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Video: Several Myths About Growing Tomatoes
In this article, I want to dispel some of the stereotypes that have developed over the years around tomato farming.
There is a statement that when planting tomato seedlings, you cannot bury part of the stem in the ground to form additional roots on it
Many people think that during the growth of additional roots on the stem, the growth of the tomato slows down, and, therefore, its flowering, and the ripening of the crop. In fact, this is not the case. Tomato is a liana plant, it grows very quickly upward, while simultaneously building up not only a powerful root system, but also the ground part. The more roots, the more nutrients the plant will receive from the soil, and, therefore, the harvest will be more significant.
In addition, by burying part of the tomato stem, we save air space. Indeed, in tall (indeterminate) tomatoes, the first flower cluster is laid after the eighth true leaf. And when planting a plant without deepening part of the stem, the crop will be formed at a height of almost half the height of the greenhouse. And the lower tier will be empty. As a result, many growers lose a significant portion of the squat greenhouse space. Having reached the ceiling of the greenhouse, we remove the growth point from the tomato. As a result, only 2/3 of the plant's height bears fruit.
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When planting tomato seedlings, I deepen most of the stem into the ground, leaving only the crown above it. And there is no need to be afraid to do this, tomatoes grow very quickly. So I save not only the air space of the greenhouse (the lower brush with fruits lies in my greenhouse right on the ground), but also get strong strong plants with a powerful root system.
In addition, the number of flower brushes on the plant increases (in indeterminate tomatoes, flower brushes are formed through two leaves), which means that there will be more harvest, since the fruits will form from the bottom of the stem to the ceiling of the greenhouse.
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Many gardeners believe that after they have planted the seedlings in the greenhouse, they can be watered well, and then not watered for two weeks.
They explain that they do this so that the roots of the plant penetrate deep into the depths of the garden in search of moisture. And they piously believe in it.
In the Leningrad Region, the summer is short, and the soil does not have time to warm up to a great depth, and the roots of tomatoes prefer warm soil. As a rule, the soil in the depths of the ridge (even in greenhouses) is not warm enough. Even if hot ridges are made, the roots of tomatoes, according to my observations and the observations of many gardeners, grow in the surface layer of the garden. Sometimes gardeners make hot beds incorrectly - they plant organic matter too deeply. But the most favorable depth for laying in a ridge of insulating organic matter is 30 centimeters (on the bayonet of a shovel).
I have been making hot beds in the greenhouse since autumn, generously filling them with horse manure. They warm up quickly in the spring in a polycarbonate greenhouse. And still, for many years of growing tomatoes, they have never gone deep into the ridges. In autumn, when I pull the stems of tomatoes out of the ground, the roots are horizontal and "run away" horizontally to the sides by 2-3 meters. For nightshade crops, keep your feet warm and your head cold.
The second consequence of refusing watering after planting is that the plant will experience stress from the fact that during the day the soil in the garden will warm up and dry out in the layer where the roots are. Plants will try to survive in such conditions, but without moisture they become weakened, and such plants are more likely to get sick. They may develop late blight, top rot of fruits and other diseases.
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Tomatoes need rare watering, not only so that the roots of the plants go deep into the ridge, but also so that the greenhouse is not too humid
Tomatoes need to be watered more than once a week, as some gardeners advise, but as the soil in the ridges dries up. In different weather conditions, the soil dries out at different rates. So, in spring and early summer, the weather is still cold, especially cold at night. Therefore, at this time, the earth dries out more slowly, and, therefore, watering should be rare. Usually once a week. In hot and dry weather (usually in July), I water the plants in greenhouses after one or two days. In such weather, plant leaves evaporate a lot of moisture, and they have a maximum need for water. In addition, at this time, the main harvest of fruits ripens for me, and, therefore, I need to water on time. Also, it is impossible to allow the alternation of abundant watering with drought. Otherwise, the fruits of tomatoes will crack: not only ripe, but also green. In autumn, watering should be rare, as in spring.
Now about the watering time. It is necessary to water the beds in the greenhouse 2-2.5 hours before the sun stops illuminating the greenhouse. I do this so that the top layer of the soil dries out a little before closing the greenhouse door, and it is not too wet. And high humidity is a high risk of disease! I often observe how some gardeners in neighboring areas water the plants in the greenhouse at 19 o'clock and immediately close the greenhouse door. This cannot be done!
Now let's figure out what temperature the irrigation water should have. In spring and early summer, when it is still cold outside, you need to water it with warm water. In order not to heat it, we put thirty-liter black plastic cans-cans in greenhouses. The water in them heats up quickly, and at night they heat the air in the greenhouse.
In hot summer weather, on the contrary, I water the beds in greenhouses with cool water to cool the overheated soil. Many gardeners adhere to the rule of watering the ridges only with warm water throughout the season. You cannot do this in the heat. The earth is heated, and if it is still poured with heated water, the roots of the plants may suffer - they are in the upper part of the soil, where the temperatures are already high.
In the second half of August and autumn, greenhouse plants need to be watered with heated water, and best of all in the first half of the day.
In cold and cloudy weather, I do not water the plants in greenhouses in order to prevent root rot and cause stress in them.
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Some gardeners believe that tomatoes need to be grown in poor soils to get good yields.
In fact, this is not the case. Poor soils are dense. The root system develops poorly in them and the yield decreases. The more fertile the soil in the greenhouse, the higher the yield. The roots of the plant grow quickly in loose and fertile soil.
The main rule when growing tomatoes in fertile soil is to monitor the growing stepchildren - you need to remove them in time. You should also remove the lower leaves in time. As soon as small fruits appear on the lower flowering brush, I remove the leaves under and above the brush. And so I do after pollination of each brush.
In fertile soil, I form tomatoes into three stems.
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In early August, some gardeners no longer have leaves on tomato plants. They believe that due to the absence of all the leaves, the fruits will ripen faster.
This is not true. In order for the fruits to grow and ripen faster, there must be photosynthesis, and without leaves it will not. Therefore, leaves should be left at the top of the plant.
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Do not feed tomatoes, then the harvest will be good
And I disagree with this opinion. To get good yields, plants, including tomatoes, need nutrients. Moreover, at different stages of plant development, certain nutrients are needed. At the beginning of growth, when tomatoes grow on the ground, nitrogen should prevail. Top dressing with liquid manure or bird droppings will be appropriate here. During the flowering of tomatoes, you need to reduce nitrogen and increase the amount of phosphorus and potassium.
The soils of the Northwest are poor in phosphorus, so I add double superphosphate and potassium magnesium to the soil of the ridges in the fall, so as not to make solutions of these fertilizers in the summer.
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Many planted tomato seedlings in late May or even early June
In a polycarbonate greenhouse, I plant hardened tomato seedlings in mid-April. At this time, it is not yet hot in the greenhouse, and the seedlings take root well. Tomato plants do not like high air temperatures. They grow better when it is cool. Indeed, even at a temperature in the greenhouse exceeding 30 ° C in tomatoes, the normal course of physiological processes is disrupted, including becoming sterile pollen, and flowers often crumble.
This is why I plant tomato seedlings so early. And when it gets hot outside at the end of June, fruits are already ripening on my tomatoes. During this growing season, just warm is needed. The more sunny warm days there are, the sweeter the fruits will be.
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Some gardeners argue that tomatoes cannot be grown together with cucumbers.
I have been growing tomatoes in the same greenhouse with cucumbers for many years and collect huge harvests. To do this, I do not thicken the planting and strictly follow all the above rules for caring for plants.
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Many grow tomato seedlings in a warm place and believe that low temperatures have a detrimental effect on plants.
I harden the plants from mid-March - I take them out to the glassed-in balcony, and there they grow until I move to the greenhouse. Thanks to this, their yield increases significantly.
Olga Rubtsova, Candidate of Geographical Sciences
Photo by the author