Where does the seedling begin?
Growing seedlings of vegetable crops is a good example of how the accomplishment of any business depends on our ability to delve into the little things. In any, the most unfavorable year, you can get a good harvest if you delve into the little things and be on the lookout. The French have a saying that translates as: “the vigilance of the farmer is equal to the manure.”
Details are important to us already at an early stage of growing seedlings at home – when dressing vegetable seeds and their germination. Often the seeds of tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, eggplants, peppers and even flowers are allowed to germinate under wet paper or rags. But it is easier for them to germinate from the ground, from a depth of 1.5-2 cm… The seed easily releases the root, but in order to throw off the cap-shell from the cotyledons, it has difficulties. If the seed sprouts from the ground, the shell lingers in it, peels off, and two cotyledons bloom on the surface. If the seed does not throw off the shell on the very first day, it does not allow full-fledged cotyledons to develop, and the root does not receive the required amount of organic matter. With tomatoes, it happens that the shell does not fly off at all, and the seedling withers and dies. For those who are going to grow seedlings of tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, eggplants, peppers, strawberries and flowers in the spring, it is useful to remember that there is still snow in March-April. The soil mixture is harvested in the fall and waits in the wings on the balcony. For all its seedlings, two buckets are required. You can buy the mixture at the store. Just do not forget that we grow vegetables not only for pleasure, but also for profit, and it is necessary to monitor the cost in general terms. It happens that a person builds a greenhouse, and then calculates that he will return the cost of the film by the cost of cucumbers or strawberries in many years.
How to grow seedlings?
The sizes of pots or cups can be safely reduced by half or less from the standards that are indicated in the books. The small size of the cups is compensated by additional mineral dressings. Along the way, we make sure that the plants have enough nutrients. Sometimes they do not attach importance to the fact that some macronutrient is missing in the feeding. Then the following happens: the seedlings develop rapidly at first, but suddenly these tall bushes get worse, they stop growing and acquire painful symptoms. By these signs, you can find out which element is missing. It is easy to find out also by looking at the fertilizer composition on the label. If you fertilized with nitrophos, then there is not enough potassium. The emerging leaves remain very small, while curling a little, as if boiling, the tips of the lower leaves begin to dry out. In this case, top dressing with potash fertilizer is needed. For example, stir a teaspoon of ash in a glass of hot water, then dilute enough to thoroughly water a few bushes.
It is better not to grow seedlings without cups – by continuous sowing in a box or in a bowl: this technology greatly damages the roots during transplantation, and then it loses many days for rooting.
The material for the cups can be polyethylene or paper. I like the sliced newspaper strips better. The strip is wound on a deodorant can so that the bottom can be tucked up, then the cup is removed, filled with earth and, without any attachment, is placed close to other cups in a box or basin.
Several seeds are planted in each cup in order to leave the strongest seedling in the future. Therefore, we can safely deal with culling from the very beginning. It is convenient to water the cups in the basin, water goes to everyone more or less equally. It is important here not to pour too much water. It is even more convenient to water the cups in the drawer where the water can drain off.
By the way the seedlings of vegetables grow on the windowsill, one can judge whether the year will be fruitful for this crop or not. It so happens that tomato seedlings rise by leaps and bounds, and this year tomatoes give an excellent harvest. And it happens that the seedlings are not so difficult, but worse, not so intense – and this year they do not take root well, then grows weakly in the beds. It’s the same with cucumbers. That is, the plant knows from the very beginning whether it is his year or not. And we can decide in time what to give preference this year, and whether it is worth spending space and work on a culture that will be of little use. This, apparently, is what it means to be on the alert.
There are also important details in the technology of transplanting seedlings to the garden. Often we are asked to plant without removing the plant from the glass. The roots get cramped and they tear the paper! The roots do not tear the paper, they penetrate where there are holes, and individual roots will pass through the folds of the bottom. The rest of the spines will have to wait until the paper begins to decompose, this is a few weeks. All this time, the plant will experience a lack of nutrition, which will affect development.
The point of growing vegetable seedlings at home is to run in time. The meaning goes away if we lose days on the transplant, not that whole weeks. Nothing should prevent the plant from quickly settling in a new place. He needs to keep all the roots. This is why it is highly undesirable to remove the plant from the paper cup. The lower roots will be cut off. If the tomatoes tolerate this, then all pumpkin seeds, especially cucumbers, will take root hard.
How to be? There are compromise methods: when planting, the sides of a wetted glass are carefully peeled off, but the bottom remains, and the roots are able to grow in all directions. A light piece of board or roofing material is placed near the planted and watered plant so that the earth does not dry out in the sun on the very first day. The foliage must also be kept intact when transporting and planting seedlings.