Cabbage, along with potatoes, is one of the most common vegetables on the table. That is why any person who first received land immediately thinks about growing it in their own garden. And he begins to grow seedlings. Since, it is almost impossible to grow the main types and varieties of cabbage in the middle lane without seedlings. Plants usually sprout rather quickly and amicably, and then, with a high degree of probability, one of three scenarios unfolds: either the plants stretch out in a string and die within the first two weeks, or they grow frail, elongated, and at best a few bushes remain in the ground before planting that do not yield any harvest. Finally, in the third variant, some of the elongated plants somehow survived to be planted in the ground, but half dies after planting, and several frail heads of cabbage grow out of the rest, which in no way can compare with the market ones or at least the store ones.
The next year the situation runs the risk of repeating itself, although the gardener, taught by bitter experience, will ask everyone in a row for help with the following description of the problem: "Cabbage seedlings are stretched out, what to do in such a situation, how to save it?"
Then, probably, he will try to create a variety of special conditions for the seedlings, that is, to feed them, treat them with the "Athlete" growth inhibitor and use other tricks. But if the cabbage seedlings are stretched out, then doing something is often very difficult or almost impossible. Of course, a lot depends on how much she managed to stretch out and in what period of development. All the intricacies of growing cabbage seedlings will be discussed later in this article.
Features of cabbage physiology
Cabbage - especially the cabbage varieties - is a very cold-resistant plant. Although she comes from the southern countries of Western Europe and North Africa, after numerous crosses, cold resistance was firmly deposited in her genes. Therefore, she will suffer, rather from high than from low temperatures.
- It is interesting that at a normal room temperature of + 18 ° C- + 20 ° C, cabbage seeds germinate quite quickly and amicably, the first shoots may appear in 3-5 days. If the ambient temperature is about + 10 ° C on average, then germination will slow down dramatically and can take from 10 to 15 days.
- If the temperature during germination drops to zero or even lower (but not lower than -3 ° C), then the cabbage seeds will still germinate, but they will do this for a very long time - about two to three weeks, and maybe even a month.
- But then, in the seedling stage, cabbage can already tolerate short-term frosts down to -5 ° C without any problems. Adult cabbage plants (some varieties: white cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) are able to withstand frosts down to -8 ° C. When warming, they are restored and development continues.
- But at temperatures above + 25 ° C, most types of cabbage already feel depressed. If hot weather sets in, more than + 35 ° С, then white cabbage simply does not form a head of cabbage.
- Everyone knows that cabbage needs a lot of water for good growth. But not everyone knows that her need for moisture is not at all the same in different periods of development. For germination, cabbage seeds need more than 50% of their weight of water. But then, during the formation of the first few leaves, the need for moisture decreases and waterlogging can, not only delay the growth and development of seedlings, but also lead to its death. When the cabbage begins to form a head of cabbage, then it again requires the maximum amount of water. And finally, in the last month before harvesting, irrigation must be removed, since a large amount of moisture during this period will lead to cracking of the heads and their poor preservation.
- It is also important to remember that cabbage is a very light-requiring, and even light-demanding plant. Long daylight hours can accelerate the growth of seedlings or the formation of heads of cabbage, and with a lack of light, the seedlings will stretch and weaken.
- Finally, it must be borne in mind that all types of cabbage are very demanding on feeding. They need a complete set of all nutrients and trace elements, and in an easily accessible form.
Features of growing cabbage seedlings
What is the secret to growing good cabbage seedlings? Experienced gardeners know that this is far from the easiest thing to do. Perhaps, among all vegetables, it is the cultivation of cabbage seedlings that can be called the most difficult, despite the general unpretentiousness of the culture. And the main problem lies precisely in the cold resistance of cabbage. After all, cabbage seedlings are usually grown at home, in apartments, where the temperature rarely drops below + 18 ° C + 20 ° C, and most often it is much warmer than + 25 ° C or even more. And if the apartment does not have a loggia or a balcony, then the seedlings are sure to stretch out, and it becomes simply impossible to do anything in such conditions. Unless you can use the refrigerator, which, by the way, some people do successfully. But this is possible with very small amounts of cabbage seedlings and at the first stages of their development. After all, in addition to cold, cabbage also vitally needs light.
So, what conditions are necessary for the successful cultivation of cabbage seedlings.
Preparing seeds and soil for sowing
As for cabbage seeds, if they were bought in a store, then, as a rule, there is no need to prepare them specifically for sowing.
It is better to keep your own seeds for several hours before swelling in a solution of Fitosporin or Baikal. This will disinfect them from various fungal infections and strengthen immunity. Many people additionally harden the seeds, but in relation to cabbage, this operation makes little sense, since it already withstands low temperatures quite well.
But preparing the right potting soil for sowing cabbage is a very important and responsible matter. Since this culture, not only does it love loose and at the same time fertile soil, but it is also very susceptible to numerous diseases. She is especially easily affected by them at the seedling stage. It is for this reason that it is categorically unacceptable to use garden soil for growing cabbage seedlings. After all, it can be infected with various infections and could be taken from the garden where plants of the cruciferous family grew (radish, radish, rutabaga). It is undesirable to grow cabbage in one place for several years in a row precisely because of the accumulation of harmful root secretions in the soil, moreover, you should not grow cabbage seedlings in such soil.
The best combination for cabbage would be the following: take 50% of the sod land or good land from the store and add the same amount of humus. After thoroughly mixing this mixture, for looseness, 100 g of vermiculite or perlite and 1 tablespoon of wood ash are added for every 10 kg of soil. If you have any doubts about the quality of the soil, it would be better to warm the earth thoroughly in the oven before using it. This will get rid of all harmful microbes. And then, in order to populate it with beneficial microorganisms, without which it is difficult to imagine good growth and development, the earth must be shed with a solution of phytosporin or radiance-1.
Sowing seeds and the first weeks of seedling growth
Here, only sowing for seedlings with a mandatory pick will be considered, since this is the most optimal way of growing cabbage seedlings. The seedlings tolerate the picking procedure itself quite well.
After the soil for sowing is prepared, it is poured into special boxes, leveled and small grooves 0.5 cm deep are made.The grooves can be spaced 3 cm apart.The seeds are placed in the grooves every centimeter, then they are carefully filled up the same land. The box can be covered with foil to improve germination, or you can leave it that way. A box with sown cabbage seeds is left at a temperature of + 18 ° C + 20 ° C.
Under these conditions, seedlings usually appear 4-5 days after sowing.
Important! The moment of emergence of seedlings is decisive for the entire future fate of cabbage seedlings. On the same day, the box with seedlings must be placed in a place where the air temperature will not exceed + 7 ° С + 8 ° С.
If this is not done for one reason or another, then the cabbage seedlings will certainly stretch out, and very quickly and in the future you will not have to expect anything good from it.
If you have at least some kind of balcony, you need to take out the cabbage seedlings there. If it is not glazed, and there is still a negative temperature outside, then you can cover the box with seedlings with an impromptu greenhouse. The best option for cabbage seedlings is to move them immediately after germination to a greenhouse or greenhouse, if possible.
Important! When growing seedlings of more thermophilic cauliflower, after germination, it needs a temperature of about + 12 ° C - + 14 ° C. This will be enough to keep her from stretching.
At such a low temperature, cabbage seedlings must be kept for about 10-12 days. After that, she needs a pick. Before picking, the seedlings should be shed again with a solution of phytosporin. You can transplant into the same land in which the sowing was carried out.
For transplantation, containers or cups about 6 by 6 cm in size are prepared. When diving, each seedling is buried in the ground at the level of the cotyledon leaves. It is desirable only that the first true leaf begins to form in plants by this time.
Attention! If the picking is carried out with cabbage seedlings, which have only cotyledon leaves, then strong deepening is not recommended - otherwise the plants will take root for a long time.
After picking, for better survival, the seedlings can be kept at a temperature of + 17 ° С + 18 ° С, but after 2-3 days it is necessary to lower the temperature again, but already to + 13 ° + 14 ° С in the daytime and up to + 10 ° + 12 ° С - at night.
These temperature conditions will be ideal for the growth and development of cabbage seedlings before they are planted in the ground.
In addition to temperature, light is needed for the good development of seedlings, and not only the brightness and intensity of illumination are important, but also its duration. Seedlings of white cabbage are necessary from the very beginning of development of daylight hours with a duration of at least 12 hours. But not all types of cabbage need this length of daylight. For example, cauliflower grows better and sets tighter heads if, at the seedling stage, it is arranged with a shortened daylight hours. But broccoli, which is a type of cauliflower, does not need such tricks. She also loves rather long daylight hours.
How to help in a situation when the seedlings are stretched
Of course, if the cabbage seedlings are already stretched out, then there is no single answer to the question of how to save it. As mentioned above, if you live in an apartment without the ability to organize seedlings, at least in cool conditions, then it is hardly possible to do anything. You can try to come to the plot early and sow cabbage seeds directly into the ground. In good weather conditions, this can be done already at the end of April. Medium and late head cabbages, as well as all other varieties, will have time to ripen and give a decent harvest. Well, the early varieties will have to be abandoned.
If you live in a private house and it is possible to build at least a small greenhouse for cabbage on your own, then this will be the best option. For everyone else with a balcony, you can try the following.
If the seedlings are stretched out at a very early stage, this is perhaps the most difficult thing. You can try to carefully dissect all the elongated representatives of the cabbage family into separate containers. It is only necessary to take into account what was said earlier.
- If the seedlings have at least one real leaf, they can be buried to the very cotyledonous leaves.
- If cabbage seedlings have only cotyledonous leaves, then it must be transplanted without deepening, but pouring some soil into the pot. In this case, with the further growth of cabbage, you can simply fill up the earth in the pot.
A few days after the pick, cabbage seedlings still need to be placed on the balcony in cool conditions. But even under these conditions, most likely only half of the seedlings will survive.
If the seedlings were kept in relatively cool conditions and they stretched out, for example, from a lack of light, then the situation can be corrected by organizing additional lighting for the plants.
So, it is very difficult to save the elongated cabbage seedlings, therefore, it is better from the very beginning to organize for her the conditions in which she will be as comfortable as possible. She will thank you for the cares with magnificent, juicy and tasty heads of cabbage.