Winter fully reigns in our gardens and orchards. It is still far from warm summer, but domestic gardeners are not asleep. They are thoughtfully and intently preparing to open the planting season of nightshade seedlings — tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. And this is absolutely correct! It is necessary to start early, even in winter, because it takes at least 3 months from the shoots to the first ripe tomato, and this is for early varieties! Late-ripening tomatoes will need more time. Today we want to remind our gardeners of agricultural techniques for sowing and growing high-quality tomato seedlings using the example of new hybrids.
First, a little about choosing seeds. If they are low-quality, then you do not have to wait for a good harvest.
When to sow
And when do you need to sow the seeds? What was the date? Such questions are usually puzzled not only novice gardeners, but also experienced ones. And there are also a great many recommendations. We sow different varieties and hybrids on our farm and usually focus on the timing of fruit ripening.
For precocious low-growth determinant hybrids that will be grown in an open bed, other planting times are required. Plants are planted in the ground in early June at the age of 45-60 days (depending on the variety). This means that the sowing is carried out in late March or early April.
Preparation of seed
So, we have decided on the terms, and we are preparing the seeds. We first soak them in a container of snow water at room temperature. Let them “swim” for 12-16 hours, then they will all be well saturated with oxygen and get rid of inhibitors — substances that contribute to the storage of seeds, but prevent germination.
Then we drain the water, filter it and put the seeds in a suitable container on a wet cloth. Close the lid and remove to a warm place. The ideal temperature for seed germination is +24…+25°C, in such conditions, the sprouts will appear on the 2nd day. The seed material can not be soaked, but the germination process will then be longer. Carefully check the seeds: as soon as they hatch, sow immediately, preventing overgrowth.
Gently pick up the tender sprout with tweezers and drop it into the pot with the soil. Sprinkle a layer of soil 1.5 cm thick, press and pour. Pots take small, no more than 200 ml. Dry sow all the seeds in one tray. At this stage of growing seedlings, the nutrient soil can be any, the main thing is to choose a light and breathable one.
Put the pots in a warm place with a temperature of + 22°C and wait for the shoots. When the sprouts appear, immediately put them in a bright place. Now water regularly, without over-drying, but also without pouring. It is desirable to keep the night temperature lower – +16…+18°C. so grow seedlings for about a month, after the appearance of the 3rd real leaf, it’s time to dive it.
Picking or carefully transplanting plants into capacious containers is an important stage of growing seedlings. Here, the composition of the soil is already of great importance. We prepare it ourselves. Mix 3 parts of biohumus, 2 parts of washed river sand, 1 part of neutralized peat, 1 part of perlite or vermiculite, you can add 2 parts of sod soil.
Take a pot with a volume of 0.8-1.0 l. Fill a part of the container with soil, carefully transfer the seedlings and fill the remaining cavities with soil. Seal, water and put on the most bright place. If there is little light, the seedlings are stretched, which greatly affects the result — the future harvest. Do not fill, do not over-dry, and keep an eye on the light. And then your seedlings will grow strong and healthy.
We will tell you about further agricultural techniques for growing healthy and strong seedlings later, when our tomatoes grow up a little.