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Tomatoes are grown by gardeners all over the world. Their tasty fruits are considered berries in botany, and cooks and farmers have long been called vegetables. The culture belongs to the genus Solanaceous plants. Her closest relatives in the garden are potatoes, eggplants and peppers. Depending on the variety, a tomato bush can have a height of 30 cm to 3 m. The fruits of the culture also differ in a variety of colors and weights. Some large-fruited varieties can bear fruit weighing up to 1 kg. The mature product contains a lot of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, acids and sugars. It is believed that tomatoes have a healing effect: they lower cholesterol levels, increase human immunity. Farmers in Russia practice growing tomatoes in protected greenhouse conditions and in open ground. Below in the article you can find out some of the secrets of growing tomatoes and detailed information on how to get high yields of tasty and healthy vegetables on your site.
Variety selection: what to look for
Experienced farmers probably have several favorite, proven tomato varieties that they grow annually in their garden. For novice farmers, the choice of a variety can cause some difficulties, since each of them has a specific characteristic according to a number of criteria:
- Tallness. This is the first criterion you need to pay attention to when buying seeds for growing tomatoes. There are indeterminate, determinant and standard varieties. The peculiarity of indeterminate tomatoes is unlimited shoot growth. Such bushes are called tall and are often grown in greenhouses, which allows harvesting until late autumn. When growing indeterminate tomatoes, special attention should be paid to feeding and forming bushes. Medium-sized tomatoes are called determinant, which independently complete their growth after the appearance of a certain number of fruit clusters. Their yields are slightly lower than those of indeterminate tomatoes, but the cultivation requires less attention and care. Standard undersized varieties do not require the formation of bushes and are considered tomatoes for lazy gardeners.
- Fruit ripening period. The first tomatoes in early summer are the most desirable. They can be obtained by growing early maturing varieties that bear fruit within 85 days after seed germination. Mid-early types of tomatoes ripen in 100 days, but it will take more than 120 days to wait for ripe fruits of late varieties.
- Productivity. This characteristic is fundamental for many farmers. The highest-yielding tomatoes are indeterminate ones, which yield up to 50 kg / m2.
- Resistant to low temperatures and diseases. This criterion is very important when growing tomatoes in the northern regions.
In addition to the main characteristics, the taste of vegetables, their average weight, shape, color, tomato hybridity are of particular importance. It is worth noting that you can only prepare seeds for the next year from varietal tomatoes. The quality of the hybrids is lost during the independent harvesting of grains.
Seed preparation for sowing
Many farmers believe that the secrets of growing tomatoes lie in the correct preparation of seeds for sowing. With the help of some procedures, even before sowing the seeds in the ground, it is possible to influence the quality and vitality of adult tomatoes. So, the correct preparation of seeds for sowing consists of several important stages:
- Warming up. This procedure makes tomatoes more resistant to summer drought. For its implementation, the seeds are placed in a tissue bag and suspended from a hot battery for a month.
- Hardening. Hardening tomato seeds means making future tomatoes adapted to unfavorable weather conditions, short-term cold snaps. The procedure is important when growing tomatoes in unprotected soil. For hardening, the seeds are spread on a damp cloth and placed in the refrigerator for 12 hours. After that, the seeds are warmed at room conditions for 6-8 hours. The cycle is repeated for 5-7 days.
- Etching. On the surface of the seeds, there can be harmful microflora in the form of bacteria and fungi, as well as pest larvae. They can be removed by dressing the seeds with a 1% manganese solution. The grains are soaked for 30-40 minutes, after which they are washed with clean running water.
- Selection. Sowing a large number of tomato seeds requires a lot of time, effort and free space. You can select only high-quality, viable seeds for sowing using a saline solution. In a half-liter jar of water, it is necessary to dissolve a tablespoon of salt and place tomato seeds in the solution, stirring the liquid again. After 10 minutes, the filled tomato seeds will sink to the bottom of the container, while the empty ones will remain floating on the surface of the liquid. They need to be removed. Seeds selected for sowing must be washed with clean water.
- Soaking in a nutrient solution. There are many different drugs that activate tomato growth and accelerate seed germination, increase plant immunity. One of these drugs is Epin. 2 drops of this substance are added to 100 ml of water and the tomato seeds are soaked for 2 hours.
- Germination. It is recommended to sow already germinated tomato seeds for seedlings. They can be germinated in a damp cloth at a temperature of + 22- + 250C. Water when soaking can be replaced with aloe juice, which will have a disinfectant effect.
Processed, germinated seeds are the guarantor of high germination of tomatoes. All of these procedures strengthen the immunity of tomatoes, make them more viable and strong, and increase crop yields.
We grow seedlings correctly
Strong seedlings are the key to a good tomato harvest. It can be grown only with proper care, timely watering and feeding of young plants.
Time to sow
It is recommended to plant grown seedlings of tomatoes at the age of 40-45 days. Taking into account the climatic features of the growing region and the early maturity of the variety, it is necessary to calculate the optimal date for sowing seeds for seedlings.
Attention! For example, it is planned to plant tomato seedlings in open ground on June 1, which means that sowing seeds for seedlings must be carried out in the second decade of April.
In greenhouse conditions, tomato seedlings can be planted in mid-May, which means that you need to sow tomato seeds at the end of March. Seeds of tomatoes with a long ripening period are sown for seedlings very early, starting in February. Such tomatoes are planted in the soil at the age of 60-70 days.
Important! Many gardeners, when choosing the date of sowing tomato seeds for seedlings, take into account the recommendations of the lunar calendar.
Optimal seedling conditions
Grow tomato seedlings in small containers with holes in the bottom to drain excess water. The height of the container must be at least 10 cm. It must be filled with nutritious soil. The substrate can be purchased in the store or prepared by hand by adding peat and sand to the ground from the garden. It is possible to improve the nutritional value of the soil for tomatoes with the help of wood ash and mineral fertilizers. The rate of their introduction is: 500 ml of ash per bucket of substrate and 2 tbsp. l. superphosphate.
Before sowing the seeds, the soil in the container is slightly compacted and the tomato grains are embedded to a depth of 3-4 mm. Water the soil with tomato plantings very carefully so as not to wash the seeds to the surface of the soil. After sowing, the container is covered with foil and placed in a warm place. After germinating tomato seeds, the cover is removed from the container and placed in a well-lit place with a temperature of + 20- + 220FROM.
The technology of growing tomato seedlings provides for the presence of light for 12-14 hours daily. In the spring, such lighting can only be obtained by illuminating tomato seedlings with fluorescent lamps.
Important! It is recommended to sow tomato seeds in isolated peat or plastic pots, 2-3 seeds each.
This will avoid intermediate diving of seedlings in the process of growing tomatoes.
Care of young tomatoes
Watering tomato seedlings should be 1-2 times a week. As the plants grow, watering is increased, preventing the soil from drying out. It should be remembered that over-watering tomatoes leads to the development of fungal diseases.
With the appearance of the first true leaf, tomato seedlings from a common container must be dived into separate containers. To do this, you can use peat pots, plastic cups, or small plastic bags. The composition of the soil for filling containers should be similar to that in which tomatoes were previously grown.
After 1.5 weeks after the pick, the tomatoes must be fed. To do this, 5 g of ammonium nitrate, 40 g of simple superphosphate and 12 g of potassium sulfate are poured into a bucket of water. Such a fertilizer composition will allow tomatoes to take root well, quickly build up green mass. Further feeding schedule depends on the condition of the plants. According to the cultivation technology, it is recommended to fertilize tomato seedlings 3-4 times during the entire growing period.
Organic matter can also be used to feed tomato seedlings. This can be, for example, infusion of mullein (1 liter per 10 liters of water). You can make such an organic fertilizer complex by adding wood ash (1 tbsp per 10 liters of solution). You can replace ash with superphosphate in the amount of 25 g.
Tomato seedlings must be fed with potassium phosphate fertilizer 10 days before planting in the soil. To do this, add 70 g of potassium sulfate and superphosphate in an amount of 40 g to a bucket of water.
2 weeks before planting the seedlings in the soil, the tomatoes begin to harden. To do this, first, the vents are regularly opened in the room to slightly lower the temperature. In the future, tomato seedlings are taken out into the street, first for 15 minutes, then gradually increase the time the plants stay in unprotected conditions until full daylight hours. This hardening will prepare the tomatoes for direct sunlight and changes in atmospheric temperatures. Hardening adapts the tomatoes to new growing conditions, which reduces the stress of the tomatoes after planting.
As a result of proper cultivation of seedlings, tomatoes should look strong and healthy by the time they are planted in the ground. On the main stem, up to 25 cm in height, there should be about 6-9 true leaves. The thickness of the stem largely depends on the height of the variety and can be 4-6 mm. Having 1-2 flower clusters is also the norm for good tomato seedlings.
Planting seedlings in the ground
Tomatoes are thermophilic plants that need to be grown in sunny, windless areas. Precursors for tomatoes can be cucumbers, root vegetables, onions, dill.
Warning! It is impossible to grow tomatoes in a place where nightshade crops used to grow or nearby, as this can provoke the development of some diseases, the causative agents of which are in the soil.
You can plant tomato seedlings only on pre-prepared soil. To do this, in the fall, the remains of vegetation are removed from the site and the soil is dug up with the introduction of manure. Consumption of fresh organic fertilizer for growing tomatoes can be 4-6 kg / m2... If it is not possible to prepare the soil in the fall, organic matter can be added to the soil in the spring, but it should be borne in mind that it must be well rotted. You can replace manure and humus with nitrogen-containing fertilizers, for example, urea (50 g / m2).
Also in the spring, for growing tomatoes, additional potash and phosphorus fertilizers are added to the soil: superphosphate (40-60 g / m2) and potassium nitrate (30 g / m2). Fertilizers can be scattered around the entire perimeter of the site, followed by raking or directly into the holes before planting tomato seedlings.
Agrotechnology for growing tomatoes involves strict adherence to the distances between the bushes in the garden, since heavily thickened plantings of tomatoes can contribute to the development of various fungal and viral diseases. It is recommended to plant tomato seedlings on beds 1.5 m wide in two rows. The distance between rows on one bed should be at least 60 cm.In each row, the distance between tomatoes depends on the height of the bushes and can be equal to 25-60 cm. ridges in the process of caring for tomatoes.
It is necessary to plant tomato seedlings in pre-moistened holes, to a depth of cotyledonous leaves in the evening or during the day in cloudy weather. A few hours before planting, tomato seedlings must also be watered, so that at the moment when it is necessary to get the plants out of the container, the clod of earth does not crumble on the root. Having placed the tomato seedlings in the hole, cover the free space with earth and squeeze it, and then pour the tomatoes with warm water. On top of the wet soil, it is necessary to put mulch or sprinkle it with a dry substrate.
Important! The maximum planting depth of a tomato can be half the existing main stem.
This deepening will allow the tomatoes on the lower part of the trunk to build up a rich root system that will supply the tomatoes with nutrients.
It should be noted that the normal growth and development of tomatoes is observed in conditions with temperatures above +100C, therefore, in relatively cold weather, tomatoes in the open field are covered with foil after planting.
Some other rules for planting seedlings in the ground can be found in the video:
Care of mature plants
Growing tomatoes is a painstaking task. With a lack of watering or feeding, improper formation of bushes, tomatoes immediately begin to mope, and it is not so easy to eliminate an already developing ailment. Therefore, it is very important to care for and grow tomatoes in compliance with some important rules.
Watering tomatoes is rarely necessary, but abundant. This basic rule of growing tomatoes avoids the problems associated with the parasitic fungus. Water the tomatoes in the afternoon or evening. Adult tomato bushes in hot weather are watered every other day. Water consumption depends on the growth of the plant: for young tomatoes, 1 liter of water is enough in each hole, as they grow, and especially at the stage of formation and ripening of tomatoes, the bushes are watered at the rate of 10 liters per bush.
Important! Watering tomatoes on a leaf can cause late blight.
When watering, water is poured under the tomato root gradually, so that it does not spread, but penetrates deep into the ground, feeding the deeply located root system of tomatoes. Watering tomatoes through a plastic bottle is effective, as shown in the photo:
Heavy, moist soil can contribute to root rot during cultivation. You can prevent the likelihood of rotting by loosening the soil. It is necessary to loosen and weed the soil not only in the near-stem circle of tomatoes, but throughout the entire area of the ridge. This will saturate the soil with oxygen and enable the tomato root system to develop harmoniously.
Weeding of ridges with tomatoes is also important. Weeds often attract pests, which, over time, transfer their colonies to tomatoes, damaging their juicy greens.
Important! It is recommended to loosen the ridges with tomatoes every 10-12 days to a depth of 4-6 cm.
It is necessary to feed tomatoes regularly during the growing process, however, you need to clearly know what tomatoes love, what fertilizers to use for them during which growing season. So, at an early stage of cultivation, tomatoes must be fed with fertilizers with a high nitrogen content. This will allow them to quickly build up the required amount of greenery. As soon as the first leaves appear on the tomatoes, it is necessary to reorient to potassium-phosphorus dressings. They are also used until the end of the tomato growing period. Organic and mineral substances can be used as fertilizers.
The most affordable organic fertilizer for tomatoes is mullein. It is not used fresh, but is used to prepare the infusion, stirring the fertilizer with water 1: 1. After insisting for 7-10 days, the fertilizer is re-diluted with water 1:10 and used for watering tomatoes. Wood ash (1 tbsp per bucket of solution), phosphorus or potassium fertilizer (30-40 g per bucket of ready-made solution) can be added to the mullein infusion. Herb infusion is also a good organic food for tomatoes.
Often, experienced gardeners, when growing tomatoes, use fertilizers from yeast or bread crusts for feeding.
An example of the preparation of such a tool can be seen in the video:
On sale you can find a lot of different mineral complex and simple fertilizers for tomatoes. The advantage of complex fertilizers is a competently formulated dosage of all the necessary substances. The preparation of a complex fertilizer for growing tomatoes on your own from simple minerals often causes difficulty for the gardener, since an excess of one or another substance in top dressing can negatively affect the growth of a tomato. The table below shows the recommended dosages of mineral and organic substances, depending on the stage of growing tomatoes.
Formation of bushes
When growing tomatoes, the formation of bushes is a necessary event. It consists of several basic operations:
- Stealing. The procedure involves the complete or partial removal of lateral tomato shoots that form in the leaf axils. Stepchildren are removed after their length exceeds 5 cm, leaving a small stump on the tomato trunk.
- Topping. Pinching of the main stem of a tomato is carried out about a month before the expected end of fruiting. Also, in some cases, pinching of the lateral stepsons is practiced after fruit brushes and ovaries have formed on them. During the procedure, pinch off or cut off the upper brush of the shoot, leaving 2-3 full, healthy leaves that will lift nutrients from the root upward of the tomato.
- Removing leaves. In the process of growing tomatoes, it is necessary to periodically remove the lower leaves on the bush under the extreme fruit brush. The procedure is carried out once every 2 weeks, removing 1-3 sheets.
- Removing blooming brushes. The first flowering clusters on tomatoes take a very long time to develop and consume a lot of energy. By removing them, you can speed up the process of formation of new fruit clusters and ripening of fruits higher up the trunk of the tomato.
The formation of tomatoes in the greenhouse and in open areas of the ground is carried out in the same way, while the process directly depends on the type of bush. For indeterminate tomatoes, all of the above operations are used. Determinant tomato bushes when growing are only partially stepson, leaving several fruiting lateral shoots. Standard tomatoes are formed only by removing some stepsons and lower leaves.
Important! Removing excess greenery when growing tomatoes allows you to concentrate the strength of the plant on the formation and ripening of tomatoes, without wasting energy on building excess foliage.
The procedure for forming tomatoes must be carried out in the morning of a sunny day, so that the wounds dry out by the evening. Otherwise, the tomato can become infected with bacterial, viral or fungal diseases through damaged skin. The formation of tomatoes is carried out simultaneously with the garter of the bushes. Particular attention should be paid to the formation of tomatoes when grown in a greenhouse, where there is practically no natural air circulation.
The video shows an example of how to properly form tomatoes with a different type of bush:
Protection from pests and diseases
Protection of tomatoes from diseases and pests consists, first of all, in the implementation of proper care of tomatoes and maintenance of their high immunity. There are also some universal rules that will help protect tomatoes from pests and diseases during the growing process:
- Tomatoes should not be grown near potatoes and other nightshade plants, as this can contribute to the rapid spread of diseases and pests from one crop to another;
- Compliance with the recommended distances between tomatoes will prevent the spread of diseases when one tomato bush is infected;
- Timely and correct formation of tomatoes improves air circulation and prevents the development of putrefactive diseases;
- Growing some plants in tomato beds will help repel insect pests. For example, with their smell, marigolds scare away aphids, a bear and a scoop, coriander will eliminate aphids and the Colorado potato beetle. It is necessary to grow helper plants between the rows and along the edge of the ridges with tomatoes.
- Means such as "Epin" can increase the immunity of tomatoes, making them more resistant to various ailments.
- The development of fungal diseases on tomatoes is facilitated by the weather with high humidity and sudden temperature changes. When observing such weather growing conditions, it is necessary to spray the tomatoes with milk whey, garlic infusion or saline as a preventive measure. Such measures will prevent fungal spores from entering the tomato trunk and damaging it. Folk methods of protecting tomatoes are characterized by high efficiency and environmental safety.
It is not at all difficult to observe the above protection measures when growing tomatoes, while they will prevent the development of diseases and prevent pests from causing significant harm to plants and crops.
The video clip, the link of which is located below, demonstrates the cultivation of tomatoes in full. After looking through it, you can clearly see all the stages of growing tomatoes and learn some secrets of an experienced farmer:
At first glance, it might seem that growing tomatoes is a very complex process that only a select few gardeners can master. In fact, every gardener can get a harvest of tomatoes, for this you only need to stock up on certain knowledge. So, having properly prepared and planting tomato seeds in a timely manner, you can get strong, healthy seedlings. It is possible to accelerate its growth and improve the quality of planting material with the help of top dressing. There should be at least three of them before the tomatoes are planted in the ground. Further care for tomatoes involves, first of all, watering and feeding. Conscientious gardeners carry out loosening and weeding regularly for all crops, so the procedure should not cause any particular difficulties. It is, of course, difficult for a novice farmer to form bushes, but for the correct implementation of the operation, it is necessary, before removing the vegetative organs of the plant, to determine the scheme for the formation of a tomato. In general, literacy and correct cultivation of crops comes with experience, because experienced farmers perform all of the above operations without hesitation.