Experienced gardeners in early February begin to prepare for the “hottest” season of the year – the long-awaited spring. And preparation for spring work on the site begins precisely with the winter “revision” of its own seed stocks, the purchase of the necessary planting material and the preparation of both purchased and independently harvested seeds for sowing.
If you are not too lazy and properly prepare the seeds for planting, you can significantly improve the yield, get the first tomatoes and cucumbers a couple of weeks earlier than usual and please the household with the first greens from your own garden in late spring.
Preparing seeds for sowing will speed up the process of pecking seedlings, protect the plant from diseases and pests, and also help to get a rich harvest
Let’s start with the fact that, of course, it was necessary to harvest seeds independently in the summer or during the autumn harvest. This is, in principle, quite easy to do. In the summer, after the first tomatoes, peppers and eggplants have ripened on your site, choose the most beautiful, healthy fruits and let them ripen.
It is necessary to choose exclusively overripe eggplants, cucumbers that have already turned yellow and tomatoes that are practically bursting from their own juice. That is, we choose all those vegetables that are no longer suitable for food, but for collecting seeds – just right.
Did your neighbor in the country have an excellent harvest of cucumbers all summer? Ask for two vegetables for seeds, just let them have time to ripen in her garden. The neighbor will definitely not refuse, and you are guaranteed to receive good quality seeds.
It is very easy to collect melon and pumpkin seeds – carefully cut, clean the “middle”, rinse and dry. If melons and gourds grow in your region, then the seeds of the purchased watermelon, which turned out to be unusually tasty, can also not be thrown away, but collected and saved.
Just remember that you cannot harvest the seeds of hybrids resulting from the crossing of different varieties – they are unlikely to give a good harvest next year. Although hybrids are often distinguished by improved qualities, large sizes and excellent taste, it will not work to prepare such seeds on their own – their properties will differ significantly from the mother plant, so it is better to buy such seeds again every year..
The seeds of varietal vegetables are harvested as follows – the overripe fruit is cut, the pulp is removed, the seeds are washed from all excess and thoroughly dried. Only it is better to dry them not in direct sunlight or in the oven at high temperatures, but on the windowsill, covering them with gauze from the scorching rays.
To collect seeds, you need to choose only the most beautiful and ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables
It is necessary to store dried seeds in paper bags or canvas bags – plastic bags are contraindicated for them. The optimum temperature for storing planting materials is 16-18 degrees Celsius. Only carrot and onion seeds can be stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
Tomato seeds are harvested very simply – the pulp from the cut juicy fruit must be immersed in water for several hours. After the grains separate from the pulp, they need to be washed and dried.
We check the quality and calibrate
The easiest way to check the quality of seeds is to soak them in plain warm water or 3-5% sodium chloride solution. The heaviest, most weighty seeds will go to the bottom, and the lighter ones, which most likely will not yield a crop, will float. If you harvested the seeds yourself, then this procedure is easy to carry out even at the stage of separating the seeds from the pulp. If the seeds are purchased, it’s time to start calibration right now..
The seeds are dipped in a mild saline solution, stirred vigorously, and left alone for a few minutes. All the seeds that have floated to the surface can be safely thrown away – there will still be no sense from such planting material. The rest need to be rinsed with plain water at room temperature and the next stage of preparation for sowing..
When buying seeds on the market, it is highly desirable to see the already ripe fruit of this variety. Professionals advise to buy seeds in their original packaging with a picture of a plant in a specialized store, and not from random sellers who offer planting material in “cups”
Often, even on seeds harvested and packed at the factory, many pathogens remain. To protect your site from infection, you must carry out one of the following disinfection procedures (of your choice):
- Soaking in wood ash. The solution is weak – 2–5%. In such an ash solution, the seeds will simultaneously be saturated with useful substances and get rid of possible pathogens. By the way, potato tubers can be simply “powdered” with dry wood ash.
- Warming up in hot water. Of course, you cannot boil the seeds, the water temperature should not exceed 55 degrees. Just 20 minutes in water heated to 40-50 degrees will kill all spores.
- Dry heating. In this case, the seeds are heated with hot air, for example, in an oven cooled to a temperature of no more than 45 degrees. You can hang seeds in a bag and on a heating radiator. However, in this case, you will have to keep them warm for several days, and in the case of an oven or oven, eight hours will be enough..
- Soaking in onion skins. Just two handfuls of onion skins per liter of boiling water will get rid of harmful spores. To be sure, a little wood ash can be added to such a solution. It is necessary to soak the seeds in such a solution for at least five hours..
As you can see, all of the above methods of disinfection are environmentally friendly and exclude the use of chemicals. Of the other, less popular ways to get rid of pathogenic bacteria on seeds, one can note soaking in a solution of potassium permanganate, the use of boric or succinic acid, treatment with copper sulfate and a toxic chemical (TMTD).
For disinfection, it is enough to pour cucumber seeds with water at a temperature of 42-45 ° С for only 20 minutes
Before planting, seeds can be treated with special solutions that stimulate growth. Such seeds will definitely sprout in a couple of days, and the seedlings will grow strong and healthy..
Experts suggest using time-tested recipes, for example, honey solution – one teaspoon of honey for one glass of water.
Often used to stimulate seed growth and aloe juice: the leaves of this useful indoor plant must be kept for seven days on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, and then squeezed out and diluted with water in a ratio of one to three.
Any seed can be stimulated to grow, in which case an earlier harvest can be obtained.
Many gardeners also use ready-made organic mineral fertilizers, which are also diluted in water. You can also soak seeds in a solution, which includes: 5 grams of baking soda, ammonium molybdate (no more than 1 gram), potassium permanganate (the same amount), methylene blue (no more than 0.5 grams), zinc sulfate (the same dosage), boric acid (about 0.3 grams), as well as 0.05 grams of copper sulfate. In this solution, the seeds are soaked for 12 hours, the temperature of the solution is room temperature.
Treated seeds will quickly and amicably sprout and delight with excellent fruits
Immediately before planting, the seeds must be soaked at room temperature for 12–20 hours. Some gardeners choose to then germinate them by spreading them in a thin layer on a sheet of paper. Particularly scrupulous farmers even glue the seeds in a strict order on paper sheets and in this form they bury them in the ground – the sprouts will sprout in even rows, one seedling at a time.
If spring frosts are frequent in your region, the germinated seeds can be pre-hardened by leaving the already hatched sprouts in the refrigerator for two to three days..
If the rest of the seeds are kept warm, then the potatoes are always stored in a cold basement or barn. Before planting, the tubers should, on the contrary, be brought into the heat so that they have time to sprout before planting. There is no need to soak the tubers – dry processing with wood ash will disinfect the future crop and will stimulate growth. It is better to pour additional fertilizers into the hole, directly when planting potatoes
Now everything is ready – your future tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes and carrots are completely ready for sowing. Yes, the process may seem too laborious and time-consuming, but strong seedlings and an early, bountiful harvest will be a reward for a hardworking gardener..