Growing heat-loving tomatoes in the temperate climate of Russia is not an easy task. Tomatoes - a southern plant with a long growing season. So that they have time to give their crops before the onset of autumnal cold weather, tomatoes need to be grown by seedling and it is better to do this in greenhouses. This is the only way to guarantee high yields of juicy and fragrant fruits.
How to determine the time of planting tomato seedlings for the greenhouse, how to sow the seeds of tomatoes and when to transfer plants to a permanent place - this is the article.
Where to begin
Start growing seedlings should be with the choice of varieties of tomatoes. To do this, prioritize and select varieties that:
- designed for greenhouses and greenhouses;
- have an early or average ripening period;
- have the ability to self-pollinate (which is very important in a closed greenhouse);
- resistant to fungal diseases of tomatoes, especially against late blight (the risk of these diseases in the greenhouse is much higher than in the open field, because there is high humidity here);
- they are distinguished by compact bushes that do not grow to the sides;
- indeterminate tomatoes in height should not exceed the size of the greenhouse;
- give good yields of tasty fruits.
After selecting a variety and buying seeds, you can proceed to the preparatory stage. At this stage, you need to choose containers for seedlings, mix the soil or purchase ready-made soil mixture for tomato seedlings, prepare the greenhouse for transplantation.
Determining the timing of sowing seeds for seedlings
The growing season of early and mid-season tomatoes is about 90-100 days. And the optimum temperature for tomatoes is 24-26 degrees during the day, and 16-18 degrees at night. In the local climate, such a temperature regime lasts for a very short time - a month or two. It obliges gardeners to keep half or even two-thirds of the growing season tomato seedlings in a house or grow a crop in heated greenhouses.
In the south and in the middle zone of the country, tomatoes can be planted in the greenhouse when the night frosts stop - this is about the end of April or the first days of May. In the northern part of Russia, tomato seedlings are transferred to unheated greenhouses around the middle of May or at the end of the month.
In addition to the date of planting seedlings in a permanent place, it is necessary to consider the timing of ripening tomatoes. You can learn them by examining the label of the bag with seeds - for each variety, the growing season will be different.
Based on these two parameters, and determine the date of sowing seeds of tomatoes in seedlings. On average, this is the end of February - for the southern regions and late-ripening varieties, or early-mid-March - for the middle stripe and tomatoes with early ripening.
Attention! When choosing the date of sowing seeds, it is necessary to take into account the climate in the region. After all, the air temperature on the same day may differ even in two neighboring cities, so the gardener must analyze the weather conditions of recent years in his own village.
Tomato seedlings are transferred to a permanent place only when the weather permits. Even strong and healthy plants will not be able to get acclimatized well unless light levels or temperature conditions contribute to this.
Preparation for seeding
First of all, you need to stock up on a container for tomato seedlings. Any plastic containers (for example, cups from yogurt), disposable plastic dishes, wooden boxes, special peat cups or seedling tablets will do.
The only requirement for dishes for sowing seeds - it should not be too deep. The optimum wall height is 15 cm.
Now you need to prepare the soil for tomato seedlings. This culture is best suited subacidic soil, the earth should be crumbly and light. You can prepare a mixture for growing tomatoes on your own, or you can use a purchased soil mixture intended for planting garden crops.Tip! In order to improve the survival rate of seedlings after transplantation, it is recommended to use the same land that is in the greenhouse for sowing seeds. This will help tomatoes adapt faster and get less sore.
It is possible to loosen too dense ground with the help of coarse-grained river sand or wood ash - these components are added to the soil and mixed thoroughly.
Before using the soil for seedlings of tomatoes must be disinfected, it is necessary to prevent the reproduction of microorganisms and fungi dangerous for tomatoes in the ground. Each gardener uses his method for disinfection, you can choose any of them:
- Freezing for a long period is carried out in advance. To do this, the soil is mixed back in the fall, and in winter they keep a linen bag with soil on the street or hang it on the balcony.
- Calcination is performed in the oven or in the microwave. For this, the prepared soil is spread on a sheet or pan and thoroughly heated for half an hour. Before sowing the seeds, the ground needs to be cooled.
- They usually spill boiling water over the soil that is already poured into the boxes. The same method is suitable for disinfecting the land in open beds or in a greenhouse - it is necessary to water the greenhouse soil a few hours before transplanting tomato seedlings.
- The use of manganese is also quite effective. To implement this method, potassium permanganate is diluted in water to a state of dark purple liquid. This solution is watered the ground in cups or boxes for seedlings.
Prepared and disinfected soil is poured into containers for growing tomato seedlings. The earth needs a little wet and tamp.
Then, using a knife or other flat object, make grooves with a depth of about two centimeters — tomato seeds are subsequently placed here.
How to prepare tomato seeds
The timing of planting seeds for seedlings is slightly adjusted and the germination of seed. Typically, tomatoes germinate within 7-10 days, and the first pair of cotyledon leaves develops in them, approximately 20 days after seeding.
For the seeds to hatch faster, and the seedlings themselves are strong and healthy, you need to properly prepare the seed for planting:
- It is necessary to buy tomato seeds only from a trusted manufacturer - you should not save here. High-quality tomato seeds have already passed the stage of calibration, hardening, disinfection. Often, elite seeds are placed in nutritional capsules that help accelerate the spitting and good growth of tomato seedlings. Store purchased seeds should be no more than two years, then their germination decreases.
- If the seeds of tomatoes are harvested personally from the previous crop, you need to remember that the best germination are seeds of two or three years ago. Therefore, the use of last year's seeds is not worth it. It is also very important that seeds are not harvested from hybrid tomatoes; only varietal tomatoes are suitable for reproduction.
- Material for growing seedlings calibrate - select the most even, beautiful seeds of uniform color and uniform size.
- You can check the germination with saline. To do this, in a half-liter jar dissolve a few tablespoons of salt and put the seeds of tomatoes. After half an hour, they are inspecting the material - only seeds lowered on the bottom of the jar are suitable for planting. Sprouted seeds are hollow, nothing grows from them.
- Seeds of tomatoes also need to be disinfected. To do this, you can use a solution of iodine (1% solution) or a solution of manganese. In this environment, the seeds are placed for 15-30 minutes, pre-tied them in a linen or gauze bag. After processing, the seeds of tomatoes are thoroughly washed with running water.
- It is possible to stimulate the quickest sowing of seeds, if you place them for a day or two in a thermos with water, which temperature is about 50 degrees. However, this stage is optional, as many gardeners are of the opinion that tomatoes should be sown with dry seeds.
- If the owner, nevertheless, wants to be sure of the germination of tomato seeds, he can wrap them in a damp cloth after a thermos and close them in a small container. Keep the seeds in this form need two or three days, twice a day, the container is opened slightly for airing.
- The hardening of tomato seeds in the future will help the seedlings to withstand the low nighttime temperatures and their fluctuations more firmly. Hardened already germinated seeds, placing them for a day in the zero chamber of the refrigerator.
- You can feed the seeds in a solution of wood ash, a couple of spoons of which is added to warm water.
Planting seeds on seedlings
With germinated seeds, you need to exercise the utmost accuracy, since the tender growth is very easy to break. Therefore, it is necessary to germinate seeds on a cloth or cotton pad, and not on a bandage or gauze — the sprouts will easily become entangled in the fibers and break.
Transfer the seeds to the prepared grooves using tweezers. They are placed at a distance of about 2-2.5 cm from each other - this is approximately the width of two fingers of an adult hand that are folded together.
Now the seeds are powdered with dry soil and tamped it a little. It is not necessary to water the grooves, it is better to use a spray gun and spray water on the ground. After irrigation, the seed containers are covered with plastic wrap or clear glass.
Place the pots and boxes in a very warm place, where the temperature is constantly kept at 26-28 degrees.
After 7-10 days, the first shoots will appear, this is a signal to the fact that the film from the boxes needs to be removed.
How to care for tomato seedlings
Growing tomato seedlings is a painstaking process, attention should be paid to plants every day, because every little thing is important here.
To seedlings of tomatoes was strong, you must follow these rules:
- after germination of the first leaves, boxes and pots with tomatoes are placed on a well-lit window sill. If the sunlight is not enough, the seedlings of tomatoes will have to illuminate with fluorescent lamps. Due to the lack of illumination, the plants may become too stretched, they will be weak and frail.
- Until more than two leaves appear, the seedlings of the tomatoes are not watered; you can only slightly moisten the soil from the sprayer.
- When the cotyledon leaves are formed, the tomato seedlings swoop down into disposable containers. You need to carry the plants carefully, trying to capture along with the roots a lump of soil.
- Watering tomato seedlings can be after a dive. To do this, use melted or boiled water, heated to 20 degrees. Cold water contributes to the development of fungal diseases of tomatoes and inhibits their growth. Watering tomatoes need at least once every 4-5 days. If the weather is sunny, the seedlings will have to be watered daily. It is important not to wet the leaves and stems, so the tomatoes are watered under the root. For this it is convenient to use a small watering can with a long spout.
- To feed the tomatoes you need after the appearance of cotyledon leaves, that is, after diving. To do this, the fertilizers are dissolved in warm water and the seedlings of tomatoes are poured with this solution. You can use any ready-made fertilizer for flowers or seedlings, or independently prepare a mixture of mineral fertilizers. It is not recommended to fertilize tomatoes with nitric solutions, this will lead to excessive growth of bushes and strong foliage.
- The lack of lighting will tell the leaves and stems of tomatoes. If the foliage turns yellow, fades, changes color or darkens at the edges - the seedlings lack sunlight. The same can be said about excessively stretched tomatoes - they do not have enough light, or the temperature in the room is below the optimum.
- Happy tomatoes need a temperature in the range of 22-26 degrees, and at night it should fall to 16-18 degrees. If this regime is not respected, the seedlings will become lethargic and weak - it is unlikely that a fertile shrub will grow out of it.
How to know that the seedlings are ready for transplanting to the greenhouse
When the temperature outside has stabilized, the threat of severe frosts will pass, the seedlings need to be transplanted to a greenhouse. At this point, tomatoes must meet certain requirements:
- The height of low-growing varieties of tomatoes should be about 15 cm, for tall tomatoes 30-cm centimeter seedlings are considered the norm.
- By the time of transplanting to a permanent place on the stems there must be at least eight true leaves.
- The stem diameter of a strong seedling should be approximately like a pencil.
- The bushes already have one or two ovaries with flower buds, but there are still no small fruits.
- The leaves are tight, bright green, without damage and stains.
Tip! If the seedlings are bought, it is not necessary to choose tomatoes with too thick stems and dense leaves. Such tomatoes look presentable, but they will bear fruit poorly, as they are oversaturated with nitrogen fertilizers and growth stimulants.
Tips seasoned gardeners
In the process of repeatedly growing seedlings, certain rules and skills are formed. Therefore, gardeners with experience can give some useful tips for beginners:
- for higher yields, it is recommended to swoop two plants at once in one pot. After twenty days, they select the strongest sprout and leave it, and the top plant is pinned to the second plant. After this, the stems are bound with a nylon thread. Thus, you can get a bush with two roots, which will be twice as resistant and productive.
- Many recommendations for growing seedlings suggest that before planting tomatoes in a permanent place, the ground in the pots should be thoroughly moistened. However, this method leads to the breakage of a part of the root system - when the cup is turned over to extract a tomato, half of the roots break off and remain on the walls and bottom of the glass. In order not to damage the roots, it’s better not to water the tomatoes for two or three days - the ground will shrink and move away from the walls of the glass, which will allow you to remove the plant without hindrance.
- Since tomatoes do not tolerate transplantation, it is better not to sop down the seedlings, but to sow the seeds immediately in disposable cups.
- In the greenhouse, you need to install two horizontal crossbars - tapestries, to which the tomatoes are tied up with a soft rope or a strip of cloth. Immediately after planting, the seedlings are tied up on the first trellis, which is 20-30 cm above the top of the tomato. The second pillar is located under the greenhouse ceiling; it is transferred to it when tomatoes outgrow the lower trellis.
- In the first weeks after disembarking, the seedlings are covered with spandex or lutrasil, throwing the canvas over the bottom support. During the day, the greenhouse is opened for airing, the shelter can not be removed.
Now it became clear when it is better to plant tomatoes for seedlings for the greenhouse - to calculate the date, it is necessary to consider several factors at once. To plant seedlings on their own is much more efficient than buying ready-made ones. Indeed, this is the only way to be sure of the quality of the variety, the resistance of the plants and the timing of fruit ripening.