To grow tomatoes, peppers and eggplants at home, on the windowsill, you do not need a degree. The gardener, who is not a stranger to harvesting these crops from ordinary beds, can easily cope with the garden by the window. However, you need to understand that in this case, the scale is completely different, and therefore the return will be different. It will not be possible to feed the family with eco-friendly home-made vegetables all winter, but it is quite possible to get contemplative pleasure and aesthetic pleasure from the process.
So, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants belong to the same family (Solanaceae), so their agricultural technology is similar. Obviously, the development of plants will go on as usual and repeat all the stages of “normal” specimens. In this publication, we will look at the first steps of growing these vegetable crops, paying attention to the features inherent in home breeding.
Seed selection and sowing dates
In general, you can grow any tomato, pepper or eggplant on the windowsill. There are no fundamental obstacles to this. However, for example, for the normal growth of indeterminate tomatoes, a large amount of land and a lot of open space will be required,which is difficult to provide in an apartment. In general, it is not easy to create comfortable conditions for large plants at home, and without this it is impossible to achieve good fruiting.
There are other aspects. On the one hand, the indoor climate is very stable, and there is no reason to expect weather troubles. On the other hand, the illumination and humidity of the air may be far from optimal parameters. Therefore, you should choose varieties and hybrids for your home garden very carefully.
Properly selected varieties of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants can be grown at home all year round. In the “original” all these crops are perennial — in practice, with proper care, they develop well and bear fruit for about 2 years. If you have in your Arsenal phytolamps sufficient power to start the cultivation of Solanaceae at any time. Otherwise, we sow no earlier than mid-February.
Soil and containers for seedlings
The easiest option is to purchase a ready-made universal soil for growing seedlings. Or specialized — for a specific culture. If you are an experienced gardener, you can form a soil mixture yourself. The optimal composition includes neutral peat, garden soil and humus in a ratio of 1:2:1. The addition of agroperlite and agrovermiculite will facilitate further care.
Before sowing, it is desirable to disinfect the prepared soil. This can be done in different ways: freeze, steam, calcinate or treat with a solution of potassium permanganate or copper sulfate.
For sowing tomatoes, you can choose shallow seedling boxes or trays (8-10 cm high) with drainage holes. It is preferable to sow the seeds of peppers and eggplants directly in individual cups, pots or cassettes with a volume of up to 200 ml. The fact is that tomatoes calmly and even positively respond to picking, which in a sense stimulates the growth of their root system. And the peppers and eggplants are sensitive to transplanting, so it is advisable to do this method of handling. Before sowing, fill the container not to the top, leaving about 2 cm to the edge. The soil is spilled with water.
Purchased seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants usually do not require pre-sowing treatment. But if someone shared it with you, and you are not sure about the quality of the available material, then it is advisable to conduct it. This procedure consists of three steps-disinfection, treatment with a stimulant, germination.
You can germinate seeds not only to check their quality, but also to speed up the emergence of seedlings. To do this, you need to create the most comfortable conditions: put a piece of cloth or a cotton pad in a container with a lid, moisten it abundantly with water (but so that it does not float), put the seeds, cover with another piece of cloth, cover the container with a lid and put it in a warm place. The germination temperature should be +24…+28°C. To maintain it, gardeners place containers with seeds on cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. They can also be placed on the heating battery, placing a board, a stack of old magazines, etc.
Before sowing, the soil in the prepared containers must be shed in advance (for example, in the evening). Under the pick, the seeds are sown in grooves 1-1. 5 cm deep (for pepper, you can bring it to 2 cm) and sprinkled. The distance between the rows should be about 5 cm. In an individual container, 2 dry seeds or 1 sprouted seed are sown. To do this, make a recess with a stick, put the seed there and fall asleep. It is not necessary to sow more finely, since the sprout, when it appears above the surface of the earth, must drop the seed shells, and without the necessary resistance it may not succeed. This leads to delayed development, deformities or even death of the plant.
Crops must be covered with a film or transparent lid, creating a mini-greenhouse. Before the emergence of seedlings, the temperature should be maintained quite high-about +20…+26°C. Every day, the shelter needs to be removed for a short time for revision and ventilation. At this time, the soil can be slightly sprayed with water, so that a crust does not form. As a rule, additional watering is not required at this time, but if the ground has begun to dry out, then it should be moistened by carefully feeding water from a pipette, rubber pear or syringe.
The shelter is removed immediately after the first green loops appear. Under favorable conditions, tomato seedlings are shown in 3-7 days, peppers and eggplants can “linger” for 10-14 days.
The first stage of growing vegetables in the home garden ends here: everything is ready for cultivation, and even the shoots are received. In the next post, we will look at what to do next: how to care for seedlings, at what time to transplant and how to fertilize potted tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.