Growing plants from seeds is a much cheaper proposition than buying plants and results in the acquisition of a multitude of saplings which can then be shared with other plant lovers. It is not a difficult task and with a little attention and care will reward the grower with healthy and viable plants.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
- Seeds – Good quality seeds should be used. Check the viability of seed. It should be fresh i.e. one season old.
- Containers for sowing seeds – Shallow pots with drainage holes.
- Growing medium – A good soil mix.
- Coverings – Plastic sheets or newspaper to cover the container.
- Sprayer – Watering should be done by using a sprayer to minimise dislodging seeds and saplings.
- Seeds with hard shells should be soaked in water for 12 hrs before sowing to ease germination. Examples of such seeds are peas, corn, squash and okra.
- Seeds which are small and light can be sown directly without soaking. Examples of these are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, turnip and all leafy vegetables.
- Check the expiry date of seeds on the packet. Seeds which are old will take more time to germinate or may not do so at all.
- Check the viability of seeds especially old ones by performing the seed floating test. Place seeds in a glass filled with water for 30 minutes. Poor seeds will float on the surface and the good seeds will sink to the bottom.
70% cocopeat and 30%compost (leaf compost, gobar khad or vermicompost can be used).
To this add a small amount of organic fungicide such as cinnamon powder.
- Take a shallow pot with proper drainage holes. Add broken clay pot pieces (thikra) and a small amount of well rotted cowdung manure. Then add the growing medium leaving a gap of a couple of inches from the top of the pot.
- Sprinkle water with a sprayer to moisten the soil evenly.
- There are two methods of sowing seeds:
- The broadcasting method – Spread seeds evenly and then cover with a thin layer of soil.This is best for small, light seeds like those of leafy vegetables.
- The dibbling method – Make a hole a ¼ inch deep in the soil and place a seed in each hole. Cover with the soil mix. This is preferred for larger seeds such as sweet corn , squash etc.
- Cover the pot with a newspaper and water above the newspaper gently with a sprayer. Alternatively cover the pot with a plastic sheet after watering.
- Keep the soil mix moist ,warm and in the dark for 2-3 days. Once germination starts uncover in the evening maintaining the warmth and humidity by covering during the day time to protect from the sun.
- After the first set of true leaves appear (usually after 1 week) move the pot to where it will get 1 hr of sunlight. The next day allow 2 hrs of sunlight. In this way gradually increase the amount of sunlight the saplings receive.
The Broadcasting Method
The Dibbling Method
TRANSPLANTATION OF SAPLINGS
When the second set of true leaves develop ( approximately 21-25 days) repot in small bags or pots. Always take care to transplant in a shaded area. Once the sapling has established itself feed with a light liquid fertiliser. Move the sapling to where it can receive a full day of sunlight.
After 45 days transplant into the final big pot.
- Always label properly while planting to avoid confusion.
- Water moderately by spraying. Don’t water with pressure.
- If the soil is too wet the seeds might rot. Always have a moist, but not overly wet soil.
- If the soil gets too dry then seeds will not germinate, so ensure adequate watering.
- Seed germination requires warmth, so place the pot where it can get the required warmth. The top of a refrigerator is often a good place for the germination of seeds as it is warm and out of direct light.
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