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Seedling picking: what is it and why is it needed

Seedling picking: what is it and why is it needed


Seedling picking is the transplanting of a plant after two leaves have appeared from one container to another of a larger size. The opinions of experts were divided about its necessity. Some believe that this is a necessary measure for its further growth. Others are of the opinion that picking is a kind of stress for the plant and therefore initially sowing seeds in large containers.

The picking process consists of replanting small seedlings into a larger pot, which is filled with new soil. In order to minimize the possibility of traumatizing the plant, it must be transplanted provided there are 2-3 leaves. Such manipulations contribute to the rapid growth and development of the root system of seedlings, as well as strengthening and resistance to subsequent planting in the soil.

From the moment of sowing the seeds to the appearance of the first leaves, seedlings do not need a large area. During this period, it is necessary to provide favorable climatic conditions for their growth: temperature, illumination, watering. For sowing seedling seeds, it is recommended to use small cups or pots with a hole in the bottom. This technique prevents the stagnation of water in the vessel and thus creates the necessary conditions for oxygenation of the soil.

What is a pick and why to do it

When the seedlings begin to grow, their root system also develops, therefore, in the future, caring for the seedlings involves moving them into a large pot. There the plant will be able to develop normally and receive all the necessary substances and trace elements.

If the seedlings are left in small cups during the development of the roots, the area is not lost. The roots begin to lick out of the existing holes, intertwine, the plant does not receive the required amount of trace elements. As a result, it begins to turn yellow, wither, and stunted. Therefore, the only solution to this problem is considered to increase the area for each sprout, that is, they are transplanted into a larger vessel.

In what cases it is imperative to carry out a pick

The pick provides the necessary nutritional area for the young plant. In addition, favorable conditions are created for the development of a strong root system, and, accordingly, healthy, strong seedlings.

In the case of initial sowing of seeds in large containers, the situation with drainage becomes more difficult. In such pots, excess moisture remains in the soil, and does not go outside. Thus, the amount of oxygen required to feed the plant is reduced, as well as the possibility of its supply. Under these growing conditions, the seeds will sprout, but the plants will develop more slowly.

In some cases, picking is recommended to be carried out without fail. The transplanting process stimulates the growth and development of lateral roots and thus the plant takes root better after planting in openings.

After sowing seeds in a common pot, and not separately, at a certain stage of development, the roots of neighboring seedlings begin to intertwine with each other. Separation and transplantation of seedlings helps to prevent such a development of events, in addition, it makes it easier to plant plants in the garden.

With a high similarity, such a manipulation helps to select better quality sprouts and get rid of sick, thin and underdeveloped ones.

Seedlings can be attacked by various bacteria and fungal infections. Transplanting into a new soil substrate helps to protect seedlings from diseases and their consequences.

In some cases, it is necessary to suspend the growth of the plant, which is carried out using a pick. When transplanting an adult seedling, its growth slows down and thus the threat of overgrowth disappears.

How to dive seedlings correctly

To correctly carry out a pick, you must follow a certain sequence of actions. There are two methods of picking: transfer and transfer.

Transfer. To carry out a transplant, it is necessary to pre-fill the seedlings with warm water, this will help reduce its damage when removed from the ground. Prepared boxes, pots or flowerpots must be filled by a third with soil mixture and tamped a little. With a stick or finger, you need to make a hole to the very bottom, where the seedling root will subsequently fit.

With the help of auxiliary equipment, you need to get the seedling boring along with a lump of earth from a common vessel. It is advisable to hold the plants by the earth ball or by the leaves. It is not recommended to hold by the stem. At the next stage, excess soil is removed from the roots of the seedlings. Sometimes plucking of the main root stub is carried out to improve the further development of its lateral roots.

The prepared seedling is placed in the formed hole and covered with soil, compacting it with your hands, and watered. If the seedlings are small, they can be placed in a tray filled with water. Transplanted plants for several days in a dimly lit place.

Transfer. The transshipment method is distinguished by the fact that damage to the root system is minimized and thus, plants need much less time to adapt to new conditions.

A few days before its implementation, it is necessary to stop watering so that the plants, along with the soil, can easily leave the original container. A third of the previously prepared vessels are filled with earth.

Turn the vessel with the sprout, press a little on the bottom and get the plant along with a lump of earth. At the next stage, the plant, together with the soil, is placed in a prepared vessel and covered with the required amount of soil substrate. Then you should spend abundant watering and put the sprouts in a dimly lit room for a couple of days.

What crops do not tolerate picking

With proper handling, the root system of the seedlings remains practically intact. It can be used for fragile and demanding plants, as well as those that painfully tolerate transplantation: pepper, eggplant, poppy, mallow.

But such plants as cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini, melon, it is advisable to sow in separate pots and plant in open ground at the stage of development of four leaves.


What is picking seedlings - when, why and how to transplant

Novice summer residents and flower growers who had to deal with growing seedlings do not fully understand what a pick is. Although they often resort to it, they themselves do not know it. Let's find out what it means to "dive seedlings", why this procedure is carried out, and whether all plants need it.


What is picking for?

Novice gardeners who are first engaged in seedling tomato cultivation ask a number of questions. What is picking tomato seedlings? Why is this event being held? How and when to start picking in order to get a rich harvest of tomatoes?

A pick is called planting seedlings in separate or more voluminous containers. When planting seeds, summer residents most often sow them in large containers. After 1.5 - 2 weeks, the first shoots appear. And at this stage, the seedlings have enough nutrients and lighting.

But the root system grows, as do the plants themselves. The seedlings are already lacking nutrients and light. And the seedlings begin to stretch out or, conversely, slow down in growth. To provide plants with all the necessary conditions for active growth, timely transplantation of tomato seedlings is required.

According to the rules of agricultural technology, when transplanting, it is necessary to remove ¼ part of the main root in order to activate the growth of the lateral roots. But at the moment this action has lost its relevance. There is no evidence that root diving has any effect on yield. Therefore, most summer residents skip this event and simply transplant tomatoes to a new place.

The process of diving seedlings has the following goals:

  • Providing plants with enough nutrients, lighting and free space to build a strong root system
  • Culling of weak and damaged seedlings.

The quantity and quality of the future harvest depends on how responsibly you approach this process.


Seedling picking techniques

Before starting the procedure, prepare the necessary details. You will need:

  • Seedling tray
  • Individual containers (it is convenient to use plastic cups)
  • Priming
  • Dive stick (peg, fork, pencil or toothpick)
  • Water.

Water the seedlings immediately before starting work and wait a few minutes for the water to drain. There are 3 ways of picking seedlings.

  • Picking seedlings under a peg. Use the peg to make indentations in the soil into which you are replanting the plants. It is better if these are individual containers. If the container is one for the entire seedlings, leave a space of 10x10 cm for each seedling. Make a groove with a peg next to the seedling, gently tilt the peg to pry the seedling along with the ground. Hold the seedlings by the cotyledon leaves, it is dangerous to hold the stem, it can break. Pinch the main root of the seedling, transfer to a new place, deepen to the level of the first leaves. Spread out the roots with a peg and carefully cover the hole with earth, slightly crushing the soil at the base of the stem.

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  • Picking seedlings under the finger. The procedure in this method is similar to the first, the only difference is in the working tool. Use your index finger instead of a dive peg. The depth of the fossa is equal to the length of the index finger. The method differs in speed, without additional tools, the work is performed several times faster.
  • Picking seedlings under the bar. The method is used when there is a large amount of work, 15-20 seedlings are dived at the same time. The disadvantage of this method is to reduce the quality of the pick. Make a groove in the ground and pour water over it. Place seedlings with a dived main root in the groove at a distance of 5-10 cm from each other. Use a wooden plank to dislodge the soil by covering the roots of the seedlings in one motion.

Seedling picking: what is it, why is it needed and how to do it right

Summer residents with 10 years of experience have formed their own opinion about growing seedlings: with or without a pick. This opinion is based more on convenience. To whom it is more convenient, they do it.

After all, few people have conducted experiments in exactly the same conditions with statistical data processing. This is necessary in order to draw an objective conclusion: for example, without picking, with a certain approach, tomato seedlings grow better.

In this case, it is rash to rely on the personal experience of summer residents. Let's figure out why and for which crops a pick is needed, and when you can refuse it.

Picking and transshipment are different concepts

First, let's define the terms so that there is no confusion. In Internet sources, transshipment is often referred to as one of the picking methods. This is fundamentally wrong. Diving means pinching the tip of the main root to stimulate lateral branching. This is done either deliberately, pruning with scissors, or arbitrarily, planting densely sown seedlings from a common box.

Transshipment is a gentle method of transplanting, in which any injury to the roots is excluded. Transfer is carried out from individual cups or seedling cassettes with a lump of soil mixture. The method is suitable for crops that are sensitive to picking.

Picking and transshipment are two different ways of transplanting seedlings.

Supporters of growing seedlings without transplanting, when the seeds are 2 pcs. sown immediately in a large container with a fertile soil mixture, two nuances must be taken into account:

It will be difficult to place such a number of seedling containers on the southeast windows, and with the growth of seedlings in late winter and early spring, this is necessary
For seed germination, depleted air-permeable peat mixtures are required, a thin layer of soil warms up better and dries faster. As a result, the roots receive oxygen and develop fully. In a large volume of soil, moisture stagnates in the lower layer, and heavy nutrient mixtures in the early stages of growth cause the seedlings to stretch.

For these reasons, we recommend growing seedlings for a long period with a transplant. Without transplanting, you can grow crops that are sown for seedlings at the end of April and May, and planted in open ground in June. Seeds are sown in peat-baked pots with a diameter of 8-10 cm, filled with a nutrient mixture.

When you can't do without a pick

So, by picking, we mean the transplanting of thickened seedlings into seedling boxes, pots or individual cups. What are the advantages of picking:

  • pinching the main root stimulates the growth of lateral roots, we get a developed branched root system
  • the substrate is replaced, the seedlings are planted in a new clean soil, the risk of developing diseases is reduced
  • only strong healthy seedlings dive; natural culling of planting material
  • the growth of the ground part of the plant slows down, does not stretch out with prolonged growing of seedlings indoors
  • transplanting, as stress for seedlings, hardens the seedlings before planting in the ground, the plants adapt faster
  • a compact root system is formed without a long taproot and is easier to plant.

The first week after the pick, the plants stop growing, but this applies to the ground part. All resources are directed to the restoration and development of the root system. Other negative points are associated with violation of the picking rules, which will be discussed below.

Picking is a mandatory technique when growing seedlings of tomato, artichoke, rosemary, tarragon, melon pear. For tomato, picking contributes to the development of lateral and adventitious roots. For spicy herbs with a long period of growing seedlings, the soil is renewed and the feeding area is increased.

Many experts recommend diving seedlings into peat pots or disposable cups, and when planting in the ground, use transshipment. For tomatoes, sparse transplantation into seedling boxes or greenhouse beds is allowed.

How to make a pick correctly

Compliance with technology is the key to strong seedlings. At the preparatory stage, containers for transplanting are selected and filled with 2/3 of them with moist disinfected soil mixture. It is useful to have drainage holes and a layer of expanded clay or sand at the bottom.

Seedling picking rules:

  • seedlings dive when 2-3 true leaves appear: earlier it makes no sense, and later the risk of injury to the roots increases
  • in 12 hours the seedlings are watered abundantly (if the soil is very loose, then watering is carried out in a few hours)
  • to gently remove the seedling, use special shovels or forks (pick kits can be purchased at a gardening store), ice cream sticks or an old butter knife
  • the roots of seedlings are treated in a solution of Fitosporin (prevention of phytophthora and other fungal diseases) or a root growth stimulant
  • root pinching scissors must be sharp and disinfected (alcohol solution or potassium permanganate)
  • the transplant is done only in clean soil: the infection from the soil will easily penetrate into young plants through damaged roots
  • deepening to the cotyledon leaves is required only for tomatoes, for the rest it is fraught with stem rot
  • after picking, the seedlings are watered with Fitosporin solution
  • transplanted seedlings are placed away from direct sunlight for several days and provide regular, but not plentiful watering
  • the first feeding is given after 10 days, when the plants take root and start growing.

Seedlings dive into the greenhouse in the morning or evening hours. The beds are shaded with cardboard or agrofiber.

Either-or: at the discretion of the gardener

For certain seedling crops, potting or seeding in individual containers is preferred, but picking is also acceptable in some cases. Such cases include the lack of space for placement of seedlings, early sowing for seedlings, the absence of a greenhouse for transplantation.

In the scientific literature, alternative crops include cauliflower, Peking cabbage, cabbage salad, asparagus salad, romaine lettuce, celery, basil, catnip, bell pepper, eggplant, vegetable sugar.

From flower cultures, aster, zinnia, petunia, marigolds, viola dive. But you can sow seeds in cassettes or cups.

Seedlings without picking

Cultures with a sensitive root system and a short growing period are grown without picking. Sowing is carried out in peat pots, seedling cassettes or plastic cups. Plants are planted in open ground by transshipment, carefully removing them from the container or simply cutting the seedlings. Peat pots are also recommended to be cut lengthwise.

Crops that do not tolerate picking: cucumber, squash, squash, pumpkins, watermelon, melon, luffa, physalis, white cabbage, savoy cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, lovage, fennel, monarda, thyme, clary sage, rue, sweet corn.

If there are rare and expensive varieties in the collection of the summer resident, then they are grown without picking. If necessary, transfer from smaller cups to a spacious container is used.


Either-or: at the discretion of the gardener

For certain seedling crops, potting or seeding in individual containers is preferred, but picking is also acceptable in some cases. Such cases include the lack of space for placement of seedlings, early sowing for seedlings, the absence of a greenhouse for transplantation.

In the scientific literature, alternative cultivation crops include cauliflower, Peking cabbage, cabbage salad, asparagus salad, romaine lettuce, celery, basil, catnip, bell pepper, eggplant, vegetable sugar.

From flower cultures, aster, zinnia, petunia, marigolds, viola dive. But you can sow seeds in cassettes or cups.


Advice from gardeners and gardeners

In order not to make mistakes in picking seedlings, use the advice of experienced gardeners and gardeners.

  • The timing of picking seedlings depends on the seedlings. 2-3 weeks after the emergence of shoots at the stage of 2 true leaves, it is customary to pick. Do not confuse the real leaves of the future plant with the cotyledons, which appear first in the emerging seedlings. Take your time, but do not delay: the younger the seedlings, the easier they will adapt to a new place.
  • Leave the growth point of the plant at ground level, or deepen it 0.5 cm below. Left on the surface, it will stop the growth of the plant.
  • Before planting seedlings in a new place, disinfect the roots in a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
  • After picking, water the seedlings and take them to a cool shaded place for 5-7 days. Then return to the windowsill and resume routine care.

Seedling picking is a necessary and important stage in the life of a plant. The pluses of picking outweigh the minuses when a healthy and high-quality plant is at stake, giving a bountiful harvest.


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