Sweet pepper (and spicy too) in all climatic regions of our country can be grown only with the help of seedling culture. Although it is precisely the sharp varieties in the very south of Russia it is possible to grow direct sowing of seeds in the ground. Many novice gardeners, for the first time faced with the problems of growing seedlings of pepper, are somewhat lost from the abundance of products designed to help in such a difficult task. First of all, it concerns the choice of containers in which this seedling will be grown.
Peat pots and pills - what is it
The first thing newcomers get to know is, trying to understand the rather complicated process of choosing where, how and in what you can grow peppers, this is with the existence of peat pots and pills. At the moment, they are sold in each specialized garden store, actively offered and advertised on the Internet and in the markets. Moreover, the cultivation of pepper seedlings in peat tablets is a real guarantee that the plants will not die in the early stages of their existence.
What are the pros and cons of this technology?
Peat pots have long appeared on the market of horticultural products, but opinions about the effectiveness of their use differ greatly. They can have a wide variety of shapes (round, square) and sizes, sold individually or in blocks, and even in the form of finished cassettes. Wall thickness can also vary from 1.5 to 2.5 mm.
There are many indisputable advantages to peat pots:
- They are made from environmentally friendly material-peat, respectively, do not contain harmful chemicals and bacteria;
- The porous, breathable material of the walls allows the roots to breathe and grow well;
- Easy to use - no need to wash, sanitize, make additional holes for drainage;
- Finally, and most importantly, when transplanting, there is a minimal risk of injuring the delicate roots of the pepper, since the plant, together with the pot, is simply placed in the next-sized container or immediately into the soil of the future bed;
- As a consequence of the above argument, the seedlings of pepper do not receive stress, they take root faster and produce an earlier and bountiful harvest.
With all this, many gardeners and gardeners, who tried to plant peppers for seedlings in peat pots, were not very pleased with the result. Moreover, some enthusiasts even conducted a series of experiments on growing half of the seedlings of pepper in ordinary plastic pots, and half in peat. And the part that was grown in peat pots looked and developed worse. Why did this happen?
First of all, it is necessary to note the fact that in recent years, many manufacturers make peat pots from pressed cardboard. And such products can no longer compare their properties with peat.Tip! To distinguish real peat pots from cardboard pots is quite easy to touch. Peat pots should be porous and fragile, and cardboard pegs should be pressed and too dense.
In addition, on the one hand, the soil dries out much faster in peat containers, and on the other hand, the pots themselves, which are prone to soaking, can become moldy. Thus, when planting peppers in peat dishes, it is necessary to constantly monitor the level of soil moisture, which can be a problem when busy with other tasks and lack of time.
Peat tablets are cylindrical discs pressed from various types of peat, enriched with microelements and growth stimulants. Outside, each tablet is covered with a very thin paper mesh, impregnated with antibacterial drugs. It helps protect the seeds from infections and retains its shape when moistened.
Thus, the peat tablet is at the same time a container for the growth of seedlings and a ready-made sterile soil mixture, and even with various plant-friendly additives. An important positive thing, as in the case of peat pots, is that there is no stress on the roots when transplanting pepper seedlings. Using peat tablets is also very simple and saves a lot of time.Comment! Perhaps the only disadvantage in their use is the relatively high price, especially if the seedlings are grown in large quantities.
But when planting particularly valuable varieties of pepper or when growing a small amount of seedlings for a family, the use of peat tablets is more than justified. Especially since pepper belongs to crops that are quite painful for transplanting and picking, and the use of peat tablets will reduce this stress.
Cultivation in peat tablets
To begin with, when choosing tablets, you need to carefully examine the information on the package and select those that are made from low-acid peat. Do not take peat tablets without packaging, or especially without protective nets.Tip! It is not necessary to buy pills with coconut fiber for pepper - they are designed for completely different plants, and pepper seedlings will suffer from a lack of moisture.
Peat tablets come in different sizes - from 24 to 44 mm, sometimes there are also large sizes -70 and 90 mm.
Which ones to use for planting peppers depends in part on your financial capabilities and your desire to make your life easier. If you want to save money, you can take the original 33 mm peat tablets, grow the seedlings of peppers in them to the third or fourth leaf, and then move the plants to larger containers together with the tablet.Important! You must understand that for the most perfect development of the pepper, pots with a volume of 1 liter or more are needed.
You can do this - initially plant the seeds of pepper in peat tablets, measuring 70 or 90 mm. If you are going to plant pepper seedlings in a greenhouse, then in these tablets it will live wonderfully before planting in the ground. For planting in open ground, most likely, it will take another transfer to a larger pot, but this is ideal. Most often it happens that the house simply does not have enough space to accommodate such bulky pots.
Naturally, the larger the diameter of the peat tablet, the higher its price. And significantly. So the choice is yours.
Dates of sowing seeds in peat tablets can be shifted a week or two to a later time, due to the lack of picking, and the associated delay in the growth of pepper seedlings.
For planting pepper seeds in peat tablets, they do not even have to be soaked and germinated. But if you have a lot of time and you want to experiment, then, of course, you can do the whole standard set of works on preparing seeds for sowing.
Then you need to take some deep and bulky container (plastic boxes are often used from under the cakes or other culinary products) and put peat tablets in it so that the small grooves are on top. Recently, special cassettes for pill size with pallets and suitable lids have appeared on the market. Such sets make life even easier and initially create ideal greenhouse conditions for seed germination.
The surface of peat tablets is moistened gradually over a period of 20-30 minutes. You can use ordinary separated warm water, or you can add Baikal EM or Zircon to your choice to further increase the seed germination energy. The tablets will swell up and gradually grow several times, but their diameter will remain almost the same. Excess water must be carefully drained.Attention! Do not use cold or hot water, as well as sharply fill the pan with water.
Usually in the peat tablets there are already small holes in the center, it is desirable to deepen them a little, literally half a centimeter, with some blunt object. Prepared pepper seeds are laid out one by one into these wells and covered with a small amount of peat to level the surface of the soil. If you did not germinate the seeds beforehand, then you can put two seeds in one hole, so that later, if both germinate, the weaker seed can be carefully cut at the level of the substrate.
Watering crops at this stage is not necessary, the humidity of the tablets is more than enough. Sown seeds are covered with a transparent lid to create a greenhouse effect and placed in a warm place (+ 23 ° C- + 25 ° C). It is necessary to open the cover every day for airing and to wipe the condensate that has accumulated on it.
Shoots peppers usually appear after 7-12 days. After the first sprouts appear, the lid should be removed, and the pallet with peat tablets should be placed in a bright place. However, this can be done in advance, so as not to miss the moment of seed germination. The main thing is only that the pan with seedlings of pepper does not stand in the sun, otherwise the seeds risk boiling.
Another advantage of using peat tablets is the fact that seedlings can appear unevenly, and in the process of growth small peppers can be easily grouped according to the degree of development, moving them to different trays.
Further care of pepper seedlings is reduced only to the control of peat moisture and watering. It can be easily carried out by pouring some water into the pan - the tablets themselves draw in as much liquid as they need. It is easy to determine the time of watering as tablets - they begin to shrink slightly. If you pour too much water, it is better to drain the excess over time so that the roots can breathe freely. Feed the seedlings do not need - everything you need is already available in tablets.
If roots began to appear from the bottom of peat tablets, the period of development of pepper seedlings in them has come to an end and must be moved along with the tablets to a larger container.
Variety of tanks
Well, what if you grow pepper seedlings in large volumes (more than 100 bushes) for yourself and relatives or for sale? Or you do not have extra money to buy pills, but there is extra time to tinker with the seedlings. In these cases, the choice of capacity for seedlings of pepper remains very wide. The only thing that needs to be remembered, especially if you are a novice gardener, is that pepper doesn’t like the root system's anxiety, so it’s better to plant it in separate, albeit small, containers.
The ideal option in this case would be plastic cassettes. At present, they are represented on the market of various sizes, both for the landing cells themselves and for the number of cells in the cassette. In addition, they are easy to cut, which means you can easily adjust their dimensions to fit your needs. Each cell is perforated, which favorably affects the ventilation of the roots.
Thus, the cassettes for seedlings have a lot of advantages:
- They are durable in operation - with careful use - more than 10 years;
- They are light and compact, they can be stacked in piles;
- They are inexpensive and affordable;
- The seedlings are easily transported into them;
- The seedling is quite easily removed from the cells with a slight pressure from below, remains earthen room, due to which it is easier to take root.
For pepper, the following options are possible:
- use for planting cassettes with small cells (40x40, 50x50) with further transplantation-transfer of pepper seedlings into larger ones;
- planting seeds immediately in large-cell cassettes (75x75 or even 90x90) and growing seedlings in them before planting in the ground.
Which option to choose is up to you. In the latter case, you only need to be very careful with watering in the first month of growth of pepper seedlings, since in large containers there is a likelihood of acidification of the soil. It is better to water a little, but often.
In any case, as mentioned above, in order to grow the perfect pepper seedling for three weeks before planting in open ground, plants must be planted in even larger pots with a volume of more than one liter.
Cassettes are often sold separately, without pallets, and if you want to save on their purchase, you can easily make pallets yourself. To do this, cut a sheet of dense polyethylene, each side of which should be 5 cm more than the same side of the prepared cassette. Then place the cassette in the center of the sheet and bend all the edges up. Staple them with tape or stapler. Excess neatly trim. Pallet ready.
The simplest option is to use ordinary disposable cups.
Important! Do not use transparent dishes for growing seedlings of peppers, it is better to choose multi-colored containers so that the roots do not see the light. Otherwise, their development will slow down.
Even small cups from 100-150 ml in volume will be suitable for the initial sowing of seeds. But after 3-4 leafs unfold on the seedlings, it is imperative to transfer each plant to larger cups for seedlings, with a volume of about 500 ml. If there is too much space on the window sill, you can immediately take containers from one liter or more for handling.
For growing seedlings of pepper, you can use almost any cardboard container from under juices and dairy products. It is only necessary to thoroughly wash them before use, cut off and pierce many drainage holes with an awl. The convenience of such containers for growing pepper seedlings lies in the fact that before planting in the ground, the cardboard is simply cut and the earth lump remains intact.
Often, homemade cups are made of dark polyethylene, paper, or even newspapers for growing seedlings of pepper in large quantities. The technology is very simple. First there is a wooden or plastic box out of the fruit. Then the base is taken, which is wrapped in paper or polyethylene of the desired height. As a basis, you can take a large plastic bottle or, even better, a piece of metal square profile. After one turn, all the excess is cut off, the parts are fastened with tape, and the bottom is bent inward. Ready cups are filled with fertile soil and placed in a box for stability. When landing in the ground they simply cut on one side.
As you can see, the choice of containers in which you can grow strong and healthy seedlings of pepper, is very extensive. It all depends on your capabilities and desires.