To obtain a good tomato crop, preliminary preparation of seeds for germination is important, when healthy seeds are sorted, processed and prepared for planting in the soil. This vegetable has its own characteristics of development, growth and fruiting, and, accordingly, requires an individual approach to the process of germination of seeds.
Why is it necessary to wait for seedlings to appear?
Many beginner gardeners are perplexed why germinate tomato seeds if this process takes a lot of time and effort. But if we throw a seed into the ground, which was stored for some time in a dried state, no one will guarantee that it will come at a certain moment.
What are the disadvantages of sowing unprocessed tomato seeds:
- pronounced unevenness of sprouts;
- a longer period of time will pass before the first shoots appear;
- predisposition to frequent diseases and infections.
The process of seed germination affects the yield of tomatoes - on average, the volume of grown vegetables can increase by 30%.
In order to increase the chances of getting healthy and strong seedlings and to avoid infection, it is necessary to carry out a number of special measures, which include increasing resistance to various diseases, the process of selection, soaking in water and germinating seeds.
Seed germination duration
The period of time during which tomato seeds under certain conditions can sprout varies from 3 to 14 days. Everything will depend on climatic and weather conditions.
Germination rate is directly dependent on temperature and humidity. So, when dry seeds are planted in the soil, they germinate only on the tenth day. But when planting tomato seeds sprouted in a humid environment in the soil, this period is reduced by more than half (3-4 days).
When buying seeds for seedlings, pay attention to the timing when such material is made and packaged. The fresher the seeds, the faster they will sprout.
If we talk about temperature and timing, it should be borne in mind that:
- Shoots germinate within 3-4 days at an air temperature of 25 to 30 ° C.
- On the fifth or sixth day, sprouts appear at an ambient temperature of 20-25 ° C.
- With a decrease in air temperature to 13-19 ° C, the germination period increases to 1 week.
- At a low air temperature of 12-14 ° C, seeds germinate slowly, only after two weeks.
Seed Preparation Steps
The process of preparing vegetable seeds for germination involves several stages, in which the seeds are specially processed. Consider these activities:
Check for seed germination - necessary to sample potentially healthy planting material from empty seeds, which are unlikely to be beneficial.
To carry out such a test, dissolve 30 grams of salt in a glass of water, mix thoroughly. Pour the vegetable grains into the resulting solution. After a while, healthy fruitful seeds will be at the bottom of the glass, but empty and dried will float to the surface. Be sure to rinse the selected seeds under clean running water after this procedure.
Disinfection - protects planting material from potential plant diseases, harmful microbes and pathogens of various kinds of infections. The most common method of disinfection is to place the seeds in a weak (1%) solution of potassium permanganate for 15-20 minutes, the main thing is not to overexpose them in such a liquid in order to avoid burns.
Alternatively, hydrogen peroxide can be used, in which the seeds are placed and in this solution for 10 minutes. At the end of the procedure, it is advisable to strengthen the immunity to treat the seeds with aloe juice or preparations of the type "Epin", "Immunocytophyte".
Warming up is the procedure necessary for those seeds that have spent the winter period of time in the refrigerator or in the absence of heat. Warming up is carried out through a gradual increase in temperature. So, from the refrigerator, tomato grains can be spread out on a dry newspaper on the windowsill, where the sun does not fall. After a day or two, leave them on the table in the room, and only then can you transfer them to the heating battery.
Warm the grains in advance, at least a month before sowing in the soil, so that they can fully recover.
Hardening - a session that increases the resistance of future seedlings to sudden changes in temperature. Tomato is a plant quite thermophilic, comfortable air temperature for its fast growth is + 25-30 ° С. With a sharp cooling or heat, seedlings can die.
To prevent this, pre-germinate the seeds before hardening the tomatoes by holding them for 12 hours in the refrigerator, and then leave the rest of the day in a warm place at an air temperature of 18-20 ° C. These two actions alternate at least 3 times. The hardening procedure is usually carried out at the stage of soaking the seeds.
After thorough processing of the seeds, it is necessary to proceed to the following two important steps - soaking and germinating seeds.
Let's watch a video about several methods for pickling tomato seeds, including processing with hydrogen peroxide:
Specific moments of seed germination
In order for the seeds to hatch sooner and give sprouts, they must be kept for a certain time in a humid environment. Consider the process of soaking and germinating seeds before sowing in the soil:
|Procedure||Why do you need||What is the essence|
|Seed soaking||It is necessary for the early emergence of seedlings and disinfection of seeds.||To soak, take a piece of cotton cloth and place it on a not very deep plate, pour purified room temperature water and lay the tomato seeds on the cloth. Cover the grains with another piece of clean cloth so that the entire layer of fabric and its contents are in water. Place a bowl of seeds in a warm place. Soaking option in sawdust is possible.|
|Germination||It makes it possible to select the strongest shoots for planting in the ground.||During the germination of tomato seeds, make sure that the fabric is always wet, add a little water. At the same time, the presence of large amounts of water is not allowed when the seeds simply float on the surface. In this case, they just go bad and rot. To sprout grains faster, you can add special agents to the water to stimulate plant growth.|
A tomato seed is ready for planting in the soil when the sprout length and grain size are the same.
As you can see, soaking and germination are two procedures that are closely related. After the beginnings of shoots appeared, you can plant sprouted grains in previously prepared soil and containers.
The method of seed germination using toilet paper
The option of sprouting tomato seeds with toilet paper is quite original, simple, minimal in financial and time costs. The advantages of this method are as follows:
- the toilet paper includes a minimum of substances necessary for germination of the seeds;
- minimal care for the seeds (no need for fertilizer and top dressing).
In order to get seedlings from tomato grains using toilet paper, you will need a plastic bottle / glass, plastic wrap (or several bags) and a roll of toilet paper:
- From polyethylene, cut strips 10 cm wide in quantity so that the seeds are placed in one row.
- On each strip of film lay a tape of toilet paper, it is possible in two layers, moistened with water.
- Place the tomato seeds on the paper so that the distance between them is 2-3 centimeters.
- Lay another layer of toilet paper moistened with water, cover with a strip of film on top. Twist the specified tapes in rolls, wrapping with an elastic band.
- Place the obtained rolls in a plastic cup with seeds up and pour water so that it does not touch the grains themselves. Leave the glass warm for several days. Future seedlings will be enriched with oxygen from the air, and receive moisture from wet toilet paper. As a rule, with this method, the first seed shoots appear on the seventh day.
It is possible to use a plastic bottle cut along. At the bottom of it are placed two layers of toilet paper, abundantly dampened with water. Spread tomato seeds and tightly wrap the bottle with cling film, making holes in several places, leaving the resulting structure in the sun. Thus, oxygen enters into the container and a greenhouse effect is created, in which seedlings will appear on the third or fourth day.
The process of distributing tomato seeds on toilet paper for further germination is shown in detail in the following video:
A favorable period for planting tomatoes for seedlings
The most stable and ready for planting is considered seedlings, which for two months grows from seeds.
When planting tomato seeds for seedlings, one should take into account the characteristics of a particular vegetable variety, weather conditions, and the climate of a particular region.
- In the southern regions, early tomato seeds are sown from the 20th of February to the beginning of March. After 50 days, they are planted in open ground . Medium tomato varieties are sown between March 1 and March 20. Similarly (or a little later, from mid-March to mid-April) late varieties are sown.
- In the Northern regions, favorable timing for sowing tomato seeds depends on daylight hours and temperature conditions. The main thing here is to strictly comply with the deadlines, otherwise it will turn out either unhealthy seedlings, or problems with backlighting, temperature conditions and humidity will constantly arise. So, early varieties are sown in the period from March 15 to the 20th day of the same month. Secondary crops - from March 20 to the end of the first decade of April. Late crops in these regions do not sow, because there is a short daylight hours and an early decrease in air temperature.
Also read about the proper feeding of tomato seedlings in this article .
Despite the large amount of work that should be done before planting tomato seedlings into the soil, all of the above procedures do not lose their relevance. It is worth taking care of the proper processing of tomato seeds in advance, because it is in them that the whole potential and usefulness of the future vegetable is contained.