Table of contents:
Experience in growing tomatoes near St. Petersburg
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.
Now, probably, there is no such garden plot or summer cottage where tomatoes would not grow in a greenhouse, a greenhouse or even outdoors in summer. Of course, the results of their cultivation are different: someone collects buckets of tomatoes bright with a unique aroma, while others do not have enough harvest for a summer salad.
I want to tell you about my many years of experience in growing this interesting crop in our northern climate, which was previously considered a southerner. Now we can have red tomatoes every year.
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The timing of sowing tomato seeds for seedlings and the timing of planting it in the ground
They depend on many factors, i.e. every gardener has an individual approach here. According to the standard of the 40-50s, the age of seedlings of determinant varieties was 60 days, of indeterminate ones - 70-75 days. At that time, the assortment of tomato varieties was very limited. Now gardeners also have superdeterminate varieties and hybrids that can bloom after the 5th leaf (at the age of 45-50 days), the determinant ones can bloom after the 5th or 7th leaf, indeterminate ones - after the 9th or 11th sheet.
This means that the gardener must take into account many factors: what varieties he will grow and when to plant them in the ground; what will be the illumination when growing seedlings and what will be the temperature; close to seedlings or very free; what is the feeding area and is the soil good. But the most important factor that determines the sowing time is the time of planting in the ground.
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For example, I plant seedlings in a greenhouse on May 1-5. I grow indeterminate hybrids of Dutch and Russian selection. Since in my apartment, where seedlings of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers grow, there are only two fluorescent lamps for illumination, I know that the seedlings will not bloom early, although I fulfill all other conditions.
Such hybrids can be planted with the first buds that appear, some with a blossoming brush, which means I boldly give them 70-75 days from the day of germination, i.e. seedlings should appear on February 15th. By sowing, I create such conditions that they germinate in 2-3 days.
I also grow determinant varieties and hybrids, which I also plant in a greenhouse on May 1-5. I define the term for growing seedlings for them in 55-60 days, which means that the tomatoes should rise on March 4-5. There is another guideline: before flowering, tomatoes grow for about 8 weeks, and from flowering to fruiting, it also takes 8 weeks.
You can often hear this opinion: it is better to sow tomato seeds later - in mid-late March - spring is gaining strength, there will be sun, light, and the plants, supposedly, will catch up in development. I encourage every gardener in their area to record the weather from February to May. Maybe somewhere in March and April are very sunny. In our North-West region, there is a rare spring like this. Usually in March and the first two decades of April in St. Petersburg it is cloudy, rain, snow. Conversely, February is sunny and frosty. Those gardeners who do not have backlighting at all suffer especially in such a spring.
And here is another example from the experience of my friend, she is a biologist by education. She lives in an apartment where the sun never comes, she is cold - the temperature does not rise above + 13 ° C. And what could she do? She sowed seeds of all varieties at the end of January, the senets stood on heating pads, germinated in February, lit up as best she could. At the end of April, she took the seedlings to the site, at the beginning of May she planted them in a greenhouse, and then in the summer she collected a large harvest of red fruits. When you see her seedlings, and then the harvest, the question involuntarily arises: "Where does that come from?"
So I am very flexible about the sowing time, the tomato is such a plastic plant that it will yield a harvest in any situation. But northerners and residents of our region should remember that frosts are still possible at the end of the first ten days of June, and in mid-August there are also frosts.
My greenhouse is made of glass around the perimeter, the roof is made of "Stable" film, without heating. By the end of April, the soil in the greenhouse is already ripe, and if its temperature is + 14 ° C, or even better + 16 ° C, it lasts for several days, I start planting. It often happens on May 1-5, but it all depends on the spring. I make a second shelter in the greenhouse with lutrasil covering material (17 g / m2). In our area, according to my observations of many years, always at the end of April and until May 9-13, there is sunny weather without wind and rain. Daytime outside temperatures range from +18 to + 25 ° С. During these days, the seedlings have already taken root, the buds are opening.
And from May 14-15, there is a sudden cold snap - rain and snow, before snowfall. But my plants are no longer afraid. I cover with lutrasil (17g / m2) in two layers, and whoever has a denser covering material (30 g / m2) - then in one layer - even better. It is not necessary to take them off during the day. This has been tested in practice, but if you cover the film with it, you need to remove it or open it from the sides.
After 3-4 days, real spring comes again, but there are recurrent frosts ahead from the first days of June until the end of the decade, and up to -5-6 ° C happens. Again I am making a second shelter in the greenhouse, and many gardeners put kerosene lamps, candles, kerosene lamps, electric bulbs, electric batteries at night. It is most difficult to get a full harvest outdoors and in small greenhouses. I plant overgrown seedlings in open ground, which I grow in a greenhouse, after June 10 with 1-2 blossoming inflorescences and even with fruits, The yield per square meter is less than in a greenhouse, since on August 15-16 I have -1 at night -2 ° C.
But this happens in May, but for now let's consider the February and March concerns.
Preparing tomato seeds for sowing and soil for seedlings
If I purchased seeds of hybrids in a company store and in a branded package, then I just soak and harden before sowing. But I carefully process my seeds of varieties or purchased somewhere else. I plant seedlings in the greenhouse early, so it needs to be hardened. I start hardening with seeds.
Diseases are transmitted with seeds, and life has forced scientists and practitioners to take preventive measures
a) Warm up in an oven at 60 ° C for three hours, if possible. Or disinfect with a 0.5% solution of potassium permanganate for 20 minutes and immediately rinse. I wrap the seeds in gauze bags, and after potassium permanganate, I wash them under running water.
b) Hold in trace elements according to the instructions or in a solution of ash. Prepare the solution as follows: pour 2 tablespoons of ash with 1 liter of hot water at a temperature of + 40 … + 45 ° C. Insist for a day, stirring. Drain the solution and keep the seeds in bags for 3-6 hours. If the concentration of the solution is made weaker (1 tablespoon per 1 liter of water), then you need to hold it for 12 hours. After processing with microelements or ash, I do not wash the seeds.
c) I put on germination at an air temperature of + 20 … + 25 ° C.
d) As soon as a few seeds are picked, I put them in the refrigerator for hardening. In my refrigerator + 1 … + 3 ° С, I keep the seeds there for three days. You, too, must measure all the shelves of the refrigerator with a thermometer. 0 … + 3 ° С is allowed, but on condition that you did not germinate the seeds, but only soaked them. We have gardeners-practitioners who put wet seeds in the snow for a day, they then germinate very quickly. I don't use growth stimulants.
Then I start to prepare the soil. From the balcony I bring it in in advance, frozen so that it thaws itself, "heals". 5-7 days before sowing, I make mixtures, add fertilizers and fill wooden boxes 6-7 cm high, their length and width are arbitrary. There are many options for mixtures, mainly peat is used. But in any of your options, determine the acidity. For tomatoes pH 5.5-6.5.
Often gardeners make mistakes:
1) without determining the acidity of the soil, they pour it there without measure of ash or lime, or dolomite flour.
2) a purchased black, beautiful peat mixture may lack nitrogen and phosphorus. Therefore, most practitioners make their own soil mixtures.
Many years ago, there was no abundance of peat mixtures in stores, so the gardeners were not lazy to make sod land themselves, which is a blessing for plants.
Here are options for soil with sod land: 1/3 of the volume - sod land, 1/3 - humus, 1/3 - peat (1 tablespoon of azophoska, 3 tablespoons of simple superphosphate, 1 glass of water were added to a bucket of such a mixture).
5-6 years ago, I made the following mixture: 2/3 of the volume - soil from borage, 1/3 - three-year compost (1 glass of ash, 3 tablespoons of simple superphosphate, 2 tablespoons of azophoska was added to the bucket of the mixture).
When the micro-greenhouse appeared on sale, "Zhivaya Zemlya", "Rostok", a coconut briquette began to use them. For example, in the following proportion: 1 part of three-year compost, 1/4 - "Sprout" or "Living Earth" (I add 1 tablespoon of double superphosphate, 1 tablespoon of azophoska to the bucket of the mixture).
Or like this: 1 part of a three-year compost, 1/4 - a microsteam or coconut briquette (I add 2 tablespoons of double superphosphate and 1 tablespoon of azofoska to a bucket of mixture).
I thoroughly mix the prepared soil mixture, cover it with a film for 1-2 days or pour it into a bucket and close it tightly too. 2-3 days before sowing, I fill the boxes with this soil and spill it with hot water. If you bought soil, it is better to spill it with hot potassium permanganate of a dark color. I cover the drawers with foil, put them in a warm place. By the time of sowing, the soil will evenly warm up, "heal".
Growing tomato seedlings in an apartment
In order for the plants to grow healthy, strong, so that they produce a full-fledged harvest, it is necessary to provide all their needs for water, soil, light and heat. I studied the works of North-West practitioners P.Z. Stukanov, A.M. Mazenkov, A.I. Mishorkin, as well as scientists O.A. Ganichkina, Sh.G. Bekseeva, I.B. Garanko.
This is how the picture of the temperature regime when growing tomatoes looks like (each of them has developed temperature regime tables):
- before germination + 24 … + 28 ° С;
- after germination for a week in the afternoon + 1 … + 18 ° С, at night + 6 … + 14 ° С;
- then we create + 20 … + 25 ° С during the day, + 10 … + 16 ° С at night.
For adult plants planted in a greenhouse, on cloudy days + 18 ° C, and on very cloudy + 16 ° C.
I do this. I put the seedlings in the boxes in the bathroom, the temperature there is + 25 ° C. Seedlings appear quickly, and I immediately transfer the seedlings to the table by the window. The window has been thoroughly washed by this time. I put one fluorescent lamp above the seedlings, and a room thermometer near them. During the day, I create a temperature of + 13 … + 15 ° C (the heaters have been removed from the frame, the heating battery is covered with a blanket). At night, I put the boxes in the refrigerator, where the temperature is + 10 ° C. In the morning I immediately expose to the window. I create such a regime for a week. Illuminate on a cloudy day. Then I create warmth for the seedlings: during the day + 20 … + 23 ° С, and at night + 16 … + 18 ° С, i.e. the blanket is removed from the battery, the window is insulated.
In 1995, in the newspaper "6 acres" S.F. Gavrish published a basis for the temperature regime for growing tomatoes for gardeners. If this regime is carried out, then gardeners in any year will be with tomatoes.
The optimum temperature for germination is + 24 … + 26 ° С, at temperatures below + 10 ° С the seeds do not germinate. After the emergence of two true leaves at the seedlings, the temperature must be reduced to + 18 … + 20 ° С during the day and to + 10 … + 14 ° С at night. This temperature regime helps the inflorescence that is being laid at this time to grow more branched, with a large number of flowers. When the first buds appear, the temperature is maintained at + 17 … + 18 ° С during the day, + 16 ° С at night.
"The optimum air and soil temperature for tomato is largely determined by the illumination and the content of carbon dioxide in the air: in sunny weather + 22 … + 25 ° С, in cloudy + 18 ° С, at night + 16 ° С.
In early spring, when the illumination is still insufficient, the daytime temperature is + 17 … + 19 ° С, in very cloudy + 15 ° С, at night + 12 ° С.
When the temperature rises above + 25 ° C, the activity of photosynthesis decreases, at + 30 … + 32 ° C, a significant decrease in plant growth is already observed, and the pollen becomes sterile. The optimum soil temperature is + 20 … + 25 ° С, and at temperatures below + 14 ° С, the synthesis of substances necessary for the growth and development of buds slows down. Tomatoes have such a pattern - the higher the temperature, the faster ripening occurs, the inflorescence is less branched, the fruits are smaller, internodes are longer, which is what we get an early harvest, but lower."
Before sowing, I spill the boxes with warm water again, make grooves 1-1.5 cm deep, the distance between the grooves is 4-5 cm. In these grooves I lay out the seeds at a distance of 2-3 cm from each other. I cover it with the same soil, lightly compact it with a spoon. Sprinkle on top with a thin layer of dry soil. I cover the drawers with foil and put them in the bathroom. As soon as single white "loops" appear, I put them to the window.
The cotyledonous leaves will unfold - I sprinkle them with washed, calcined river sand around each plant. This is prevention against the "black leg". But if you rarely sow - 3 x 5 cm, and the soil is clean, then there will be no "black leg". I pour warm water + 20 ° C between the rows. The first time - 5-7 days after germination, it depends on the dryness in the apartment. If it is very hot in the apartment, then after three days you have to water it, especially for those who sow in small containers, because the soil dries out quickly in them. Sometimes I spray the seedlings with warm water from a sprayer. I do not carry out top dressing before picking (transplanting seedlings into large containers).
I start picking when the second real leaf appears. I take the same soil as for sowing. For picking I use wooden boxes, but their height is 10-12 cm. I rarely use different types of pots, because the soil in them cools faster. I give the distance between the plants at least 15 x 15 cm, put the boxes with seedlings for 3-4 days in a place where there is no sun, and then again on the sunny side. When picking, I try to deepen the seedling to the cotyledonous leaves. It is not that difficult, since seedlings not elongated. Often gardeners ask the question: "I swooped down, but they both froze and sit still?" The reasons are as follows:
a) strongly elongated seedlings. I had to put the stem in a ring and fill it up to the cotyledons. It takes time for the roots to grow on the stem. The plant seems to have stopped developing;
b) a lot of ash was poured into the soil, it became highly alkaline, and the plants do not receive nutrition;
c) it is cold in the apartment, and after transplantation, new root hairs do not develop, especially in large containers. The soil turns sour. If you dive into large containers (0.8-1 liter), then the soil temperature should be + 20 … + 25 ° С. The temperature can be lowered only after the growth of new 2-3 leaves.
Care of tomato seedlings
You can't teach watering seedlings, because it all depends on many factors. If it is very dry in the apartment, you will have to water more often; the soil dries out faster in small containers than in wooden crates. Sometimes they dive directly into large 1 liter pots to grow a powerful plant. I have to repeat myself: often gardeners make a mistake - at low temperatures in the apartment and with frequent watering, the soil will turn sour, and the roots will "suffocate" and will not develop.
Loose more often in larger pots. I water so that the soil is slightly moist, i.e. neither dry nor wet. If the plant has 3 leaves - one watering rate, if 5-6 leaves - another. Loose from time to time so that there is no crust. During the growing season of seedlings, I do not add soil. I add it only if the oa has started to stretch out or has collected 6-7 leaves, and I plant it in the greenhouse early, i.e. with a bedding, as it were, I retard the growth of seedlings.
Top dressing of tomatoes
There are many options for feeding. In the apartment, I do not water with organic matter. But if I grow seedlings in a greenhouse, then once I feed them with slurry 1:10. Feeding plants, like watering, is difficult to teach.
There is an order of minima of nutrients N: P: K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) at all stages of development:
- at the beginning of the growing season, the ratio NPK = 1: 2: 0.5;
- during flowering NPK = 1: 2: 1;
- during fruiting NPK = 0.5: 1.5: 2.
Phosphorus plays an important role at the beginning of the growing season, especially during flowering. At the beginning of the growing season, the ratio NP-K + 1: 2: 0.5. Let's look at some examples.
Azofoska - its formula: N = 16%, P = 17%, K = 17%, i.e. NPK = 1: 1: 1. We need NPK = 1: 2: 0.5, i.e. at the beginning of the growing season, before flowering, there is not enough phosphorus. But I put it into the soil when I made the mixture. This means that when feeding before flowering, I can feed 1 time in 10-15 days with Azophos - 1 tablespoon per bucket of water.
Kemira station wagon. Formula: N = 32%, P = 14%, K = 54% and 7 trace elements. There is clearly not enough phosphorus here. This means that you need to make a superphosphate hood and water it, but if you added superphosphate to the soil mixture, then you will not have to do the hood. Now they sell a lot of fertilizers for feeding seedlings with correctly formulated formulas. Crystal-yellow - NPK = 13: 40: 13, easily soluble fertilizer, you can make a solution - 10 g per 10 liters of water and use with each watering.
A great practice of growing tomatoes A.I. Mishorkin makes the following solution: 1 teaspoon of ammonium nitrate + 2 teaspoons of double superphosphate + 0.5 teaspoon of potassium nitrate +1 teaspoon of magnesium sulfate per 10 liters of water. He waters the plants with it instead of just watering it with water. Gardeners often complain: "The leaves of the seedlings are twisted into a tube." And it happens to me.
Several factors affect here, one of them is the lack of phosphorus. For the last three years I have been using fertilizers from the Buisk plant when feeding seedlings. They dissolve easily, the formulas are formulated correctly. If you do not have the opportunity to purchase such fertilizers, use Azofoska, but once the seedlings must be fed with microelements according to the instructions. No trace elements - feed with ash once. Many years ago there was not a large assortment of fertilizers, but we grew tomatoes, maybe only slightly worse than now.
Read the second part: Growing tomato seedlings in "diapers", the formation of a bush →
Every year with red tomatoes:
- Part 1: Preparing and sowing tomato seeds, growing seedlings
- Part 2: Growing tomato seedlings in "diapers", forming a bush
- Part 3: Planting tomatoes in a greenhouse
- Part 4: Features of the formation of determinant and indeterminate varieties of tomatoes
- Part 5: Prevention of tomato diseases, harvesting and storage of crops