Table of contents:
Grow seedlings - you will be with the harvest
Many gardeners grow seedlings of vegetable and ornamental crops at home. However, we will now focus on three main vegetable plants, the seedlings of which, as a rule, are prepared by almost every one of us - on cabbage, cucumber and tomato.
In the previous issue, we covered all aspects of quality seed preparation. Now let's see what needs to be done to grow strong, healthy seedlings. Beforehand, everyone needs to clearly understand how many young plants (with a small margin) they need for planting. It is worthwhile to beware of early sowing of seeds in January-February due to an acute lack of light, due to which the plants will outgrow their specific phase or become unnecessarily elongated.
Plant nurseries Stores of goods for summer cottages Landscape design studios
This period is also characterized by too large a difference between room temperature and the temperature on the window sills, where the seedlings are usually grown. Therefore, the most optimal period for the beginning of sowing: the second half of March - the first decade of April. For example, from the middle of March, seeds of various varieties of white and Brussels sprouts are usually sown for seedlings, in the third decade - late varieties of white cabbage, as well as red cabbage, Savoy, cauliflower and kohlrabi, tomato - in early April.
The selection of soil for healthy seedlings should be taken very seriously, it should be sufficiently loose and breathable. Some gardeners acquire it in the retail network (often purchased soil may contain a lack or excess of nutrients). But most often they annually prepare it in the fall, combining a soil mixture from pre-prepared components (peat, turf, sand, etc.) in various proportions. Here everyone has their own recipes.
Kittens for sale Puppies for sale Horses for sale
Typically, the soil substrate is made from 3-5 components. By the way, experts say that the land prepared in advance and infused for several months is much more effective than the one just made. I propose to make a mixture of the above components (peat, turf, sand) in a ratio of 5: 4: 1. It does not hurt to add ammonium sulfate (12 g / 10 kg), simple superphosphate (20 g) and potassium salt (40 g) to them. It is useful to add some white sphagnum moss and ash.
As a nutritious mixture for cabbage and tomato, vegetable growers-practitioners offer a composition of humus and sod soil, river sand and fresh mullein, adding 8 parts of humus soil, 2 parts of sod, 1 part of river sand and 1 part of fresh mullein to a bucket. 1-1.5 cups of ash and 40 g of simple superphosphate are added to a bucket of a prepared mixture of any composition. Ash neutralizes acidity and adds nutrients necessary for plants to the soil - potassium, calcium, iron, silicon, sulfur, etc.
For cabbage, add 0.5 cups of fluffy lime to a bucket of mixture (to avoid damage to seedlings by soil infection of the keel). In the absence of sod land, it is replaced with compost or garden soil. Garden soil is the basis of the soil, it should be without roots, grass and stones. As a rule, it is 1 / 4-1.2 of the total volume of the mixture.
Sand is the most common component in artificial soils. From a handful to half of the total volume is added to the mixture. A good mixture is obtained from sand (preferably coarse river) with leafy soil in equal quantities with the addition of a certain amount of bird droppings and ash.
Leaf humus is the most important component of the mixture, it provides it with a good structure and serves as the main source of nutrition for plants. To prepare this component, in the fall it is necessary to collect not freshly fallen leaves, but those that fell a year earlier. It is not necessary that the leaves are completely rotten, it is enough that they crumble easily. They need to be prepared a little more, given that in the process of decomposition they lose in volume.
Any leaves will do, except for oak leaves (they contain tannic compounds). For example, for growing seedlings and seedlings, I use the soil from under old lindens, remote from highways. By the way, the worst option is to collect land near the house or on the territory of nearby parks, where it is saturated with harmful substances. The land that is brought in for the improvement of the adjoining territories and dumped in heaps is also not suitable. After all, it is not known where it was taken from.
Experts advise gardeners to take land on their site from that corner where vegetables have not been grown for 2-3 years, so as not to introduce pathogens and pests dangerous to plants into the soil. As a rule, the soil substrate purchased in the store had to be sterilized before being sold, but you can still be insured and subject it to disinfection. To do this, use the thermal method, heating the soil on an iron baking sheet or sheet (up to a temperature of no higher than 100oС)? or spilled twice with boiling water.
To grow seedlings, some gardeners use peat cups, others use cassette blocks, and some use foam boxes. Repeatedly used boxes and vessels intended for growing seedlings are disinfected with a warm solution of potassium permanganate (1 g / l of water).
The earth is slightly compacted and squeezed at the walls of the containers, its surface is well leveled, then shallow grooves are made on it with a ruler every 2-3 cm, the seeds are laid out (hatched or dry) and covered with the same mixture on top (with a layer of 0.5-1 cm). After sowing, the soil is watered very carefully from a watering can with a strainer, covered with glass for a week, removing it in the morning and in the evening for 10-15 minutes for airing.
After emergence, the cover is removed, and the containers are rearranged closer to the light. It is very important that the soil retains moisture for longer. Seedlings should not be watered often, they can be sprayed with a spray bottle, but you should not give them enough water. Excess moisture in the soil is reduced by pouring dry sand (2-3 cm layer) or charcoal under the plants.
For growing seedlings, a sill of windows with a south orientation is desirable so that there is more lighting, since there is not enough sunlight in early spring. If the plants are grown in a room with north-west or north-facing windows, into which the sun can only look in the evening, then the plants will not have enough light. An electric light is needed here.
Some gardeners seek to enhance the illumination of vegetable seedlings by installing large mirrors that reflect more than 90% of the light falling on them. They advise for growing low seedlings to fix the mirror perpendicular to the surface of the window sill along its ledge, which can almost double the illumination of the plants. At the same time, low mirrors are used so that they do not shade the room.
If the mirror is installed on the window jamb, it will become a permanent light reflector - with this method, the illumination increases by 30%. Plants, illuminated by mirrors, feel much better than without additional lighting. Remember that when using reflectors, plants need to be spaced further apart. Mirrors can be successfully replaced with wide strips of aluminum foil.
With the emergence of seedlings, for example, of a cucumber, the boxes are moved to the brightest place, and it is desirable to reduce the temperature to 15-17 ° C during the day and to 12 ° C at night (within 3-5 days). Then it is increased in the daytime up to 20 … 22 ° С, at night up to 16 … 17 ° С. Seedlings of vegetable crops are watered with water at room temperature.
Seedlings of various types of cabbage, 10-12 days after the emergence of seedlings, need to be opened (planted more freely or in separate cups). At this time, the plants will be in the cotyledon or first leaf phase. This will become more difficult later. At the same time, some gardeners practice pinching the tip of the main root of the plants, which contributes to better branching of the root system.
When making a dive in order to successfully root young plants in moist soil, they first make a dimple, where a teaspoon of slaked lime is poured. When transferring, the plant is gently held by the leaves (and not by the stem), set in the hole so that the root does not bend. Then sprinkle with earth and watered abundantly so that there are no voids in the soil.
When picking cabbage plants, each plant is carefully examined, rigidly rejecting the weak, underdeveloped or affected by the black leg and keel. The feeding area for cabbage seedlings should be at least 6x6 cm. After picking, the seedlings are sprinkled with a thin layer of humus with a small amount of ash. To avoid the appearance of mycoses, the seedlings are watered moderately and often ventilated.
Once every 7-10 days, to disinfect the soil, it is spilled with a 0.1% solution of potassium permanganate. Once every 1.5-2 weeks, seedlings are fed with a solution of a mullein diluted with water (1:10) or a solution of mineral fertilizers (0.6-0.7%). According to experts, high-quality seedlings, for example, early and late white cabbage, are desirable 50-55 days old, mid-ripening -35-40 days.
Choosing sunny days, the seedlings are taken out in the open air during the day (balcony, loggia, etc.), hardening before transplanting. Practitioners note that plants that have received such hardening after transplantation into a greenhouse or open ground take root faster and better.
It must be remembered that even with the onset of early spring - in May (and even more so in April) warm weather with planting seedlings in a permanent place should not be in a hurry. Plants can suffer from early and late spring frosts, which are not uncommon even in the first half of June. As a result of a cold snap, you can lose seedlings overnight, which have been grown with such difficulty for many weeks. Cucumber seedlings, for example, die when frozen at 0 … -1oС, unseasoned white cabbage seedlings at -3oС, Savoyard at -2 … -3oС. This is how, due to the freeze, my neighbor, unfortunately, lost several plants of the Antillean cucumber, which is rare in our country.
When growing seedlings at home, they try to avoid its proximity to indoor plants, which can be sources of harmful insects, such as spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, thrips.
Greenhouses and hotbeds are pre-prepared for receiving seedlings. To reduce the amount of spring work, a good gardener usually cleans these areas in the fall. If you did not have time to do the work in advance, you will have to do it in the spring. Plant debris (wintering place of pests and concentration of bacterial and fungal infection) is burned. In those areas where there is a bear gnawing the roots of plants, when digging into the soil, add the preparation "Thunder". In order to prevent late blight and other mycoses, some gardeners treat tomato seedlings with 1% Bordeaux liquid before planting.
It does not hurt to look again at the site plan where the vegetable plants will be placed. For them, not only the length of daylight hours is important, but also sufficient illumination intensity. Experts consider the optimal location of the site, open to sunlight in the daytime and having evening shade. Tomato is more demanding of sunlight, while cucumbers and cabbage are less demanding.
Seedlings should be protected from the fungal disease "black leg", which manifests itself quickly enough. In the evening the plants seemed to be quite healthy, and in the morning you can find them lying on the ground. Examining diseased seedlings, you can notice the blackening of the tissue in the place of the root collar (a bridge appears between the root and the stem).
After 2-3 days, the plant dries up completely, although a closer inspection reveals a slight yellowing of plant tissue in the same place in still outwardly healthy plants, the beginning of curvature and thinning of the stem, and some lethargy of plants. Seedlings weakly affected by the black leg develop poorly, lag behind in development, the yield obtained sharply decreases. All types of cabbage are susceptible to this disease. It manifests itself in the phase of cotyledonous leaves, but often at the time of planting. The causative agent of the "black leg" is found and hibernates mainly in the soil or on plant debris (in the form of mycelium or spores).
In the spring, pathogens penetrate early shoots, feed on plant juices and multiply actively, which leads to illness (often death) of young plants. Blackleg fungus can also be found in hulled greenhouses, in stationary greenhouse structures, in seedling containers used for rearing seedlings, sometimes on seeds.
Seedlings of vegetables, planted with a lump of earth, take root more easily, do not get sick, tolerate temporary drought and give an earlier harvest.