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Video: Growing Tomatoes In Low Greenhouses. Part 1
My experience of growing tomatoes in low greenhouses
Tomatoes near St. Petersburg are usually grown in tall greenhouses. Every year at the end of May at the Baltic and other railway stations of the city you can see people with boxes, from which sometimes protrude the tops of tomato seedlings, also wrapped in newsprint.
Very often these seedlings are tall, overgrown and pale green. Many gardeners plant it in their greenhouses at the very end of May or at the beginning of June, when the threat of frost has passed.
And I, like most gardeners, in the nineties of the last century planted my tomatoes in a tall greenhouse of the "Harvest" type (after all, there were no others then, except for homemade products built by craftsmen). Seedlings were usually placed on May 21-23. At the same time, she froze twice. It was very annoying, because so much labor was spent on growing it in a city apartment - and all in vain. And it is very difficult to protect these delicate and tall tomatoes from frost. These are not cucumbers - I covered them with newspapers - and everything is in order.
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In the future, the tomatoes take root - it takes several days, and they develop normally. But it cannot be said that tomatoes are in optimal conditions. When you go into a greenhouse, it seems to be warm. But this is at the top, at the level of the head and chest. And below - at ground level, the air is cooler. Its temperature is below the optimum temperature for tomatoes 22 … 25 ° С. In mid-June, tomatoes bloom in such greenhouses, an ovary appears on the first clusters. As you know, 50-60 days should pass from fruit setting to reddening, so it turns out that the first mature - red, pink or yellow tomatoes are harvested by the gardener at the beginning of August, but after August 10 it often becomes cool here, especially at night. As a result, the reddening of the fruit slows down. And, after going through gardening at the end of August, you see high-quality greenhouses with powerful tomato bushes,on which large green fruits often hang.
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Of course, many tomatoes are harvested at the stage of blanche ripeness, they will reach, ripen (best of all - in a felt boot), but in my opinion, these will be inferior tomatoes. I think that a full-fledged, real tomato should hang on the bush for another 4-5 days after reddening, in some varieties it should become soft. Such a fruit cannot even be cut with an ordinary knife, but only with a saw-knife. But on the other hand, by sending a slightly salted circle of such a tomato into your mouth, you will experience a real taste pleasure, not to mention the benefits of such fruits. After all, tomatoes are most useful only those that have ripened on the bush and have only recently been removed from it - aromatic and tasty. And fruits that have ripened after picking, as well as market and store fruits, do not have a real taste and smell, and, in my opinion, their benefits are immeasurably less.
Most of the beautiful store-bought tomatoes are grown on "chemistry", and their consumption in large quantities can cause allergies. Usually at the beginning of September, gardeners complete the cultivation of tomatoes, remove the film from the greenhouses. I don’t know what housewives do with green tomatoes, but I believe that green fruits are "production waste", their way to compost. What's the bottom line? A high greenhouse was bought for a lot of money (there is now a large selection of models), its own or purchased seedlings were planted, a lot of work was expended in caring for tomato bushes, and full-fledged red tomatoes, as they say: "the cat cried." And this picture repeats itself from year to year.
I had some break in my gardening business, and time is ticking. Every year, in old age, the strength becomes less, and when I again started growing tomatoes, I already thought: what should I do. The fact is that my old greenhouses are almost out of order, besides, their assembly is very laborious. And I decided to try growing tomatoes in low greenhouses and with the least labor input. For two years I have been growing tomatoes according to the technology I have developed and get a good harvest of red fruits. Everyone blushes, there are almost no greens.
In 2009 I had one greenhouse (6 m long and 1 m wide). I removed about 30 kg of red tomatoes from the bushes grown there. Last year there were already two greenhouses with a total area of 9 m², and I got 55 kg of red tomatoes! Some neighbors who saw my greenhouses and the result obtained also wanted to switch to the same technology. Therefore, I decided to tell the readers of the magazine about it. I am sure that among them there will also be those who want to get ripe tasty fruits with little material costs.
Tomato growing technology
For a greenhouse 6 meters long, you will need 12 green arches, which are now sold in stores. They will provide a greenhouse height of 1.2 m and a width of this bed of 1 m.
I also advise you to purchase 4 more spare arches, which will come in handy in case of return frosts for double cover with film. I also need to buy 8 meters of film, I stopped my choice on the Svetlitsa film, because I think that under it the yield is higher. All these materials are not in short supply, and are not very expensive, in any case, such a low greenhouse is several times cheaper than an ordinary high greenhouse.
Cooking tomato seedlings
To grow seedlings, I needed 30 milk bags 10 cm high (in the bottom of them I made 2-3 holes for the drain of excess water) and high-quality soil (like “For favorite plants). If you have ash, then you can add a little of it to the soil. On the side of the bags, I glued a piece of adhesive plaster to write the name of the variety on it. Then I planted 2-3 tomato seeds in each bag with soil, moistened each planting hole with two or three drops of water. Then he sent the packages to the kitchen cabinet, covering them with a piece of plastic. On days 4-5, as soon as the first shoots loops appear, the packages are rearranged on the windowsill (my windows face south-west). To fit all the packages, I made a hanging shelf. I leave only one, the strongest sprout in the bags, the rest are removed. To the top of the frame of that part of the windowwhere the seedlings are placed, I attach a reflective sheet (this is aluminum foil on a substrate, it is used in bath construction). I fill the lower end of the panel into the gap between the radiator and the window sill. After all, the seedlings after the emergence of shoots already need less heat, but more light.
I do not pick seedlings. Firstly, this is a laborious and troublesome operation, and secondly, if you do not dive the seedlings, then the tomato seeds can be sown a little later, and in the spring every day there is more and more light, which is extremely necessary for the seedlings. Every two days, the seedlings must be turned 180o. When to sow tomatoes? In my practice, it is March 24-25. Then the tomatoes will sprout by early April, at which time the day is already quite long, and by mid-May, when it’s time to plant seedlings in a greenhouse, it will have a height of 20-25 cm, a strong stem and dark green leaves.
How often to water the seedlings? In no case often - it will stretch out. If there is no sun - once every five days, if it's hot - once every three days, and a little. Even if the seedlings wither, lose turgor - it's not scary, pour it over - and after two hours the turgor will be restored. Seedlings should grow with a minimum of water. Then the roots, in search of moisture, will grow throughout the entire volume of the package, and the seedlings will have a powerful root system by the time they are planted in the greenhouse. Dig up the ground and install arcs as early as possible, as soon as the ground allows. In this case, it is not necessary to turn the layer over - the soil only needs to be loosened to the depth of half a shovel bayonet. When digging, it is advisable to make half a bucket or a bucket of humus for each square meter of the bed. It is desirable that the garden bed and greenhouse are located in the north-south direction.
Read part 2. Growing tomatoes in low greenhouses in the Northwest →
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