Features of hilling tomato
Hilling is on the list of must-have items for many crops, including tomatoes. The agricultural technique is loosening and sprinkling of moist soil to the lower parts of the plant. Practice shows that the carried out hilling of the tomato contributes to the growth and volume of the root system, and therefore to increase the yield of seedlings.
Features of hilling tomato
The benefits of the procedure
Hilling of tomatoes helps to achieve many goals at once:
- creation of natural soil drainage to drain excess water (prevention of fruit wateriness and rotting of the root system);
- water entering during irrigation directly into the hole, and not into the aisle;
- creation of natural water reserves;
- improved breathability of the arable layer;
- strengthening the root system and the formation of new roots;
- prevention of lodging tall varieties of tomatoes;
- strengthening the stems and preventing their breaking off during the fruiting season (even with a rich harvest, the bushes will not need to be tied up);
- help in adverse weather conditions (sudden gusts of wind, freezing, etc.);
- prevention of soil leaching in conditions of heavy rainfall;
- effective weed control;
- reducing the risk of the spread of many types of fungal diseases and pests.
Tacking soil at the stage of formation of side shoots (stepsons) will strengthen them and provide an opportunity to grow an additional crop.
Is hilling necessary
Subject to all the rules of agricultural technology and a completely healthy state of culture, no hilling can be dispensed with. A healthy plant is one that receives a sufficient amount of useful elements for growth and development. This condition can only be achieved with competent soil cultivation and timely completion of all tomato care points.
Visual signs that the plant does not need hilling:
- a large number of ovaries and flowers on seedlings that do not dry out and do not fall;
- healthy strong stalks of intensely green color.
A weakened seedling without such a procedure is susceptible to a decrease in yield due to a lack of oxygen, moisture or nutrients. In some cases, such a deficiency can even lead to the death of the plant.
Frequency and time
Hilling should be carried out regularly
The optimal time for hilling is also determined by visual signs. The lack of useful elements on the seedling is expressed as medium-sized white tubercles at the base of the trunk. With their help, the plant forms the rudiments of additional roots to eliminate the deficiency.
Even tomatoes planted at the same time may experience different nutritional requirements, respectively forming additional roots or being content with the available ones.
Do not spud planted tomatoes that have not yet formed rudimentary tubercles. For such seedlings, the procedure will be useless and potentially dangerous if the sprinkled soil disrupts the circulation of oxygen.
Tatyana Orlova (candidate of agricultural sciences):
After closing the rows, the earthing is not carried out, because it can do more harm than good: you can break tomato shoots and bring down the resulting green fruits.
In most cases, the procedure is performed according to the following schedule:
- For the first time, it is necessary to hone tomatoes in one and a half to two weeks after planting seedlings in the open ground, when the seedlings have already passed adaptation to new conditions.
- The procedure is repeated after the appearance of a bluish color at the bottom of the stem (this is an indication that the additional roots began to grow and they need additional stimulation).
- Usually, it is necessary to hatch the growing tomatoes for the entire growing season twice. But sometimes the plants may need the procedure more times (when planting in poor nutrient soil, in adverse climatic and weather conditions). For such seedlings, hilling is repeated every time the plant begins to form the rudiments of additional roots.
For hilling, the earth pre-moistened with watering or rain is used (the wetting period depends on the cultivation site). In conditions of lowering temperatures, the soil can be combined with peat, humus, compost or sawdust to warm the seedling.
- It should be remembered that the root system of the culture is quite tender and can easily be damaged by rough hilling - using dry soil or excessively deep loosening.
- Using a chopper or a small rake, you need to gradually add soil from the aisle to the base of the tomato. If there is not enough land on the bed, you can use the soil brought in, having moistened it in advance. Experienced gardeners recommend first dumping all the seedlings in a row on one side, and then moving on to the other, rather than hilling each plant individually. This will save time and make earthen mounds more accurate.
- Due to the redistribution of soil with a hoe or rake, the arable layer is loosened and saturated with oxygen necessary for the culture. And the resulting furrows from the chopper between the rows will retain water after irrigation or precipitation, forming a natural supply of moisture.
Hilling of greenhouse tomatoes and seedlings in open ground conditions has a number of specific features due to growing conditions.
Hilling in greenhouse conditions
For hilling seedlings in a greenhouse, it is necessary to water them abundantly a day before the procedure. The height of the protective hill for the lower part of the stem should be 8-10cm. If greenhouse land is not enough, you can use the prepared soil from the beds.
It is recommended to strengthen the resulting hill to prevent shedding with the help of rolled up in the form of a glass pieces of roofing material, slate or plywood. For tall varieties, homemade thin board boxes are used as reinforcement. For undersized tomatoes, simple metal or plastic rings fit on a sprinkled hill are suitable.
When performing the procedure on open ground, the soil requires moistening (heavy irrigation or heavy rain) a couple of days before the start of hilling.
During loosening the soil, it is necessary to clean it of weeds, weeds and removing plant debris. Only after complete cleaning of the soil can we begin to form stable hills from it. The soil for creating each hill is collected from a radius of about 15-20cm.
The hollows formed during the distribution of the earth need not be smoothed out. They will serve as a reservoir for the long-term storage of moisture after irrigation (especially valuable in drought conditions). The procedure is best performed early in the morning or late in the evening, with a moderate amount of sunlight and heat.
Hilling of the tomato creates an air- and moisture-resistant layer, contributing to the growth of the root system and increase the yield of tomatoes, prepares the stem for effective control of insect pests and fungal spores. The procedure is indicated for all seedlings in closed and open ground conditions with a potential nutrient deficiency. On average, hilling is carried out 2-3 times per vegetative cycle and many times increases the chances of collecting a rich and high-quality crop.