Tomatoes are one of the most beloved vegetables. They are grown even by those gardeners who have completely abandoned the garden in favor of decorative crops. Breeders bred more than 25 thousand varieties and hybrids of tomatoes of different sizes, colors and early maturity for different regions. However, not everyone and not always succeeds in growing a good tomato crop. There are several secrets to the plentiful harvest of delicious and sweet tomatoes that farmers have stored and used for decades.
Tomato (lat.Solánum lycopérsicum) - a plant of the genus Solanaceae of the Solanaceae family, one or perennial grass. Cultivated as a vegetable crop. Tomato fruits are known as tomatoes. Type of fruit - berry.
The name tomato comes from ital. pomo d’oro is a golden apple. The Aztecs had the real name - matl, the French converted it into French - tomate (tomato).
Homeland - South America, where wild and semi-cultural forms of tomato are still found. In the middle of the XVI century, tomato came to Spain, Portugal, and then to Italy, France and other European countries, and in the XVIII century - to Russia, where at first it was cultivated as an ornamental plant. The plant was recognized as a vegetable food crop thanks to the Russian scientist-agronomist A.T. Bolotov (1738-1833). For a long time, tomatoes were considered inedible and even poisonous. European gardeners planted them as an exotic ornamental plant. American botany textbooks include the story of how a bribed cook tried to poison George Washington with a tomato dish. The future first president of the United States, having tasted the cooked food, went on to do business without ever learning about treacherous treason.
Tomato today is one of the most popular crops due to its valuable nutritional and dietary qualities, a wide variety of varieties, and high responsiveness to the cultivation methods used.. It is cultivated in open ground, under film shelters, in greenhouses, hotbeds, on balconies, loggias and even in rooms on window sills.
Choosing a place for planting tomatoes
Tomatoes love warmth. The best temperature for growth and development during the day is 22-23 degrees, at night - 17-18 degrees. Even small frosts are fatal for them. Tomatoes are very sensitive to light, therefore, from morning to evening should be lit by the sun.
Tomatoes can be grown on any soil, but the most suitable soil is loose, well-warmed, fertile. In the spring, when digging a plot for planting tomatoes, a good-quality garden humus should be introduced (16-20 kg of humus per 1 sq. Meter). This will contribute to better nutrition and higher yields.
When to plant tomatoes
It should be remembered that even small frosts are fatal for tomatoes.. Therefore, seedlings are planted in the soil when the soil warms up to a temperature of 10 degrees and above: about three weeks after the last frost.
To get a good tomato crop, you need to properly grow seeds. Seedlings can be grown in a room on the windowsill. To get full seedlings, you need to sow twice as many seeds and only highly developed plants can be dived into glasses for further planting. At the age of 45-65 days, seedlings are planted in the ground on a flat surface or on ridges.
In central Russia, summers are usually short, with cold nights. In such conditions, to obtain a full-fledged crop, it is recommended to grow tomatoes in a film greenhouse.
Planting seedlings in the garden
In the open ground, a sunny place is reserved for planting tomatoes, protected from cold winds. Low, damp areas with close standing groundwater are not suitable, which create unfavorable conditions for the root system of plants. Loamy soils with the addition of organic fertilizers are preferred.
The best predecessors for tomatoes are legumes, root crops, green crops. In order to avoid infection with late blight, you can not plant tomatoes after potatoes, peppers, eggplant, physalis.
Seedlings are planted in a permanent place during May. Planting is done in cloudy weather in the morning, in the sunny - in the afternoon, so that the plants have time to grow stronger and easily transferred the first sunny day. At the time of planting, the seedlings should be fresh, even a slight wilting of the plants delays their growth, leads to partial decay of the very first flowers and loss of the early crop.
To obtain a high and early crop, the tomatoes planted on the bed in early May are temporarily covered with either Lutrasil or a transparent plastic film until warm weather occurs (until June 5-10), then the film is removed. You can cover tomatoes with Lutrasil throughout the summer. Harvest will increase significantly.
Rows for tomatoes are prepared 5-6 days before planting. Before digging, they must be treated with a solution of copper sulfate or copper chloride (1 tablespoon per 10 l of water), spending up to 1-1.5 l per 1 m2. After this, organic and some mineral fertilizers are applied, 1 bucket of dung humus, peat and sawdust are added to clay and loamy soil per 1 m2 of beds, as well as 2 tablespoons of superphosphate, 1 tablespoon of potassium sulfate or 2 cups of wood ash.
Then the bed is dug up to a depth of 25-30 cm, leveled and watered with hot (80-90 ° С) solution of potassium permanganate of dark red color, 3-4 l per 1 m2.
Seedlings are planted vertically, deepening only soil pot into the soil. The stalk remains not covered by soil, and only 15 days after engraftment, plants are spudded to a stem height of up to 12 cm.
Seedlings are planted in 2 rows. For medium-sized varieties of row-spacing should be 60 cm, and the distance between plants is 50 cm. For low-growing (standard) varieties of row-spacing - 50 cm, the distance between plants - 30 cm. Immediately put pegs 80 cm high.
Until the plants take root (8-10 days after planting), they are not watered. In the first time after planting, especially if small frosts are expected, they need additional shelter even in the afternoon.
After planting the tomatoes, after about three weeks, the plant is first fed.. For this, Ideal and Nitrofoska liquid fertilizers are required for each plant. After the second flower brush blooms, a second top dressing is done. One plant needs one tablespoon of superphosphate, a teaspoon of potassium chloride or a tablespoon of Signor Tomato fertilizer per 10 liters of water.
When the third flower brush opens, do the third top dressing. One tablespoon of sodium humate or ideal fertilizer is required per 10 liters of water.
The fourth feeding takes place approximately two weeks after the third. Superphosphate or the breadwinner fertilizer is suitable for this.
The optimum temperature for good plant growth is about 20-25 degrees. Water the tomatoes abundantly, depending on the weather. In sunny weather once a week, and in cloudy weather in a week and a half. After watering, plants usually make compost. Evaporation is harmful for tomatoes, thereby fertilizing helps, creating a crust on top and moisture in the soil. The root system dies with excess moisture and lack of heat.
Watering tomatoes is best in the afternoon, so that there is the least evaporation from watering.
© Ivan Walsh
Propagation of tomatoes
Tomato seeds are soaked for fifteen minutes in a pink solution of potassium permanganate. Good seeds swell and drown, and not germinating seeds remain on the surface of the aqueous solution. After processing with potassium permanganate, the seeds are caught from the solution and put in a damp cloth.
Tomatoes hatch for a long time: from three days to a week. All this time the cloth should be wet, but not wet. If the rag is too wet, the tomatoes may not hatch.
When a small sprout appears from the seed (five millimeters), the seed is planted in the ground to a depth of about 2 centimeters. You can also not germinate the seeds in advance, but immediately, after processing in a solution of potassium permanganate, plant them in the ground.
The ground in which the seed is planted should be slightly moist, but not too wet..
Until the plant appears from under the ground, and also, while it is small, it is important not to dry the soil and at the same time, not to flood.
And this is not so simple. Therefore, it is recommended to plant seeds in large pots for other, adult plants. And then, when the plants appear from underground, and then they begin to grow, in addition to the cotyledon leaves, the first real leaf, they are planted separately.
If you already have a tomato, then you can cut off his stepson, or a branch and root. The stepson, which is taken for rooting, should be a length of 15 to 20 centimeters.
Root it in the water.
All leaves are removed from the part that will be lowered into the water. It is important to remove them completely: incompletely removed leaf petioles can rot. Leaves that remain on the surface are significantly shortened to reduce evaporation surfaces.
When the roots appear, the plants are planted in the ground.
When propagated by stepsons, tomatoes begin to produce crops much earlier (for 30 - 40 days). But plants obtained by cuttings are weaker, and in a year yield a lower yield than those obtained by seeds.
© Manjith Kainickara
Diseases and Pests
Tomato leaves have insecticidal properties, so their infusions and decoction are used against aphids, leaf-eating pests, against caterpillars of the apple codling moth, caterpillars of the cabbage scoop and onion moth, against gooseberry sawfly and ognevka. Planting tomatoes in the rows of gooseberries also scare away the sawfly and the ognevka. All this is true, but the tomatoes themselves are attacked by pests, and the invasion of various diseases.
This is a small insect, up to 1.5 mm long. The whitefly's body is yellowish with two pairs of powdery-white wings. The damage is mainly caused by whitefly larvae, they suck out the plant sap, which leaves the leaves covered with a black coating, which impedes the normal development of plants.
To reduce the number of whiteflies, weeds must be removed that grow close to the tomato greenhouse. Weeds are the home of whiteflies. And it flies into the greenhouse for tomatoes when it gets hot and the air vents open.
The main thing whitefly control - hanging on plants squares of cardboard, painted bright yellow, measuring 40 by 40 cm. Non-drying glue is applied to the squares, for example, epoxy glue without hardener, or drying oil diluted in sunflower oil. Whitefly flies to yellow and adheres to squares. To accelerate its capture, you can periodically shake the tomato bushes, while the butterflies take off and rush to the squares.
If possible, etymophagous insects that eat whitefly larvae are used: cyclones, phytosailuses, etc.
Its larvae penetrate the soil and feed there. At the roots of plants bloating, growths are formed. Plants lag behind in growth, weakly bloom and bear fruit.
To control measures include: disinfection of plant debris in the greenhouse and disinfection of the greenhouse itself, as well as removal of the topsoil in the greenhouse and deep digging of the remaining soil.
Its dimensions are 0.4-0.5 mm. They live and feed on the underside of the leaves, sucking out the cell sap and braiding the underside of the leaf with cobwebs. At the beginning of the damage, light spots appear on the leaf, then discoloration of the leaf area (marbling) occurs and the leaves begin to dry out. This leads to the fall of flowers and leaves. You can fight the tick by digging the soil, destroying weeds, burning damaged leaves, spraying with infusions the husks of onions or garlic when 200 g of husks are taken per 1 liter of water. The treatment of plants with Fitoverm is effective, it is taken 1 ml per 1 liter of water.
Seedlings are affected, its root neck darkens, thins and rots. Pi plant fades and dies. The disease spreads with plant debris, lumps of soil, partially with seeds.
Control measures is moderate watering of plants, not a thickening of crops, watering with potassium permanganate, it is taken 3-5 g per 10 liters of water. To prevent the disease, trichodermin is introduced into the soil before planting.
The causative agent of the disease is a fungus that infects fruits, leaves and stems. At first, the disease appears on the leaves of the potato and if it grows close, then after 10-15 days the infection may appear on the tomatoes. Dark brown spots appear on the leaves, brown or dark brown spots form on the fruits, which then increase in size and cover the entire fruit. To prevent the disease, you need to isolate the potatoes from tomatoes, conduct a deep digging of the soil.
Control measures is spraying the plants with the infusion of garlic during fruit setting every 15-18 days, treatment up to 5 times with Bordeaux liquid, and at the first sign - treatment with 10% sodium chloride solution.
Brown leaf spot.
The causative agent of the disease is a fungus that affects leaves, stems, less often - fruits. The first signs of the disease appear on the lower leaves during flowering and fruit setting. Then the disease spreads to the upper leaves, this occurs during the ripening of the fruit. The fungus spreads with high humidity, while for infection of plants several hours of high humidity are enough. The incubation period of the disease is 10-12 days. The spores of the fungus tolerate dryness and freezing well and remain viable for up to 10 months. With humidity below 70%, the disease does not spread. To prevent the disease in greenhouses and greenhouses in the autumn they burn plant waste, change the soil.
Good remedy with this fungus is the treatment of plants with solutions of baseazole and phytosporin.
Dry spotting or macrosporiosis.
The disease can also be called brown spotting. The fungus infects leaves, stems and, less commonly, fruits. Round brown spots with concentric circles form on the leaves. Gradually they merge and the leaves die. Then the stems die off, indented rounded spots appear on the fruits, very dark, mainly at the stalk. The fungus spreads well during irrigation, rain and wind.
The spots are treated with a copper-soap emulsion, taking 20 g of copper sulfate and 200 g of soap in 10 liters of water. The affected tops are mowed 7-10 days before harvesting, collected in heaps and burned.
It develops in young plants in greenhouses. Veins of leaves lighten, petioles wilt, leaf turns yellow, withers, shoots can also wither. Plant growth attenuates. The causative agent of the disease is the fungus, it develops at high temperature, low soil moisture and poor lighting. The causative agent of the disease persists in the soil for a long time. The fungus penetrates the roots and water vessels of the plant. Plants wilt, because mycelium clogs blood vessels and poisons the plant with toxins. To prevent the disease, it is necessary to maintain the optimal temperature regime in the greenhouse, and at the first sign of the disease, remove the affected plant along with the soil on its roots.
To fight with the disease, plants are sprayed with a solution of baseazole or phytosporin.
This is a common disease. They are affected by green and ripening fruits. Brown flat, concentric, somewhat depressed spots may form on the top of the fetus. Affected fetal tissue softens and rots. The disease develops at high temperature (in greenhouses - at 30-32 °) and low humidity. The disease is aggravated by a lack of calcium in the soil, which is especially evident in saline soils. The introduction of phosphorus-potassium fertilizers increases resistance to the disease.
Vertex rot can appear at the top of the fruit and in the form of gray spots with wide dark or lighter circles. Bacteria that persist on plant debris and on weedy nightshade plants cause vertebral rot. They are spread by insects, raindrops.
Effective method of struggle with top rot is the treatment of plants with phytosporin.
Gray and white rot of fruits.
These rot usually develop at the base of the fruit. Gray rot is a watery gray spot that quickly spreads to the entire fetus. When affected by white rot, the fetus is covered with white mycelium.
Fight these diseases with phytosporin.
Streak or streak.
This disease is caused by the tobacco mosaic virus. Irregularly shaped spots appear on the leaves. On petioles, stems and peduncles, superficial intermittent strokes of red-brown color are formed. Brown stripes also appear on the fruits. As a result, the leaves of the plants die, the stem becomes brittle and easily breaks, sometimes the top of the plant dies. The strick develops at a temperature of 15-20 °, at 24 ° and above the disease stops. The incubation period of the disease is 10-14 days. The streak virus persists on post-harvest residues and seeds.
In order for the virus to spread less, affected plants need to be burned, post-harvest residues also need to be burned, and plants should be treated with phytosporin.
Bacterial cancer of tomato.
This is a bacterial disease. The optimum temperature for the development of bacteria is 25-27 °, bacteria die at 50-53 °. Bacteria enter the plant through wounds and initially affect the vascular system. Sources of infection are seeds and post-harvest residues. Bacteria in the soil persist for no more than a year, and on seeds 2.5-3 years. Cancer can spread during the growing season by insects, through irrigation and equipment. This disease is observed on older plants, on all its organs. Small brown sores appear on the leaves, stems, petioles and stalks, and spotting appears on the fruits. On green fruits, spots are white with dark small cracks in the center, and on ripe ones - brown, surrounded by a light halo. Spots are located closer to the stem.
Cancer prevention: burning of plant residues in autumn and seed treatment before sowing, consisting in 12-24 hours of soaking in a solution of phytosporin.