How To Properly Grow Vegetable Seedlings

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How To Properly Grow Vegetable Seedlings
How To Properly Grow Vegetable Seedlings

Video: How To Properly Grow Vegetable Seedlings

Video: How To Properly Grow Vegetable Seedlings
Video: Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors: Planting, Watering, Feeding Tomatoes & Peppers- KIS Series (3) 2023, April
  • Methods for preparing nutritious soil mixture
  • How to properly prepare seeds
  • Choosing containers for growing
  • Growing pepper seedlings
  • Growing tomato seedlings
  • We grow cabbage seedlings
  • We grow zucchini and cucumber seedlings
  • Hardening of seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

Spring is coming, which means that the windowsills of city apartments and private houses will turn green with seedlings. Starting in mid-February, most avid gardeners begin the "sacred ritual" of sowing seedlings.

Growing vegetable crops through seedlings has a number of undeniable advantages. Firstly, all kinds of insects and pathogens of various diseases live in the garden soil, therefore, if you plant seeds directly into the ground, many of them may simply die. Practice shows that growing plants using seedlings allows you to get a harvest 2-3 weeks earlier. Well, in the northern regions, some crops are generally impossible to grow by sowing in open ground.

Specially equipped greenhouses and hotbeds, which can be warm or cold, are considered ideal premises for growing vegetable seedlings. Here, each culture grows in its own compartment, where the optimal conditions for it are maintained - temperature, humidity, illumination. The windowsills of our city apartments are naturally far from such ideal conditions. However, if you follow some not so complicated rules, you can grow healthy seedlings in a city apartment. To do this, it is necessary to properly prepare the soil mixture, prepare the seeds in a special way and select the necessary containers.

Methods for preparing nutritious soil mixture

The best basis for the preparation of a soil mixture (substrate) for seedlings is sod land, which is unlikely to be bought anywhere. It can be collected in the garden, and best of all - in the forest or in the meadow, and the most valuable in this sense will be the areas where clover or other perennial fodder plants, such as alfalfa, grow.

It is best to harvest the sod land throughout the summer. To do this, cut off a layer of sod (thickness - 6-12 cm, width - 25-30 cm, length - 35-40 cm). These layers are stacked somewhere in a shaded area so that they adhere the grass to the grass. It would be ideal to stratify them with a mullein and leave to re-cook for 2-3 years. But you can use it next spring too. To do this, add a half-liter can of wood ash, one teaspoon of superphosphate and one teaspoon of potassium sulfate to a bucket of sod land prepared in this way. All this is well mixed and moistened, and this must be done a week before planting the seeds. The day before planting, the prepared substrate is placed in containers, leveled and compacted, after which it is watered with a dark purple solution of potassium permanganate, which will give the soil all the substances useful for plants in a day. Well, this is, so to speak, a recipe for the future.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

If you do not have prepared sod land, you can prepare the seedling soil mixture using simpler recipes:

  1. Option one - a bucket of earth from the garden is mixed with a bucket of humus and two liters of wood ash are added, mixed well.
  2. Option two - for one part of the peat, take two parts of humus, a little sand, mix, and add 0.5 liters of ash to a bucket of a similar mixture.
  3. Option three (the simplest) - they buy a ready-made substrate in a specialized store, and today you can purchase a soil mixture separately for each specific crop.

How to properly prepare seeds

It is a common truth that what you plant will grow. When growing quality seedlings, the use of healthy seeds is one of the main conditions for success. Where it is better to buy and what to look for when buying high-quality seeds, we described in detail in the article “Garden planning. We are deciding on the plantings, we are choosing seeds."

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

It should be noted that it will take you at least three days to prepare the seeds. First of all, you should carefully consider each seed - determine its size, accuracy, symmetry and choose only those that "promise" you strong and healthy plants. Next, you should process the seeds in a solution of potassium permanganate, which will prevent the development of many dangerous diseases. After that, the seeds must be “fed”, that is, placed in a nutrient solution, the most accessible and effective of which is a solution of wood ash (one tablespoon per liter of water). To do this, the seeds are placed in a tissue bag and kept in solution for 12 hours, then dipped in clean water and left in a warm place for a day, there is no need to rinse the seeds before that.

After that, hardening is recommended - the seeds are kept at a temperature of plus 1–2 degrees (below - it is impossible!) For 48 hours and periodically sprayed with water so that the bags do not dry out. For these purposes, you can use any suitable place - refrigerator, underground floor, terrace. After cooling, planting is carried out immediately in a previously prepared substrate. You can read more about preparing seeds for growing seedlings in the article "Preparing seeds for sowing."

Choosing containers for growing

To grow healthy seedlings on the windowsill, you need to choose two types of containers - boxes for germination and individual cups for growing after picking.

The seedling box must be rigid to prevent soil mixture mobility and to prevent injury to the seedling root system. It should be opaque and have a sufficient number of drainage holes so that excess UV and water stagnation does not damage the roots.

Growing cups after picking should be of the correct size for each individual crop. Practice shows that seedlings that have been growing for a long time in small containers take root much worse in open ground.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

Today, the market for goods for the garden-garden provides a wide selection of various kinds of containers for growing seedlings. These can be peat pots, peat tablets, cassettes of various sizes and purposes. Also, for these purposes, you can use the most economical option - various plastic jars from dairy products, tetrapacks, and the like. It all depends on your desire and capabilities. For more information about the advantages and disadvantages of various containers, see the article "How to grow vegetable seedlings on your own."

So, we have prepared the soil mixture and seeds, selected the necessary containers - it's time to start planting. Let's take a closer look at the basic principles of agricultural technology when growing seedlings of the most common vegetable crops.

Growing pepper seedlings

The main nuance when growing pepper seedlings is that this culture does not tolerate any transplant very well, it gets sick and is significantly delayed in growth after this operation. Therefore, pepper seedlings are grown without picking, in this case, sowing seeds in bulk in one container is unacceptable.

For growing seedlings of this culture, peat pots or plastic cups are ideal, where seeds are sown individually for each plant. It is best to sow 2-3 seeds in each container, and after germination leave one of the strongest and healthiest sprout. When the seedlings are old enough, it is necessary to very carefully, without disturbing the root system, transplant the plant into a larger container - for an adult seedling, the optimal pot volume is one liter.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

After sowing the seeds, the containers are placed in a warm place (temperature not lower than 25 degrees) and covered with glass or foil. This allows you to significantly reduce the time to emergence. After the seedlings have appeared, the pots are rearranged on the most lighted windowsill - peppers are very picky about light, especially at the seedling stage. Lack of light leads to a slowdown in plant development. To prevent the seedlings from stretching out, it is recommended to use additional lighting - the length of daylight hours should be at least 14 hours. How to properly organize supplementary lighting is described in the article “A vegetable garden on the windowsill. We grow cucumbers, tomatoes and various types of peppers."

The optimum temperature for growing pepper seedlings is from 19 to 26 degrees, and in sunny weather 30 is permissible. The root system of this culture is very sensitive to low temperatures. If the window sill is cold, it must be insulated, and only warm water (30–35 degrees) should be used for irrigation. Watering pepper seedlings should be moderate as the soil dries up.

Watering should be combined with dressing. If the substrate is nutritious, available means can be used for these purposes. Used tea leaves are suitable - pour one glass with three liters of hot water, leave for 4–5 days, filter and water the seedlings. You can take a shell of 10 eggs, grind, pour boiling water, leave for a week, strain and water the plants. Pepper is very fond of wood ash, it can be simply poured into pots 1-2 times during the entire growing period (a teaspoon is enough for 2-3 containers). This must be done carefully so that ash does not fall on the leaves and stems of the young plant. For top dressing, you can use specially developed fertilizers for growing pepper seedlings, which are sold in specialized stores.

Seedlings ready for planting should have from 8 to 12 leaves, their age should be 60–70 days from the moment of emergence. Pepper seedlings are planted in open ground from May 25 to June 5, depending on weather conditions.

Growing tomato seedlings

It is necessary to start growing tomato seedlings from the end of January. In January-February, seeds of late-ripening varieties are sown on seedlings, in mid-March - medium and early-maturing.

It is advisable to fill the containers with a dry prepared soil mixture in advance, pouring it so that two to three centimeters remain to the upper edge. The soil is well moistened, covered with foil or glass and kept for a day - during this time the moisture will be evenly distributed throughout the entire volume.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

Seeds prepared in advance are laid out on the surface in rows with tweezers, leaving 3 cm between the rows, and 2 cm between the seeds. Next, the seeds are pressed to a depth of 1 cm (for this purpose it is convenient to use a blunt pencil) and the holes are filled in. Then, using a spray, the crops are thoroughly moistened, covered with polyethylene and placed in a warm place (temperature 23-26 degrees). It should be remembered that if you did not sow the seeds deeply enough, then, due to drying, the cotyledons will not be able to free themselves from the peel, and this greatly slows down the growth of seedlings. In this case, the seedlings need help - it is necessary to moisten the peel and carefully remove it with tweezers.

After the sprouts appear together, the film is removed and the containers are transferred to a well-lit place where the temperature is 12-15 degrees during the day and 8-10 degrees at night. Tomato seedlings take root well for 5-7 days. After that, the temperature must be increased to 20-25 degrees and it is very desirable to organize additional lighting (daylight hours at least 14 hours). The optimum air humidity for growing tomato seedlings is 65-70%, it is easy to achieve this indicator if you put a bucket of water next to the battery.

When the seedlings produce 1-2 true leaves, it is necessary to pick them into individual pots, not less than 6 cubic centimeters in size. This will provide the young plant with adequate living space and prevent the seedlings from pulling out. After picking, the soil around the plant is well squeezed and watered abundantly, supplementary lighting is stopped for 4–5 days, and the temperature is kept at 20 degrees. Additional lighting is resumed on the sixth day.

Tomato seedlings need good nutrition for normal growth and development. The first feeding is recommended ten days after the pick, the second - 2 weeks after the first. For this, any ready-made complex fertilizers or an infusion of rotted bird droppings are great. To do this, one part of the litter is poured with three parts of water and insisted for 2-3 days, the resulting mixture is diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10 and the seedlings are watered. Top dressing is combined with watering, after which light loosening of the soil is carried out. Tomato seedlings are watered sparingly, not allowing the soil to dry out completely.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

Tomato seedlings ready for planting in open ground must be at least 60 days old. Tomatoes are planted in the garden in late May - early June, when the threat of low temperatures passes. A week before transplanting, it is recommended to spray the plants with a 5% solution of copper sulfate. This will prevent the development of dangerous fungal diseases.

We grow cabbage seedlings

The timing of sowing cabbage seeds of any variety for seedlings is determined based on the fact that seeds germinate within 7-10 days, and at least 45 days should pass from the emergence of seedlings to the formation of adult seedlings. From this it follows that it is necessary to start sowing 55-60 days before planting seedlings in open ground.

A feature of growing seedlings of this culture is that after the emergence of seedlings for 6-10 days, they must be kept at a temperature not exceeding 6-7 degrees. Otherwise, the seedlings will stretch out strongly, and, sometimes, may even die. A week after the appearance of seedlings, the temperature is raised to 15 degrees during the day and 12 at night.

When the seedlings form two true leaves, they are pricked, deepening the plants to the level of the cotyledonous leaves. If the roots are too long, they must be pinched a third of their length and evenly spaced in the soil. For each individual plant, the volume of the container should be at least 6-7 cubic centimeters.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

Cabbage seedlings are watered moderately with room temperature water; after watering, it is advisable to ventilate the room well. It should be noted that excessive watering and high air humidity can lead to the development of fungal diseases of seedlings.

It is necessary to feed the seedlings twice. The first - after the appearance of the second true leaf, the second time - 15 days before disembarking to a permanent place. For these purposes, you can use universal fertilizers (or specially designed for growing cabbage seedlings). In this case, an infusion of bird droppings, which is used for seedlings of tomatoes, can serve as a wonderful top dressing.

We grow zucchini and cucumber seedlings

These crops are distinguished by a relatively short growing season, therefore it is most convenient to grow them by direct sowing into the ground. However, if you want to harvest 2-3 weeks earlier, it is recommended to do it through seedlings. It is important to remember that the age of an adult seedling of zucchini and cucumber should not exceed 30 days, otherwise the plants take root very poorly and take a long time after planting.

When growing seedlings, you should know that these crops are negatively related to transplants, therefore, seedlings of cucumber and zucchini are grown without picking. Prepared seeds are planted in separate cups with a capacity of at least 10-12 cubic centimeters to a depth of 2-3 cm, watered well and placed in a warm place (25-28 degrees) until shoots appear. It is better to sow 2-3 seeds in each pot, and then leave the best and strongest sprout. After that, the pots are transferred to a well-lit place where the temperature is maintained at 18-22 degrees.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

Water the seedlings of marrow and cucumber with warm water (22-25 degrees) as the top layer of the earth dries up. It is very important not to allow any delay in watering or overflow, as this can lead to a sharp drop in pressure in the stems and their cracking.

The first feeding is carried out one week after the emergence of shoots, the second - ten days after the first. If necessary, you can feed the plants 2-3 days before planting in a permanent place. For "feeding" cucumbers and zucchini ideal is the infusion of mullein or bird droppings (prepared as for tomato seedlings), you can also use universal or special ready-made fertilizers.

The conditions for growing seedlings of melon crops (melon, watermelon, pumpkin) practically do not differ from growing seedlings of squash and cucumber.

Hardening of seedlings

The conditions of the room in which the seedlings are grown and the conditions of the open field differ greatly from each other. In order for the plants not to get sick and grow quickly after transplanting, the seedlings of any culture must be hardened, that is, they must be accustomed to the conditions of a permanent place of growth.

It is recommended to start hardening 15–20 days before planting. To do this, it is necessary to limit watering and, if the weather permits, take out containers with seedlings outside or on an open balcony - at first for one to two hours, and then, gradually increasing the time, for the whole day. This will help accustom young plants to bright light, colder temperatures and the negative effects of wind.

Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings
Basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings

In the first days of the procedure, it is necessary to protect the seedlings from direct sunlight and drafts, also gradually increasing the impact of these negative factors. You can take containers outside if the air temperature there is at least 10-15 degrees. 3-4 days before planting in open ground, it is recommended to leave seedlings outdoors and overnight, and if a cold snap is expected, then cover the plants with paper caps or apply other protective structures.

Summarizing all of the above, the following basic rules for growing vegetable seedlings can be distinguished:

  1. For optimum yield, quality proven seed should be used. Seeds must be properly prepared before planting.
  2. For growing seedlings, a soil mixture made from sod land, humus, peat and wood ash is best suited.
  3. Pots and cups should be of sufficient capacity and have good drainage holes.
  4. To avoid the development of fungal diseases, the seedlings of any culture in the phase of the first true leaf should be sprayed with a solution of skim milk (1 glass of milk, 1 liter of water, 2-3 drops of iodine).
  5. Compliance with the optimal temperature and light conditions, proper watering will allow you to grow healthy, strong seedlings.
  6. At least two weeks before planting, young plants must be hardened, otherwise they will take root for a long time, and sometimes they can die after transplanting.

Careful observance of these not so complicated rules will allow anyone, even a completely inexperienced gardener, to grow healthy seedlings.

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