Cultivating your own seedlings is a very time-consuming and time-consuming process, which requires the creation of certain temperature and humidity conditions. At the same time, plants that are planted in the open air with seedlings that are stronger and more resilient can take root more easily. This is especially true for plants with small seeds, which are often planted by insects. Cultivation of seedlings is also relevant in areas with a cold climate and short summers, as it reduces the time of open vegetation.
The seedlings should be sown at the time specified on the seed package. But if you have the time, areas and the possibility of additional lighting, then you can safely sow the seeds one month earlier than the stated date.
If you do not have a special drawer with electric heating for seedlings, you can buy plastic trays with compartments or use regular drawers with drain holes for seedlings. Some crops (cucumbers, eggplants, courgettes, etc.) have a fragile root system and should therefore be sown in separate containers. For this purpose you can use paper or plastic cups, peat or compost pouches or cups made of pressed flour. The last three types of containers will decompose in the soil and at the same time feed the seedlings.
For sowing the seeds you can buy a special ready-made soil, or you can prepare it yourself: 3 parts of perennial + 4 parts of sand + 3 parts of soil. The soil should be well sifted and burned in the oven, or steamed – to destroy spores of fungi and bacteria. Only sterilization should be done about a month before planting the seeds so that the soil microflora can recover. You can add special mineral additives – vermiculite or perlite – to the soil, they will maintain moisture and breathability of the soil. Place the soil in a container so that it does not reach the upper edge of 1 cm – this is necessary for easy maintenance. Most seeds are lightly covered with earth from above and some are left open. After sowing, containers are labelled – indicate type, variety of plant, date of sowing.
An important factor in seed germination is air temperature and lighting. For normal seed germination and successful seed growth, a day of light at 15-17 hours is optimal, so near the seedlings you should install lighting and periodically turn the containers on different sides. The temperature for germination should be kept between 22-24 degrees Celsius. Seedlings should be kept at 15-17 degrees. Lower temperatures will slow down both germination and plant growth, but they will be stronger.
Water and spray the seedlings from a watering can or sprayer with a fine filter. You can adjust the watering mode yourself, the main thing is not to flood the seedlings, but not to let them dry out. Watering should be done frequently but little by little. Only use warm, standing water or chlorine-free water for watering.
Following these simple tips, you will be able to grow healthy, strong seedlings, and thus increase the chances for future successful harvests.