Secrets of growing tomatoes from a specialist
Tomato is a widespread culture throughout Russia. The specificity of plant growth allows you to grow them both in open and protected ground in various climatic zones. Our breeders create hybrids of vegetable crops, which are distinguished by a high degree of plasticity to specific soil and climatic conditions, genetic resistance to the most dangerous pathogens. The fruits of these varieties and hybrids have good taste, beautiful, transportable and with different ripening dates (early ripening, middle and late ripening).
Tomato plants can also be very different from each other - the height of the bush, foliage, productivity. Fruits come in different colors and shapes and their purpose is different: fresh consumption, for tomato paste, for canning, pickling, stewing or universal. That is why it is important to choose the right variety or hybrid for growing, choose a place and time for planting, use agricultural techniques and, as a result, get a good harvest.
Selection of cultivar and place of cultivation
Growing tomatoes in the open field has a number of advantages. First of all, open ground allows you to avoid the costs associated with the construction of greenhouses, their maintenance, the alternation of crops in the greenhouse, garter and pinching. For growing, as a rule, use undersized, rarely medium-sized tomatoes.
Due to their early ripening, superdeterminate tomatoes are the most undersized and suitable for growing in almost any climatic zone. They are distinguished by the low laying of the first inflorescence (the height of the inflorescence is the number of leaves before it, one of the indicators of early ripeness) - after 4-6 leaves, as well as a small number of inflorescences (not more than 5-6). Plant growth is limited by inflorescence.
Tomatoes of this type are very early, medium-sized, rarely exceed 100g, manage to give their crops before unfavorable conditions, even in open ground. Varieties that are suitable for cultivation in the open field - Betta, F1 Biathlon, Gavrosh, Snegiryok, Titmouse, Room surprise, Potted red, pink, orange.
The next group of tomatoes is determinant tomatoes (with a limited type of growth). The height of the first inflorescence in them is at the level of 6-7 leaves, i.e. plants a little later than in the previous group, inflorescences follow through 1-2 leaves. Tomatoes form more inflorescences, large fruits, over 150 g, high quality.
Plants of this type are suitable both for film shelters and for open ground. These are universal tomatoes, such as Big Mommy, First-grader, Akulina, Golden Baby Sweet, Pelageya, Kurnosik, F1 La-la-fa. Among them there are varieties suitable for whole-canning - Golitsyn, Ushakov, Nakhimov, Super banana with dense bright red “tomato fingers”. These varieties are characterized by high productivity and amicable ripening of fruits.
Semi-determinant ones are more vigorous varieties than the previous group. Growth restriction occurs only after the formation of 6-8 inflorescences. Inflorescences are laid in 2-3 leaves, and the first inflorescence is formed after the 8th leaf. They are characterized by a uniform yield of the crop, high quality fruits. Varieties of this group when grown must necessarily be tied to the support and the formation of plants. Mostly grown in greenhouses.
Varieties of tomato of indeterminate type are distinguished by constant strong vegetative growth and continuous flowering. In this group, it is easy to form plants in one stem, inflorescences are arranged through 3 leaves, there is a uniform yield of the crop, the fruits are smooth and of high quality.
Most varieties of indeterminate tomatoes are grown in greenhouses. Summer residents appreciated the harvesting hand hybrids of Intuition, Evpator, Chio-chio-san, large-fruited Krasnobay, Rosamarin, Bull's heart chocolate, amber, cream, as well as cherry Monisto amber, emerald, pink, roasted, Black pearl, Berry cocktail.
Do I need to grow seedlings
Tomatoes can be grown both by the seedling method (in colder regions), and seedling-free, i.e. by direct sowing into the ground - in the southern regions. When grown by direct sowing, the seeds are sown immediately in the soil with a thickened scheme of planting under the film. After emergence, thinning is performed. This method allows you to reduce the cost of growing seedlings, but the seed consumption with this method is higher, and the possibility of return cold and frost in the northern regions makes this method risky.
For direct sowing, ultra-ripe varieties and hybrids are suitable, such as Betta, F1 Biathlon, First-grader, Potted pink, orange, red. Less mature varieties and hybrids are best grown through seedlings.
The seedling period creates a race in development, allows you to use fewer seeds and plant plants in the soil in a more favorable time. It can take from 40 to 55 days to grow tomato seedlings (from the time of sowing), depending on the lighting conditions. If a tomato is planned to be planted under film shelters or in film greenhouses without heating in mid-May, then sowing should begin in mid-late March. The lighting intensity in March is sufficient for growing seedlings without additional irradiation, while too early sowing dates (February-March) require additional illumination of seedlings in the early stages of cultivation. Tomatoes sown under the best light conditions and at a later date catch up with the sown early in their development.
We grow seedlings correctly
Growing tomato seedlings for open ground and greenhouses is similar. Sowing is carried out in a moist substrate, in which grooves are made with a depth of 1.5 cm at a distance of 4-5 cm from each other. Seeds are laid out at a distance of 1 cm, after which they are powdered with a dried substrate. After sowing, the seeds need to be covered with a film - under it, maintain the optimal temperature and humidity regime. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 24-26 ° C.
When the first shoots, as well as loops, appear, without waiting for mass shoots, the film must be removed, otherwise the seedlings that sprouted first will stretch. Seedlings need to be exposed, and after opening the cotyledons, lower the temperature to 20-22 ° C.
In phase 2-3 of this leaf, they begin to pick. To do this, use pots of various volumes with moist soil. In addition to the pots, another container is suitable, for example, cassettes with large cells. The temperature regime is maintained at the same level. After picking, seedlings should be watered. After a picking, the seedlings should sit firmly in the substrate, there should be no air cavities in the basal region, which can be checked by slightly pulling the plant - if the picking is incorrect, the seedling will easily pull out. Watering is moderate, mainly in the morning.
The first top dressing is carried out a week after a dive, the last one week before landing. The frequency of top dressing is determined based on the state of the plants. If the seedlings are overtightened, lower the temperature and limit watering. A week before planting, the temperature is reduced to 17-18 ° C, watering is limited, and 1-2 days before planting, watering is completely stopped to prevent seedlings from breaking.
Ready for planting tomato seedlings has a height of 30 - 35 cm. Stalk thickness 0.8 - 1 cm., 7 - 9 leaves and buds on the first inflorescence. Planting seedlings is recommended when opening the first flowers of the formed first brush. In exceptional cases, in weak plants, planting in the soil in a phase of 5-7 leaves is permissible. Premature planting is undesirable, as it stimulates too strong plant growth to the detriment of fruit formation. Too late planting is also unacceptable, as this affects the subsequent growth of fruits in 3-5 inflorescences. It is necessary to ensure that the roots of the seedlings do not darken and go beyond the boundaries of the pot. The soil temperature at the time of planting should be at least 15-16 ° C - at lower temperatures, the root system of the tomato does not develop. Plants should not be placed more often than 2.5 plants per square meter. m, approximately according to the pattern 60 * 40 * 80 cm.
Overgrown seedlings are planted obliquely. The roots and the lower part of the stem with three or four leaves removed are laid lying or at an angle in the prepared holes or furrows 12-15 cm deep and sprinkled with soil. If the seedlings were not watered before planting, you can water it a little after planting in the holes, if the seedlings before planting were well spilled and the root system is well preserved, then you can limit yourself to watering the wells before planting and not water the plants after planting in the ground. In moist and well-warmed soil after 7 to 10 days, that part of the stem that has been sprinkled with earth forms subordinate roots, which contributes to enhanced root system growth and better plant nutrition.
Good seedlings and good harvests!
Margarita Vasilyeva, agronomist of the agricultural holding Gavrish.