A bed with juicy, elastic heads of white cabbage is a decoration of any subsidiary farm. In our country, there are probably no gardeners who are ready to give up growing this vegetable. When should you start sowing cabbage for seedlings in order to harvest a good harvest of late-ripening heads of cabbage in the fall, and enjoy juicy, healthy dishes from early-maturing varieties all summer?
Good cabbage is the pride of the gardener
The optimal time for sowing cabbage for seedlings
First, let’s figure out what kind of cabbage you want to plant in your area. If your goal is to get a very early harvest, which is harvested in the first days of summer, then sowing cabbage for seedlings should be carried out in late March-early April. If the main task is to grow late varieties with good keeping quality, then the timing of planting cabbage for seedlings is shifted one month ahead (early-mid-May).
However, binding to specific calendar dates would be fundamentally wrong. After all, residents of southern regions with a mild climate begin spring field work at the end of March, and summer residents of northern latitudes usually get out to their sites not earlier than April. Often novice gardeners ask themselves if there is a criterion by which they can determine when to plant cabbage for seedlings? Experience says the following: young seedlings should be transferred from the nursery to the open ground after the above-zero temperature is established, and the soil warms up to 10 ° C.
Pay attention! This vegetable crop is capable of growing at lower temperatures, but then its development slows down. This fact should be taken into account, especially if you purchase early cabbage seeds and hope to harvest in 2 months. The growing season indicated on the package of 55-65 days is correct only in cases where the cultivation takes place in conditions close to ideal.
Recently, nature has presented us with a lot of surprises, and it is almost impossible to predict in advance exactly when the summer cottage season will begin in our area. All we have to do is calculate landing dates based on average temperatures.
Cabbage seedlings ready for open field planting
- Seedlings of early cabbage are planted in the exhaust gas at the age of 20–25 days.
- Average – 35–45 days.
- Late – 50-60 days.
Add to this the 4–5 days required to hatch seeds, and you get an approximate date when you should plant cabbage for seedlings.
In recent years, observant summer residents have noted a disappointing trend, those varieties that until recently gave good, stable yields, began to bear fruit worse. In most cases, this is due to worsening weather conditions. Cold rainy summers or, conversely, excessive drought are not the best allies for gardeners in the struggle for the harvest.
Strong seedlings are the key to a good harvest
To solve this problem, hundreds of specialists annually work on the creation of new hybrids with improved characteristics, which could fully develop in stressful situations. Of course, the cost of hybrids (especially of Dutch and Japanese breeding) is several times more expensive than seeds of ordinary varietal cabbage. But high investments are more than paid off at the end of the summer cottage season. Hybrids not only bear fruit well, but also get sick much less often. In addition, almost all manufacturers of hybrids before packaging:
- sort, calibrate, discard damaged and unripe seeds;
- treated with fungicides, growth stimulants and insecticides;
- covered with a bright protective shell.
Parel F1. An early hybrid with a growing season of 55-60 days. Suitable for greenhouse and exhaust gas cultivation. The leaf rosettes are compact, the root system is well developed. Heads of cabbage are round, dense, weighing from 1 to 1,5 kg. The culture is resistant to fusarium, keel, cracking. Easily tolerates high temperatures and slight drought. Cabbage is intended for fresh consumption. Not suitable for canning and long-term storage. The main harvest is in June …
Ortus F1… An early hybrid with a growing season of 50–55 days. Suitable for cultivation in exhaust gases and foil greenhouses. Heads of cabbage are round, moderately dense, weighing from 800 to 1200 g. Suitable for fresh consumption. The culture is resistant to cracking, culture diseases. It grows well and bears fruit both in the spring-summer and in the summer-autumn periods.
Compass F1 (Compass). Mid-season hybrid of Japanese selection. The period from planting seedlings in the exhaust gas to harvesting is about 80-85 days. The heads are round, dense, with a short stump weighing from 2 to 3,5 kg. The hybrid is resistant to fusarium, necrosis, vascular bacteriosis. It tolerates heat well, does not crack even in case of untimely cleaning from the beds.
КС 29 F1 (Kitano Seeds). Mid-season hybrid (Japanese selection) with a ripening period of 70-85 days. Heads of cabbage are oval-flattened, dense, weighing from 2 to 4 kg. It grows well in stressful situations (rain, temperature drop, drought). They do not crack even in high humidity during the heavy rainy season. The culture is intended for fresh consumption, salting and short-term storage (up to 120 days).
Alanek F1 (Alanek). Late-ripening hybrid of Japanese selection. The growing season is 125 days. The heads are hard, dense, weighing from 4 to 5 kg. Alanek is not prone to fusarium disease and cracking. The resistance of the culture to root rot allows you to leave it on the beds after ripening. Cabbage is intended for fresh consumption and processing, but not suitable for long-term storage.
Transam F1 (TRANSAM F1)… Late-ripening hybrid. The period from planting seedlings in the ground to harvesting is 140–150 days. Heads of cabbage are dense, flattened-rounded, weighing up to 5 kg. A well-developed root system allows cabbage to be grown even in arid regions. The culture is not prone to fusarium disease and vascular bacteriosis, is not susceptible to attack by thrips. Cabbage is intended for conservation, pickling, fresh consumption and long-term storage (up to 6 months).
Purchase of quality seeds and their preparation for sowing
When buying seed material for growing cabbage seedlings at home, give preference to well-known producers that have proven themselves in the market. When ordering seeds online, do not be lazy to read customer reviews about this store. Remember that an unjustifiably low price can serve as a signal of inadequate quality of the product.
Pay attention to the information on the packages. Keep in mind that cabbage varieties that give stable yields in a mild southern climate are unlikely to grow in the conditions of the Moscow region or beyond the Urals. Conversely, varieties intended for cultivation in areas with a short summer period and an abundance of rainfall will not yield crops in arid regions with dry winds and a lack of rainfall.
Treated seeds do not need any preparatory manipulations before planting in the ground. At the initial stage of growth, the glazing (shell) applied by manufacturers serves for them as a reliable preventive protection against soil pests and fungal diseases.
Coated Cabbage Seeds
But cabbage seeds, bought “from hands” or collected independently, must be sorted out and disinfected. Especially if they are collected from plants that have been exposed to diseases and treatments. Only preliminary processing of seeds before planting makes it possible to grow cabbage seedlings that are not infected with pathogens.
Before planting seeds, discard all low-quality specimens to increase the germination percentage. For this:
- immerse them in plain, slightly salted water (for 1 liter of water – 1 tablespoon of salt);
- ruthlessly throw out everything that floats to the surface, drain the liquid;
- Rinse the remaining seeds in clean water and dry.
The overwhelming majority of summer residents of our country prefer to use a solution of potassium permanganate as a disinfectant, in other words, potassium permanganate.
Potassium permanganate for seed treatment
Supporters of the use of potassium permanganate can be understood. We all strive to grow only environmentally friendly vegetables and fruits without the slightest admixture of “chemistry”. But potassium permanganate is the same chemical. It is produced on an industrial scale by combining sulfuric acid and barium permanganate. It is worth noting that the strength of potassium permanganate is not enough to destroy most fungal and viral diseases.
Today, you can easily purchase drugs with a wide spectrum of action to combat diseases and soil pests, for example:
- Maksim… Protective fungicide. The working substance is fludioxonil. Retains its properties for up to 30 days. Prevents the development of root rot and fusarium.
- Kvadris… Protective pesticide. Strobilurin. Protects against rot and late blight.
Ardent opponents of chemicals will surely like the following biologics:
- Phytolavin… Protective fungicide. The working substance is the bacterium Streptomyces lavendulae. Prevents the development of vascular bacteriosis, soft rot, fusarium, root rot and black leg, peronosporosis (downy mildew).
Similar biological products:
- Fitosporin M;
- Alirin B;
Cabbage seeds have good, fast germination, they are able to germinate for 5 years. Therefore, there is no need to further stimulate all these characteristics in them. If the quality of the seed is in doubt, and the soil used for growing seedlings does not meet the necessary requirements, then the seeds can be treated with the following stimulants:
- Humat Baikal;
Cabbage itself is a frost-resistant crop. Adult plants perfectly withstand short-term frosts with temperatures down to -5 ° C. Young, well-rooted seedlings of white cabbage in the stage of 5-6 true leaves can painlessly endure a cold snap from + 5 ° to 0. The ability to resist negative temperatures is inherent in them. This means that cabbage seeds do not need mandatory preliminary hardening.
Selection and preparation of soil mixture and planting containers
For growing cabbage seedlings, the same soil is used as for all other vegetables. It should be:
- moisture and breathable (loose / fluffy);
- nutritious (contain the necessary micro and macro elements);
You can buy a high-quality substrate designed specifically for seedlings of vegetables at any gardening store. However, such a soil is quite expensive. Therefore, most summer residents prepare the soil mixture on their own from:
- river coarse sand;
- rotted manure (humus);
- turf or deciduous land;
- deoxidized peat.
Components for the preparation of soil mixture
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find all the ingredients. Feel free to use what is at hand, combining the existing components in equal proportions. The main thing is that the substrate is loose. The lack of organic matter can be compensated for by synthetic composites (this is exactly what soil manufacturers do). Add 5 teaspoon for every 1 kilograms of soil:
- Kalimagnesia or potassium sulfate (K);
- Superphosphate or ammophos (P);
- Magnesium sulfate (S and Mg);
- Sodium or calcium nitrate (N).
This amount of macronutrients will be enough for the full development of seedlings before they are planted in the exhaust gas.
Pay attention! Do not be lazy to calcine the soil mixture in the oven or microwave for 15–20 minutes before sowing seeds. This simple step will eliminate disease-causing pathogens and soil pests.
Planting containers for seedlings
Sowing cabbage for seedlings carry out:
- in cassettes:
- in peat tablets;
- in glasses from a plastic sleeve, peat or plastic;
- in a snail or diaper;
- in wooden boxes (at least 4–5 cm deep).
We plant correctly
You can plant seeds in any containers that are at hand. The main thing is that they have a perforated bottom for draining excess liquid. If you use used cassettes or glasses (you grew seedlings in them last year), be sure to thoroughly rinse and disinfect them.
When filling the planting containers with nutrient soil, pour it to the very edges. Do not leave 1–2 cm of free space. Violation of air exchange in the root zone is the first reason for the development of the black leg.
If you are planting seedlings in boxes or bowls in a row method, leave 2,5–3 cm between the plants, and 5–6 cm between the rows. Do not thicken the plantings. Seedlings should not be deficient in sunlight, air and nutrient area. Otherwise, they will compete for vital resources, stretch out and oppress their “neighbors”.
1 seed is sown in cassettes or tablets. The option of sowing 2-3 things in one cell, in order to leave the strongest specimen later, is also acceptable, but not always economically justified. There is no definite answer as to how to properly plant seeds, 1 plant each or 2-3. It all depends on the preferences of the gardener. But you still have to delete the extra ones.
Seeds are planted to a depth of 5–7 mm. Immediately thoroughly moisten the soil, cover the planting containers with glass or polyethylene and put them in a warm place for 3-4 days. It is after so many days that cabbage emerges after sowing. As soon as the first seeds have sprouted, the glass is removed.
Lighting and temperature
In order to get a good harvest of cabbage outdoors, it is not enough to properly plant the seeds. The quality and size of future heads of cabbage largely depends on adherence to the technology of growing cabbage seedlings at the initial stage. Lack of sunlight in combination with high temperatures will inevitably lead to the elongation of young seedlings. Therefore, if you plan to grow cabbage seedlings yourself at home, think in advance:
- about additional lighting;
- on maintaining the required moisture-thermal regime.
The optimum temperature for seed germination is from 18 to 22 ° C. Under these conditions, the period from sowing cabbage to the appearance of the first shoots is 3-4 days. It is very important not to miss this moment. After all, cabbage seedlings, especially early varieties, are susceptible to lightning-fast stretching. The subcotyledonous knee can stretch 3-4 cm in just a couple of days.
To prevent such undesirable consequences, immediately after the appearance of seedlings, boxes with seedlings should be transferred to a room with an ambient temperature:
- 14-16 ° C during the day;
- 10-12 ° С at night.
White cabbage is a typical representative of long daylight plants. This means that she, like no one else, needs additional lighting.
Pay attention! The duration of daylight hours for cabbage grown for seedlings at home should be at least 12-13 hours.
When growing cabbage for seedlings at home, the main difficulty is maintaining the set temperature (no more than 15 ° C). Especially if you plan to grow tomato or eggplant seedlings in the same room with cabbage, which need t at least 20-22 ° C for full development.
Watering and feeding
Despite the fact that cabbage is 90% water, young sown seedlings do not need abundant and frequent watering. Excessive soil moisture provokes:
- development of root rot and black leg;
- slows down the growth and development of seedlings.
Young seedlings do not need abundant watering
This happens because there is no air in the wet, compacted soil, which is so necessary for the respiration of the root system of the seedlings. To saturate the soil layer with oxygen, it should be slightly dried. (preventing the earthen coma from drying out) and loosen regularly… Seedlings should be watered only after the topsoil dries up.
If, when composing the soil mixture, you added all the components and mineral composites of prolonged action to it, then there is no need to feed the seedlings. The nutrients dissolved in the soil are sufficient for its development.
If you did not manage to make a good nutritious soil mixture, then you can fertilize the seedlings with any complex fertilizer containing:
The most common complex fertilizers containing 3 macronutrients:
Since cabbage belongs to the group of serophilic plants, it is necessary for its normal development need sulfur.
For the development of the root system, phosphorus and potassium are needed.
You should not fertilize young seedlings with nitrogen alone, hoping in this way to activate the growth of the leaf apparatus. By directing all the power of the plant to build up green mass, we slow down the growth of the root system. After transfer to the exhaust gas, such cabbage seedlings will experience severe stress. Weak thin roots, additionally disturbed during transplantation, will not cope with the load that has arisen, and well-developed beautiful leaves will begin to die off.
The first feeding of seedlings is carried out in the phase of 2-3 true leaves, the second – after picking.
Loosening and hilling
Loosening the soil is the best prophylaxis in the fight against root rot and black leg. In addition, it is the easiest way to provide oxygen to the root system of early and late cabbage.
Use regular wooden skewers or toothpicks to loosen the topsoil. The frequency of loosening depends on the intensity and frequency of watering. Ideal if you tend to the soil and loosen it after each wetting.
The timing of the picking depends on the varietal characteristics of the cabbage and the degree of its development. Usually, the transplant is carried out in the phase of 4-5 true leaves. If you used cassettes or tablets to grow seedlings, then the seedlings are transplanted by the transshipment method together with an earthen lump. This method is most acceptable, since there is no root injury.
Seedlings ready for picking
If the sowing was carried out in boxes in a row method, then the soil is preliminarily well moistened, and the plants are removed one at a time, gently prying with a spoon, trying not to damage the root system.
If, despite all the efforts, the hypocotyl knee still stretched, then the plants can be buried down to the cotyledonous leaves. This will not affect the growth of the root system in any way, but the seedlings will look much better.
The soil is used the same as when planting seeds. Immediately after picking, the soil is thoroughly moistened, and, if desired, watered with a preparation that enhances root formation.
7-10 days before planting cabbage in open ground, they begin to harden it, daily taking cassettes with seedlings to fresh air. In order for the plants not to experience stress from such procedures, containers with grown seedlings are placed in a place protected from winds and scorching sun rays. Hardening begins from several hours, gradually increasing the time. A few days before being transferred to the exhaust gas, the seedlings can generally be left outside.
Prevention of diseases and pests
If, before sowing cabbage seeds for seedlings, you disinfected them, and the planting containers were filled with calcined soil mixture, then additional measures to protect the seedlings are not needed. If the listed procedures were not carried out, then for the prevention of seedlings, you can use the same means as for processing seed.
To prevent root rot and black leg, you must:
- ensure good air exchange in the root zone;
- do not flood seedlings;
- dry and loosen the soil regularly.
Growing cabbage seedlings without picking
You can even grow cabbage seedlings without intermediate picks. This method is no worse.
Young and beautiful cabbage in the beds
But when choosing it, it should be borne in mind that in the case of stretching the hypocotyl knee, it will no longer be possible to deepen the seedling. Particular attention should be paid to the planting containers. The volume of each glass must be at least 400 ml. The rest of the cultivation and care method is no different from the previous one.
Growing cabbage at home is not just an interesting and exciting process, it is an opportunity to grow cabbage from seeds of any variety with your own hands, and not be content with what you can be offered in a store or on the market.
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