Tomatoes are tasty, healthy and beautiful. Did you know that they came to Europe as an ornamental plant and were grown for a long time solely because of their beauty? Probably, the phytophthora was not yet heard. Only practical Italians immediately began to eat them. And the summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes, so beloved by everyone, should be eaten as rarely as possible - the combination of these vegetables prevents the assimilation of vital vitamin C. Tomatoes are, of course, beautiful, especially when they are not ill, but today we grow them to diversify our diet . In this article we will explain how to prepare the soil for tomato seedlings.
The value of soil for seedlings
As the theater begins with a hanger, so the seedlings begin with the ground. High-quality earthen mixture for its cultivation is a guarantee of a future good harvest. If it is not good enough, the tomatoes will be sick or weak and we will not get a full-fledged harvest. Or worse, the seedlings will die and we have to start all over again or buy it on the market.
You can’t just take a shovel and dig up garden soil or bring soil from a greenhouse - with almost 100% probability nothing good will come of it. The soil for tomato seedlings is prepared from several components that require appropriate preparation. Only large farms grow tomato seedlings on pure peat, pretreating it and saturating it with fertilizers and special additives. But they have the appropriate industrial equipment for this purpose.
Yes, and do we need tomatoes, even before landing in the soil to the eyeballs pumped up with chemistry? It is better to spend some amount of time and independently prepare the soil for tomato seedlings.
Requirements for the ground
The main requirement is that the soil must contain everything necessary for growing tomato seedlings. It should be:
- water and breathable;
- moderately fertile, that is, to contain sufficient, but not excessive amounts of nutrients necessary for tomato seedlings at first;
- neutral or slightly acidic;
- cleaned, namely: do not contain toxic substances hazardous to humans or plants, harmful microorganisms, weed seeds, spores of fungi, as well as eggs or insect larvae, worms.
Components used for soil
Each gardener has his own recipe for preparing soil for seedlings of tomatoes. They may have various components of both organic and inorganic origin, they may or may not add fertilizers. But at all people sometimes successfully grow tomato seedlings for decades. It is impossible to say which ground is right or best. Any component of the soil for tomato seedlings taken in the same locality can be very different from the same component originating from another region.
Even in the same garden, the land taken from under the planting of leguminous crops will differ dramatically from the soil where the sunflower grew.
Soil for tomato seedlings may consist of the following organic components:
- turf ground;
- meadow land;
- peat (lowland, middle, riding);
- well-rotted leaf humus (its chemical composition will vary greatly depending on the tree species, the leaves of which participated in the compost preparation, for example, if there were a lot of nut leaves there, our seedlings may not even climb);
- well-swollen and frozen out cattle humus;
- sphagnum moss;
- garden land (although this is not recommended, many gardeners use it, and successfully);
- fallen needles;
- coconut fiber;
- rotted sawdust.
Attention! Bird dung is not recommended to take because of the high nitrogen content, and horse is because the tomatoes grown with its help will be surprisingly tasteless.
Ground for tomato seedlings may or may not contain:
A warning! Perlite dust that has got into our lungs is extremely toxic, but perlite wetted with water is absolutely safe.
Often (but not all and not always) when preparing the soil for seedlings are used as auxiliary substances:
- wood ash;
- a piece of chalk;
- dolomite flour;
Ash acts as a means of protecting against diseases and pests, fertilizer and natural soil deoxidizer. Its chemical properties are highly dependent on the type of wood being burned.
As you can see, there are many components, and if we consider that most often the soil for growing seedlings consists of 3-4 components, it will be more accurate to say that there are a lot of them.
In no case can not use:
- manure (firstly, tomatoes do not like it, secondly, it oxidizes the soil, thirdly, there is a lot of nitrogen there, fourthly, it certainly contains a lot of pathogens for seedlings);
- not completely rotted leaf humus (it can simply burn the roots of seedlings);
- any land contaminated by insects, worms or weeds;
- hay dust.
Land preparation for seedlings
Before sowing seeds of tomatoes, preplant preparation of the soil must be carried out. We must kill all spores of fungi and bacteria, insects and their larvae. You also need to try to get rid of weed seeds that may be in the ground. Again, each gardener makes such training in his own way. Can:
- Froze the soil. Some for this, they repeatedly expose a container with earth to frost in winter, then enter and allow to thaw, freeze again, and so several times. Perhaps this is correct, but it is a very laborious process. Moreover, if, for example, the earth is poured into a bag, carrying it back and forth is difficult. In addition, during thawing, the floor can be very dirty. And not everyone has such a warm room, where bags with soil could stand, and they thaw for a long time. Most often they are initially placed in a cold garage or shed, and about a week before sowing tomato seedlings are brought into the room.
- The calcination of the soil. The earth is poured in a layer of about 5 cm per sheet and put in the oven, heated to 70-90 degrees for half an hour. This should be done in advance so that the soil could be occupied by useful microorganisms.
- Steaming soil. Here, too, there is no limit to popular fantasy. The ground should be kept for at least 10 minutes over boiling water. For this purpose, use a colander, steamer, simply cheesecloth.
- Ground disinfection. Perhaps this is the least time consuming method, but it will not get rid of weed seeds. For these purposes, iodine is used (3 drops per 10 l), 1% solution of potassium permanganate, antifungal agents, insecticides + fungicides.
If you use sawdust or pine needles, pour boiling water over them, cover the dishes with a lid and cool them. Drain the water, again pour boiling water and insist.
Production of soil for seedlings
As we said, recipes for the manufacture of soil for tomato seedlings weight. See which components are easiest for you to get and prepare a substrate of them. It is enough for someone to go outside and walk 100–200 meters to collect some peat, and for someone it’s simply impossible to get it. For someone it is expensive to buy perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber or sphagnum moss.
If you have on hand all the components for making the soil, but it turns out to be excessively sour, you can deoxidize with dolomite flour or lime.Important! Use dolomite deoxidizing poor soil, and rich soil - with lime.
We explain: dolomite flour itself is a fertilizer, for nutrient-poor components, it will be a real find. If you add it to the soil containing black soil - get an excess of fertilizer. Fatty, rich lands are deacidified with chalk or lime.
Sometimes it is necessary, on the contrary, to increase the acidity of the soil. This is easy to do by adding a little high peat - it is fibrous, has a reddish color and an acid reaction.
Here are some recipes for preparing soil for tomato seedlings, but we repeat, there are a lot of them:
- Sand, riding and lowland peat in proportion 1: 1: 1.
- Leaf humus, turf ground, sand, perlite in a ratio of 3: 3: 4: 0.5.
- Peat, sand, wood ash - 10: 5: 1.
- Steamed sawdust, sand, wood ash - 10: 5: 1 + 1 tbsp. l nitrogen fertilizer on a bucket of the mixture (such a mixture must be mixed very carefully so that the nitrogen is evenly distributed)
- Steamed needles, sand, wood ash - 10: 5: 1;
- Turf ground, well-rotten manure, peat, sand - 2: 0.5: 8: 2 + 3 tbsp. l azofoski on the bucket mix.
If the soil is very dense, add perlite or vermiculite.Important! Do not sift the soil for seedlings of tomatoes through a sieve! After watering, it may over-condense.
Often after the cultivation of tomato seedlings, we do not know where to put the spent soil. In no case should he leave it for the next year. You can not pour it in the place where they will grow solanaceous crops - potatoes, tomatoes, peppers. It is best to pour it on a pile with young compost, which will ripen for at least another year.
Use of garden land
For many decades, there has been controversy over the use of garden land. Some argue that it can not be used in any case, others are smiling, and for many years they have successfully grown tomato seedlings on it.
It is possible to take a garden soil, it is believed that if it enters the soil mixture for growing seedlings as one of the components, the tomatoes will transfer the transplant to the open ground better. Best to take it:
- From the hill, filled with moles;
- From under the landings of legumes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, beets, carrots, greens.
In no case do not use:
- Soil of greenhouses;
- From under the landings of potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage.
Of the finished soils, only a special substrate for growing seedlings is suitable - the rest contain fertilizers in a concentration unacceptable for small tomatoes. And although ready-made soils can be of different quality, it is necessary to use them, if there is no possibility, time or desire to make a difficult soil mixture.
We advise you to buy several packages of soil for seedlings of different manufacturers and plant seeds in them, providing containers with labels. Subsequently, you can buy the land that gave the best results.
Purchased soil also requires preplant preparation:
- Put the bag in a metal bucket;
- Carefully, on the wall fill it with boiling water;
- Cover the bucket with a lid;
- Leave to cool.
As you can see, the selection and preparation of the ground is a serious matter. But after obtaining a certain skill, this task will not seem so difficult. Have a good harvest!
Watch a short video on the production of soil for tomato seedlings: