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Video: Summer Tomato Care: Top Dressing, Disease Prevention
What kind of care does tomatoes need in summer to ensure a sufficient harvest of fruits
It's time to pour the fruit. The bushes are green, well-groomed. My harvest is usually not gigantic, but quite decent and reliable, just at the minimum care that I provide to my bushes.
Many years of experience have shown that this minimum includes several requirements that allow you to have a stable yield of healthy fruits ripening on the bush. These are the requirements:
1. Seedlings should be strong, not stretched out. I devote a lot of time and effort to its cultivation. I do not sow too early, mid-maturing indeterminate and determinant varieties are sown on March 16-19, March 20-25, I sow early-maturing varieties. These dates are determined empirically for my conditions and capabilities. I light up the seedlings, at night I make them cold by opening the window.
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2. I am in no hurry to plant seedlings in a greenhouse. The planting time greatly affects the yield. Here, too, I learned from experience: if you plant it early, while the ground is cold, then the plants freeze for a long time, do not grow. We have to wait until the soil warms up in the upper 20 cm layer to 10 … 15 ° С. To accelerate soil warming, I plant seedlings on ridges 20–25 cm high. Of course, I follow the weather forecasts and do not plant seedlings under frost so that the plants do not fall into a prolonged depression.
3. I do not thicken the planting. The distance between plants is 45-50 cm, between rows - 60 cm.
4. I add superphosphate, ash, very little nitrogen to the soil for seedlings, but I never put organic fertilizers. Sometimes I put last year's leaves or hay at the bottom of the groove - by the time the fruits are poured, they will be overcooked.
5. When the fruits are tied on the bushes and reach the size of a pea, I begin to feed them with organic matter: between the rows, I put half-decomposed manure or incompletely decomposed compost into grooves. My land is thin, and therefore such feeding will not be superfluous. Our famous gardener V.N. Silnov taught me the grooving method. The method worked very well for me. Previously, I spread manure over the entire surface of the bed, it dries out, and it was not as effective as with grooves. If manure is placed before the fruits begin to grow, the plants will fatten, the fruits will turn out to be tasteless, they may have cracks, ugliness. If manure or compost is added in a timely manner, the effect is dramatic. Even relatively small-fruited varieties produce fruits that are quite large for this variety.
The rest of the care methods are conventional, according to the needs of plants. Water abundantly when I see the plants suffering from the heat. I can water the bushes even during the day. I didn't notice anything bad from this. My soil is light, it does not hold moisture well, so after watering, I cover the soil with a layer of cut grass to reduce evaporation.
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Top dressing of tomatoes
In early June, with the rapid development of plants, you can make foliar feeding on the leaves with urea - 1 tbsp. spoon on a bucket of water. This is if you notice signs of nitrogen starvation on the plants, for example, yellowing of the leaves, starting from the bottom. If the plants are green and vigorous, I do not feed them with nitrogen.
When the ovaries are formed on the first inflorescence, it is useful to feed the tomatoes with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers - superphosphate 20-25 g and potassium sulfate - 15-20 g per square meter. At this time, when the ovaries grow to the size of a pea or a nut, I add organic matter to them in the grooves.
In the future, it is enough to feed the tomatoes twice a month, alternating complex mineral fertilizers, the dose of which I increase to 50–70 g per 10 liters of water, and ash - 2 glasses per square meter. Ash provides plants with trace elements and makes the fruits sweeter. By the way, one gardener sprinkles the plants with a salt solution for greater sweetness of the fruits. It would be nice for all of us to try this and share our experience. At least on a few plants.
Pollination of tomatoes
In June - July, tomato plants bloom actively. The flowers are bisexual, so they self-pollinate. For more reliable pollination, gardeners usually shake the plants (it is better to do this at 11 am), ventilate the greenhouse more. The flower remains open for 2-3 days. Flowering starts from the base of the brush. Complex brushes contain a lot of flowers, some of which are very late in flowering, compared to the bulk of flowers in this brush. I remove such lagging flowers even in simple flowers.
Often the flowers of modern hybrids are an inflorescence of several accrete simple flowers. Some of them are especially large and complex. This is usually the first flower in the cluster. Such flowers must also be removed, because they do not form normal fruits.
If the weather is cloudy during flowering, the fruits usually set poorly, because the pollen becomes heavy and sticky. To improve fruit set, plants are sprayed with a 0.02% boric acid solution (2 g per 10 l of water). If the weather does not want to improve, it is necessary to repeat the spraying after 2-3 days. You can use the drug "Ovary" - according to the instructions.
If, on the contrary, the weather is hot, dry, the pollen caught on the flower pistil may not germinate. Therefore, after shaking the plants, you need to water the soil under them a little to increase the humidity in the greenhouse - I usually do this procedure in the middle of the day.
In the greenhouse, a thermometer must be hung at a level of about 1 m from the ground in order to monitor the temperature in the shelter. A temperature above 32 ° C makes pollen sterile, so you need to take measures to reduce it: arrange ventilation, shading, etc. My greenhouse is designed in such a way that you can remove the roof from it in the heat.
All of the above activities are aimed at getting a harvest that suits me - about 4 kg per bush. I prefer to pick only fruits that are reddened on the bush, and here's why.
The most delicious tomatoes are obtained when they turn red on the plant. If they are overripe, their taste deteriorates. If you remove green or even brown tomatoes from a bush and let them ripen at home, then the taste will also not be the best. Therefore, an important task when growing tomatoes is to give them the opportunity to blush on the bush. In addition, scientists who have been very interested in the beneficial properties of tomatoes in recent years have found that tomatoes that are reddened on a bush are not only tastier, but also much healthier than tomatoes that are reddened at home in a felt boot. They contain much more vitamins and biologically active substances, in particular, lycopene and carotene, which determine the color of the fruit.
It makes sense to pick salad tomato varieties only at the stage of full ripeness, because at this time they contain a maximum of carotenoids. Vitamin A is stored in the human body in reserve for up to a year or even more. Therefore, it is better to eat ripe tomatoes in the summer in order to stock up on this vitamin for the whole winter.
Many gardeners prefer to pick tomatoes at the stage of blange ripeness, because in this case, it seems, the yield is higher. Unfortunately, at the stage of blanche ripeness, tomatoes have not yet collected a sufficient amount of vitamins, sugars, pectin. But they managed to gain a lot of fiber. So the most useful are ripe tomatoes.
However, not all tomatoes are in a hurry to blush. By the time the harvest is complete, many green fruits remain on the bushes. Usually, a full harvest is done when the cold weather sets in, and the tomatoes stop growing and ripening. It makes no sense to keep them in a greenhouse, they will not grow anyway, but they can get sick. So the task of accelerating the reddening of tomatoes on the bush is doubly important, and they will have to be helped to ripen by the end of summer. For this I also have a set of mandatory measures aimed at accelerating the ripening of fruits.
1. From the second decade of July, I stop feeding, so as not to provoke an increase in leaf mass, in which the ripening of fruits is delayed. Mass ripening of fruits takes place better on lean rather than oily soil. I rarely do watering because of the weather. At this time, I only feed with ash - again for the sweetness of the fruits, this was taught to me by our famous breeder V.M. Motov.
2. Formation of plants. In the Leningrad Region, almost all tomato plants need to be pinned, otherwise the crop will not have time to ripen. I remove stepsons as soon as I can grab them with my fingers. At this time, they easily break out without leaving a large wound, and the place of the break quickly heals.
By pinching, tomato plants can be formed into one stem or two. I never form them into three stems, because some of the fruits on such a plant will not only not ripen, but will not even reach normal size. The fewer stems on a plant, the earlier the fruits will ripen on it.
When forming into two stems, I leave a lateral shoot under the first brush as the second stem, and remove all the others later. Sometimes the main stem simply bifurcates, it is necessary to remove one of the two formed tops.
In semi-determinant varieties, which sometimes stop growing early, I always leave the stepchild on duty, who later becomes the main stem.
3. In late July - early August, be sure to pinch the tops of all plants. The purpose of this technique is to stop the growth of the main stem in order to accelerate fruit ripening. At the same time, 2-3 leaves should be left above the uppermost brush to feed the fruits in this brush.
4. At the same time, I mercilessly pluck out all the buds and flowers that did not have time to set fruit. With such techniques, there will be no small green fruits on the bush by the time of harvest, all fruits will grow to the size inherent in this variety. And the number of brushes on the bush - as much as possible, as much as possible. Not necessarily 8 brushes, maybe 4-6, but full-fledged.
5. I definitely use such a technique as removing leaves - it accelerates the ripening of fruits. Here you cannot get carried away by cutting off all the leaves in a row, because the leaves provide food for the fruits. During the period of fruit growth, only diseased and yellow leaves should be removed. And only when the fruits on the first lower brush are completely poured, the leaves under the brush can be removed, and not all at once, but on the leaf every 3-4 days, so that the plant gradually gets used to the changes. Then the same should be done with the leaves under the rest of the brushes as they are poured.
6. Very large, powerful leaves can be shortened by 1 / 3–1 / 2 of their length if they obscure the fruit or adjacent bushes.
Prevention of tomato diseases
In our climate, it does not happen that tomatoes do not get sick with something. The most dangerous and constantly occurring disease is late blight. The best remedy for this disease is prevention, which will reduce the risk of the disease.
Late blight appears in wet and cold weather. The first signal for its reproduction in the garden is the appearance of late blight on potatoes, and not necessarily in your garden, but more often in the surrounding large potato fields. Here you need to immediately take action: protect your potatoes, and close the greenhouses more tightly during the day, during windy weather, and not ventilate them. Let the greenhouse be very hot during the day. Let us recall the heat in which tomatoes grow in the south. In August, when all the fruits in the greenhouse have set, the heat is even useful for them for ripening, and many gardeners use this technique with success, and so do I.
In such cases, it is better to ventilate in the early morning, while there is dew on the grass, and late blight does not walk with air currents.
From the end of July, you need to start every 5-7 days of spraying plants with copper-containing preparations, for example, 1% solution of Bordeaux mixture (10 g per liter of water), or oxychom and others.
Such spraying will protect plants not only from late blight, but also from another very common tomato disease - cladosporiosis (it is also brown leaf spot, leaf mold), which is often confused with late blight. I tried to fight these diseases by spraying with fitsporin, but the disease could not be prevented, it was only delayed. And oxykhom helps to some extent.
At the first symptoms of diseases, you need to carefully cut off the slices of the first diseased leaves, burn them - this will reduce the epidemic.
There is information from gardeners that this technique helps: in the last decade of July, a copper wire 3-4 cm long with a surface cleaned of oxides and with a pointed end pierce the stem of the plant at a height of 20 cm from the soil surface (this figure is different for different gardeners). With the second wire, pierce the same stem 3–4 cm higher at a right angle to the first. Leave them until the end of the growing season. The wires are practically dissolved by the plant sap. Phytophthora on such plants seems to be observed much less.