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Video: Agrotechnics Of Forget-me-nots
Read the previous part. ← Types of forget-me-nots, especially growing
Growing annual forget-me-nots with seedlings
But if everything is simple with perennials, then annuals are forced to strain.
For example, simple sowing of seeds in the ground is not suitable here. In order to get good, strong plants, you will have to grow seedlings first. For example, the widespread variety Mon Ami Blue is only grown in this way.
For sowing seeds, cassettes filled with a light and well-drained neutral substrate are suitable.
The seeds of the annual forget-me-not are quite small, so you should not sprinkle them, just sprinkle them on a moistened surface.
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With sufficient light and moisture, as well as under conditions of temperature + 20 … + 23 ° C, seedlings appear in 12-15 days. Immediately after germination of seedlings, the temperature in the room must be lowered, to 20 ° C, trying to do so that it is a couple of degrees cooler at night than during the day.
As for further care, it is simple and consists in timely moistening of the substrate, ensuring an abundance of light and nutrients. If everything is clear with the first and second, then you should talk in more detail about feeding. It is better to use complex mineral fertilizers in small concentrations here. First, you should take such fertilizers in which there is a minimum amount of nitrogen, and after the appearance of the first true leaves, you can use standard fertilizers, while maintaining their minimum concentrations.
As for further care, it is simple and consists in timely moistening of the substrate, ensuring an abundance of light and nutrients.
After a month and a half, when the seedlings are already strong enough, they can be transplanted into small pots or into larger cassettes. Continuing to regulate the temperature, they try to keep it at the level of + 15 … + 19 ° С, and at night it drops to + 10 … + 12 ° С. When watering plants, try to pour water at the root and do not get on the leaves, so you will minimize the risk of powdery mildew.
Provide the seedlings with adequate lighting and do not ignore the application of fertilizing using mineral fertilizers. Most often, after about a month and a half, you can see the first flowers, and closer to mid-May they should be planted in a permanent place in the ground.
Slightly less often, the seedling method is used for the production of biennial forget-me-not cultivars. In order to get seedlings of such varieties, it is necessary to sow the seeds around the end of October, only in this case, in April, you will receive plants ready for planting in a permanent place.
However, not only meeting deadlines is the key to success, it is important to observe a special temperature regime when growing biennials. Special because plants need a cooling period to set flower buds. For this, in March, the temperature is very significantly lowered, usually up to + 5 … + 6 ° С of heat. At the same time, the amount of irrigation water is sharply reduced, but the lighting, on the contrary, is brought to the maximum, using additional lighting lamps. Such conditions are maintained until flower stems appear. Immediately after this, the temperature is raised to + 15 … + 18 ° C, and after that, after 20-25 days, as a rule, the plants bloom.
Agrotechnics of forget-me-nots
In conclusion, I want to talk about the intricacies of care for forget-me-not. And here, of course, you need to start from the soil. For planting this plant, you should choose only the most loose and moist, organic-rich soil. However, organic fertilizers must be in an accessible form, that is, it will be much better if they are applied in advance. If you fertilized the soil just before planting forget-me-nots, then there is a high probability that the plants will begin to fatten, that is, increase the vegetative mass to the detriment of flowering.
Take the most well-lit places for forget-me-not, and since weeds also develop quite actively on such soils, weed more often, loosen and water the soil until the plants form a dense carpet.
By the way, about watering, we have already touched on this topic a little - you need to water the plants only at the root, but not on the leaves and flowers. Do not allow the soil to dry out, otherwise the flowering will be short-lived, and the flowers will be dull. But, despite the love of forget-me-nots for moisture, it is impossible to overflow the soil, this can lead to the fact that the plants begin to rot, their stems will elongate greatly, and the decorative look will be forever lost.
To avoid such troubles, choose the most well-ventilated areas with a loose substrate for planting forget-me-nots. As for weeding, they are needed only for the first few months of the life of still immature plants in a new place. Then, when the bushes grow, they are not afraid of weeds, and forget-me-nots no longer need weeding.
To prolong the ornamental type of plants, faded inflorescences should be periodically removed, and also try to limit self-seeding and the living space of plants, preventing their spontaneous spread over the site.
If you want to get seedlings from existing plants, then it is best to leave only a couple of copies, choosing the most typical and beautiful ones. Seeds should be collected from them, and the rest should simply be removed from the site.
This advice may raise a counter question: is forget-me-not a perennial plant? Yes, this is so, but most often even perennial forget-me-not varieties are grown on the site for only a couple of years, since for the third and in subsequent seasons, little remains of the former splendor. Plants, as a rule, stretch out, and the flowers become noticeably smaller.
As for dressings, the most favorable time for their introduction is spring and autumn. Usually a teaspoon of urea, nitrophosphate, and potassium sulfate is enough for a bucket of water. This solution is sufficient for about five square meters of soil.
A few words must be said about the enemies of forget-me-not - diseases and pests, there are few of them, but they are still there. Most often, cruciferous fleas, scoops, slugs and aphids cause inconvenience, and from diseases - gray rot and powdery mildew. In case of damage by pests, they should be collected by hand and destroyed, but it is better to remove diseased plants from the site before they infect healthy fellows. To prevent the disease from spreading to forget-me-nots from other crops, do not plant it next to crucifers.
And, finally, about the shelter: since the climate has now become unpredictable, and in winter there can be severe frosts, it is better not to risk it and cover the plants with spruce branches or just dry leaves.
Candidate of Agricultural Sciences, Researcher, Department of Berry Crops, GNU VNIIS im. I. V. Michurina, member of the R&D Academy