normally remain viable for 2 or 3 years if stored under good conditions. To grow best
vegetables either for home garden or for growing commercially try only certified seeds
with, trueness to type and freedom from certain diseases. Good seeds are clean, viable,
free from disease and true to the name variety. Therefore, buy only from seed firm of
known integrity. High yielding, high price seeds should have 90% germination. Seeds of 50%
germination is very poor.
Germination of Seeds
For germination of
seeds adequate moisture, temperature and aeration are essential. The requirement of
temperature for various vegetable seeds varies markedly. Some seeds do not germinate at
low temperature while some others at high. Usually germination is optimum in between 400
F and 600 F. Seeds absorb moisture and swell and vital activities starts.
Respiration begins and energy is supplied and this requires oxygen. Aeration is essential
to supply oxygen. If supply of water is more or over wet aeration is poor and may hinder
Vegetable seeds are
usually grown in nursery beds or in boxes. There are three types of seed treatments to
3 Seed protection.
The first eliminates
organisms present on the surface of seeds. Calcium hypochlorite, mercuric chloride and
bromide water may be used. The second disinfectant eliminates organisms present within the
seeds. For this hot water, formaldehyde and mercuric chloride are effective. In hot water
treatment dry seeds are immersed in hot water 45 to 550 C for 10 to 15 minutes.
The third treatment protectants are fungicides to protect seeds from soil fungi. Nursery
soil should be drenched before sowing of seeds. Commercial materials are also now
available to treat seeds like Captan, Cerason, Thiram, Bavistin, Agrosan GN and
antibiotics such as Agrimycin (0.01%), Streptocyline (0.01%) etc. To secure healthy
seedling the seed treatments should be invariably done. If the outside nursery bed contain
worms, maggot and such insects a combination of insecticides and fungicides should be
applied like Aldrin, Dieldrin with Captan, Thiram etc. All chemicals should be handled
carefully according to directions of the manufacturer.
If boxes are used for
growing seedling the soil should be disinfected by heating the soil to 180 F for atleast
one hour. If nursery beds are used the soil may be disinfected by 40% Formalin. One part
formaldehyde (40%) mixed in 50 parts of water and saturates the soil. After 24 hours of
treatments the seeds may be sown. If captan and formaldehyde is used, the nursery soil may
be drenched about 10-12 days before seed sowing.
Preparation of nursery beds
The nursery beds
should be prepared before the soil treatments. The nursery beds should be of one meter
width and length four to five meter. The soil should be cultivated to a find tilth. All
weeds, stones etc. should be removed. The beds should be raised to 15 to 20 cm. heights.
If necessary, shade or shelter may be provided. Usually total bed area of 80-100 sq.m. is
sufficient for most of transplanted seedlings to cover one hectare.
NPK nursery mixture
may be applied along with compost on FYM during preparation of soil. After complete
preparation and levelling the beds should he given soil treatment as mentioned above.
Sowing of seeds
The vegetable seeds
should be sown in nursery beds in lines at 1.5-2 cm. below surface soiled at a distance of
5-6 cm. The distance from line to line should be 10-15 cm. After sowing cover the seeds
with sieved compost very lightly. The beds should be watered with a sprinkler. The above
distance from plant to plant or row to row may be changed according to size of seeds, kind
of vegetables and type of seedlings. Similarly the depth of covering with compost varies
with the kind of seed. Very fine seeds may be dusted over the nursery bed. Covering of
other seeds may be one to two times their minimum diameter. During germination and after
sprinkle water in the beds but no excessive. Over watering creates high humidity and poor
aeration and contributes to "damping off" disease.
To transplant the
vegetable seedlings to its permanent location the seedlings should be stocky, healthy and
vigorous rather than spindly, weak and elongated plants. Moderate temperatures produce
stocky growth. To harden some vegetable seedlings, seedlings may be transplanted one or
two times to another nursery bed. In large scale condition watering may be withheld two to
three days ahead of transplanting to permanent site.
The young seedlings in
the nursery bed should protected against diseases and pests. Regular spray to young plants
with Malathion 50 EC or Dithane M-45 or Sevin (0.2%) similar material at 10-15 days
interval is necessary.
Most of the vegetable
seedlings in the nursery bed is ready for transplanting when the seedlings are 4 to 6
weeks old. During uprooting every care should be taken not to damage roots. Light watering
should be given at least 12 hours before lifting.