Gardeners who grow tomato seedlings themselves can be divided into 2 groups. Some, trying to avoid tedious pickings, put the seeds immediately in separate spacious pots, in which the plants live until the moment of planting in the ground. Other summer residents sow tomatoes in a common seedling box, and later transfer them to another container.
The logic of those who are in favor is not without meaning. First, at the initial stage, they save a lot of space on the windowsill. And secondly, they increase the chances of getting a richer tomato crop. You ask: why? With this approach, the gardener has the opportunity to conduct natural selection. In the process of transplanting, weak sprouts with weak potential are rejected, and the development is continued by stronger green counterparts, who have been screaming since childhood: “I can do everything, I can bear everything, and I will not lose the harvest! Look how much strength I have!”
However, novice cottagers, imbued with this logic, often suffer disappointment immediately after the pick: the plants begin to wither, turn into invalids and the harvest is subsequently scanty. And most often it is the owner himself who cuts their wings with his inexperienced actions! Let’s see what mistakes should be avoided when picking tomato seedlings in order to get the maximum benefit from this procedure.
1. Too early
There is an opinion that the earlier to unpick tomato seedlings, the better. Therefore, beginners often start this responsible procedure literally immediately after the emergence of seedlings — when the sprouts barely have time to open the cotyledons. However, in this phase of development, seedlings still have too fragile stems and only one thin root, so after the transplant stress they begin to wither and often die. Do you have such a high skill to carry out jewelry work-unpick “crystal” sprouts, without causing them harm?
It is better to postpone the pick-up until the moment when the tomatoes will gain a little strength and will be able to survive the transplant more stoutly. The ideal age is the appearance of the first pair of real leaves: then the roots become stronger. This occurs about 10-14 days after the emergence of seedlings.
2. Too late
Some summer residents, on the contrary, are afraid to approach tomatoes even in the phase of the first real leaves. They think that the plants are not yet strong enough, and postpone the transplant to a later date. But the more time passes after the” ideal ” moment for picking, the more stress the plants will have to endure during this procedure.
In a tight box, seedlings begin to stretch and ache, becoming more vulnerable to any adverse factors. In a small volume of earthen coma, their root system is intertwined, so during the transplant it gets severe injuries. Such wounded poor things take much longer to get used to the new container, lag behind in development and, as a result, later enter fruiting.
3. Rough technique
Many gardeners doubt the expediency of picking as such, considering that this procedure, in addition to harm, plants do not bring anything. This opinion is born solely from the inexperience of the summer residents themselves, who with their inept and rude actions cause significant injuries to seedlings during transplantation. Naturally, any green creature after severe damage will be sick for a long time and lag behind in development.
During the dive, it is important to injure the root system of plants as little as possible. To do this, arm yourself with a teaspoon, carefully submerge it in the ground near the base of the seedling stalk and remove it from the box with a lump of earth. Transplant the plant into a separate glass, digging in the cotyledons and trying not to bend its roots. In General, there is no need to pinch the roots of tomatoes. This procedure is performed for excessively elongated instances, whose attention needs to be redirected from the above-ground part to “licking wounds” of the root system.
4. Untimely watering
To minimize damage to the roots of tomatoes, the soil in the box must be moistened before diving. But when exactly to water? Some cottagers abundantly shed earthen clods with water and immediately begin to remove seedlings from the box. Don’t rush! With this approach, the soil is strongly compacted due to a large amount of moisture, becomes heavy and firmly holds the roots of plants: you pull the sprout, and its roots break off.
If you moisten the soil in the box a few days before the pick, it can dry up: light during the procedure will crumble and expose the roots of plants, and too dense will add to their injuries. Therefore, water the plants 1-2 days before the start of work, so that during the transplant the soil is moderately moist and pliable for effective manipulation.
5. Unsuitable packaging
The main point of picking is to give plants more space for further growth and development. But if you transplant the tomatoes from the common box in tiny cups and pots, then what’s the point of this procedure? It will only undermine the health of plants, forcing them to continue to suffer new hardships and drag out a miserable existence.
The optimal volume of the earthen lump, in which 1 tomato can wait for planting in the ground, is at least 0.5 l (ideally — 1 l). You can unpick the plants first in pots with a volume of 0.2-0.3 liters, but after 3 weeks you will need to transplant them into larger containers.
6. Wrong ground
After picking tomatoes will use all their strength to restore the damaged root system and begin to build new roots on the stalk buried in the soil. If these processes are to occur in a heavy soil without sufficient access of air, the tissues of the plants can easily rot.
To fill a new container, use a loose, light substrate that allows good air passage. You can buy it in a store or prepare it yourself. The self-prepared soil mixture should not contain unripe plant residues and high doses of nitrogen preparations that contribute to the development of putrefactive processes.
7. Unsuitable temperature conditions
Increased air temperature stimulates the active growth of the aboveground part of tomatoes, and this is now completely unnecessary: they need strength to recover. Help plants recover from stress optimal indicators of the room thermometer: +16…+18°Happy day and +13…+15°With the night. These conditions must be maintained for 4-6 days after the pick-up.
8. Excessive watering after picking
Increases the risk of developing fungal diseases and increased soil humidity. Therefore, tomatoes after picking should be watered copiously and do not approach them with a watering can for the next few days. With the right temperature regime, the soil in pots will remain moderately moist all these days. The next watering is carried out when the soil dries up, and the leaves of seedlings begin to lose turgor slightly.
9. Inappropriate “tan”
With this watering mode, it is important not to expose unpicked seedlings to the sun. Their damaged roots can not yet effectively absorb moisture, and direct sunlight will cause its increased evaporation of leaves. This will lead to dehydration and even more decline in the strength of injured plants. Therefore, during adaptation, keep them in diffused light. For this purpose, in clear weather, you can, for example, attach a light non-woven material to the window glass.
10. Untimely feeding
It is better to unpick the plants in poor soil, and a little later, when they are will be fine and can effectively absorb nutrients, feed them to their full, after fertilizing with a solution of fertilizers. Do not feed the seedlings immediately after transplanting: leave them alone for 10-12 days and get rid of the extra load. But when they take root and start to grow, it’s time to charge them with forces for further active development and treat them, for example, with a solution of purchased organomineral fertilizer.
After transplanting, small tomatoes get sick and need increased attention. Therefore, do not make the main mistake — do not leave them unattended. Properly conducted picketing, followed by a comfortable period of adaptation, filled with your love and care, will only benefit the kids and will allow them to get strong, healthy plants by the time they land in the open ground.
Dear readers, how do you dive tomato seedlings? Have you ever made annoying mistakes when transplanting seedlings? Or maybe you know special secrets that help plants to endure this procedure less painfully? Tell us about them in the comments.