Usually in the southern and central regions there is no particular need to grow pumpkin through seedlings. Its seeds germinate well when planted in open ground, grow well and give good yields. If you are a resident of a colder region or want to get a pumpkin crop ahead of the deadline declared by the producer (as a rule, this period is 120-140 days from sowing to harvesting), it is advisable to first grow pumpkin seedlings and plant it in open ground. Today we’ll talk about the proper cultivation of pumpkin seedlings.Growing pumpkin seedlings.
The right choice of pumpkin seeds
First of all, you need to select the "right" seeds for sowing pumpkin seedlings. If you collect the seeds yourself, which most often happens, then you must be sure that you are growing a variety, not a hybrid. Among such seedlings, eventually plants will grow that are radically different from those that grew on your site last year.
If you are sure that it is a variety that grows, and not an F1 hybrid, then you can collect seeds and you need, as a rule, there are a lot of seeds inside the pumpkin and there is plenty to choose from. Try to choose whole seeds, without damage, without signs of rot, fully ripened. You can simply check them by slightly pushing your finger on the sides: the seeds that have been made (ripened) are not for sale, the seeds of the “dummy” are being sold, and you will feel that this is not a seed, but in fact only a shell from it.
Further, after choosing healthy, whole, made seeds, and you can do this in advance, specify how many of these seeds you have already stored. Typically, the germination of pumpkin seeds lasts quite a long time, from six to eight years; in large retail chains, old seeds are usually discarded, but at home you can forget about the “bag” of seeds, and since the years fly quickly, they will also quickly lose germination and seeds. To prevent this from happening, always write the date on the packaging with the seeds when you isolate them and put them in storage.
When buying seeds in a store, try to choose varieties of well-known manufacturers, they sell reliable and proven seeds, and on the packaging with their seeds, the date of packing them in a bag is always written or stamped with a seal, not a typographic drawing.
Try to take seeds fresh if there is a year or a half left before the expiration date, even at a discount, it is better not to take such seeds.
Preparation of pumpkin seeds for sowing seedlings
After you have selected the seeds, you need to sort them into fractions. Fractions can simply be made based on the size of the seeds - large, medium and small - purely by eye, and thus put them in piles.
Each fraction of seeds, regardless of their size, must first be “woken up”, for this it is desirable to place the seeds in water (preferably thawed or rain), heated to 40-43 degrees above zero for about an hour. After this time, the seeds must be removed and, not rinsing with cold water, wrapped in a damp rag or gauze and placed in an ordinary room in a shaded place for a couple of days before the seeds hatch. All this time you need to monitor the humidity of the rag or gauze, keeping it slightly moist (periodically spraying with water). If a large number of seeds is planned for planting, then you should not put all of them in one large rag or gauze, but it is better to divide into several small, say, ten pieces.
By the way, gardeners note that when grown through seedlings, pumpkin is less sick and affected by pests, apparently, it better maintains immunity, without wasting it on the fight against adverse external environmental factors at the initial stage of growth when sown in open ground.
If you are a resident of a region where night frosts, temperature drops, and return cold are frequent, then besides soaking the seeds and dividing them into fractions, it is worthwhile to harden the pumpkin seeds. Such a simple process will increase or strengthen the immunity of seedlings, increase the cold resistance of plants and slightly increase their resistance to pests and diseases.
In order to harden pumpkin seeds, it is necessary to carefully hatched seeds so as not to damage the sprouts, without removing them from a rag or gauze, simply unfold it and put the seeds directly on it on the lowest shelves of an ordinary household refrigerator and hold there for a day.
Also, to increase growth activity, seeds are often sprayed with Epin, Heteroauxin, or the like.
For the purpose of additional hardening, seeds that have already bent over are placed on the lower shelves of the domestic refrigerator for two days. As an additional top dressing, it is permissible to cover them in a wet rag with wood soot - a teaspoon for 25-30 seeds.Seedlings of pumpkin seeds sown on seedlings.
Preparation of containers for growing pumpkin seedlings
While preparing seeds, it is permissible to engage in the preparation of containers for growing seedlings. This can be ordinary seedling wooden boxes, preferably new and dry, preferably pre-treated with a 2% potassium permanganate solution and well dried after that, as well as plastic containers with mandatory holes in the base to drain excess moisture, which can be easily and easily done with a hot awl , or individual plastic cups, also with a hole in the base, also made with a hot awl.
If you do not want to risk replanting seedlings, but want to immediately plant it in open ground without injuring the roots, then you can sow seeds in peat mugs. In such a glass, you can sow a couple of seeds, then choose the best plant, remove the second one or transplant it carefully, and then plant the glass in the soil without touching the roots of the seedling. A peat mug will serve as food, seedlings will not receive additional stress due to the restoration of the root system after its damage.
When choosing peat mug glasses, it is better to take their sizes for pumpkins from 7x7 cm, a little more, but no less.
Preparation of soil for growing pumpkin seedlings
When the containers are ready, and the seeds are soaked, you can begin to prepare the soil for growing pumpkin seedlings. Of course, you can buy soil in the store - read carefully about its composition, and if everything is in order, the soil is not acidic or alkaline, then sow seeds in it, but you can always prepare the soil yourself. Usually the ideal soil for growing pumpkin seedlings is a mixture of two parts of transitional peat, one part of well-rotted sawdust and one part of humus. It is advisable to enrich the resulting mixture with a teaspoon of nitroammophoska in terms of five kilograms of soil.
When the soil is ready, they need to tightly fill the available containers, after which it is good to spill melt or rain water at room temperature and you can start sowing seeds. Typically, pumpkin seeds are planted to a depth of 3-4 cm, no more.
When growing pumpkin seedlings not in separate containers, but in large boxes, vegetable growers advise, before laying soil in the boxes, pour a little expanded clay for drainage literally one or two centimeters thick down.
The optimal period for sowing, by the way, is about 18-22 days before planting seedlings in the soil. A lot depends on the weather outside, and on the region of your residence - you need to calculate the period based on the climate.
If we take the middle lane of Russia, it is best to plant seedlings in mid-May, of course, it is impossible to exclude return frosts, but the soil and air by that time will already be warm enough to accept pumpkin seedlings.
Work on the care of pumpkin seedlings
But we ran a little ahead, before planting seedlings in open ground there was still quite a lot of time, because so far we only sowed seeds. Before the seedlings appear on the surface of the soil, it is necessary to cover the containers with cling film or glass to create a greenhouse effect. If you planted pumpkin seeds in separate cups, then it is advisable to compose them in one large container with high sides and also cover it with cling film or glass. It is important before the seedlings appear at least once a day to open the film for a couple of minutes in order to let in fresh air and keep the soil in a slightly moist state, spraying it from the spray gun.
As for the optimum temperature, it is very desirable to maintain it at 19-24 degrees above zero in the daytime, and lower it to 14-16 degrees at night.
As soon as shoots appear above the surface of the soil, the film must be removed, and seedlings put on the southern windowsill and every three days turn it the other side to the light so that it does not develop with a bias on one side.
Gardeners also note that pumpkin seedlings are often stretched. To minimize this unpleasant phenomenon, it is necessary immediately after emergence for about a week to lower the temperature to 16-17 degrees above zero in the daytime and to 11-14 degrees above zero in the night. After the specified time, the temperature must be returned to the standard for pumpkin seedlings.Young shoots of pumpkin seedlings
Watering pumpkin seedlings
With watering, you need to be very careful, in no case should you over-moisten the earthen lump, but you can not dry it either. It is not advisable to water on pumpkin leaves when watering. Watering should be carried out strictly as the earthen coma dries up, much depends on the humidity in the apartment or house. It is noted that in rooms where large aquariums stand, the humidity is higher, the earthen lump dries more slowly and it can be watered less often, and vice versa. Spraying is the most reliable way of watering, but you need to use it to try not to wet only the surface of the soil, but to soak it 3-4 cm in depth. Regularity and small doses of water - this is the best recommendation when watering pumpkin seedlings.
Topping up pumpkin seedlings
In addition to watering, fertilizing is also needed, before they are carried out, the soil needs to be slightly loosened (literally with a toothpick), then the soil should be watered, after which, usually this happens a week after emergence on the soil surface, seedlings can be fed. The best option in this case is nitrophoska, it needs 7-8 g per bucket of water, this amount is enough for a square meter of seedlings, and if the seedlings grow in separate containers, then you can pour a teaspoon of the solution under each plant.
If you are against chemistry, then you can use a mullein solution, you need to fill it with water at a temperature of 45 degrees, diluting in a concentration of one to ten, and let it brew overnight, then dilute it five times and you can feed the plants. For each of them, a tablespoon of solution or liter per square meter of nursery will be enough.
The optimal location of pumpkin seedlings
You need to hold containers with seedlings on the southern windowsill, where the most good lighting is observed. At noon, from about half past eleven to half past twelve seedlings can be shaded from the burning rays of the sun by newspapers.
As soon as the seedlings reach a height of 18-22 cm, get stronger, acquire two or more real leaves of bright green color, it is permissible to safely transplant them into the soil, if both it and the temperature outside the window are sufficiently warmed up.Planting pumpkin seedlings in open ground.
Planting pumpkin seedlings in open ground
First, prepare the soil well, dig it over a full bayonet of shovels, remove weeds, add nitroammophoski per square meter per tablespoon, water the soil, spending a bucket per square meter of soil, let it “rest” for a couple of days, and you can start planting seedlings in advance making holes in which it is desirable to pour out a couple of tablespoons of wood ash to the bottom.
For planting pumpkin seedlings, choose the site where the pumpkin-friendly predecessors grew, that is, potatoes, legumes that enriched the soil with available nitrogen, various root crops, and onions. Bad predecessors are zucchini, cucumbers and melons, that is, "relatives".
Make the beds for planting seedlings so that they are aligned, so that melt or irrigation water does not run through them, making holes, and so that you can freely move between the beds without stepping on the lashes.
Before planting, seedlings need to be hardened, first take it out for a couple of hours on the open balcony, leave it for 10-12 hours the next day, then leave it overnight, and then you can plant it in the ground.
The landing pattern between the holes is about a meter, between the rows you can also make a meter, but you can increase it to one and a half meters.
When transplanting from large containers, try to moisten the soil first, and then try to scoop out seedlings with the maximum number of roots with a tablespoon so as not to damage them, that is, replanting it with a lump of earth. The soil in the hole can also be watered, 0.5 l of water per hole is enough.
After planting, you need to squeeze the soil with your fingers so that there are no voids between the roots, and we can say that this is the end of the planting of pumpkin seedlings.
If you want the burning rays of the sun not to damage the sensitive leaves of seedlings in the first days, then you can shade them with a newspaper for a couple of days in the afternoon.
That's all the subtleties of growing pumpkin seedlings.