How I prepare the soil for growing seedlings of vegetables and flowers
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Quality soil - healthy seedlings
The seeds of this pumpkin seedling were sown on the same day in different soils.
Soil is one of the most important ingredients in growing good seedlings of vegetables and flowers. It happens that we buy soil, often peat, sow full-fledged seeds into it, create all the right conditions for their germination, and sometimes even plant seeds that have already hatched. However, the seedlings, having been born, do not want to grow further or grow very slowly.
I tried to reanimate such plants, washed the roots from the soil, transplanted them into another soil, but I could not save them. Often, seedlings did not appear at all. Having dug up the soil at the sowing site, I found a half-rotten seed there, often with a rotten root. The experts explained to me that it was all about the soil. Plants were often simply poisoned. Experienced gardeners usually stock up on soil for seedlings in the fall, bring it from their garden.
But you can't bring much, it is very difficult. And the composition is not always suitable. Usually, for growing seedlings, it is recommended to use a mixture of sod and leafy soil and coarse sand in a ratio of 1: 3: 2 - try to find this on sale, and how many have it harvested on the site? Some gardeners do not bring soil at all, but use purchased soil. Now, after all, ready-made mixtures are sold for all occasions, for any culture.
Choosing one or another ready-made mixture, it is necessary to take into account the "tastes" of the given culture. For example, if an adult plant prefers humus-rich soils, then the sowing mixture should contain compost or humus, but in moderate doses, because the root system of young plants is not able to absorb many nutrients. If the plant gravitates to dry, stony, nutrient-poor soil, then the appropriate substrate must be selected for sowing.
The acidity of the soil must meet the requirements of a particular crop. Seedlings react much more strongly to deviations from the norm than adult plants. There are crops that love acidic soils. These are, for example, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, plants from the heather family, many conifers. ...
Herbaceous plants include milkweed, armeria, many species of ferns and gentian, cat's paw, and, of course, sorrel, rhubarb. Alkaline soils are preferred: cotoneaster, many bells, heliantemum, adonis, hellebores, gypsophila, lumbago, thin-leaved peony. Most plants grow on soils with an acidity close to neutral.
If you brought the soil from the garden, then there are no problems - you yourself know your soil, what acidity it has, what fertilizers, pests and diseases it contains. But if you bought soil, then now the problems begin. For example, buy a vegetable mix for growing vegetables. On the package it is indicated that her acidity is from 5.0 to 6.5. This means that in your package it can be quite sour and close to neutral.
The package also indicates how much of which fertilizer was added there. It would seem that this is good, but after all, everything is indicated with a very large spread. For example, one of the soils for tomatoes and peppers contains nitrogen fertilizers from 130 to 270 mg per liter of soil, and phosphorus and potassium fertilizers - from 300 to 600 mg / l. Thus, this soil may contain both a deficiency and an excess of fertilizers. And this can only be detected during the growing season of the plant, for example, by its appearance.
Often there is peat dust in the bags, in which it is unlikely that anything will grow at all. It is clear that such soil can mulch plantings, add it to the beds when planting seedlings, etc. But there is an inscription on the package: for sowing seeds and growing seedlings. As a result, when sowing in such soil, disappointment awaits us: the seeds do not germinate, do not grow ...
In order not to face such a situation, the soil must be dealt with in advance, now. I will share my experience in soil preparation. Usually I take a part of it straight from the garden to the city in the fall. I buy a part. I buy only different soils from different manufacturers for different garden crops.
Experience has already taught me that if my plants liked a certain soil last year, then this year the same soil from the same company may have completely different qualities. Conversely, the soil that killed my seedlings last year may be perfect for the new season. Therefore, I check all the soils.
Spots on the leaves
I tested the soil in five different bags last year. She poured soil from each of them into her own glass, provided it with a label. And in each glass on the same day she sowed pumpkin seeds - three seeds each. Care and growth conditions were the same for all plants. A month later, I took photographs of the grown plants. The following picture emerged: only one soil proved to be suitable for use, full-fledged plants grew in it.
In other soils, the following were observed: growth retardation, deformation of both young and adult leaves, spots on the leaves. All this indicated an unbalanced diet, i.e. about the wrong mineral composition of the soil. In one package - a deficiency or excess of one element, in the other - another.
In order to somehow balance the mineral composition and bring it “to a common denominator”, now I am doing the following with the soil.
- I mix all purchased soils a month or two before sowing. (I don't buy greenhouse soils - there are many diseases and even pests. I used to buy and steamed such soil.) Sometimes I also add coconut briquettes to the mixture.
- Be sure to add garden soil to the mixture, in approximately equal proportions.
- I spread the mixture in trays and basins - let all harmful decomposition products disappear and garden bacteria multiply. I water the mixture regularly. I mix it periodically.
- A couple of weeks before sowing, I check the quality of the mixture obtained - I sow pumpkin or zucchini seeds there (they sprout quickly) and see how the seedlings behave. They usually develop normally. If necessary, I bring in ash or dolomite flour, sometimes I have to add sand or garden soil.
I add the soil from the garden (I have sandy loam) to the purchased mixture on the recommendation of specialists, whom I consulted after the death of seedlings in peat mixtures. It was explained to me that the incompletely decomposed fibers present in the peat soil decompose with the release of inhibitors - substances that inhibit the growth of plants. Adding your own garden soil to the peat corrects the situation a little. In recent seasons, as a result of such soil preparation, I do not have any problems with seedlings due to unsuitable soil.
The mixture for sowing seeds for seedlings should be light, loose, without coarse clods and hard large particles. You should not sift it through fine sieves, since the finely sifted earth after watering easily "floats" and quickly turns sour. Before sowing, the soil must be decontaminated from the germs of mold and all kinds of other fungi. You can spill it with boiling water, Then not only harmful, but also useful inhabitants of the soil will partially die.
I usually collect coprolites (earthworm excrement containing a large amount of mineral particles) in the fall and add them to the soil. In this way, life in the soil is maintained. In recent years, after the appearance of Fitosporin on the market, I have been using it. Therefore, I do not steam the soil.
Photo by the author
A self-tapping screw with three washers is screwed into the center from the end of the piston. You will also need a hammer, dishes for mixing peat with coconut substrate and a container for stuffing briquettes.
First, moisten the coconut substrate a little and loosen it up.
Moisturizing and loosening the coconut substrate
Then we combine with peat and mix thoroughly. Often you come across branches or other large wooden inclusions, you need to choose them.
Choosing large inclusions
The resulting mass must be slightly moistened. To do this, add 400-500 ml of water and mix everything well again.
Moisten the mixture
Now we need to put our mixture in a suitable container: it should be quite narrow and high, but not higher than the length of the pipe (15 cm). We insert a pipe into the center (part of the mixture is inside) and with the help of a pusher and a hammer we compact the briquette. 3-4 blows are enough, between which it is advisable to turn the piston. The screwed in self-tapping screw forms a recess for the placement of seeds.
We compact the briquette
We take out the compressed mass, pushing it out with a pusher, and wrap it in a strip of cling film.
We wrap the briquette in a film
Please note that it is not necessary to completely tighten the briquette from below with a film, through the left hole later it will be saturated with water during bottom watering. A free strip of film 2-2.5 cm wide should be left on top, since the briquette will increase in height as it swells.
From prepared ingredients worth about 120 rubles, on average, about 50 briquettes for seedlings are obtained. You can see in more detail all the nuances of making peat pellets-briquettes by watching the video of our regular author Tatyana (Tula region).
If the process of making peat tablets seemed too troublesome for you, you can always choose ready-made ones in our market, which unites large online stores. Take a look at the selection of Peat and Coconut Tablets.
There are a lot of materials on our site devoted to growing seedlings. Here is some of them:
- How to prepare the soil for seedlings
- When to sow vegetables for seedlings
- 7 questions and answers about healthy seedlings
Do you use peat tablets for growing seedlings? What plants do you think are the best to grow with this method?
The criterion for choosing a particular recipe is the presence of certain components. For pepper seedlings, there are 5 recipes for potting soil:
- Sand, humus, peat and earth in equal parts.
- Equal parts of land, humus, turf and sand. Add a glass of ash for every 10 kg to the resulting mixture.
- Low-lying peat and humus with the addition of superphosphate.
- Equal parts of peat and sand with the addition of two parts of turf.
- Equal parts of humus, turf and leafy land.
In each of the recipes discussed, you can use any baking powder available instead of sand.
Important! Fresh manure and compost, as well as untreated turf, should not be added to the ground for seedlings of peppers.
What favorable days for planting seedlings in 2017 to choose
If you decide to start growing seedlings of basic vegetables and flowers for the first time, then there is still time to thoroughly study this issue theoretically, using the experience of both other gardeners and scientific research. The whole process of growing seedlings of both vegetables and flowers has a lot in common, differing only in small details that must also be taken into account. This material outlines the basic principles of this important process, and also identifies favorable days for planting seedlings in 2017. Peat tablets will also allow you to achieve a positive result in obtaining healthy seedlings for planting.
Dates for planting pepper seeds
The main agricultural techniques for growing seedlings of peppers and tomatoes are similar, these crops belong to the nightshade family, even the seeds are similar, by the way, they are very convenient to work with, compared to the seeds of other crops, which are very small.
Let's start with a description of the process of planting pepper seeds, as the most difficult, having made a reservation about the peculiarities of carrying out such work with tomato seeds. To begin with, let us draw your attention to the fact that, compared to tomato seeds, pepper seeds are very difficult to germinate and need additional stimulation, which we will discuss below. Another difference is that their germination rate drops sharply during storage, so if the germination rate of tomato seeds decreases sharply in the fifth year, then for pepper seeds this period is three years. But in practice, even two-year-old seeds already need mandatory sorting and germination stimulation.
To determine the timing of sowing seeds for seedlings, you should know that it is planted in open ground at the age of 2.5 months, minus also the time of seed germination, by this time a stable night temperature of 15 * C is necessary. In the middle zone of our country, such a period begins by May 20, more specifically, the date is determined depending on the place of residence.
Taking into account global warming and the abnormally warm winter of 2017, it can be assumed that this period will be shifted by a whole decade, so this year it will be possible to plant seedlings of thermophilic vegetable crops as early as May 10.
Thus, it turns out that from February 20 to March 10 this is the date for planting pepper seeds for seedlings in 2017. However, this term is quite generalized and refers to the proposed planting in fertilized open ground, for greenhouses, on the other hand, completely different terms, especially if you have a heated greenhouse, then it is quite possible that favorable days for planting seedlings in 2017 of pepper may be shifted by more early dates and you can start planting seeds in the last decade of January.
If you are guided by the lunar calendar, then favorable days for planting seeds for seedlings will be in January - 15 - 17, 30 in February - 13 - 15, 16 - 21 in March - 10 - 14, 15 - 22, these days the moon is in growth phase.
Before planting seeds, be sure to prepare them, cull them, disinfect, harden, stimulate germination and soak.
For discarding, place the seeds in a saline solution with a concentration of 3-4%, some of the seeds will sink to the bottom of the container into which you pour the brine, and some will rise to the top. Those seeds that float up are collected and discarded, and the rest are dried.
The next procedure will be disinfection, for which the seeds are dipped in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for half an hour, another option may be to use special fungicides, in this case, you should use the information indicated on the packaging of the drug.
Hardening, with some effect of stratification, in its simplified form, carried out in order to awaken the dormant seeds of other crops, is very simple. After all seeds suitable for planting have undergone disinfection, they are poured with warm water and wait for the moment when they swell, but do not germinate. After that, the swollen pepper seeds are placed in a refrigerator, having determined a place with a temperature of 1 - 2 * C and left for 36 hours. Thus, the seeds are prepared so that on favorable days for planting seedlings in March 2017, this work can be carried out with a great chance of getting a good harvest of pepper.
You can limit yourself to such preparation of seeds for planting seedlings, or you can, if desired, carry out additional stimulation of germination by immersing the seeds in a solution with a high content of microelements. It can be a ready-made preparation purchased in a store, or you can prepare it yourself by making a solution of wood ash, which contains up to 30 different microelements. Seeds in gauze bags are immersed in such a solution for a day, carrying out this procedure a couple of days before sowing.
And finally, we just have to soak the prepared seeds by putting them in a damp cloth, it is very important that the cloth does not dry out, so you can cover it with plastic wrap overnight. We place the soaked pepper seeds in a warm place and control the germination process, the seeds can hatch both after 5 - 6 days and after two weeks.
But not only the seeds should be prepared for planting, the soil for them should also be prepared in advance, as well as decide whether you will carry out a pick, what determines what container you will use.
All of the above activities must be carried out regardless of the region of residence, for example, having decided on favorable days for planting seedlings in 2017 in the Urals, and they will be shifted from the generally recommended ones by a month, preliminary work should be started now.
So, by the specific date for planting pepper seeds you have chosen, we also prepare the soil, which can be purchased ready-made, or you can prepare it yourself, for which you mix peat with earth and sand, adding a small amount of ash. The proportions will be as follows 2: 1: 1, you can also add a small amount of well-rotted three-year compost to this mixture.
Prepared boxes, trays or cups should be disinfected, especially carefully if you have not used them for the first time, and then dry them.
If picking is supposed, then we plant the seeds in common boxes, otherwise, by the way, it is more correct, planting will be done in separate small cups. A large container should not be used right away, it is better after the appearance of two or three true leaves, which corresponds to the timing of the pick, to transplant the seedlings into more spacious containers. This will be much easier to do than picking, and besides, it is much more harmless for the seedlings themselves, whose delicate root system does not tolerate this procedure very well. It is also not necessary to plant seeds immediately in large containers, the undeveloped root system will not be able to fill the entire volume and the processes of acidification and rotting of the soil will begin, which will lead to the formation of a "black leg".
Unlike peppers, tomato seedlings. in this sense, less capricious, they can be grown in a common container, followed by a pick. After you decide on auspicious days for tomato seedlings in 2017, we prepare everything you need and start the process itself.
Having prepared the soil, sprinkle it over the container and slightly compact the top, you can do this with a tablespoon, if we are talking about small plastic cups, water it. A small amount of dry soil should be left, it is useful for filling the seeds. From above with tweezers we lay out the hatched seeds, if in a common container, then according to the scheme 5 X 5, for peppers and 4 X 4, for tomatoes. We plant 2 - 3 pieces in cups, so that later we can choose the strongest seedling and remove the weaker ones. We cover all the decomposed germinated seeds with dry prepared soil, the layer of which should not exceed 1.5 - 2 cm.
We cover the entire plantation with air-permeable material and put it in a warm place with a temperature of 26 * C, constantly monitoring the soil moisture, watering should be carried out by drip so as not to wash the seeds to the surface, or using a spray bottle.
After the first shoots appear, we remove the shelter and transfer everything to a cooler, but brighter place, the temperature should now not exceed 17 * C. In addition to natural lighting, the seedlings should also be provided with artificial lighting throughout the day until 20 pm.
It is not possible to unequivocally establish the timing of planting seeds for seedlings of flowers for all their varieties. The seeds of some types of flowers must be planted for seedlings as early as January; Shabo carnations are a striking representative of this range of flower varieties; they should be planted as early as early January. The beginning of flowering of this species from planting seeds stretches for as much as 5 - 6 months. In the second half of January, pansies are sown. Auspicious days for planting flower seedlings in 2017 are calculated exactly according to the same principle as for seedlings of vegetables, but the starting point should be the specific planting time of each species in open ground, indicated on the seed bag.
However, before heading to the store, it would be nice to decide in advance what kind of flowers you want to see on your site. You should also think over the time periods of flowering, not forgetting to purchase seeds with the earliest flowering period, so that your site will please the eye from early spring and contribute to a pleasant outdoor recreation.
Having decided on the assortment, you can start purchasing seeds, but you should carefully study the information on the bags.
As a rule, flower seeds are very small, so when planting, there may be some problems associated with a lack of experience, and if you are sowing flower seeds for seedlings for the first time, then the best option would be to purchase them in a specially prepared granular form.
Here are some examples of the timing of planting flower seeds, with favorable days, according to the lunar calendar:
- viola, salvia, kobea, diascea, delphinium
The seeds of these flowers should be planted on the waning moon in February: 2 - 7, 23 - 29 in March: 3 - 8, 24 - 30 in April: 2 - 6, 23 - 29.
- verbena, primrose, snapdragon, levkoya, lobelia, aster, castor oil plant, ageratum
March: 3-8, 24-30.
- baratsy, zinnias, cellozia, lobularia, amaranth, asters
End of April - beginning of May. April: 24 - 28, May: 2 - 3, 8 - 11.
Species such as zinnia, purslane, cosmea, iberis, clarkia, phacelia can be planted for seedlings from mid-February, but later dates are also possible if for some reason you are late with this work.
We will write auspicious days for petunia seedlings in 2017 in more detail, based on the recommendations related to the lunar calendar:
January - 1 -5, February - 5, 6, March - 3 - 5, April - 1, May - 2, 3. The seeds of these beloved flowers should be purchased in various shades to decorate your site as effectively as possible.
It is important to remember that for seedlings of flowers, you should prepare the soil in the proportion: 3 parts of peat, 2 parts of garden soil, 2 parts of sand, this is in the event that you decide to prepare it yourself, and not purchase it from the store.
Don't forget [url = Fertilizing vegetables: when and how to fertilize vegetables? ] fertilize vegetables [/ url].
Before planting the seeds, they should be disinfected in potassium permanganate as well as the seeds of vegetables, and it is also imperative to stratify them.
How to use perlite and vermiculite
The myth that vermiculite and perlite are excellent mulch. Let me explain why: firstly, these are very light materials, and as I said at the beginning, they float on the surface of the water! Even in a container for growing seedlings, it can be difficult with them when watering, they all float up! And what will happen in the garden bed after the rain? All material will simply float away in an unknown direction! And if it does not float away from the water, then the wind will blow it away without any difficulty at all! Secondly, these materials are light, perlite is generally white, and they will interfere with the heating of the soil, especially in spring!
These are these "worms" and "pearls" - useful and necessary for growing seedlings!
In conclusion, let me remind you that these materials are very similar and perform the same functions, so there is no need to mix and add them together to the substrate! And, of course, if you cannot afford to buy them, or if you do not have them on sale, then your seedlings will not grow worse from this! Replace with sand and peat or coconut fiber! The sand will loosen, and the peat will retain moisture :)