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Sowing seeds for seedlings
A lot of vegetable and flower crops in the northern latitudes are grown through seedlings. Do-it-yourself seedling cultivation is not only saving money, but also a very exciting process. There are many ways to grow seedlings at home, using special micro-greenhouses, coconut substrate, coconut tablets, ordinary soil for growing.
All heat-loving crops with a long flowering and fruiting period are grown for seedlings. These include:
- pepper, eggplant, tomatoes,
- cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelons, melons,
- all types of cabbage - white, cauliflower, kohlrabi, savoy, broccoli, brussels sprouts
- onions, leeks, celery, parsnips, aromatic plants - basil, lemon balm, thyme.
Garden strawberries from seeds should also be sown indoors in the winter.
You can grow through seedlings and some root crops to get an early harvest, for example, beets and daikon.
Different plants have different sowing times for seedlings. The term depends on the growing season of the plant and growing conditions. For example, seedlings of cold-resistant cabbage in the southern regions can be planted in the ground already in May, but you don’t need to hurry with peppers and tomatoes if you do not have a heated greenhouse.
When choosing a planting date, it is very important not to be late, otherwise fruiting will come at a later date. But you don’t need to hurry too much either, the seedlings that have grown, take root poorly, get sick and can even die.
For growing seedlings, lighting is very important. In the winter months and early spring, the day is still very short, and there may not be enough light on the windowsill. You can use special lamps for growing seedlings that can be easily found on sale. Usually, information on the timing of sowing seedlings and planting seedlings on the street or in the greenhouse is available on each package of seeds.
A box for seedlings is also selected depending on the type of plant. Tomatoes, leeks, cabbage, for example, firstly planted in special boxes with light soil or micro-greenhouses, then transplanted into larger pots with fertilized soil. It must be borne in mind that seeds need warmth in order to quickly ascend. Boxes are covered with a wrap or a transparent lid. Light is not important for seed germination, with the exception of the small seeds of some flowers, which are sown superficially without dusting the ground. Do not forget that the earth must be moist.
Some plants with a fragile root system, for example, cucumbers, root crops, flowers with large seeds, do not fell good while transfering. That why it is better to immediately put them in a separate cassette or pot, and then transfer them to a container with a large volume.
After the emergence of seedlings, you need to remove the wrap from the boxes and put the seedlings in a bright place. In the early sowing of some crops, when the daylight hours are still very short, it is recommended to illuminate the seedlings with special lamps.
Transfered seedlings are usually in the phase of 2-3 real leaves. Later, the root system greatly expands and is damaged during transfering. Transshipment of seedlings from containers and seedling cassettes in larger containers is performed as the root system grows.
While transfering it is necessary to moisten the soil into which the plant is transplanted.
In the first few days after transshipment and transfering, plants need to provide diffused light and moderately moist soil. As soon as the root system adapts, the seedlings will start growing.
When growing seedlings, the choice of soil is also very important.
Soil of good quality must be: loose, breathable; it is well hydrated and holding moisture; does not contain weed seeds; have protection from bacteria, viruses and fungi; balanced by the content of macro- and microelements. Most high-quality seedlings purchased from specialty stores match with these requirements.
You can make the soil mixture yourself by preparing it from autumn. When sowing seeds in the soil, it is important to choose a composition suitable for a particular crop. It will be necessary to add sand, or peat, or limestone, depending on the purpose. In this case, the soil must be decontaminated by warming it at high temperature, or by holding it in strong frost. At the same time, it is important to take garden soil from those sections of the garden where for 4-5 years related crops of seedlings have not been grown.