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The germination of the culture largely depends on understanding how to properly plant tomatoes for seedlings in the house. Moreover, the procedure itself does not cause any particular difficulties. The main thing is to follow the rules for sowing tomato seeds and fulfill the requirements for caring for seedlings. The first problems that a novice gardener may encounter arise at the stage of seed selection.
We decide on the variety and purchase high-quality seeds
When choosing a tomato variety, it is recommended to pay attention to the following aspects:
- Drop off location. For open areas, early ripening varieties are suitable, for greenhouses - tomatoes of a late ripening period.
- Plant height. In open areas, low-growing crops are sown, in greenhouses - tall ones.
- Growing method. For greenhouses and greenhouses, it is recommended to select varieties that have high requirements in terms of care. Tomatoes are planted in the open ground that can withstand drought several times a season.
An important aspect affecting the choice of seeds is the growing region. Any varieties are suitable for the southern regions, and frost-resistant for the northern ones.
And the last nuance lies in the purpose of growing tomatoes. For preservation, tomatoes are suitable, which give medium-sized and rounded fruits. For salads, it is recommended to choose thick-skinned tomatoes.
Seed sorting and calibration
Large seeds are suitable for sowing, since this planting material often gives viable seedlings. After that, you need to mix a glass of clean water and a teaspoon of salt. Sorted seeds should be placed in the resulting solution. The planting material that has floated to the surface must be thrown away. Such seeds do not germinate.
Ways to increase the germination of future seedlings
To increase germination, before planting, seeds that have been stored in a cool room for a long time are recommended to be warmed up. To do this, 1-2 months before sowing the culture, the material is placed in a cloth bag and lowered into a thermos. Next, water is poured into the container, heated to 55 degrees. The planting material is kept in such conditions for half an hour, after which it is washed under cold water.
In order to prevent infection of seedlings, before sowing, place the seeds for 40 minutes in a 10% hydrogen peroxide solution. At the end of the procedure, the material is washed under water and dried. To reduce the concentration of nitrates in the future plant, the seeds must be kept for 12 hours in a 0.4 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.
Also, a weak solution of potassium permanganate (10 grams per liter of water) is used to disinfect the plant. In such an environment, tomatoes are aged for half an hour.
To increase the germination of the plant, the seeds are recommended to first be placed in a gauze bag and immersed in warm water. The culture is kept under these conditions for 2-3 hours. During the specified period, the cooled water must be regularly changed to warm.
The last method (stratification) of increasing germination requires the following: prepared seeds are laid out in gauze soaked in water, which is then rolled up and placed in the refrigerator. The planting material is kept at a temperature of +3 degrees for three days.
Preparation of containers and soil
For growing seedlings use:
- specialized boxes that are sold in gardening stores;
- peat glasses;
- cassette containers.
Homemade containers made from plastic bottles are also used for seedlings. At the same time, regardless of the type, each container must be disinfected with steam or cold before filling the soil.
For sowing tomatoes, both purchased and self-made soil mixture are suitable. High-quality soil should contain humus, peat and plant components (old foliage and others). Sand or expanded clay is used to create a drainage layer.
In order to prevent infection of the plant, the soil mixture is preliminarily disinfected:
- By calcining. Aged in the oven at +90 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Cold. The soil is kept in a freezer (outside at sub-zero temperatures) for several days.
- Steaming. The soil is poured into a colander and kept for 7 minutes over boiling water.
- Etching. A few days before sowing, the land is treated with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
Any of these methods are suitable for disinfection.
When is it worth sowing seeds?
It depends on the region of cultivation in which month it is better to sow tomatoes. In the southern part of the country, planting material is buried in prepared soil from February 20 to March 10. In the North and beyond the Urals, it is recommended to sow in the first half of April. Residents of Central Russia plant seeds during March.
The period for sowing the material is also determined depending on the type of crop. Early ripe tomatoes should be planted 50-60 days before being transferred to open ground. Other varieties are sown in 65-80 days.
Tomatoes are traditionally grown in peat pellets, plastic containers or in a “diaper”. In each case, it is necessary to plant plants according to a specific algorithm.
In peat tablets
It is recommended to plant tomatoes in peat tablets according to the following algorithm:
- The peat tablet is pre-moistened with warm water.
- After the excess water has drained off, the tablet is placed in a transparent container.
- In each tablet, a notch (from one to four) is made with a finger for the seeds.
- Seeds are planted in prepared holes and covered with soil.
- The container with tablets is closed with a lid or polyethylene and placed in a warm room.
Peat tablets help to grow seedlings without diving.
Into a container or other container
When planting tomatoes in a pot or container, follow these steps:
- Pour small stones or eggshells onto the bottom of the container. The thickness of this drainage layer is 0.5 centimeters;
- Fill the container with soil mixture 8-10 centimeters.
- Moisten the soil mixture and make furrows in the soil 1 centimeter deep and in 3-4 centimeters increments.
- Place the seeds in the furrows in 1-2 cm increments.
- Fill the planting material with soil and moisten it with a spray bottle.
The container with tomatoes must be closed with polyethylene and left in a warm room.
Sowing in a "diaper"
Sowing tomatoes in this way is carried out according to the following algorithm:
- The plastic wrap is cut into strips 10 centimeters wide.
- Each strip is covered with toilet paper (a paper towel will do) and moistened with a growth-promoting solution.
- The seeds are laid out on strips in 3-4 centimeters increments and covered with layers of paper and polyethylene.
- The resulting tape is rolled into a roll and placed in a plastic container.
- Water is poured into the bottom of the container. At the end, the containers are closed with polyethylene with small holes.
Gardeners recommend planting tomatoes this way to save space in the house.
Caring for tomato seedlings at home
After planting a tomato in an apartment, the plant must be provided with sufficient watering, temperature conditions and lighting.
For the first time, it is recommended to water the seedlings after the first shoots appear. In the future, the procedure is repeated after 7 days. The last time the plant is watered 2-3 hours before transplanting into the ground.
After the first shoots appear, containers with tomatoes are recommended to be placed in a well-lit place. If necessary, place an ultraviolet lamp over the containers. In the first few weeks, the sprouts need to be provided with 16 hours of daylight. Moreover, containers with plants should be periodically turned so that the seedlings do not stretch in one direction.
After planting the seeds, the containers are left in a room at a temperature of 22-25 degrees. When the first shoots appear, the containers are recommended to be moved indoors and the plants kept for a week at 15-17 degrees. During this time, the plants will get stronger. Then the tomatoes must be returned to the first room. The air temperature should be 24 degrees during the day and 12 degrees at night.
Tomatoes are recommended to be transplanted into new containers when the first few leaves appear (on average, after 10 days). A separate container should be allocated for each seedling in the room. The seedlings are buried 4 centimeters. If the plants are planted in the same container, the distance between the tomatoes should be 5-7 centimeters.
After a few weeks, the tomatoes are replanted in larger containers.
For good survival in the ground, the plant needs to be fed periodically. The following fertilizers are used:
- infusion of chicken droppings;
- wood ash;
- complex mineral fertilizers.
Fertilizers are applied 2 weeks after the first leaves appear. Then the culture is fed every 10 days.
After the appearance of 3-4 leaves, gardeners recommend starting to harden the plant. In the early days, tomatoes are left in the room at a temperature of 15-20 degrees. Then, gradually increasing the time interval, containers with sprouts should be taken out into the street.
What errors are most often encountered: solution methods
When growing tomato seedlings, gardeners often make the following mistakes:
- select unsuitable varieties;
- do not prepare seeds or soil;
- sow tomatoes ahead of schedule;
- do not fulfill the requirements for care (excessive watering, growing at low temperatures);
- refuse to harden the plant;
- late picks.
When growing tomatoes, it is recommended to give preference to hybrid varieties, since the latter have strong immunity to common diseases and pests. Before sowing seeds into the soil, the soil must be disinfected.
Gardeners recommend planting tomatoes according to an established schedule. Due to early planting, the plant outgrows, as a result of which it does not take root well in the ground. Water the tomatoes as the soil dries. Also, the culture must be left in a well-lit room. Due to the lack of sunlight, tomatoes weaken, which negatively affects crop yields. Similar consequences arise if hardening is not carried out.
To achieve good germination, the seeds must be buried no more than 4 centimeters, and then the soil must be compacted.