We prepare good soil for seedlings
Now more and more gardeners are striving to grow vegetables precisely in the seedling method, and to prepare seedlings, as well as soil for it, on their own. This is true, because if you learn this, you can grow good seedlings and save on both. It is clear that the soil for seedlings must meet the needs of a particular crop: one feed the soil fertile and moist (cucumbers), and the other loves the soil drier and poorer (tomatoes). There are specimens that generally prefer sour soil, in general, there is no universal soil. However, there are still basic requirements for seedlings.
- What should be the soil for seedlings?
- Where is it better to take the soil for the mixture?
- A few words about the prepared soil for seedlings
- Technique for preparing high-quality soil for seedlings
- Methods for disinfecting soil for seedlings
What should be the soil for seedlings?
First of all, it is moderate fertility in the content of beneficial microflora and all the necessary substances for nutrition. Secondly, this is the balance of the soil both in mineral composition and in organic. And all this must be in an accessible form for plants.
In addition, the soil for seedlings must be water-permeable and breathable, capable of long-term retention of moisture. Ecological purity, a neutral pH level - all these are unwritten laws, and of course, the lightest, crumbly in structure, without lumps and impurities.
By the way, about lumps: you should not leave clay pieces in the soil, because it compacts the soil, as well as various plant residues that can absorb nitrogen during its decomposition and overheat the soil, in this case the seedlings will die. Should not be in the soil for seedlings of seeds of weeds, worms and larvae of various insects.
You can’t dig such soil in the garden or the nearest forest. Usually this is a multicomponent composition, often consisting of equal parts of peat (usually lowland), humus, river sand and 50% of old, good soil.
Where is it better to take the soil for the mixture?
For some reason, many believe that it is forest soil that is ideal in every way. However, this is not so, it is only an integral part, the base, but good (for tomatoes, for example). It is best to harvest forest soil at the very end of the summer season so that it does not freeze while you get to the forest with a shovel.
Take forest soil only from under healthy trees, while avoiding oaks, chestnuts, willows, where there are a lot of tannins. Take hardwood soil, but not from pine: coniferous soil is often too acidic for seedlings.
And can I take the soil from the beds? You can, however, be careful about precautions. For example, do not take soil for cucumbers and pumpkin from the area where pumpkin crops or cucumbers grew, and if you are going to plant tomatoes, then do not take soil after tomato, potatoes and other nightshade crops.
A few words about the prepared soil for seedlings
You can buy soil for seedlings in the store - there are a lot of packages with soil. To check, you can take one: yes, the soil is light, nutritious, moisture-absorbing, it is written on the package that deoxidizers, various macronutrients and available micronutrients have been added to it. All this comes out conveniently and not always expensive.
However, ready-made mixtures also have disadvantages - this is, first of all, an unknown amount of nutrients. It is clear that they are there, but how much? Next is the acidity of the soil. Often it ranges from 5.0 to 6.5, and this is a large spread. Instead of peat, there may be peat dust, there is no expiration date on the package, and so on.
The recipe for seedlings using the finished mixture: take good purchased soil, mix it in equal parts with garden soil or turf soil, add 100 g of ordinary chalk (deoxidizing agent) to 10 kilograms. Why so? From our own experience it is known that even an expensive purchased mixture is often peat with a very high acidity.
What is turf land? In fact, this is a substrate, which is formed by a long process associated with laying layers of turf in a stack and pouring the latter with mullein. Two seasons of constant moistening with this “nectar”, and only then you can proudly say that it is precisely high-quality turf soil that lies on your site.
Technique for preparing high-quality soil for seedlings
Everything is simple here: river sand, lowland peat, land from the forest or from the garden, and all in equal shares. Believe me, this will more than suit seedlings of eggplant, cabbage, pepper, tomatoes.
No peat? Then add humus, this is even better, since you eliminate the possibility of error and the addition of acid peat (horse, say). If you want to do just fine, then for each kilogram of soil add 100 grams of wood ash, soot or furnace ash.
In general, as we wrote above, high-quality soil for seedlings depends on the culture. For example, cabbage, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelons like this composition: about 35% of the soil (forest, garden), humus (up to 50%) or peat (about 30%), river sand (the rest, up to 100% ) For seedlings of cabbage, the proportion of river sand can be increased to 40%, and tomatoes in the forest and in the garden, consisting of 70%, or even 100% of the soil, are growing well!
Important! Remember, it is seedlings that do not require nutritious soil, but grown seedlings already require more valuable soil in terms of nutrition.
Naturally, all components must be ready in the fall and in the fall the soil must be prepared finally. Why? Because the composition will unite into a single unit and seedlings in the spring will be as comfortable as possible. The best way to store self-prepared soil for seedlings is a closed plastic bag.
Let’s now deal with such an important issue as soil disinfection.
Methods for disinfecting soil for seedlings
Freezing soil for seedlings
For me, this is the most optimal and gentle way out of a dozen, probably, possible. We prepare the soil mixture, fill it with fabric bags and put it on an unheated balcony or in a barn, or under a canopy. About 100 days before the seedling period, the bags can be brought into the house and allowed to thaw completely, after holding so a week. Then mercilessly again in the cold - in this way weed seeds and all sorts of larvae that begin to wake up will be destroyed at once.
Cons of the method - it cannot protect against all diseases, therefore, just before sowing the seeds, it is advisable to shed the soil with potassium permanganate (light red).
In this case, the soil is calcined at temperatures under a hundred degrees, but in this way all the beneficial microflora is also guaranteed to die. A dead, sterile soil is formed.
Disinfection of soil with potassium permanganate
It was, is and will be a universal means of disinfecting the soil (within reasonable limits). A couple of weeks before sowing the seeds, make a raspberry potassium permanganate solution (usually five grams per bucket of water with a temperature of about 40 ° C), mix very well, spill the soil and immediately cover it with a film.
A couple of days before sowing (three to four), repeat everything again.
A person is allergic to it, but he can protect the soil from a number of troubles - from various bacteria and viruses, from fungi and even from nematodes and thrips. In order to solve all the problems at once, you need to generously scoop out a tablespoon of mustard powder from the pack and mix with five liters of soil. You can, by the way, add my favorite nitroammophoska in the amount of 5-7 g to the same volume of soil.
Biological soil preparation methods
It is possible to disinfect the soil with completely harmless preparations, and they are safe not only for plants, but also for humans, and in general for the environment. These are the so-called biological fungicides, such as Alirin-B, Gamair, Fitosporin-M and a variety of others, like these. How do they work?
Suppose we created the soil by any of the above methods, then we breed the drug according to the instructions and spill the soil with the drug. Its bacterial cultures begin to actively clean the soil you created from all sorts of muck, including even the causative agents of a wide variety of fungal and bacterial diseases. Moreover, the composition of these preparations can also contain useful humic substances, so to speak, a double benefit (but the price, however, is also double).
These drugs relax the soil, reduce or completely remove its toxicity, and you are exempted from the need to spill boiling water, freeze or calcine the soil.
The most interesting thing is that after you have prepared the soil and decided to treat it with one of the disinfecting drugs, you need to read the instructions and act strictly on it. For example, the well-known drug Trichodermin is well known to everyone: just one gram is enough to disinfect a whole liter of soil. Trichodermin can be used literally a few days before sowing seeds to receive seedlings, for example, already three or four days later.
EM-preparations: also do not write them off, they contain many useful microorganisms for the soil and plants. And they can be used as a final stage in the preparation of soil for the production of seedlings. Sometimes even tired soil after application of EM preparations seems to come to life and transform. One of these drugs, which you, of course, know well, is Baikal EM1.
Here is an approximate method of its application: after storage in cold weather, the prepared soil composition for seedlings after thawing should be shed with this preparation about a month before sowing the seeds, and then just fill the seedling containers, as you always do, and cover them with a film. The main thing is that the ratio of the drug to the soil is negligible, only 1 to 500, and the effect is sometimes very noticeable.