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Healthy seedlings are the key to a decent harvest in the future. This rule also applies to tomatoes. There are secrets in growing tomato seedlings on the windowsill, but even an inexperienced gardener is able to get high-quality shoots.
To do this, you must adhere to the recommendations regarding the timing of sowing, housing conditions and appropriate care.
In this article, we will consider the agricultural technology of home growing tomato seedlings from a to z.
Advantages and disadvantages of the seedling method
Of course, growing seedlings on a windowsill has its drawbacks. Problems often arise with the placement of boxes and other containers, and the humidity in the room rises significantly. In addition, bacteria can appear in the air if the plants are sick. But the method has the following advantages:
- First, buying seeds and growing them is cheaper than buying ready-made seedlings.
- Secondly, when growing independently, the gardener knows exactly what kind of tomato he is growing.
- Thirdly, care and disinfection will protect plants from diseases, and when buying ready-made seedlings, it is not clear what bacteria and infections the plants may contain.
Practicing soil and soilless sowing methods. The soil method includes group planting of seeds and individual.
Select the appropriate container: for group planting of seeds, boxes or plastic containers are suitable.
Individual seeding means that each seed is placed in a separate cup or pot (disposable plastic cups or homemade paper ones).
For your information... If a pick is planned during soil sowing, thickening of the seedlings is allowed, otherwise the distance between the plants must be maintained. When growing a shoot separately, a pick is not needed.
The soilless method involves the use of peat tabletswhich is convenient but quite expensive. Since the tablets contain all the necessary substances for the development of the sprout, at an early stage you do not need to worry about feeding. Planting takes place together with a peat bed, so the root system is not injured.
Also, the seeds are placed in snails, diapers, toilet paper. These methods imply a mandatory dive, since the layer of toilet paper on the film is thin, and the root system will not develop properly in it.
Algorithm of actions:
- For such growing seedlings, take long strips of film. A layer of toilet paper is applied along the entire length and moistened abundantly.
- Seeds are spread with a distance of 1 cm.
- Then the entire strip of film is rolled up into a tube.
- The rolled roll is placed vertically in the container for germination. After the first true leaves germinate, tomato seedlings require a dive.
Many gardeners do not approve of such methods without soil, since the seedlings are weak and elongated due to lack of nutrients. It germinates only due to the moisture and strength of the seed itself.
Some experienced gardeners use the low-seeded method.... Its essence is that several healthy shoots are obtained from one seed. This is especially true for expensive hybrid varieties.
When the young shoot grows to 20 cm, the top is cut over the first pair of true leaves. The cut is dipped in root powder and placed in water, it will soon take root. The cut trunk will soon give additional shoots from internodes.
In this way, up to 10 bushes are grown from one seed., which, by the way, yield a harvest faster than those grown naturally.
Place and container
Which window is best suited for seedlings, how to correctly choose a place for it in the house? The southern window is considered the best option for growing tomato seedlings.... If the windows are on the west or east side, additional lighting will be required. It is advisable that the windowsill is not obscured by trees.
The place where the seedlings will be located should be warm. Favorable daytime temperature - + 18- + 25⁰С, nighttime - + 15⁰С.
For normal growth, high humidity is required, daily spraying and the use of humidifiers are recommended. What is the best way to grow seedlings? For containers for seeds, any waterproof containers with a height of at least 15 cm are suitable... Gardeners use plastic food containers, juice bags, wooden boxes and even flower pots for seedlings. The preparation of the container consists in creating drainage holes at the bottom and conveniently located on the windowsill.
The preparation of sowing material is mandatory, since germination and future harvest depend on it. It consists of the following steps:
- Selection... The seeds are sorted out and removed dark, small and gnarled. If all the seeds are immersed in salted warm water, quality seeds will drown, and unusable ones will float to the surface. After such sorting, they are rinsed from salt.
- Warming up... The germination of the seed depends on heating, although hybrid varieties do not need to be subjected to this procedure. The seed is wrapped in a cloth and kept in warm water (in a thermos, on a battery) for at least 2 days.
- Disinfection... A steep solution of potassium permanganate is prepared, the seeds are immersed in the liquid for 15 minutes. Longer processing times may damage them. In addition to manganese, phytosporin is used to fight infections.
Important! Processing is carried out immediately before planting. The disinfected material cannot be stored for a long time.
- Awakening... In order for the seeds to wake up and sprout faster, it is customary to put them in wet gauze for a day. There should not be a lot of water, a humid environment is needed. They should hatch in a day. With this method of soaking, it is good to check the old seed, or in doubt. If after a day there are no changes in the seeds, they are unlikely to sprout.
- Hardening... In order for future seedlings to better tolerate temperature extremes, the hatched mass is placed in the refrigerator for a while.
The soil for seedlings for tomatoes is bought ready-made or prepared independently. Purchased substrate is taken on the basis of peat, the number of trace elements should not exceed 400 mg per liter.
They also prepare the soil with the addition of river sand and earth from the personal plot to the purchased substrate. All components are taken in equal quantities and mixed. If there is no desire to buy ready-made soil, the soil for seedlings is prepared as follows: they take sand, humus and earth from the garden in equal shares and mix.
The soil, especially prepared independently, needs to be processed and disinfected. The main methods of disinfection:
- Annealing in the oven (15 minutes at 180-200⁰С) and heating in a microwave oven (2 minutes at maximum power).
- Boiling water treatment (the earth, placed in a container for seedlings, is watered with boiling water in several passes) and potassium permanganate.
To achieve maximum disinfection, several methods are combined.
Important... Tomatoes must not be planted immediately after soil treatment. The ground is watered and waited for 10-12 days, at which time bacteria and microorganisms useful for seedlings will appear in the soil cleared of infections.
How to sow correctly: step by step instructions
- A container, clean and treated with a disinfectant, is filled with soil.
- The substrate is leveled, lightly tamped and moistened. The soil should not be cold.
- Usually tomatoes are sown in rows. The grooves are made no deeper than 1 cm, the distance between the rows is from 3 to 5 cm. If the seeds are planted in separate containers, the depth of the hole is the same.
- Seeds are placed at a distance of 2-3 cm. One seed grain is placed in the holes.
- Sprinkle the seeds with a thin layer of earth (no more than 1 cm).
- After disembarkation, the container is covered with foil to retain moisture and heat.
- Since the light does not matter before the seedlings appear, you can put the box anywhere.
- If the seeds are of high quality seedlings will sprout no later than 5 days.
The less often the seeds are placed, the longer the dive will not be needed.... Some people prefer to grow seedlings according to the 5X5 scheme, when the distance between the rows and shoots is at least 5 cm, while 2 seeds are placed in the grooves of the row. In due time, disembarkation is carried out directly into the open ground. By planting two bushes at once, it is possible to avoid unnecessary damage to the roots.
Below you can watch a video on how to sow tomato seeds for seedlings at home:
When to sow?
When sowing, they are guided by the dates of the lunar calendar and instructions from the seed packages. The growing season before planting in greenhouses or open ground is one and a half two months.
In order not to be mistaken with the timing, they take into account the characteristics of the variety, and the region where they grow.
- Tall tomatoes sown in late February - early March.
- Early and mid-season varieties - from mid to late March.
- Late varieties - in the third decade of February.
To independently calculate the sowing time, you should know how long it takes from the moment the sprouts appear until the harvest.
If you focus on the climatic features of different regions, then:
- In southern Russia, sowing is carried out from February 20 to March 15 (planted on the street from April 15 to May 20).
- In the central part of the country, tomatoes are sown from March 15 to April 1 (planted in open ground from March 15 to April 1).
- In the northern regions (Siberia, Urals) - from 1 to 15 April (planted in the ground or greenhouses from 25 May to 15 June).
For your information. The time is chosen, taking into account when the last frosts usually occur, sowing begins two months before that.
Rules for caring for young tomatoes at home
Caring for young tomatoes includes:
- Lighting... Immediately after germination, the sprouts need good lighting. Therefore, they are placed on the lightest windowsill. If there is little light, use lamps.
- Watering... Seedlings need high humidity, so the film is not removed immediately after germination, but gradually. Watering should be ensured in such a way that the top layer of the earth does not dry out, but there should be no swampiness either. In order not to wash out the weak roots located under the very surface, watered carefully, at the very root.
- Airing... On warm days, it is necessary to take out the seedlings to fresh air. At a temperature of 15 degrees, the sprouts will receive the necessary hardening and resistance to sunlight.
- Top dressing... The first fertilizer is applied 2-3 weeks after germination. And then every week. It is recommended not to resort to chemicals, but to use organic fertilizers (manure, grass) or vermicompost.
How to get good sprouts fast?
For rapid germination and growth of tomatoes, growth stimulants are used (natural - lye and wood ash, and chemical - Epin, Zircon, etc.). The soil is prepared so that it is loose, nutritious and breathable.
To make the seeds wake up and germinate quickly, use bubbling. This means removing essential oils from the seed. To do this, the seeds are immersed in water for 12 hours and stirred constantly so that the water is saturated with oxygen. It is difficult to achieve constant oxygen enrichment; for this, an aquarium compressor is used.
How to get chunky healthy shoots?
In order for the seedlings to be strong and stocky, the rules for sowing, soil selection and care are strictly followed. It is advisable to add land from the garden to the substrate.so that when planting the plants do not experience stress. Seeds are selected proven and of high quality.
Withstand temperature conditions and watering rules. For a start, a spray bottle is suitable, and only after strengthening the root system - a watering can (only warm water is taken). So that the plant does not stretch upwards and does not weaken, it is important to dive in a timely manner.
Tips for beginners
- To protect future plants from most infections, it is recommended to treat them with garlic tincture or copper sulfate (0.15% solution). It is believed that such a procedure is an excellent prevention of late blight.
- Additional lighting will help speed up the growth of seedlings. In the first days after germination, the lamp is turned on for 16 hours.
- Mandatory hardening is carried out several days before transplanting into open ground. First, the plants are taken out into fresh air for an hour or two, after a couple of days - for 6-8 hours. After hardening, the plants quickly acclimate to a new place.
- At the time of planting, tomatoes should have 8-10 true leaves and a height of more than 25 cm.
Check out the photo of healthy strong tomato seedlings:
With dense sowing, the pick is carried out already 7-10 days after germination... For transshipment, the sprout is taken out of the moistened earth directly with a lump of soil. The plant is placed in a separate container (200 g plastic cups are suitable). After that, the shoots are fed with nitrogenous fertilizers.
Next, you can watch a video on how to pick seedlings:
When to transplant?
After 45-60 days from the moment of germination, the seedlings begin to throw out flowers... By this time, you need to plant the plants in a greenhouse or open ground.
- The soil is prepared in advance, loosened, fertilized, disinfected.
- Bush holes are made at a distance of 30 -40 cm.
- When transplanting, the ground is watered, the stem is buried a couple of centimeters or to the first leaves. Additional roots will soon appear on the deeper part of the stem.
- The plant is sprinkled with earth, compacted and watered with warm water.
The technology for growing tomatoes at home is not complicated. If you carry out all the activities in a timely manner and ensure the proper conditions, even a novice gardener will be able to get high-quality and healthy seedlings on the windowsill.