer to a permanent place
When the temperature outside the window in the daytime begins to rise to 10 ° C, the seedlings can be taken out to fresh air for hardening. The first days will have to shade it with paper from the scorching rays of the sun, if there is no night frost, then you can leave the seedlings on the balcony at night. Tomato seedlings are planted in greenhouses and hotbeds in early May, and in open ground – in early June, when the threat of late frosts has passed. A week before planting the seedlings, you need to spray it with a 5% solution of copper sulfate to prevent fungal diseases. Planting tomato seedlings in a greenhouse begins with preparing the soil. Ridges for tomatoes are made along the greenhouse, their number is determined by the width of the greenhouse. You need to make the ridges a few days before planting. Usually, the ridges are made high, up to 40 cm, and their width is usually 60-90 cm.If the soil in the greenhouse is clayey, you can add peat, humus and sawdust to the beds. On the ridges of peat soil, you can add coarse sand, sod land, humus. Before planting tomato seedlings in the greenhouse begins, you need to shed the ridges with a hot solution of potassium permanganate. At what distance to plant tomatoes from each other is a controversial issue. On the one hand, a thickened planting reduces the illumination of the plants in the garden, and the tomatoes begin to stretch. On the other hand, planting too rarely leads to the active formation of stepchildren and a decrease in yield. Plants can be placed on the ridges in one or two rows, as well as in a checkerboard pattern, & the distance between tomatoes when planting should be about 50 – 60 cm for tall (determinant) varieties and hybrids, cherry tomatoes, etc.
Seedling care after disembarkation
Now we know how to plant seedlings, how to water and feed them. It remains to figure out the care of tomatoes after planting in a permanent place. For plants like tomatoes, planting and grooming is the key to a healthy and rich harvest. So, the seedlings are planted in the greenhouse. After planting, the plants do not need to be watered for 1-2 weeks to prevent stretching. 10 days after planting, you can start tying the plants. For a garter, you can use stakes with a height of 1.5-2 meters or a trellis. Before the tomatoes begin to bloom, they need to be watered every 5-6 days at the rate of 5 liters of water per 1 m 2… From the beginning of flowering to fruit setting, the watering rate increases by 2-3 times. The water temperature for irrigation should be at least 20-22 ° С. After 20 days after planting the seedlings, fertilizing is carried out, for this, 2 tablespoons of liquid fertilizer “Ideal” or 1 tablespoon of nitrophoska and 0.5 liters of mullein are dissolved in 10 liters of water. 1 plant will require 1 liter of such a solution. Watering tomatoes in greenhouses should be done in the morning so as not to create excess moisture at night. It is imperative to ventilate the greenhouse with tomatoes, especially during flowering and fruit setting.
Planting tomato seedlings in open ground is practically no different from planting in a greenhouse. The main difference is the timing of planting, seedlings are planted in open ground 2-3 weeks later, in addition, undersized and medium-sized varieties of tomatoes are chosen for growing in open ground.