Tomatoes are delicious, healthy and beautiful. Their homeland is warm countries. They first came to Europe as ornamental plants.
In hot climates, capricious and sun-loving plants do not require careful maintenance. But in the north they are grown very scrupulously.
Healthy seedlings are a guarantee of a bountiful tomato harvest. For many, the seedlings stretch out, turn pale and begin to hurt. But you can avoid these problems by following simple rules.
From the article you will find out which soil is best used for tomato seedlings, whether it is possible to experiment with homemade formulations and which additives cannot be used for the soil.
The soil that is needed for seedlings and for adult tomatoes, the differences
Soil enrichment and top dressing are needed for the entire development of tomatoes. Tomatoes require nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, phosphorus and potassium. Carbon dioxide enters through the roots and is assimilated by the leaves. Oxygen is needed for seed germination, therefore the soil mixture for growing seedlings must be loose.
Nitrogen comes from the ground and is needed to form the green mass of the tomato before picking. When tomatoes are prepared for planting in open ground, organic fertilizers (wood ash, humus, urea) should be added to it. Read here how to create optimal growing conditions for tomatoes and what the soil should be at different stages of tomato growth.
Fertilizing, after the tomato takes root, not only provides the necessary nutrition, but also enriches the soil and the air above it with carbon dioxide.
Read more about what the land should be for growing tomatoes, including in a greenhouse, here, and from this article you will learn how to prepare simple soil with your own hands for a good tomato harvest.
The value of the nutrient medium
A high-quality earthen mixture determines abundant fruiting... If it is not good enough, then the tomatoes will be sick and weak.
You can't just use garden soil or soil from a greenhouse, with a very high probability nothing will come of it. It is safer to buy land from the best manufacturers in the store or cook it yourself.
The soil for tomato seedlings is prepared from several componentsthat require appropriate training. Tomatoes have a branched superficial root system, 70% consisting of suction roots. This structure provides the ground part of the plant with the necessary moisture and nutrients.
Requirements for soil
The soil should contain everything you need to grow tomato seedlings. It should contain:
- water and air permeability;
- moderate fertility (sufficient, but not excessive nutritional value required by seedlings at first);
- neutral or slightly acidic;
- freedom from toxic substances, harmful microorganisms, weed seeds, worm eggs and insects.
Advantages and disadvantages of homemade formulations
If it is not possible to use purchased mixtures, you can prepare the soil for seedlings on your own. Self-made is always safer, especially since tomato seedlings are very demanding on the soil.
Homemade Soil Benefits:
- Can be prepared according to the exact recipe and keep the right amount of trace elements.
- Cost savings.
- Long cooking time.
- You need to follow the recipe exactly.
- The soil can be contaminated.
- Finding and buying the right components can be time consuming and expensive.
Pros and cons of finished land for sale
Not everyone has the opportunity to prepare the soil on their own. In this case, they use purchased land (you can find out how to choose the best ready-made soil for seedlings of tomatoes and peppers here). It has undeniable advantages:
- if it is prepared according to all the rules, then it is immediately ready for use;
- various packaging from 1 l to 50 l;
- it is lightweight and moisture-consuming;
- contains the items you want.
Among its disadvantages:
- large range of indication of soil acidity (from 5.0 to 6.5);
- inaccurate indication of the amount of trace elements;
- the composition may contain peat dust instead of peat;
- there is a risk of getting a substandard substrate.
Components of the components of the earthen mixture:
- turf or garden land;
- non-acidic peat (pH 6.5);
- sand (preferably river or washed);
- humus or sifted mature compost;
- sifted wood ash (or dolomite flour);
- sphagnum moss;
- fallen needles.
The garden soil for planting tomatoes is taken from those beds where the nightshade family crops did not grow last summer (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes). The best composition of the soil mixture for tomato seedlings will be obtained by mixing 2 parts of peat, 1 part of garden soil, 1 part of humus (or compost) and 0.5 parts of sand.
Peat usually has a higher acidity, so 1 cup of wood ash and 3-4 tablespoons of dolomite flour should be added to a bucket of the resulting mixture. Also 10 g of urea, 30 - 40 g of superphosphate and 10 - 15 g of potassium fertilizer are added to the mixture... These fertilizers can be replaced with a complex fertilizer containing more phosphorus and potassium, and less nitrogen.
You can find out about simple and effective ways to independently prepare soil for tomato seedlings in this material.
In hot climates, capricious and sun-loving plants do not require careful maintenance.
- Do not use organic fertilizers that are in the process of decay. At the same time, a large amount of heat is released, which can burn the seeds (and if they do rise, the high temperature will kill them).
- Clay impurities are not used, as they make the soil denser and heavier.
- Heavy metals quickly accumulate in the soil, so do not use land located near a busy highway or on the territory of any chemical plant.
Using garden land: pros and cons
It is believed that if the garden soil enters the soil mixture for growing seedlings as one of the components, tomatoes will better transfer transplanting to open ground.
Garden land after growing nightshades on it (where garlic, cabbage, beets and carrots grew) is not taken. Purchased land is mostly cleaner than garden land (in this minus the garden) on the content of weeds and possible diseases.
Soil from your garden is used if it is crumbly and textured. The advantage of the garden land is that it often has a good mechanical composition.
The best mix for planting tomatoes
The soil mixture should be porous, loose and not too acidic.... It should include the following components:
- Peat (increases moisture and soil looseness).
- Baking powder (except for peat, this is coarse-grained river sand).
- Leafy land (mixed with other types of soil, since it has a lot of looseness, but a small amount of nutrients).
The prepared soil mixture is disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate.
Following certain rules, you can grow high-quality tomato seedlings that can give a good harvest. The most important point in planting and growing tomatoes is the correct soil in terms of composition and properties. The potting mix is either bought in specialized stores or made independently. In general, the soil should be loose, permeable to moisture and air, slightly acidic and free of toxins.