Today, eggplant is no longer associated with purple and an oblong shape. This vegetable can be burgundy, striped and even white, and its shape can be from spherical to pointed. Despite this diversity, growing eggplant seedlings at home is carried out according to standard technology. Many gardeners consider this plant to be too capricious and prefer to purchase ready-made seedlings, but in fact there are no difficulties in the process, you just need to follow all the rules to create optimal conditions for seedlings to grow.
To grow a good crop, you first need to prepare the best planting material, otherwise you can not expect even the best care for fertility. It is recommended to purchase seeds for this only at trusted points of sale and from the best manufacturers. The package must contain contact information and basic information about the variety.
The most reliable, time-tested crops are sure to be tied to daylight hours. These include the eggplant "Diamond". Growing seedlings whileshould be started as early as possible so that already established plants can form a maximum of ovaries before the daytime becomes longer than 12-14 hours. At this time, the eggplant ceases to form new ovaries until the day decreases again.
Newer varieties are no longer tied to the length of the day and bear fruit growth equally well in all latitudes. When buying a hybrid, it is better to give preference to the first generations. These F1-labeled crops are more resistant to pests, diseases, and other negative factors.
If the package indicates that the seeds have already been processed, then the stage with their preparation in the future can be skipped.
Growing eggplant from seeds for seedlings begins in late February and early spring. It is at this time that seeds should be sown, since the plant has a very slow growth rate and a long growing season. Seedlings will be transferred to the ground only at the age of 45-80 days, depending on the variety.
If desired, late, early, and medium varieties can be sown at the same time, only their time of transplanting into the ground will differ. So:
- early eggplants (85-90 days to maturity) are ready for transplanting already 45-55 days after germination;
- medium (90-120 days) - transplanted on day 55-70;
- late (120-150 days) - ready only for 70-80 days.
In the northern regions, the cultivation of eggplant seedlings should begin no earlier than mid-March and give preference to varieties of fastripening.
The very first step after purchasing planting material is to check it. To do this, dilute a teaspoon of s alt in a glass of water and pour seeds into it. Anything that pops up is not suitable for landing, it is better to throw them away immediately. Those seeds that remained at the bottom must be thoroughly washed from s alt and dried.
The first stage in the preparation of planting material is its calcination. To do this, the planting material must be placed in a tissue and lowered into water for a few minutes 450-500. The main thing is not to overexpose and pull out the seeds after 2-5 minutes.
After that, the seeds are disinfected with "Fitosporin" or a weak solution of potassium permanganate. To do this, they are placed in the prepared solution in a cloth bag for 10-20 minutes, after which they are washed and dried.
Growing eggplant seedlings is not too painstaking, but very long. To accelerate the growth of the crop, the seeds must be treated with a seedling stimulator. You can combine this stage with disinfection. To do this, you need to prepare solutions separately, then mix them and process the seeds. In this case, you do not need to rinse them, just dry them enough.
The final stage of preparation is the hardening of planting material. To do this, dried seeds a week before sowing must be laid out overnight in the refrigerator, and for the day - on the windowsill.
If desired, after hardening, the seeds can be placed in a warm place for germination. To do this, they are placed on a damp cloth.and cover with another layer of damp gauze on top.
Progress is manifested in everything and the secrets of growing eggplant seedlings are also constantly updated with innovations. To speed up the process of preparing planting material, you just need to combine several steps at once, and an ordinary plastic bag and two soft kitchen sponges will help in this.
First you need to prepare a solution of any growth stimulant and while it is still warm, dip sponges into it. Liquid should drain from them. On the surface of one sponge, you need to spread the seeds, cover with a second sponge, place the resulting “sandwich” with the seeds in the prepared bag and in a warm place. For better fixation, the sponges can be fastened together with an elastic band or thread.
After 12 hours, the package must be transferred to the refrigerator, after another 12 - to a warm place, after another 12 again to the cold, so 2-4 days. Thus, additional nutrition is combined with hardening and germination, because the seeds are in a humid environment and after a few days they already start up the first shoots. At the same time, the material does not feel sudden changes in temperature due to the air cushion.
While the seeds are being prepared, it is necessary to deal with the soil. If desired, you can purchase ready-made soil mixture for seedlings or make it yourself. To do this, mix parts of the following components:
- 1-for rotted hardwood sawdust;
- 1-at the sand;
- 1-peat or 1-2 sod land;
You can use another composition:
- 2nd peat;
- 1-at humus;
- 1-at the sand;
- 2nd sheet or sod soil.
It is important to remember that growing seedlings of pepper and eggplant, as well as any other crop, is impossible in contaminated land. To protect the sprouts from diseases, any soil must be calcined, frozen or treated with special disinfectants, and then fertilized.
For top dressing, you can use ready-made complex fertilizers for seedlings or prepare your own mixture from a glass of ash and:
- 30-40g nitrophoska;
- 30-40 g of superphosphate + 20 g of urea and potassium.
Basically, eggplant seedlings are grown without picking, since the plant tolerates such stress very hard. Sprouts can stop growing for several days, or even a week, while the leaves of the seedlings turn yellow and become lifeless.
To disturb eggplants less, it is recommended to plant seeds immediately in peat pots, so that later they can be transferred to the ground with them. You can also use other wide containers in which the roots will not be hurt when digging up the seedlings. If this is not possible or picking has already become a habit, it is better to carry it out in the phase of 2-3 leaves when transplanting sprouts into large containers. In such cases, seeds can be sown quite thickly.
The soil for planting should not be too wet.Seeds are buried 1 cm into the ground and sprinkled on top of the ground without compaction. Between the rows should be left 3-4 cm, and between the holes 2 cm. After that, the soil is moistened with a spray bottle, the container is covered with polyethylene and placed in a warm place.
Growing eggplant seedlings in a "snail" saves a lot of space that pots would take up.
For the manufacture of such a device, it is necessary to prepare a dense polyethylene tape, a large bag or other waterproof material. The tape is laid out on the table, a strip of toilet paper is placed on it and moistened. Not reaching the upper edge of the strips of 1 cm, the seeds are laid out with an interval of 1-2 cm. After that, they are covered with a second strip, covered with a layer of earth, the structure is folded into a "snail". So that it does not fall apart, they bandage it, put it on a shallow tray and cover it with a bag.
If you wish, you can first twist the structure itself without using paper, and after turning it over, make indentations in the ground, place the seeds in them.
The main rule for growing and caring for eggplant seedlings is to imitate natural conditions. To do this, it is necessary to constantly monitor the lighting, temperature fluctuations, feed and water the sprouts in a timely manner. As soon as the first loops appear in the soil container, the film must be removed and the seedlings placed in a lighted place. The temperature should notbe above 160 degrees, otherwise the seedlings will stretch and not form a strong root system.
Lighting and temperature
Further cultivation of eggplant seedlings involves a gradual increase in temperature. It is important to remember that naturalness is the main rule, if the weather is cloudy outside, then the temperature needs to be reduced.
Before the seedlings need to be taken out to the main place of growth, they must be hardened off. To do this, the sprouts are taken out to the loggia or the street, gradually increasing the time from 20 minutes to several hours. A couple of days before planting, you can leave the sprouts all night in a greenhouse or barn. Seedlings are planted when their height reaches 15-20 cm, the sprouts will already have 8-10 true leaves.
It is very important to avoid drafts when growing eggplant seedlings.
As for lighting, additional illumination of sprouts is required only in the first month of their life. To do this, use a lamp with a power of not more than 80 watts and place it 0.2 m above the sprouts. As they grow, the lamp rises. Additional light should be turned on only in the morning and evening for a couple of hours or in cloudy weather. Instead of a lamp, you can put foil panels near the seedlings, which will reflect the sun's rays, increasing natural light.
Feeding and watering
Watering the plant is important only under the root and warm water. The procedure should be repeated every 2-4 days, if desired, you can add antifungal drugs to it.
Without top dressing to manage in the care and cultivationEggplant seedlings are very rare. You can use ready-made complex mixtures or one of the options below:
- 30-40g nitrophoska;
- the same amount of superphosphate and 5-10 g of urea.
Each variant is bred in a bucket of water. The first time the mixture is applied when the second true leaf is formed, then after a couple of weeks and the third time a week before transplanting into the ground.
Growing eggplant seedlings without picking avoids many growth problems, but few still refuse this technique. So, if, after picking, the sprouts slowed down growth and became lifeless, then it is recommended to feed them with Kornevin.
Slow growth can also be observed when the available capacity is no longer enough for the sprout. In this case, the seedlings need to be transplanted.
Yellow leaves on seedlings are a sign of starvation. Such sprouts urgently need complex top dressing.
Eggplants can wither for two reasons - due to cold or improper watering. The first reason is eliminated by the exclusion of drafts. To do this, containers with seedlings must be placed on foam or boards. Excessive watering can lead to rotting of the roots, which will provoke damage to the entire plant. At the initial stage, you can remove the sprout from the ground and carefully remove the damaged roots, then process it with Kornevin and plant it again.
Pests can also cause damage to seedlings. To get rid of them, you need to treat young plants with an insecticide.