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Video: What Is A Tomato Plant And What Does It Love
What is a tomato plant?
The tomato stem is herbaceous, juicy, easily giving additional roots in a humid environment; on the stem, in the axils of the leaves, many shoots appear - stepchildren, on which, in turn, new stepchildren are formed.
Branching (indeterminate varieties) may have several hundred of them. The height of the plant can be from 15-20 cm to 5 m. The leaves of tomatoes are odd-pinnate, cut into slices with a more or less wrinkled surface. Standard varieties have thicker, short-petiolized corrugated leaves. In northern varieties, the leaves are smaller and lighter than in southern ones.
Flowers are collected in inflorescences - a curl, called a brush in practice. Brushes in some varieties have a simpler structure, in others they are several branched curls. However, no connection with the harvest has been established, since the plant is not able to feed all the ovaries formed on the brushes, and they fall off.
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Typically, tomatoes are self-pollinating. The anthers burst when ripe, forming longitudinal slits, and pollen spills out from the anthers into the conical tube, falling on the stigma of the pistil. However, in very humid air and at low temperatures (below 12 ° C), pollination of flowers almost does not occur. Self-pollination is also difficult at high temperatures (over 35 ° C), with dry soil, lack of light and improper plant nutrition. Insects very rarely visit tomatoes, they are frightened off by the pungent smell of yellow liquid secreted by the glandular hairs on the stems, leaves, stalks and sepals.
Tomato fruits come in different shapes - from flat, round, to elongated-oval. Size and shape depend not only on varietal differences, but also on growing conditions. The fruit (berry) is juicy, fleshy, with a pleasant sweet-sour or sweet taste. In most varieties, the color of the fruit is red, less often pink, and only a few varieties are yellow, yellowish-white or purple in color.
Tomatoes have an exceptional fruit-forming ability: up to 500 fruits are formed on some plants of some varieties.
Tomato seeds are yellowish-gray, pubescent. One gram contains up to 200-300 pieces. Depending on the degree of maturity of seeds and storage conditions, their germination is maintained for 6-8 years. However, seed germination should always be checked before sowing.
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The root system of tomatoes is highly dependent on the cultivation method and variety: without transplanting, they deepen up to 1-2 meters and spread up to 1.5-2.5 meters in diameter, with the seedling method of growing, highly branched roots of tomatoes are distributed mainly in the upper 20-30 - centimeter soil layer.
What does a tomato like?
Tomatoes, like any other plant, can give a high yield if they are provided with all the necessary conditions for normal growth and development in time.
Temperature conditions. Tomato, as a tropical plant, grows best in warm conditions. In practice, it is believed that standard varieties of tomatoes do not bloom at temperatures below 15 ° C, they stop growing at 10 ° C, and die even with slight frosts. Experiments have established that at temperatures above 30 ° C, tomato growth slows down, and at temperatures above 35 ° C, it completely stops. The best temperature for the growth and development of tomatoes is 20-25 ° C.
The best temperature for plant growth and development is 20-25 ° C during the day and 16-18 ° C at night. Soil temperature should be 20-22 ° C. The optimum temperature for irrigation water is 20-25 ° C. The difference between day and night temperatures should be within 5-7 ° C, otherwise nutrition, fruit set, and their quality are reduced. Early ripening varieties have a more active enzymatic system, therefore they can better tolerate a short-term cold snap to + 6 … + 8 ° С, if the daytime temperature is within 17-22 ° С.
Shine. Tomatoes are very sensitive to light and sunlight. The number of hours of sunshine, the intensity of the flow of radiant energy are of decisive importance in accelerating flowering and fruiting. Optimal illumination, depending on the grade, is 12.5-17.5 thousand lux. Under illumination of 5 thousand lux, the development of inflorescence is extremely slow, and at 2.7 thousand lux, it completely stops. Sown during the lowest light period (December 19), the tomato will bloom 85 days after germination; when sowing on February 5, flowering occurred on the 55th day, and on June 1, on the 40th day, respectively. Tomatoes grow well and bear fruit with short and long days.
Humidity. Tomatoes are demanding on soil moisture. When the bushes grow and their leaf surface increases, the plants evaporate a lot of water. The greatest need for water in tomatoes during seed germination and during fruiting is 80-85% of the total field moisture. When growing seedlings from planting to fruiting, watering of the soil should be limited. Strong watering during these periods is the main mistake, due to which the seedlings are stretched out, the plants "fatten", the fruit setting worsens. Tomatoes love to have their "head" dry, and their "legs" damp.
This must be remembered and dealt with excess air humidity in greenhouses and shelters, since plants can be affected by apical rot of the fruit. The basic rule is to water rarely, but thoroughly soak the soil and create enhanced ventilation. With a lack of moisture, flowers, brushes and ovaries fall off. With a sharp change in soil drought with excessive soil moisture, fruit cracking is observed.
Soil nutrition conditions. Tomatoes can grow in a wide variety of soils, but they thrive on lighter, more structured, well-heated soils. However, no matter what soil they are grown on, in order to obtain high yields, it is necessary, first of all, that the soil be fertile. It is impossible to apply manure and unripe organic fertilizers under the tomatoes, as this causes excessive plant growth, thickening of the stem, an increase in leaf size, abundant flowering, many stepchildren appear, and all this is detrimental to fruit setting and yield.
To obtain high yields of tomatoes, mineral fertilizers should be used. Of the main nutrients, tomatoes consume the most potassium, calcium, nitrogen and phosphorus. To please this plant, you need to know the role of each element and in what periods of growth it needs a tomato.
Phosphorus is of exceptional importance in the fruit formation of tomatoes. Almost all assimilable phosphorus (94%) is used for fruit development. Phosphorus must be applied in sufficient quantities, especially in the first month of growing tomatoes, as it promotes root growth, the formation of generative organs and further earlier flowering, accelerated fruit ripening, increased yield, and increased sugar content.
With a lack of phosphorus, tomatoes stop growing, that is, they become thin and dwarf. Ovary formation and fruit ripening are delayed. The leaves first become blue-green, then grayish, and the stem and petioles are purple-brown in color. With a lack of phosphorus, plants do not assimilate nitrogen.
Nitrogen, like phosphorus, is an essential nutrient for the formation of all vegetative parts of a plant. Proper feeding of tomatoes with moderate doses of nitrogen increases fruit formation and tomato filling.
Both a deficiency and an excess of nitrogen can drastically reduce the yield of this crop. With a relative excess of nitrogen nutrition, tomatoes develop a powerful leaf-stem apparatus ("fatten") to the detriment of fruit formation; fruit ripening slows down; reduced resistance to disease. In the future, the leaves begin to curl, dark yellow dying spots appear between their veins.
On the other hand, tomatoes also sharply react to a lack of nitrogen: during nitrogen starvation, the growth of stems and leaves slows down sharply; the whole plant turns light yellow; yellowing of the leaves starts from the main vein to the edges; the lower leaves acquire a grayish-yellow color and fall off, fruit formation is sharply reduced.
Potassium is necessary for the formation of stems and ovaries, for the active assimilation of carbon dioxide, the formation of carbohydrates (starch, sugars). With a lack of potassium, the growth of the stems stops. Plants begin to dry out. Yellowish brown dots appear along the edges of the leaves, which spread to the middle. The leaves curl around the edges and die off. Spots appear on the fruit.
Calcium is necessary for normal growth of leaves, it stimulates root growth, makes the stem strong and resistant to the whole plant. Calcium improves the absorption of other food elements by the plant. At the same time, an excess of calcium, like its lack, causes the abnormal development of tomatoes. So, from an excess of calcium, the apical buds develop poorly, suspending growth, the leaves turn yellow and fall off prematurely, the fruits remain small.
With a lack of calcium, the plants acquire signs of wilting, the buds of growth and the tops of the stems die off, a yellowish-gray speck appears on the upper leaves, then they turn yellow, acquiring an awl, dry out and fall off. New leaves also soon die off, and only the lowest ones remain active; the roots branch strongly, but do not elongate, the yield decreases sharply. With a lack of light in greenhouses, slightly more calcium is required.
In addition to the above elements, which are consumed by tomatoes in the greatest quantities, they also need iron, boron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, sulfur, copper, etc. These elements are required in small quantities, which is why they are usually called trace elements. The lack of trace elements in the soil leads to various disorders in the development of plants and to a decrease in yield.
So, iron is a part of the chlorophyll of the leaves, and in the absence of it, the leaves brighten or even turn white (chlorosis) and, therefore, cannot assimilate the carbon dioxide of the air. Chlorotic plants do not bear fruit and die if they are not fertilized with iron vitriol.
Manganese. It is required, like iron, in an insignificant amount (1 gram of fertilizer is dissolved in 10 liters of water, 1 liter of solution is consumed for 20 plants). Manganese promotes fruit formation. With a lack of manganese, young shoots and buds develop poorly, acquire a light yellow color, and flower buds turn brown and fall off, or fertilization of flowers does not occur.
Bor. Boron deficiency stops plant growth; the flow of carbohydrates to the fruiting organs is delayed, the points of growth and buds turn brown and die off, the ovaries fall off. The leaf blade at the base turns yellow, and then collapses, remaining only at the tip of the leaf. During boric starvation, stems become fragile, leaf petioles acquire a bright brown color. On the preserved fruits, dark spots appear over the entire surface. The ends of the roots begin to die off.
Magnesium increases the growth of the root system, facilitates the movement of nutrients and, above all, phosphorus from old leaves and stems to growing organs. With a lack of magnesium, the stems become extremely thin and weak, and the growth points are elongated and stiff. The leaves rise upward or become cupped, the color between the veins becomes yellowish-white, the veins themselves remain green.
The most affordable highly effective fertilizer containing trace elements is wood ash, which contains up to 30 useful nutrients. It must be remembered that it is impossible to add ash to liquid fertilizers with organic fertilizers (manure, slurry, droppings), since the escaping nitrogen in the form of ammonia can cause plant burns.