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Many gardeners, once faced with the cultivation of eggplant seedlings and having received a bad experience, abandon this plant forever. All of this may be due to a lack of information. Growing eggplants on your own is not difficult at all, you need to understand well what requirements this unique culture presents to us. Let's take a closer look at this issue.
Eggplant as a culture. Features of the
The homeland of this culture is India. There, this vegetable grows wild and, of course, is grown in the fields. That is why, climatically, eggplant prefers warmth, an abundance of bright sunlight and watering.
Eggplant seeds are tough and round in shape. They are harvested from fruits not in technical ripeness, which we are used to using, but in overripe form. At this point, the eggplant fruits become soft. As with cucumbers, the seeds of this culture are initially placed in a special film that prevents them from germinating in warm autumn and winter. Months later, the shell completely decomposes, and the first shoots appear in the spring. But this happens in the wild, while gardeners prefer to grow eggplants on their own in a seedling way. Not everyone knows how to properly grow seedlings.
The seedling method of growing is extremely popular in our country, because:
- the growing season for eggplant is quite long (from 110 to 150 days);
- climatic conditions in Russia do not allow sowing eggplant seeds in the ground;
- often it is necessary to light up the seedlings.
Let's talk in more detail about how to grow eggplant seedlings on your own and achieve a rich harvest.
Sowing eggplant for seedlings
Every year in the winter, gardeners go to the shops for seeds. When purchasing eggplant seeds, you must carefully select the variety or hybrid. Read the information on the label carefully. It is important how long it takes to wait for ripening, yield is also important, the qualities of resistance of eggplant to viruses and diseases are no less valuable.
Gardeners will plant eggplants for seedlings in 2018. It is worth paying attention to such popular varieties and hybrids as:
- Robin the Hood;
- Leader and others.
Advice! The popularity of eggplant varieties is due, as a rule, to the ease of cultivation and a large yield.
Therefore, it is for beginners that it is best to choose a popular variety, and not the one that they like with the color of the peel.
Seeds from trusted producers usually do not require processing. Sowing eggplant is done directly into the prepared soil, sometimes without prior germination. This information should be indicated on the packaging.
If the seeds are harvested on their own, you can store and plant them for the first four years, after which the collected material can be thrown away, since you will not have to wait for yields from it. Such seeds should be processed. It is also recommended to carry out pre-sowing treatment of seeds purchased from hands and on the market.
The process includes three stages:
- growth indicator treatment;
Important! High-quality seeds from well-known agricultural firms do not require disinfection or treatment with solutions that provoke growth.
There are companies that guarantee 100% germination.
As a disinfecting solution, you can use:
- 0.01% solution of potassium permanganate for 20 minutes (rinse with water after the procedure);
- 0.4% hydrogen peroxide for 12 hours (the seeds should be washed after the procedure);
- hot water (+ 50-52 degrees), where the eggplant seeds are kept for half an hour, and then they are kept in cold water for 2 minutes.
When growing eggplant for the first time, it is best to soak the seeds briefly in a solution that encourages growth. You can always find on sale:
- sodium humate;
- potassium humate;
The seeds should be placed in the solution in gauze or cloth bags at a rate of 1: 1 to the finished solution.
As for the germination of eggplant seeds, they should be placed in a damp gauze or cloth. The first sprout from the seed does not appear immediately, sometimes it takes a week or two. Only proven eggplant seeds can be planted directly into the ground.
Seed sowing dates
It is necessary to plant eggplants for seedlings in winter or early spring, not later. Some newbies make the mistake of thinking it's too early in February. Their flowering period of the culture may coincide with the end of summer, which will affect the fruiting of the plant.
At the same time, it makes no sense to determine the very specific dates for sowing eggplant for seedlings in 2018, since Russia is a huge country, in each region it is customary to plant seed on the assumption that ready-made seedlings can be transplanted into the ground at the age of 60-80 days ( depends on the ripening time of a particular variety). At this moment, it should be warm outside the window or in the greenhouse. As a rule, this period occurs in February, towards the end of the month, or in March.
Sowing eggplant seeds for seedlings requires the preparation of not only the soil, the seeds themselves, but also the soil. It is not difficult to prepare it. For this you will need:
- soil for seedlings of good quality (if there is no specialized one for eggplant, one that is intended for peppers is suitable) - 2 parts;
- humus or compost - 1 part;
- peat - 1 part.
It is better to use only specialized soil for seedlings. If not, then you can prepare the following mixture:
- garden soil (preferably roasted in the oven) - 2 parts;
- humus - 1 part;
- small sawdust - 1 part.
The mixture is placed in molds and eggplant seeds are sown. Planting is carried out in grooves or grooves to the depth that is optimal for the selected variety. You can add superphosphate to the soil. Eggplant is very fond of it.
It is better to sow the eggplants in already moistened soil, then cover the cells with glass or foil and put them in a warm, sunny place.
Eggplants are very popular in our country. Growing seedlings should be a joy for them, so it is better to understand in advance what rules must be followed. When the seedlings are just about to appear, the seeds need a certain heat regime, good watering and sunlight. Eggplant seedlings will also require these conditions.
As a rule, the temperature regime is observed in accordance with the recommendations of the seed manufacturer, but, in general, it should be as follows:
- during the day, the room temperature should be within the range from +23 to +28 degrees Celsius;
- at night, it is better to lower the temperature to + 15-19 degrees.
There can be no talk of any drafts and temperature drops to +10 degrees. The seedlings do not like this and may die.
Light mode for seedlings
Eggplant seedlings are very light-demanding. If it is not enough, the sprouts will elongate, become thin, and you will not have to dream of any harvest. The optimal light regime is 12 hours of abundance of sunlight. But how can this be achieved by growing eggplants for seedlings in the Urals or Siberia, for example? In this case, a phytolamp is required. The sprouts are simply supplemented.
You should not be zealous in this matter, supplementing the seedlings for more than 12 hours. Not only will this not work, but it can also have a negative effect on plants.
The night regime should be strictly different from the day regime, because it will also be after planting plants directly in open ground or a greenhouse. Eggplants will have to get used to both light and temperature conditions.
Another important nuance concerns seedling watering. Water for this purpose should be at least room temperature or 1-2 degrees warmer. Eggplants have a very sensitive root system; at the slightest cold, bacteria or viruses can develop in the soil, which is very dangerous.
Those who live in regions with unstable summer temperatures are often advised to choose hybrid seeds that can survive slight fluctuations. Even after transplanting seedlings into the ground, they always settle the water in a barrel and try to keep it as warm as possible.
Excessive watering and drying out of the soil are very harmful to seedlings. When planting seeds in peat tablets, make sure that they do not dry out, which happens very often.
We recommend watching a detailed video about growing eggplant on your site, which will be especially useful for beginners among gardeners:
If done correctly, the first shoots will soon begin to appear. Eggplant seedlings often sprout unevenly, do not be afraid. Soon, some plants will catch up with others both in growth and development.
Transfer to the ground
As soon as half of the growing season has passed, it will be possible to transplant the seedlings into a greenhouse or open ground. Please note that the growing method is always indicated on the packaging and is very important.
Advice! If summer cold snaps are possible in your area, eggplant for open ground will not work for you. Everything needs to be considered in advance.
The root system of eggplant is quite fragile, so after a pick, the plants get sick for a very long time. We advise you to transplant without picking. It is also very good if each plant is in a separate cup or cell.
Before transplanting, beds are formed in accordance with the planting scheme (if it is not there, we will take the 60x40 scheme by default). The height of the beds is approximately 30 centimeters. You can add organic matter to the bottom of the hole, this will additionally add heat to the plant. However, the roots should not come into contact with this organic matter.
The seedling soil is well moistened and the seedlings are carefully moved to a new hole. It is not necessary to press down strongly on the roots, because the plant loves loose and light soil. After transplanting, you can pour a little warm water over the eggplant.
The principles and basic rules of cultivation are very similar between sweet pepper and eggplant crops. Fertilization during transplantation and during the flowering period is recommended. This crop reacts well to mineral components in the soil. The flowering period is special, the plant becomes vulnerable and can get sick. It is imperative to inspect eggplants for spots, mites and other little things that are sometimes invisible.
Harvesting can take place only during the period of technical ripeness of the plant. Pay close attention to the growing season, which is indicated on the package. Overripe vegetables are not tasty, they become soft.
Of course, eggplants are more capricious than peppers and tomatoes, there are many nuances regarding their cultivation, but one cannot say that it is impossible to grow this culture by seedling on your own. If you have a small plot, greenhouses or a small farm, then you can do everything yourself. The harvest "blue" is rich, it will be a real gift for the whole family at the end of summer.