One of the most important and crucial stages in growing tomatoes in the open field is planting seedlings. The future harvest depends on whether the tomatoes are planted correctly. Preparing tomato seedlings
To increase the number of successfully established plants, it is advisable to harden tomato seedlings before planting in open ground. To do this, about two weeks before planting, it is necessary to create conditions for tomato seedlings similar to those in which it will grow. The ideal option is to take tomato seedlings out into the open air, gradually increasing the residence time. It can take up to 10 days to adapt, during which time tomato seedlings get used to sunlight and changing temperatures. If frost is not expected, you can leave tomato seedlings outside overnight.
Hardened tomato seedlings differ from the greenhouse with the color of the leaves - they acquire a purple hue. This should not be a cause for concern, the tomato is not sick, it is a reaction to bright sunlight. Planting tomato seedlings in open ground does not cause any complications in this case.
Important! You can not take out tomato seedlings for hardening outside if the air temperature is below 15 degrees.
Tomatoes are thermophilic plants, at low temperatures the root system ceases to function normally, immunity decreases, seedlings become vulnerable to various fungal diseases.
A day before planting, it is advisable to pour tomato seedlings, it is easier to get a tomato out of liquid soil without damaging the roots. Do not be afraid of the negative impact of waterlogging - nothing catastrophic will happen in such a short period.
If tomato seedlings were grown in cups, they are transplanted with a preserved root system. In this case, on the contrary, watering the tomato is stopped a week before planting. A dried earthen lump is easier to get out of the glass without damaging the roots.
You can treat tomato seedlings with special plant stimulants before transplanting. Their action is based on an increase in the amount of phytohormones in tomato leaves, which reduce the impact of stress factors on the plant. Potash fertilizers also help to increase the endurance of tomatoes, as a rule, they are sprayed on the leaves a day before planting.
Advice! It will be useful to treat tomato seedlings from harmful insects such as the Colorado potato beetle and whitefly. Tomato seedlings are sprayed according to the instructions a few days before planting in the ground.
Planting tomatoes in open ground begins when the soil warms up to 15 degrees at a depth of 40 cm.If you plant tomato seedlings earlier, it will be difficult for the root system to begin recovery, since at low temperatures the absorption of nutrients stops. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures can kill the tomato.
Planted too early in cold ground, tomatoes can be affected by various fungal diseases, such as late blight. The root system develops slowly, the supply of nutrients to the green parts of the tomato is difficult. The productivity of these tomatoes can be significantly reduced.
Folk observations claim that you can navigate when planting tomato seedlings by birch leaves. If all the leaves on the birch have already blossomed, then the ground has warmed up enough, and you can start planting tomato seedlings. In the southern regions, attention is paid to the singing of cicadas. When the chirping becomes loud and continuous, start planting seedlings.
In any case, when deciding when to plant tomato seedlings in open ground, you need to take into account the weather conditions. In the same area, the suitable conditions for planting tomatoes in the ground can vary considerably.
In most Russian regions, the planting of tomatoes in open ground begins in the first half of May. It is advisable to take care of the shelter of the tomatoes in advance in case of frost. This is necessary not only for the northern regions, but also for the southern ones, the weather of which is unpredictable and the appearance of return frosts in May is not uncommon, especially in mountainous areas.
Tomato seedling age
The ideal age of tomato seedlings for planting in the ground depends on the characteristics of the variety. Early ripening tomatoes can be planted when the seedlings are 30 days old, later varieties of tomatoes are planted at 45 days.
The timing may differ by 5 - 7 days, this will not have a particular effect on the further development of tomatoes. The main thing is a well-developed root system, thanks to which the growth of green mass by the tomato will not be delayed.
It is often impossible to accurately determine the age of purchased tomato seedlings. In this case, you need to pay attention to the appearance of the tomatoes. Properly grown tomato seedlings have a short, thick stem with 6 to 8 leaves. The roots of good tomato seedlings are about half the size of the stem. The leaves should be bright, may have a bluish tint, which indicates that the tomato seedlings have been accustomed to the sun's rays.
If it is impossible to accurately observe the recommended dates for planting tomatoes in the ground, it is better to plant a younger plant than an overgrown one. A young plant adapts more easily; it will take a little time to restore the root system.
Planting overgrown tomato seedlings has some peculiarities. It is advisable to transplant such seedlings without disturbing the earthen lump. The hole for planting overgrown tomato seedlings is dug deeper than usual, taking into account the large root system and long stem. The plant is planted vertically in the ground, deepening the trunk by about a third. Some gardeners plant such tomatoes at a slight angle, citing the fact that in this position the tomato forms a more branched root system.
The preparation of the soil for planting tomatoes begins in the fall, after the last crop has been harvested. The land is cleared of stems and leaves, complex fertilizers are applied. After that, they dig it up.
Many gardeners prefer to dig a garden when frosty weather is stable. During digging, insect larvae hidden in the ground are carried to the surface, where they die from low temperatures. The roots of perennial weeds also freeze out.
To improve the soil, it is advisable to sow green manures, for example, alfalfa, on the beds every few years. They enrich the soil with nutrients, reduce the amount of harmful salts, and reduce the content of pathogenic agents.
The acidity of the soil is important for the healthy development of tomatoes. In soils with high acidity, plant roots have difficulty absorbing nutrients. All parts of the tomatoes are starving, the growth of the plant stops. To determine the acidity of the soil, special test strips can be purchased. They are sold in many gardening stores. If the reaction of the soil turned out to be acidic. It is necessary to add special substances to the soil that will reduce acidity. One of the most affordable is lime.
For normal growth, tomatoes need the following substances:
You can apply ready-made complex fertilizers, the consumption rates for tomatoes are usually indicated in the instructions. The convenience of this method is that it is easy to dose nutrients, while observing the recommended norms, it is impossible to apply excess fertilizers.
Despite this, many gardeners prefer to make do with natural nutrients such as peat, humus, manure, and ash. Care must be taken when using organic fertilizers; excessive application of manure can cause excess nitrogen in the soil.
It is necessary to apply organic fertilizers in the fall so that the chemical elements have time to penetrate the soil. Introduced in the spring, they will have nutritional value only next year.
Mulching tomato seedlings
Mulch is a dense layer of organic or artificial material that covers the soil around plants. The main purpose of mulch is to protect the soil from drying out. In addition, the dense layer of mulch prevents the growth of weeds. The correct use of mulching materials makes it much easier to care for plants, the soil does not need to be loosened, since there is no soil crust, there is no need to weed out weeds, the number of watering is halved.
The soil is covered with mulch immediately after planting tomato seedlings. Such a covering allows the seedlings to adapt faster, because the soil under the mulch has constant moisture. Of the mulching materials, the following are most common:
- Mown grass;
- Black plastic wrap;
Despite all the advantages of mulch, it must be used with caution, especially in the northern regions. Covering with dense material reduces the temperature of the soil by 2 - 4 degrees; in the cold or rainy season, the roots of plants can rot. In this case, it is imperative to remove the mulching material and allow the soil to dry out.
Rules for planting tomato seedlings
For planting tomatoes, it is advisable to choose a sunny area, which is located on a small hill. The site should not be in a damp place; tomatoes do not tolerate excess moisture well. It is advisable to create a good drainage system to protect the tomatoes from heavy rainfall.
The best predecessors for tomatoes:
- Legumes - beans, peas;
- Green crops - parsley, celery, cilantro;
- Root crops - beets, carrots;
It is undesirable to plant tomatoes after potatoes, it also belongs to the nightshade and has diseases in common with the tomato. While it was previously recommended to plant tomatoes after cucumbers, new research shows that this is wrong.
The holes are dug in advance and watered immediately. So, the soil warms up deeper, the roots of tomatoes will develop better and faster.
Advice! In the northern regions, you can arrange high beds for planting tomato seedlings.
In such beds, the soil warms up faster, including due to organic matter placed at the bottom of the bed. This method is not suitable for southern regions, as the tomato root system overheats.
The distance between the dug holes is determined taking into account the size of an adult, well-developed plant. For low-growing tomatoes, 30 - 40 cm between the bushes is enough, they are planted in two rows in a checkerboard pattern. A passage of at least 50 cm must be left between the beds.
Planting tomato seedlings in open ground, preferably in the evening or in cloudy weather. Do not plant tomatoes on a hot sunny day and in strong winds.
Tomato seedlings are placed in the hole, deepening the tomato stem by a third, and immediately watered. The ground around the seedling must be pressed tightly so that no air pockets remain. You can sprinkle the planted seedlings with mulch so that a soil crust does not form after abundant watering. The mulching layer should be at least 2 cm.
Important! The lower leaves must be removed to reduce the likelihood of late blight damage to tomatoes.
Careful adherence to the recommendations will help reduce the hassle of growing tomatoes outdoors and ensure a good harvest.