Many lovers of everything environmentally friendly prefer their own purchased tomatoes, homemade, grown in a garden bed or, in a metropolis, on a windowsill, a balcony. It is worth noting right away that this is a completely realistic desire, you just have to make an effort.
And you should start with buying seeds, sowing them, growing seedlings - although these stages are laborious, the gardener will receive a worthy reward in the form of fragrant, tasty, juicy tomatoes on his table. In the article, we will consider how to feed the seedlings, if they are thin, so that they grow better.
Features of tomato sprouts
The need for fertilizers
Strong and healthy seedlings are the basis for a good future harvest. It should have thick and firm stems, green juicy leaves and a healthy appearance.
Tomatoes are the most vulnerable at the seedling stage, how can you grow it? You cannot do without top dressing, to which the seedlings respond perfectly. Top dressing should be done regularly, since this crop consumes a large amount of nutrients during its development. As for the amount of dressings, long-term gardeners claim: there should be three to five, regardless of the quality of the soil. Read more about why you need to feed tomatoes and when you need to do it for the first time here, and when and how to fertilize seedlings, we told you here.
Important! Before feeding, the seedlings should be watered abundantly with settled water at room temperature. The preferred time of day is morning. It is preferable to loosen the soil for better penetration of nutrients to the root system, but this should be done very carefully.
Signs of tomatoes indicating the need for fertilization:
- The color of the leaves of the seedlings turns from rich green to pale green - this factor indicates a lack of nitrogen, and, conversely, if the foliage is extremely bright, oily, then nitrogen enters the plants in more than necessary quantities.
- The leaves turn yellow and fall off - a sure sign of an overabundance of phosphorus in the soil, but if the foliage acquires a purple hue or turns inward, then we can safely speak of its lack.
- The leaves also turn yellow from iron deficiency.
- I will respond to the lack of nitrogen and potassium by rolling the leaves.
- The seedling withers - it lacks nitrogen, is covered with matte spots - there is more of this mineral than is required.
- Pale leaves with a greenish-blue tint in combination with a weak stem indicates a lack of copper.
- When the growth point dies off and a large number of stepchildren are formed, the seedling does not have enough boron.
- Brown spots on the lower leaves indicate a lack of magnesium.
Three vital minerals for the normal development of the plant and future high fruiting - nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.
What funds are needed?
Gardeners, especially beginners, often ask themselves the question: “How to feed the seedlings for growth, if they are at home on the window? How often should you do this? When to fertilize tomatoes and how much do you need? " Below is a list of some of the best fertilizers for tomato seedlings among vegetable growers.
A natural top dressing for tomatoes is banana peel. Bananas and their peels are rich in potassium and contain some phosphorus. For long-term transportation, their shell is treated with substances containing growth hormones within acceptable limits, which has a fruitful effect on the development of seedlings.
Recommendation. Before eating bananas and harvesting fertilizer from the peel, they must be washed with hot running water and soap.
It is recommended to add fresh banana skins to the bottom of the container when picking tomato seedlings. Some summer residents dry the peel of this fruit, grind it and mix it with the soil when sowing seeds (you can use dry peel as a whole, but in this case it must be laid at the very bottom of the container for seedlings).
Others - insist banana skins in water (peel from 2 - 3 bananas is poured with 3 liters of water and infused for 3 days, then diluted with more water in a ratio of 1: 1) and add this infusion to seedlings, which are 1.5 months old.
Read more about how to use banana skins and other organics for feeding and proper growth of tomatoes here.
Coffee contains a lot of nutrients and minerals (including nitrogen, potassium, magnesium), in addition, it makes the soil structure looser, saturating the fragile root system of the sprouts with oxygen. To feed the seedlings, use the brewed thick, mixing it with the soil until the seeds are sown. The coffee cake is washed, dried, mixed with soil in a 1: 1 ratio.
Urea is the basis for fertilizing tomato seedlings, since it contains up to 46% nitrogen, a mineral without which normal growth and high fruiting are impossible. But the question of feeding with nitrogen must be approached extremely carefully.
In everything you need to know when to stop: it is better to underfeed seedlings than overfeed. An excess of nutrients for her is no less destructive than a lack of them.
Many agronomists recommend adding urea even before planting seedlings in the ground. (1-2 g per box). Then urea is watered with seedlings aged 15 to 30 days and already planted in the soil (25-30 granules per 10 liters of water at room temperature), until the first ovary begins.
It is rich in calcium, silicon, phosphorus, potassium, which, of course, has a positive effect on the growth of seedlings. Dried shells of 3-4 eggs (preferably raw) are soaked in 3 liters of water for 3 days.
- The shell of 4 eggs, previously washed and dried, is crushed in a coffee grinder, 1 liter of boiling water is poured and infused for 4-6 days, then the infusion is diluted in 10 liters of water.
- The resulting suspension is poured under the roots of the seedlings.
In the process of infusion, an unpleasant smell of hydrogen sulfide may appear, which should not be feared - this is a completely natural reaction. This method is recommended for the first feeding.
There is a reason among the people the phrase: "It grows by leaps and bounds." This substance, unique in its composition, is a source of natural bacteria that help to strengthen the immunity of seedlings. They are an excellent and inexpensive tomato growth promoter.
- 10 g of "live" yeast is dissolved in warm water, add 4 tbsp. Sahara.
- The resulting concentrate is diluted with water (1:10) and poured under the roots of tomatoes during the first feeding.
Another option: dilute 5 g of bread yeast in 5 liters of water, insist for 1 day, and then add seedlings. Yeast should be used for tomato seedlings that are 1 to 2 months old.
From the video you will learn how to make top dressing with yeast for an excellent harvest:
This drug is a seedling growth stimulant, it is a kind of plant hormone. The active substance is a solution of ebiprassinolide in alcohol of 0.025 g / l. The composition contains a shampoo that gives foam, for better "adhesion" of nutrients to the foliage. The main purpose of Epin is to strengthen the immunity of tomato sprouts, promoting the rapid rooting of seedlings.
Epin strengthens the defenses of the plant (cold, drought, diseases, pests), but does not fertilize it!
This drug can be used at any stage of plant growth: it can be used to process seeds, spray seedlings, and then during flowering and fruiting. When preparing a spray solution, strictly follow the instructions. As a rule, an ampoule of the substance is diluted in filtered water and stored for no more than 24 hours. For seedlings of the phase "2 - 4 leaves", the consumption rate is 1 ampoule per 1 liter of water, during the picking 3 drops per 100 ml of water.
The beer solution is considered a good biostimulant for seedling growth. It is used most often in the phase of the appearance of the first leaf. It is preferable to take "live" beer for feeding (1 liter per 10 liters of water), avoiding non-delicate sprout leaves. The seedlings grown in this way will be stronger, more resistant to diseases, and easier to tolerate picking and transplanting.
How and how to feed the seedlings on the windowsill at home?
Tomato seedlings on the windowsill also need feeding. What fertilizer should be fed in this case? Experienced agronomists talk about the benefits of fertilization with a universal preparation: a handful of wood ash is stirred with 10 liters of water, and 3 tablespoons of mullein or "Vermicofe" are added there. After thorough mixing, add this suspension under the plant roots. Read more about the use of ash for feeding tomato seedlings at home, read here.
When growing seedlings on a windowsill, the first feeding is recommended after the appearance of 2-3 true leaves, the second and third - after 10-12 days, the last one 5-7 days before planting in the ground.
When choosing a preparation for feeding, one should also be guided by the appearance of the plant. The result of a possible shortage of certain minerals was mentioned above, and they will help to fill them:
- Mullein with a lack of nitrogen (1 liter per 10 liters of water). An adult plant is watered with 0.5 liters of solution, and for seedlings the dose is reduced.
- The lack of calcium, in addition to the above folk methods of feeding, will help to fill in calcium nitrate (20 g per 10 l of water).
- Iron deficiency will help to eliminate the spraying of seedlings with a 0.25% solution of ferrous sulfate.
- Young tomato seedlings lack phosphorus? This disadvantage is eliminated by spraying with superphosphate. 20 tbsp granules are poured into 3 liters of boiling water, the container is transferred to a warm place for a day. 150 ml of the resulting liquid is diluted in 10 liters of water, while adding 20 ml of any nitrogen fertilizer (you can find out about the types of phosphorus fertilizers for tomatoes in this article).
- Potassium sulfate (15 g per 10 L of water) is essential for potassium deficiency.
- The lack of copper will help compensate for the solution of copper sulfate (1 - 2 g per 10 liters of water).
- If you dissolve 5 g of boric acid in 10 liters of water, you can get rid of the lack of boron.
- 1 tsp magnesium nitrate per 10 liters of water neutralizes the symptoms characteristic of the lack of this microelement.
What to add to make the stems plump?
How to feed seedlings without chemistry so that the stems are plump? Many novice gardeners ask a similar question. In addition to all of the above methods, experienced agronomists can tell you what other fertilizers give: every two weeks you should feed the seedlings with iodine... 5-6 drops of iodine dissolve in 10 liters of water, you need to add the liquid under the roots, avoiding contact with the leaves, no more than once a week. It will be enough to make one root and one foliar feeding in this way. For foliar feeding, usually mix 1 drop of iodine with 2 liters of warm water and 0.5 cups of whey.
Do not forget about the preparations sold in specialized stores, which are universal: in their composition they combine all the mineral elements, nutrients and even organic components necessary for tomato seedlings.
The most popular of them on the domestic market are Nitrofoska, Vermicofe, Kristalon. The method of administration and dosage are indicated in the instructions.
We talked in detail about the features of ready-made dressings, the pros and cons of their use, in this article.
General care rules
- Compliance with the temperature regime. Excessively high and excessively low temperatures are harmful to seedlings. The optimum temperature is + 20C - + 25C during the day and + 18C at night.
- Lighting. The duration of daylight hours for seedlings should not be less than in summer. When planting seedlings in February, you must remember that you will have to purchase a special phytolamp. It can give different light intensities - this is an important condition for growing seedlings at different stages. All the nuances on this issue are set out in the instructions for the lamp.
- Diving is usually done at the stage "1-2 true leaves". The "older" the seedling, the more difficult it will survive this process. After the seedlings are not watered for 5 to 6 days for the plant to take root.
- "Hardening" of seedlings. For 1 - 2 weeks before planting seedlings in the soil, you need to open the windows for a couple of hours on which boxes with future tomatoes are placed. Gradually, the "airing" time should be increased to 6 - 8 hours, and within 3 - 5 days the containers should be taken out into the open air in calm, windless weather.
Tomatoes are a culture that requires moderation in everything, including when watering. There is no need to overdry or fill the seedlings, it is enough that the soil is always slightly moistened. Before the emergence of seedlings from tomato seeds, the top layer of the soil is irrigated from a spray bottle, after the appearance of 2 - 3 leaves on the seedlings in order to stimulate the development of the root system, watering is practiced from the bottom (into the sump). Water must be settled or filtered, at least +20 C.
Growing tomato seedlings is a troublesome business, but at the same time grateful: eating juicy and tasty tomatoes from your garden, anyone will be glad that these fruits are entirely the work of his hands. And such a variety of fertilizers for tomatoes and methods of their use is guaranteed to provide both a novice summer resident and an experienced agronomist with a rich harvest.