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Long before the arrival of the heat and the start of work on the land, many gardeners have already opened the season, starting the cultivation of seedlings on the windowsill of city apartments. Since the future harvest depends on the quality of the plants grown in not very comfortable conditions, the process does not require haste, but serious preparation for it is simply necessary.
How to grow seedlings on the windowsill?
Often, gardeners start sowing almost in the middle of winter, motivating this with the desire to get large and strong seedlings, ready to continue to grow and begin to bear fruit without serious acclimatization problems. However, in spring, many summer residents have to take out overgrown, literally creeping plants with pale green foliage and a root system entangled in a tight tangle.
To prevent this from happening, you can follow one of two strategies:
- The first is not to rush the crops, but to create the most favorable conditions for the seedlings to grow;
- The second is to slow down the growth of seedlings in order to eliminate the negative effects of a lack of light and long-term cultivation during early sowing.
Obviously, the first method is preferable. First, by the springtime the daylight naturally increases, and therefore the seedlings are less likely to be stretched and weak, on the other hand, it will not be necessary to slow down the growth of plants, reducing watering and temperature.
A light for seedlings on the windowsill today is not a problem. You can use phytolamps as well as install cost-effective fluorescent or LED devices to illuminate the landings.
If at the same time provide seedlings and other optimal conditions: food, watering, air humidity and temperature, the plants will respond with a friendly growth, will be strong and ready to give a good harvest.
Time for sowing
According to this strategy, you can grow seedlings on the windowsill as soon as possible.
- Tomatoes of medium and late maturation from sowing to planting in the soil takes from 55 to 60 days, early varieties and hybrids grow 10 to 15 days faster.
- Sweet pepper grows in 65 - 75 days. This culture is not so sensitive to stretching when growing seedlings on a windowsill. Seedlings of pepper can be planted with buds, however, it is better to remove the flowers.
- All celery species are sown 70 - 80 days before transplanting to the ground.
- Eggplant needs 60 days.
- Cabbage Salad - about 40 days.
- Cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, and sweet melons: melons and watermelons are ready for planting in a month. Moreover, with such rapid growth, it is better to sow these crops immediately in individual containers.
- White-ripe early ripe and cauliflower is ready to be transplanted to the beds in 45 days, and mid-season or late varieties in forty days.
- All sorts of bows are sown in the third decade of March or a little earlier.
As for the second concept, growing seedlings on the windowsill begins very early, and to keep the stretch, lower the room temperature. Seedlings, such as cabbage, after spitting should be kept at 6 - 10 °, which is not easy to implement in an apartment, and therefore reduce and watering, giving plants moisture when they just start to wilt.
Obviously, this method is not the best.
What do you need to grow seedlings on a windowsill?
But in any case, it is important to carefully prepare for this important matter. Namely:
- Calculate how much seedlings will be needed;
- Prepare the soil and fertilizers;
- Stock up tanks for seedlings;
- Consider ensuring an adequate level of humidity and temperature;
- Prepare seeds of decent quality and disinfect them before sowing.
The minimum set of equipment that a summer resident needs to obtain healthy seedlings on a windowsill includes:
- Additionally, shelves or seedling racks attached to the window;
- Illumination system for phytolamps, LEDs, or fluorescent light sources;
- Timer, setting the duration of the artificial light;
- Sowing trays and containers for planting after picking;
- Floor mats for heating landing boxes;
- daylight lamps;
- Chains or cords for adjusting the height of the suspension lamps.
The problem of lighting seedlings on the sill
The sprouts emerging from seeds do not have much strength to grow. And if they get mineral substances from the soil, then organic matter should be produced during photosynthesis, which requires light. Within a week or two after sprouting, the seedlings are ready for picking, however, with a lack of light, the plants are frail and more susceptible to root rot.
Ideally, the seedlings in the first days require around-the-clock lighting, and then the plants are better provided with 16-hour lighting. It is clear that March ten or April thirteen hours is not enough. Therefore, it is necessary by all means to ensure access of light to plants.
How to organize the backlight for seedlings on the windowsill?
In nature, plants live in the conditions of solar lighting, consisting of waves of different lengths. The blue and purple parts of the spectrum are designed to regulate growth, helping sprouts to be strong. The red spectrum affects germination.
Therefore, the whole spectrum is important, and it is necessary not only to make the most of the light entering the room, but also to give the seedlings effective illumination. It makes sense to install a matte screen that makes the light diffused, and use reflective structures, such as foil-insulated material.
However, one cannot do without special artificial lighting. In the middle lane conditions, the backlight for seedlings on the windowsills of residential houses and apartments is important until the transplantation of seedlings to the site.
In this case, ordinary, with a tungsten filament, lamps are the worst choice, they give only a small fraction of the natural spectrum, but more than compensate for this with an excess of thermal radiation, forcing the shoots to stretch.
The most effective specialized fitolamps, fluorescent or LED devices, which are also more economical.
How to place the seedlings?
It is logical that you should not grow seedlings on a windowsill located on the north wall of a building. However, the health of the seedlings and the future harvest depend both on the area allocated to each seedling and on the volume of the container in which the root system of the plant develops.
On a fairly spacious window sill of 1 meter by 30 cm, you can arrange about 40 bushes of tomatoes or peppers, but the needs of summer residents are usually much greater. The way out of this situation can be:
- Expansion of a window sill at the expense of console structures;
- Installing another shelf approximately in the middle of the window frame;
- Ready-made or home-made racks for seedlings on the window sill
Containers and Boxes
Any capacity of up to 0.2 l in which seedlings are often grown is insufficient for the development of high-quality roots, they are often intertwined, forming a tight tangle, which, when transplanted into the ground, most of them die. And, it means that seedlings are more difficult to acclimatize and will subsequently produce a weak crop.
In addition to sufficient capacity, containers for growing seedlings are simply required to have:
- Sufficient and very reliable drainage, which does not allow stagnant moisture;
- Opaque walls that protect the root system from overheating and cooling, as well as positively affecting its growth;
- Sufficient rigidity to ensure reliable position of plants when moving or any ground movement.
Watering seedlings of
Until the sprouting of the sprouts, the crops are watered daily with a weak solution of a biological cocktail or growth stimulator. Then, depending on the air temperature and soil conditions in containers, the plants are watered or sprayed up to three times a week.
In order to ensure sufficient moisture for each plant after picking, you can organize a kind of irrigation system with a tray by means of plastic bottles and a thick woolen thread.
For most crops, an acceptable humidity level of approximately 70%.Unfortunately, in no residential area, especially when the heating is on, this level is difficult to reach.
Therefore, due to the dryness of the air, seedlings on the windowsill accumulate an excessive amount of salt, and soil salinity occurs, which looks like a brown coating on the surface and provoking seedling diseases, especially cabbage.
To increase the humidity of the air, it is necessary to use household humidifiers or place a basin with water under the battery, into which a dense towel should be lowered with one end, and spread out the other end on the heating device.
Hardening of seedlings
Before entering to a permanent place, seedlings grown on a windowsill must be hardened on a loggia, a glazed balcony or in a simple greenhouse.
For this purpose, containers for at least two or three days are exposed for several hours in close to natural conditions.