We grow tomatoes without seedlings - varieties, advantages and disadvantages of the method
Due to the short summer in many regions of our country, tomato cultivation has to be done through seedlings. In the spring, worries about seedlings take a lot of time and effort, leaving no time for other things. Recently, many gardeners have been thinking about how to simplify the process of growing tomato seedlings, and someone, in general, grows this vegetable by the seedlingless method. This method is not new, in the southern regions it has long been successfully applied. Today, gardeners in central Russia and even more northern regions are mastering the seedlingless method of growing tomatoes. We will tell about its advantages and disadvantages and about tomato varieties suitable for sowing in open ground in the article.
The benefits of growing tomatoes without seedlings
Like any method, the seedless method of growing has both positive and negative points. Knowing the nuances, you can evaluate whether this method is right for you and plan your work so as not to make mistakes.
The advantages of growing tomatoes by sowing in open ground are as follows:
- All labor-intensive processes of growing seedlings are excluded - harvesting land, sowing, picking, watering seedlings, etc. The area for growing crops that cannot be grown in a seedling way, for example, peppers and eggplant, is freed up.
- If we are talking about growing tomatoes for sale, then by reducing the number of labor-intensive operations, the cost of production is significantly reduced.
- Grown in conditions of lack of light, "home seedlings" are not always of good quality. And this may further affect the harvest - flowering and fruiting are late for weak seedlings. The seedless method helps to solve the problem of weakened, elongated seedlings. Tomatoes, sown directly into the soil, grow strong, stocky.
- This method is relevant for those gardeners who were unable to sow tomatoes for seedlings on time. There is still the opportunity to grow "their" varieties of tomatoes, and not buy unknown.
- “Seedless tomatoes” grow hardened, adapted to growing conditions. In the future, such plants will be more hardy and resistant to disease.
- Plants grown without picking are distinguished by a powerful rod-type root system. The roots of such tomatoes go deep into the soil, up to 1.5 meters. Such plants require less watering, which means that in this case the number of work to care for plants is reduced.
- When planting tomato seeds directly into the soil, the period from germination to fruiting is reduced - tomatoes grown in a non-seedling way develop faster. The harvest of these tomatoes ripened approximately from the beginning of August, that is, not much later grown in the traditional way.
- It may not be important for all gardeners, but the number of seedlings exported from the city to the country is reduced.
The negative sides of growing tomatoes without seedlings
But in this matter, as in any other, there are also disadvantages that prevent many gardeners from completely and completely switching to seedling-growing tomatoes.
The main negative point in the cultivation of tomatoes by direct sowing in the soil is the dependence of the sowing time on weather conditions. Tomatoes are heat-loving plants, the minimum temperature for plant growth should be at least + 15 ° C. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the exact date of sowing, each year it will depend on real weather conditions.
Summer in central Russia is short, really comfortable weather for tomatoes is in the months of June – July, nights are already cool in August, as a rule, dew falls. With cooling and sudden changes in temperature, the growth of tomatoes slows down. The risk of late blight increases.
It turns out that even with the accelerated growth of stronger and more hardy plants from seeds, there is not enough time for their development. In the earliest varieties of tomatoes, the time from germination to fruiting is about 90 days.
Check the proven varieties of tomatoes in the material 11 interesting varieties of tomatoes that I grew this year.
When growing tomatoes in the traditional way, seedlings are planted in the soil at the age of 55-60 days. Such plants manage to give the crop in the optimal time. Therefore, hastily growing tomatoes according to seedling technology is only possible in protected ground. Very early varieties of tomatoes are usually stunted, so it makes no sense to grow them in high greenhouses. So, if there are none, you need to plan the installation of arcs with covering material over the bed with tomatoes.
Ideally, if you already have a "warm" or high bed. In them, sowing can be done much earlier, and fruiting will last longer.
Another drawback is that tomatoes sown using this technology ripen 2 weeks later. But if you correctly plan your plantings and grow some of the early varieties through seedlings, the issue will be resolved.
Another important aspect - not all varieties and hybrids of tomatoes are suitable for cultivation by this method.
What types of tomatoes can be grown without seedlings in the middle lane?
Varieties of tomatoes should be not only very early, but also cold-resistant, resistant to diseases and temperature extremes. It’s good if it says on the package with seeds: “Suitable for cultivation by seedling method”. But there are few such varieties, among them: Amur Shtamb, "Reckless (Sprint-2)", "Spring frosts", "Explosion", "Far North", Subarctic, Yamal.
In addition to these varieties, you should pay attention to the following varieties. They are early and super early, unpretentious in cultivation, resistant to weather extremes:
- "Iceberg" - early, cold-resistant, resistant to temperature extremes.
- "Juggler" from breeder Myazina L. A - drought-resistant, heat-resistant, resistant to lower temperatures.
- "Leopold" - ultra-ripe, resistant to cold, undemanding to care, resistant to major diseases of tomatoes.
- "Duckling" - early, resistant to disease. It is distinguished by a good fruit set, even in adverse conditions, and amicable fruiting.
- Tomato "Lollipop" - incredibly unpretentious and productive, refers to very early varieties.
- "Leningrad chill" - super early, has exceptional cold resistance.
- "Northerner" - ultra-early, perfectly sets fruit at low temperatures.
You can also sow tomato varieties directly into the ground. Bonnie MM, "Flash", Gnome, "Sanka", "Bullfinch", "Snowdrop", "Shuttle", "Apples in the Snow".
Technology of planting tomatoes by seedling method
The technology of seedlingless tomato cultivation in central Russia is still not used so often, so I’ll try to describe all its stages in detail.
To make it clear, I repeat once again: tomatoes are heat-loving plants and enough time passes from sowing to harvest (they have a long growing season). Therefore, the task of the gardener is to create optimal conditions for these plants as early as possible.
The first step is to choose the right landing place. The bed should be in the sunniest place, protected from the wind, and in no case in the lowland.
As soon as the snow melts, the bed should be covered with a black film, firmly pressing its edges with boards or other materials. If the weather is sunny, then in about a week the soil will warm up - you can start sowing.
Of course, it is good if the bed was prepared in the fall, but it often happens that we do not always think ahead of time about planting the next season.
If the garden bed is not ready for planting, it is better to cover it directly in the snow with a black film, so that the snow will come off faster. As soon as the snow melts and the soil dries a little, you will need to add compost or humus to it and dig it up. In no case should you bring fresh manure for sowing, it is also not necessary to bring ash, you can burn young seedlings.
I have already said that it is ideal if you already have a prepared "warm bed". Due to the fact that biochemical processes occur in it, there is a gradual decomposition of organics with the release of heat. Such a bed in the spring can be used much earlier for planting.
Read more about the creation of warm beds in the article "Correct beds - less work, more yield."
Next, you need to think about how you will protect your crops from cold and temperature extremes. There are several options here:
- Someone leaves the film until shoots begin to appear, but this method is not suitable for those gardeners who come to the site only for the weekend.
- Someone covers crops with cut-off plastic water bottles. In this case, you will need to remove the caps from the bottles. And over the bottles themselves it’s nice to place arcs with covering material (spanbond, agril, etc.).
- According to the reviews of experienced gardeners, still the best way would be to install arcs on which you will need to stretch the film. And after the sowing, the bed itself should be covered with covering material. The covering material will help to retain moisture, save heat, protect seedlings from burns in direct sunlight. In the future, when constant warm weather is established, and the shoots grow, the film from the arcs can be replaced by spanbond.
Another important point: young shoots can destroy a bear. If you have such a pest, then you need to take care of the crops: dig in the ground jars without a bottom (from canned goods, dairy products) and sow in them.
How to determine the term for sowing tomatoes in open ground?
The land for sowing should be warm. If you have the ability to control the temperature, then at a depth of about 5 cm it should be +18°C and above, if less - it’s too early to sow.
To warm the earth faster, you can mark the holes for sowing and spill them with hot water. Wells are marked immediately at a distance at which plants will be grown in the future.
How to sow the seeds?
Directly the sowing procedure is simple. In marked holes you need to sow 2-3 seeds, sprinkle with earth, pour the wells with warm water. It is possible to sow dry seeds, but it is better to soak them in special preparations, for example, in Epin or Zircon. These drugs increase seed germination and endurance of germinated seedlings. Crops need to be covered. Next, make sure that the earth does not dry out.
How to care for crops?
When the shoots appear 2-3 true leaves, you will need to leave the strongest sprout, remove the rest. To stimulate the growth of the core root, and not the lateral ones, the grown seedlings need to be watered not next to the stem, but a few centimeters backward. Thus, a developed root system of the rod type is formed.
Subsequent seedling care depends on the weather. If the weather is hot, then it is necessary, gradually accustoming the plants to changes in temperature and humidity, to remove part of the shelters - banks, film, leaving seedlings under arcs with covering material. If it’s still cold, then you need to take care of additional shelter.
In the future, the scheme for growing seedling-free tomatoes does not differ from cultivation using conventional technology. That is, plants will need to be fed with fertilizers, if necessary - to stepchild, protect from disease. But they will need to be watered much less frequently.
Dear readers! Of course, it is tempting to simplify the process of growing tomatoes so much as to get rid of the hassle of growing seedlings. But in any technology there are both positive and negative aspects that must be taken into account in order not to be left without a crop.
There are still more positive aspects of seedless tomato growing than disadvantages. Growing tomatoes without seedlings is a new interesting experience - one step to the so-called "garden without the hassle", which many dream of. Try it yourself, because without your own experience it's hard to judge anything.