How To Care For Vegetable Seedlings

Once the seeds have germinated and as soon as you see the roots coming out, plant them right away. Use 4 inches pots or containers to grow the seedlings. If the roots get too long, it becomes hard to plant them. Mist the seedlings daily for the first week. It will give them enough time to adjust in their new environments.

After watering, some seedlings will lay on the soil. Gently lift them up and firm the soil around them to help them stand up. At this stage, the plants are fragile and can fall over easily.

Seedlings also require stronger light conditions. If you are growing your vegetables under grow lights, increase the light intensity. Provide the seedlings with bright light most of the time.

Lack of water or overwatering can cause your seedlings to fall off and die. In between waterings, check the top one inch of the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, water your plant. Keep the seedling roots supplied with sufficient water and oxygen and avoid water-logged conditions.

Do not fertilize the seedlings. The organic matter in the soil mixes holds enough fertilizer to grow a seedling for 4 to 6 weeks.

After germination, seedlings grow well in daytime temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vegetable plants require certain basic nutrients for growth and maintenance. Three of these nutrients are taken from the air and from water: hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Plants combine the sugars they produce with plant nutrients to produce proteins, enzymes, and other elements essential to growth. A shortage or deficiency in any of the 17 essential nutrients will result in reduced or abnormal growth. Most of the nutrients a plant takes up are dissolved in water before being absorbed by the roots. In fact, 98% of nutrients are absorbed from the soil-water solution and only about 2% of nutrients are extracted from soil particles. Anything that reduces or stops sugar production in leaves can lower nutrient absorption. So, if a plant is under stress because of drought, reduced sunlight, or extreme temperatures, then nutrient deficiencies will likely follow!

One problem vegetable gardeners often face is an imbalance among the soil nutrients. The macro and micronutrients must all be available to the plant since some help the plant absorb others. The best way to ensure healthy soil that offers all 17 nutrients is through the use of natural compost and manure added to the garden soil yearly.

Many vegetable plant diseases are caused by missing macro or micronutrients. Blossom end rot, for instance, is thought to be caused by a lack of calcium in the soil which makes plants susceptible to viruses and bacteria. Like people, plants offered a "junk food diet" missing critical nutritive elements suffer from malnutrition, which affects their growth. As the roots begin to develop, plants need well-balanced nutrients for rapid growth.

Remove the weeds from the soil to keep the plant roots happy. To cleanly remove the weeds, use a hoe in the early morning in dry weather. It can be difficult to differentiate between seedlings and weeds at times. An easy way to differentiate between the two is by marking the seedling rows using a marker. Look at the seedling leaves that are miniature versions of adult leaves. If you know what adult leaves look like, you will be able to differentiate the seedlings from weeds. When in doubt, let the weeds grow a bit longer to identify them.

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