Cultivating Tips

1. Sowing the seeds and raising the plants of our LONGLIFE ® & VINERIPE ® Tomatoes, Melons, Cucumber, Eggplant/aubergines and Sweet Peppers.

Use clean plastic containers with a few perforations in the bottom to let out any excess water. Fill with a layer of minimal 5cm. of good potting soil that is sufficient humid, 6cm. for cucumber and melon.

Make the soil level and press down slightly. Put the tomato seeds on top of the soil, 1 seed in a small container of about 5 cm. wide. When using a larger container, with more seeds, put tomato-, pepper and eggplant seeds about 5 cm. apart and the cucumber- and melon seeds about cm. apart.

Cover the seeds completely with a thin layer of the potting soil and press down again very lightly.

Make de soil wet using a hand-plant-spray and use warm clean water, making sure the soil is wet throughout but not too wet, to avoid dripping.

Cover the pots with clear plastic to avoid drying out and cover the plastic with newspaper to avoid direct sun on the pots and overheating under the plastic. Put the pots ain a place where the day and night temperatures ideally are as follows during the germination period:

For tomatoes, cucumbers and melons: between 23° and 28 degrees Celsius.

For sweet peppers and aubergines/ eggplants: between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius.

N.B.: Higher maximum temperatures than recommended are very harmful for the plantlets, lower temperatures will slow down the germinating process and increases the risk of infections, notably with Botrytis.

The polythene covering is necessary to make sure that the soil remains sufficiently humid during the germination period. The plastic should not touch the plants. Because watering during that period will cause a temperature shock to germinating seeds, it must be avoided as it may kill the seeds.

Normally, depending on favourable circumstances, the germination takes only a few days for cucumber and melon seeds, one or two weeks for tomato seeds and two or three weeks for the seeds of peppers and aubergines.

Remove the paper and the plastic as soon as the two small first leaves – the cotyledons – are visible above soil level. Keep the small plantlets out of direct sunlight, after this stage the temperatures can be lowered as follows:

For tomatoes: Look for a day temperature of 23°C, 21°C on dull days and allow the temperature to rise on bright days with the sunlight to max. 28°C. After dark allow the temperature to go down but not lower than 16°C.

For melon and cucumber:The minimum temperature day or night should be not lower than 20C. Maximum day temperature 30C on bright days.

For sweet peppers and eggplant/aubergines: The best day temperature 24°C, maximum 29°C. Lowest night temperature 18°C.

The relative humidity of the air should go up and down with the temperatures during the day and night. Minimum r/h during the day and at 23C = 80%.

For cucumbers and melons, when the temperature reaches 30°C, the r/h must be as near to 100% as possible.

Transplanting the plantlets

Make sure the planting hole is moist and deep enough so that all roots can go straight down. Roots that curl up for lack of space are lost. Press the soil round the plants lightly but well enough so that one cannot lift a plant out of the planting hole by pulling on a leaf. Make sure the plantlets are not damaged by too much pressing or with fingernails.

At this stage the young plants are most vulnerable and extra attention will be very rewarding in quantity and quality fruit.

N.B.: Any watering should always be done in early morning. It must be avoided at all times that your plants enter the night when still wet.

2. When to sow you seeds

FOUR pieces of information are important when deciding the sowing date for your vegetable seeds:

1. The number of days from sowing till seed emergence of each type of seed

2. The required minimum soil temperature

3. The date that you can plant your seedlings outside in the open or under cover and

4. the number of weeks required to produce your seedlings from seed to the right size for transplanting.

The planting date in the open depends on your geographical location in the world and must be in spring after the last date with a risk of night frost.

Check your local temperatures for example on: http://www.weather-and-climate.com/ to determine the last day of frost in your area.

Of course in unheated glasshouses or plastic tunnels you can plant earlier but we advise you to enquire with local experienced growers for information about how much earlier.

Please note that in a plastic greenhouse or tunnel without sufficient ventilation, the temperature can drop below zero for a short while in early morning, because of condensation, when the outside temperature is still 2 or 3 degrees C.

Planting small plants, 4 weeks after seed emergence gives the best results for tomatoes. That means sowing 38 days before the latest date with a risk of night frost because tomatoes take about a week or ten days to germinate.

Sweet peppers, aubergines, cucumbers and melons need a minimum soil temperature of 20 degrees C. and must therefore be grown under cover in most countries

Cucumbers and melons germinate in a week and can be planted about 2 weeks later.

Sweet peppers and aubergines take about two or three weeks to germinate and are ready for planting about 4 or 5 weeks later.


3. LONGLIFE ® & VINERIPE ® F1 HYBRID TOMATOES:

For best performance of your tomato crop the relative humidity should be jùst under 80 %. The risk of Botrytis increases with humidity over 80 %.

Contrary to most other tomato sorts, development of the plants of our LONGLIFE® and VINERIPE® tomato hybrids is very generative and less vegetative – which means more fruit development and less leaf production – the key for high yields and also a bonus because this saves labour in crop maintenance: less deleafing is required and that results in less Botrytis. For that reason do not remove any leaves from a plant unless absolutely necessary and never more than 2 at a time. In principle only remove the leaves that are touching the ground, that are in the way or when they are no longer healthy.

The risk of Botrytis is further reduced when the relative humidity is never over 80% during longer periods. Plants should be dry when night falls.

With our tomato hybrids you can save fuel: they will perform even better when nighttemperatures are lowered to 14 degrees C. in dull weather.

Our tomato hybrids have a better than average fruit set; we do not recommend the use of hormones; in case of need the use of bumble bees is ideal for setting the fruit.

Tomato flowers will not set when the day temperature is below 15 ° C or over 28 ° C.

An extra side shoot on every second plant in high summer temperatures will help to increase the plant mass in a greenhouse and improve the climate in the house, increasing fruit production and quality.

Development of the plants of our LONGLIFE® tomato hybrids is much faster than with other tomato sorts especially when days are long and sunny. You could be mistaken by the then much higher demand of our tomatoes for water and feeding: the plants should NEVER be short. When in doubt, give water. In bright summer weather an extra gift of water and feeding in early afternoon could help. When the required amount of water is very high, reduce the conductivity carefully.

For a constant production of very uniform fruit, that requires very little grading and for plants that are less prone to the changes in the weather, trim ALL trusses to 5 fruits, starting with the bottom truss, as soon as you see that 5 flowers on a truss have set.

When harvesting, picking the tomatoes VINERIPE ® and red, the yield is not reduced; it is the natural way of tomatoes to produce fruit in nature.

Remember that the firm fruit of these LONGLIFE ® tomatoes also must be handled carefully. Any bruising will show up later and reduce the great value of the fruit.

Best storing condition for tomatoes is a constant 13 degrees C. with some very light ventilation – no refrigerator.

4. HOW TO AVOID OR CONTROL DISEASES IN YOUR PLANTS

When buying vegetable seeds, especially hybrid tomato seeds, there is often a choice to make which hybrid to grow, based on which

disease, or combination of diseases is to be expected in your crop. Look for the following variety descriptions:

"IMMUNE for" : the plants will not get the mentioned disease. Very rare.

"TOLERANT for" : the plants can get the indicated disease but under normal growing conditions will not suffer a lot of dammage.

"RESISTANT to" : the plants will not get the disease under normal growing conditions. Dammage, if any, will be slight.

When daily checking your plants, any problemcan be spotted in a very early stage and will then be easy to remove or cure. When there is a need of treatments of your plants, ONLY use products recommended by your local advisory service and stick to their recommendations.

When in doubt, make a very good picture of the problem at close range and mail to our UNIQUE CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE SERVICE at info@vdb-proseeds.com and we will help where we can.