Every year I look forward to growing my vegetables and herbs. So that strong young plants sprout from seeds, there are a few small things to consider while doing cultivation. In this article, you will get to know the best tips for successful cultivation.
The Right Time
If the spring sun shows up for the first time in the middle of February, then we would like to start growing vegetables and herbs straight away. Your fingers itchy and holding back seems almost impossible. But it is still far too early! The only things you can prefer from mid to late February are chilies, peppers, and eggplant. They have a very long germination time and maybe preferred one month to everyone else. You should be patient with the remaining seeds of tomatoes, zucchini, or flowers until mid / end of March. You can only plant them on the balcony or in the garden towards the end of May (after the ice saints). If they stand in the apartment for months due to very early cultivation, the seedlings are not at all good. They become long, thin, and limp.
Use Potting Soil
In the cultivation soil, there are no residues from other plants, no microorganisms, or fungal spores. It is not fertilized and therefore ideal for the tender roots of the seedlings. As soon as you have the potting soil in your hand, you will notice how beautifully loose and permeable it is. It is better not to use garden soil or compost. By using potting soil, you will increase the likelihood that the seeds will germinate well and develop into stately plantlets.
If you still have difficulties with hard soil, there are some very effective ways on how to soften hard soil.
From the moment the seeds lie in the potting soil and have been poured on, you must no longer dry them out. Otherwise, the germination process will stop. A watering shower is a great help for pouring on. The gentle jet of water does not wash the seeds to the surface – everything stays in its place. Put a cling film or an indoor greenhouse over the seed trays. In this way, you save yourself frequent watering and your cultivation cannot dry out. As soon as the plants look out of the ground, just remove the foil. Should mold develop in between, that’s not so bad. So that it does not spread any further, ventilate the seed and remove the film.
Over time, I’ve had the experience that it works best in shallow bowls. They offer enough space for the seeds and at the same time you don’t need so much potting soil. You can sow in practical rows in it. In this way, you can prefer many different types of vegetables in one seed tray. The bowls fit perfectly on a window sill and do not take up too much space in the apartment.
A Bright & Warm Place
Light and warmth are essential for the seeds to thrive. Unfortunately, there is often too much heat and too little light in the apartment. It’s bright on the windowsill, but if the heater is running underneath, it’s not a good place for the seedlings. You have to look for a location in the apartment that brings the ideal conditions possible. If there is only space on the floor (e.g. if you have floor-to-ceiling windows or balcony doors) you can put the bowls there. They grow on an upside-down cardboard box and the floor does not get wet.
Don’t Sow Too Closely
Sowing is not necessarily something for gross motor skilled people like me. The seeds quickly end up too close to one spot or in a row. And such dense sowing is not good, because the seedlings then compete early on for light, space, and few nutrients. In addition, they are often too fine to prick out. Therefore, sow the seeds carefully and at the recommended spacing – or spoil them in good time. The plants will thank you and reward you with a rich harvest.
So that you have an overview and know exactly which vegetables are in which pot, I would advise you to label the sowing. To do this, I cut up a yogurt cup and note the date of sowing and the varieties on it. But you can also buy labels and use a pencil (which lasts best) to write down the most important information on them.
Be Sure to Prick
After around 4 weeks (depending on the variety) the seeds have grown into small seedlings. So that they now become compact, stately young plants, the step of pricking out (also called singling out) is very important. If you have already sown the seeds in individual pots, you still have to. From now on the seedlings want a different soil. The potting soil does not provide them with nutrients, but seedlings need them to grow large and strong. Therefore, convert them into rich organic vegetable soil.
The young plants are hardened from the middle/end of April when there are the first mild, sunny days. They can enjoy some fresh air on warm days. It shouldn’t be in direct sunlight yet, but in a shady place protected from the wind. Bring in again at night. Hardening is important so that the plants get used to outdoor conditions (sun, wind, rain) and do not get an outdoor shock. If the plant is not hardened, it may cease to grow or dies immediately when it is planted out.
Around mid-May, when there is no longer any threat of night frost, you can finally move your self-grown plants into the bed or the balcony box.