Every gardener wants to get a good harvest in large quantities. For this result, you must follow certain rules. Tomatoes are a crop that loves warmth and is afraid of frost.
Hardening seedlings is one of the main secrets in the cultivation of tomatoes. Begin it around the first half of April. This procedure prevents the shrub from pulling out to form a sturdy and thick stem. Plants slightly inhibit growth, but a powerful root system is being formed. In the future, such a plant will be able to repel external adverse factors. Hardening tomatoes at home before planting in open ground requires the care of a gardener and some of his efforts. If you do not do this procedure, during transplantation the tomato bush will take a long time to live and hurt, it will become sluggish and may fall at all. This is due to a sharp change in temperature, humidity and light indices.
Buying hardened seedlings
Novice gardeners often make mistakes and choose tomatoes that are taller and brighter than others. Having planted such tomatoes on a bed, in a few hours you can see faded and yellowed leaves, and sometimes the stem will lie on the ground. The error lies in the acquired seedlings, which were grown in violation of technology. Most likely, it was not tempered or thinned. She will be ill for a long time after transplanting to a permanent growth site. Before buying, you need to know by what external indicators it is possible to determine whether the bushes were hardened or not.Attention! The seller cannot fully prove whether the seedlings have passed the hardening, it is necessary to study well the visual condition of the seedlings on their own.
The seedling should stand firmly, without slacking the stem. A bush that is too tall may have a weak root system, which will affect the condition of the tomato after transplantation. Hardened bushes are distinguished by a dark green color with a lilac shade. Stem and leaves should be densely covered with fluffy hairs. The first brush of the ovaries is formed 3-4 days earlier than usual, located after the first leaf. Ovaries are formed through each leaf, in ordinary seedlings - after 3-4 sheets. These external indicators warn that tomatoes have been grown with all hardening and picking standards.
If there is a suspicion that the tomatoes have not undergone hardening, it is not recommended to plant them immediately in the ground, it is necessary to hold tomato bushes in the shade or in a cool room for several days.
Hardening your own seedlings
If the credibility of the seedlings is low, you can grow it yourself and apply all the hardening rules for a good harvest. Hardening tomato seedlings begin with the seeds. With proper treatment, they will be ready for cold, drought and various diseases.
It should be taken "not fresh" seeds, and that were collected 2-3 years ago. Keep them better in a dark and cool place, preferably in a closed jar in the refrigerator. A month before sowing, warm the tomato seeds. Seeds of hybrid varieties do not need warming up. If the seeds were collected last year, you can put them on the battery for about 20 days. Thus, according to testimony, they become similar to those collected much earlier. The largest samples should be selected and immersed in water. Those that surfaced should not be planted. Seeds must be decontaminated. Can be used:
- 1% solution of potassium permanganate (place for 20 min);
- 2-3% hydrogen peroxide (hold no more than 8 minutes).
You can prepare the seeds for sowing using an oxygen compressor from the aquarium. It is placed on the bottom of the can in warm water, above 20 ° C, the seeds are poured and left for 12 hours. Then they are dried to a friable state and begin the process of hardening.
Before hardening, it is necessary to place cotton fabric in a container so that it can cover the seeds with a piece and fill it with water at a level of 1 cm. A few drops of Fitosporin can be added to the water. Several days must alternate degrees: the day the seeds lie at room temperature, the next day - in the refrigerator, where the temperature is kept within + 2 ° C. Water should not freeze, a thin crust of ice is permissible. You can harden the seeds with the help of snow. Large samples are wrapped in cloth and placed in deep dishes, sprinkled with snow on top. When it is completely melted, the water is drained and the procedure is repeated several more times.
Not all seeds will be able to undergo the hardening procedure, but the rest guarantee 100% germination and will be ready for temperature changes. After all procedures, the seeds are planted in the usual way in the prepared soil and begin hardening seedlings. When sowing, such seeds sprout in 2 days at once with leaves, without the formation of loops. Tomatoes grow strong and strong. This method of hardening makes it possible to plant seedlings in open ground for 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. Accordingly, the maturity of the fruit will occur earlier, and the amount of the harvest rises almost 2 times.
Tomatoes should be watered once every 5-7 days, when the leaves start to fade a little, thus the seedlings are prepared for the lack of moisture. When these leaves appear, tomatoes begin to harden. Gradually, in the room where the seedlings grow, lower the temperature, opening the window for a few hours, preferably in the evening or early in the morning. Then, seedlings of tomato should be put on the balcony or taken out into the yard for several hours, carefully monitoring the reaction of the leaves to the change of scenery. It is necessary to avoid direct sunlight on the seedlings to avoid burns of young leaves.
Before bringing the seedlings to the open air, watering the soil is not recommended. With each subsequent procedure, the time spent on the street is increased by 1-2 hours, depending on weather conditions. A few days before disembarking, the seedlings can be completely taken out onto the street and left there for 2-3 days. The presence of wind is strictly prohibited. Usually, seedlings grow at a temperature of + 25 ° C, during quenching, it should not exceed 16-20 ° C during the day and 8-10 ° C at night.Attention! When using fertilizers with nitrogen frost resistance in tomatoes is reduced.
Perhaps hardening more "extreme" by. The air temperature is reduced to 0 ° C and hold the seedlings for about an hour. A week later, repeat the procedure, lowering the temperature to -2 ° C and increase the time to 3-4 hours. Seedlings can be hardened by the wind. In bad weather, if it is not possible to carry the seedlings to the street, you can use a fan indoors. Here it is necessary to act extremely carefully, because the plant, like a person, can react to drafts in different ways and even get sick.
Hardening seedlings in the greenhouse
If the seedlings grow in the greenhouse, the hardening method does not change much. 14 days before planting in open ground, watering is reduced, daily ventilation is performed in the greenhouse, and then the film is completely removed. On the first day, this procedure takes 2-3 hours, it should be ensured that the tomatoes are not in direct sunlight. The next day, the time is increased to 5-6 hours. If the seedlings begin to wilt, the greenhouse must be covered again with film. During normal reaction of seedlings, at the end of quenching the film is not returned to the place even at night. The amount of watering is also gradually reduced, and a week before transplanting into open ground, watering is stopped altogether.
All procedures must be carried out systematically and regularly, then the seasoned tomato bush will be fully prepared for transplantation, well adapted to the climatic conditions and will not be afraid of night frosts. Tomato seedlings should be transplanted into the open ground when 10–12 true leaves appear on it, 1-2 buds of inflorescences and the plant is 20–30 cm in height. If the hardening procedure was carried out in the correct mode, the gardener gets a strong tomato bushes, an early and abundant crop.