NEW ASPECTS IN TRANSPLANTING SEEDLINGS DURING THE RAISING OF YOUNG TOMATO AND PEPPER PLANTS
Savings by transplanting can be considerable in spring, when heating costs in the first three weeks sometimes exceed that of the following six weeks, or when it offers a possibility for another vegetable crop (e.g. lettuce before early outdoor pepper plant, a good combination in Hungary). These advantages of transplanting encouraged us to make a more intensive study of the effects of transplanting on the earliness and productivity of tomato and pepper plants in order to find a method that would eliminate the disadvantages of it.
Old vegetable growers' practice considers transplanting as a method for hastening maturity. LOOMIS (1925) however, found that transplanting always resulted in a check of growth, being proportional to the size of plant at the time it was transplanted, but did not necessarily reduce yields.
Recent investigations will prove that transplanting, especially at a greater size of seedlings, does more harm than it could be compensated for its economical savings. On the basis of his elaborated experiments KOPETZ (1956) regards direct sowing as superior to any kind of transplanting. He found 6 week old tomato and pepper plants transplanted at an age of 20 days having only 28 and 49 percent of the dry weight of direct sown plants respectively, but there are no data about the yields or earliness.
Experiments of LAWRENCE (1950) have shown a definite advantage of transplanting at a size with the cotyledons expanded, as compared with a later one.
EDELSTEIN (in REINHOLD-LAUENSTEIN-VOGEL 1956) suggested direct sowing in soil blocks to prevent a check of growth and wasting labour, but VOGEL and BAUMANN (1961) put forward that sowing a single seed per pot results in 20–30 percent of empty pots in the case of colecrops, while sowing more than a single seed will demand much labour for thinning. They do not believe in mechanization of sowing, and prefer direct sowing in special prepared peat, followed by transplanting into big soil blocks. ANDEWEG (1962) has sown tomato seeds in 4,5 cm Jiffy pots for breeding purposes, which were put into bigger ones later on. The plants gave an earlier yield, but differences later disappeared, the cause of which has not been cleared up.
In earlier experiments we found 9–10 week old tomato and pepper plants with well developed buds near to flowering to be the best for early outdoor growing and late forcing. Older plants even when they were kept in soil blocks reduced early and total yields (KORODI, 1958). We assumed that a longer plant growing period longer than in the experiments of LOOMIS (1925) and KOPETZ (1956) - could respond otherwise