Spring is coming, it's time to think about seedlings. Previously, if you did not take care of the soil in advance, you had to manually dig the soil, and it is still frozen in February. Now the soil mixture can be bought in the store, and modern technology can become an excellent alternative to the old-fashioned way in boxes: growing seedlings in a snail. In this case, you can generally do without earth substrates at the initial stage.
Seedling snail with soil
Popularly, this design is called a snail, because a round container made of foamed polyethylene looks like a large snail. It is based on a soft laminate backing, which is commonly sold in hardware stores. 1 meter wide, supplied in rolls. It can be 2-10 millimeters thick, but only 2 mm is suitable for seedlings.
Buy a few linear meters of backing and cut strips 15 cm wide. The optimal strip length is one and a half meters. It is better to take the soil ready-made in the form of a substrate, its composition is selected for certain types of plants, then the seedlings will grow better. Also prepare scotch tape for wrapping and securing the roll, it is better not to use an elastic band, as it can gradually transfer the snail and damage future plants. You also need a pallet for ready-made snails. Wide, shallow plastic containers, which are usually sold in the same place as the seedling soil, are excellent for this.
The snail making process is very simple:
- Spread the strip on the table, if it is long, then do not cut it off right away. The excess can always be cut off after twisting the snail to the required diameter.
- Pour the soil onto the strip in small portions and level it along the surface of the substrate along the length by 40 - 50 cm. Spread the seeds on the resulting micro-bed, but not in the center, but closer to the edge. This will be the top.
- Next, you need to carefully twist this part of the strip with soil and seeds into a roll.
- Repeat the above steps several times. You will have a large round container.
- Adjust the diameter of this roll by cutting the end of the strip. Too large snails are not recommended, since after daily watering they will become heavy and can creep under their weight.
- If possible, make a template for assembling a snail from three small 15x50 boards and one 15x15 centimeters. You can use pieces of OSB board with a thickness of 10 - 12 mm. Staple them together in the form of a long box without one end wall. Make a snail inside it, pulling the tape to the vacant space after twisting it. In this case, the roll will be even and neat, and the side walls of the template will not allow the soil mixture to spill out when the strip is twisted.
When the snail is ready, place it in a tray where you will add water as the plants grow. Cover it with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect. In order not to confuse where the top of the roll is, place 2 - 3 pieces of paper with the outward release along with the seeds. If the soil spills out a little, add it flush with the edge of the underlay.
Caring for seedlings in a snail is no different from caring for plants in a box: timely watering, feeding, airing and more sun when the first leaves appear.
Seedling snail without land
This method is used to germinate seeds. Then small sprouts will need to be transplanted into more suitable containers with soil, where they can receive adequate nutrition.
The technology for creating a landless snail is no different from the above-described method using soil. The only difference is that paper towels are used instead of the nutrient substrate. Conventional, cheap toilet paper is poorly suited as it is single-ply and can simply rip when the seeds begin to sprout.
Spread paper towels on a strip of laminate backing, spread the seeds over the surface, and roll the roll. In this case, longer lengths of backing can be used, so the thickness of the roll without soil will be significantly thinner.
After sprouting, use multimineral fertilizing, but after a while the sprouts will have to be transplanted into containers with soil if you want to grow them further in the open field.
Features when growing seedlings in a snail
The use of snails for growing seedlings significantly saves space for their placement. This means that several types of seedlings can be grown in a small space. It is also very easy to plant the sprouts in a permanent place - just roll out the roll and take out the plants without any damage to their roots.
But with such a density of seedlings, better lighting is also required, you may need to install additional light sources for the snails. In this case, it is better to use special greenhouse lamps with enhanced power in the green spectrum. In addition, you need to ensure that there is enough water and at the same time, so that waterlogging does not occur, since snails perfectly absorb moisture and keep it for a long time.
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The main advantage of sowing seeds in a snail Is the rational use of free space. That is, 10-15 sprouts are placed in a snail, and only one sprout in a glass of the same diameter. This growing method is especially relevant for apartments in high-rise buildings.
The snail is easy to make yourself, the substrate for the laminate is not expensive. Also seedlings are easy to divewithout damaging the root system, it is enough to deploy the snail.
Plants in a snail receive the same amount of sunlight, no need to rotate like seedling boxes.
To grow seedlings in a snail, you will need much less soil, a hundred is also important for a gardener, especially if there is not enough space to store the ready-made mixture in an apartment, for example.
Snails can be grown various vegetable and ornamental crops... Peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, cabbage of any kind, flowers, leeks, strawberries grow especially well in snails.
What needs to be prepared for sowing in snails
The process begins with the preparation of the workplace... You will need a flat surface on which it will be convenient to place all the necessary equipment. Any table will do, it is most convenient to work on it.
- Bucket or other container with moist fertile soil... It must be prepared in advance, in accordance with the culture that is supposed to be sown in the "snail".
- Seeds, treated and disinfected in the same way as for traditional planting in seedling boxes. It is better to place them in a shallow plate, so it is more convenient to take them.
- Tweezers will be needed if the gardener is uncomfortable to pick up the seeds with his hands, or they are very small.
- As the main material (that from which the "snail" will be formed), take ordinary construction substrate. Perhaps someone has it at home, left over from repairs. But the acquisition of new material will not require significant costs.
A strip 10 cm wide will be needed. The gardener determines the length himself, based on the number of seeds of one variety. Sowing different varieties is not recommended due to different germination times and possible differences in plant height.
Marigold seedlings in a snail
Also, the determination of the length can be influenced by the volume of the vessel into which the finished "snail" will be installed.
The best option would be to choose transparent plastic container. Subsequently, this will be useful for controlling the water level in it, which will feed the plant roots with moisture. The vessel should be one and a half centimeters thicker than the "snail". This is so that you can effortlessly place a roll of seeds in it.
You will need three rubber bands, they will serve as retainers. Two for the "snail" itself, so that it does not turn around. The third is needed to secure the plastic bag. It will serve as a cap for the "snail" in order to maintain a humid microclimate and warmth.
Sprayer will be needed for watering the finished "snail" after sowing the seeds.
You can clearly see what materials are needed for sowing in the "snail" in the video of the author Yulia Minyaeva:
Seedling snail. Where to start: video
Sowing seeds in a "snail"
This work can only cause uncertainty and anxiety in the gardener who first started this method of growing seedlings. To protect yourself from possible failure, you can use a fallback.
Carry out additional sowing in the usual, traditional way - in seedling boxes. In this case, it will be possible to compare crops and give preference to the best option.
You can sow seeds in a snail even on toilet paper
So: having spread a strip of substrate on the table, with the narrow side facing you, you should proceed to the uniform arrangement of the soil on it. A handful of soil is taken from a nearby bucket, leveled over the entire width of the base. The height of the earthen layer can be 1.5-2 cm. It is not necessary to fill up the entire length of the tape at once, it is rather inconvenient.
It's like baking a roll with a filling. Therefore, for the female half of gardeners, the process will not seem complicated.
Having rolled up the sown part, hold the roll with your left hand, and add earth with your right hand, level it, lay the seeds and roll it up again. The action is repeated until the length of the stem or seeds runs out.
Next, the finished "snail" should be placed vertically. It is important here not to confuse the top and bottom of the roll.
We fix the parcel with seeds with rubber bands and the whole structure is rearranged into the prepared container. You can use plastic boxes in which the seedlings were previously grown. It can hold several snails. They are quite stable, and placed next to them will eliminate the risk of overturning.
If there is a slight subsidence of the earth during the rearrangement, it should be added. It is required that the ground is flush with the edges of the base material.
Water the crops from a sprayer, put a bag on top and secure with an elastic band on a roll. Access to the container must be open. This will be needed for further watering, if the need arises.
Fully equipped "snail" is sent to germinate seeds in the warmest place. For some, these are the upper shelves in the kitchen, and some put vessels with seedlings closer to the central heating radiators. It all depends on the crop sown.
The emerging shoots loops warn of the need to remove the shelter and move to a bright place!
"Snails" are also used for sowing flowers. They are especially good for sowing cold-resistant varieties. In favorable weather, they can be immediately planted in open ground, bypassing the picking stage.
Sowing pepper in the "Snail": video by Yulia Minyaeva
New video: sowing in a snail, how to do it right
Seedlings in a snail from the newspaper: video
Benefits of "snail" crops
The biggest advantage of this method in a city apartment is the saving of space on the windowsills. Compact, vertical, they quickly become a favorite seedling vessel for many summer residents.
Seedlings in a "snail" are located at the same distance from each other, which does not interfere with their identical development. This is another advantage of this seeding method.
Plants also receive sunlight in equal amounts, besides, there is the possibility of free access to each "snail". There is no need to turn the entire box to turn the plant with the opposite side to the sun. This is very inconvenient and quite time consuming when the entire window sill is filled with seedling boxes. In the case of "snails", it is enough to turn it around its axis, and the problem will be solved.
Much less potting mix is required, which is also important. It often happens that a gardener cannot prepare a sufficient amount of potting soil, due to the lack of storage space in a city apartment. In this case, you have to use purchased soil. For "snails" you need a minimum amount. And this is a very big plus for snails. In addition, there is a significant savings in the family budget. The gardener will save on the purchase of soil for crops.
Snail leek seedlings
Reuse of substrates is possible. They should be thoroughly washed with soap and water and dried. During storage, they will take up a minimum of space in comparison with seedling boxes.
It remains to wait for the shoots to appear. And when they grow up, a new job awaits the gardener - transplanting a young plant, diving.
The results of sowing in a "snail". Correcting bugs: video
Picking seedlings into "diapers"
Before proceeding to the description of this method, it is necessary to clarify that the "snail" is a self-made construction for sowing seeds. And in the "swaddling clothes" are planted plants that require picking.
Before getting started, you need to make sure that everything you need is prepared for this.
A low capacity with fertile and moist soil should be located in the immediate vicinity. Working with wet soil is more convenient, it crumbles less.
Plastic bags, they will serve, directly, as a diaper. Their size depends on the age of the seedlings. For a seedling with five leaves, small breakfast bags measuring 18x27 cm are suitable, larger plants need more space.
- A container is required. It will contain ready-made, "wrapped" packages with seedlings. Sawdust should be poured onto its bottom and moistened. This condition is not necessary if the "diaper" is tucked up in its lower part as well.
- You should always have a sprayer or a small watering can on hand.
- It is convenient to take individual shoots from the "snail" with a small flat spatula or fork.
- For those who are engaged in this method of picking for the first time, you can use clerical rubber bands to fasten the resulting packages.
It is more convenient to work on the table using a shallow dish or tray. It is easier to remove the scattered earth from them.
The "snail" should be released from its fastening and carefully unfold the roll to the first sprout. Use a spatula to remove the plant from the substrate and set it aside for a while.
In the middle of the surface of the package, located on the tray, pour a full, with a good slide, spoonful of earth. If it is more convenient for someone to do this with their hands, then a handful of soil will be enough. Align a little, crush and water well (of course, not to dirt), and preferably from a sprayer.
Place the prepared plant on the surface of the earth. If the root system of the plant is strong and extends beyond the boundaries of the lower edge of the bag, they need to be tucked slightly towards the top.
Pinching the roots should not be done, so as not to deliver additional stress to the young plant. Pinching is practiced if the seedlings have one long, underdeveloped root.
At the top, the packet should end at the cotyledonous leaves. Another spoon (or handful) of earth is poured over the roots. Now you need to fold the bag so that you get a glass with a sprout inside. If the gardener does not like the fact that the ground crumbles a little from the bottom of the "diaper", the situation can be corrected with the help of toilet paper.
In the middle of the bag, at the bottom of it, lay a double layer of paper. Sprinkle the earth, arrange the plant and first wrap the paper up. You will get the bottom of the glass, and then roll the film into a roll, stuffed from the ground with the root system. The paper will not bring any inconvenience to the seedlings, it will soon get wet. If there is a lack of soil on top of the package, it must be poured over and, if it is dry, watered.
If the gardener is not sure about the reliability of the seedlings bundles, he can strengthen them with an elastic band.In any case, they are tightly placed in the container so that there is no possibility of them falling.
Watering the plants depends on how the plant is “swaddled”. If the package has a polyethylene bottom, then water is poured from above, onto the ground at the base of the stem. For cups without a bottom, water is poured directly into the container.
Diving pepper into diapers: video
Transplanting tomatoes into "diapers": video
Advantages of the diaper seeding method
When transplanting seedlings from "snails" to "swaddles", it is possible to interrupt work at any time, without harming the rest of the plants. They simply won't be disturbed. The snail should be rolled up by sprinkling a handful of earth on the edge, secured with an elastic band.
Seedlings will calmly wait in the wings.
Significant space saving in the early spring gardener's garden bed - the windowsill. Vertical rolls with seedlings, tightly installed in the container, do not take up much space. It is convenient to turn them with the opposite side to the light, if its inclined growth is noticed.
Seedlings before planting: video
From "diapers" to open ground
Planting seedlings ripened in "nappies" is no different from planting plants unseated in plastic cups or a common seedling box. For them, in the same way, gradual hardening is required, and only after that young bushes of vegetables are planted in open ground. Shading from hot sunlight for several days and routine care appropriate to the culture is required.
What you need to know about planting snail seeds with toilet paper
Can be planted dry, can be pre-soaked in growth regulator.
- Snail packing material.
Plastic bags or cutting tapes from old film, which was previously used in the garden. And to create a warmer climate for seed germination, you can use a special material - a substrate for laminate or linoleum made of Isolone or polyethylene foam.
- Additional layer.
Toilet paper folded at least 2 times (but preferably 4 times).
- Cups for seedlings.
Of course they will be needed, but much later and there may be less of them than you intended. After all, not all seeds can sprout in a snail (not through your fault!), But from those that sprout, you can select the strongest and strongest.
How to make a snail
The optimum snail height is 15 cm. This is the most suitable size for growing tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. The height may be less if you intend to further manipulate the plants, for example, a pick. Also, a low snail (about 10 cm) is suitable for growing plants from small seeds (strawberries, some flowers). I use 2 manufacturing options.
Option with paper
The following method has shown itself very well. First, cut off a strip of backing material, lay out toilet paper in several layers on top of it, or even better - folded paper towels. Along the edge on which the snail will subsequently stand in the pallet, we make an allowance for the paper layer, with its help moisture will be drawn in. Align the layers along the upper edge or leave the paper 1-2 mm below the backing.
Laying the paper layer on top of the backing
Next, lay out the seeds, stepping back 0.5-1 cm from the upper edge of the paper strip. If you intend to grow seedlings before planting in the ground (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants), then the distance between the seeds should be 3-4 cm.If you plan to further pick, you can lay them out more often. Then we wet the entire paper layer, using not just water, but a stimulant solution, for example "Epin", HB-101, etc.
We spread the seeds and moisten
We put a narrow strip of thin paper on top of the seeds - here it is good to use an ordinary toilet paper. We moisten everything again, so the seeds will remain in their places.
We put a strip of paper and wet again
Then we twist and fix the snail. For this purpose, for example, stationery rubber bands or paper tape are suitable. We put the snail in a tray with water or a weak stimulant solution.
You can choose a suitable drug in our market, take a look at a special selection.
The paper that sticks out from the bottom will act as a wick, delivering water to the seeds. Before the seeds germinate, we put on a plastic bag on the snail to retain moisture.
Twisting the snail
After the emergence of shoots, the snail must be turned around and filled with soil. It should be nutritious, loose and water-absorbing. We make the soil layer large enough, 3-4 cm thick. It should be poured evenly, flush with the edges of the snail, compacted - by patting or using special rollers, then moistened from a sprayer, twisted and sprinkled with water over the "bed".
The soil needs to be moistened
While the plants are very small, they must be watered from the top of the sprayer. When the seedlings grow up, real leaves appear, then you will need to pour water into the pan - to carry out the bottom watering.
Option without paper
We prepare a strip of substrate and pour a good layer of soil directly onto it. On the side on which the snail will stand, the soil should be flush with the base. At the upper side, the soil can be spread out the same way or almost filling it up to the edge of the snail, this is convenient for sowing those seeds that sprout in the light.
We pour the soil directly onto the base
You can immediately spread the seeds at the required interval on a layer of soil and twist the snail. But if you do not have experience and are doing it for the first time, then it is better to do it differently. We compact the formed layer of soil, sprinkle it thoroughly with water and twist the snail without seeds, fix it with tape or rubber band. We put it vertically, if necessary, fill it up on top of the earth and moisten it.
We spread the seeds over the surface, taking into account the interval, and then with something suitable (pen, stick) we sink them into the ground. We fall asleep on top with loose soil.
We sow seeds in a snail
We arrange a greenhouse: we cover the snail with a bag or, as I do, we put on a shoe cover. She already has an elastic band, so it's very convenient to use. We install the snail in the pallet so that in the future you can water the seedlings from below.
You can see the whole process with your own eyes in my video.
I find this method of growing seedlings very convenient. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated it, but more often failures were the result of mistakes that gardeners made out of inexperience. I have prepared a special video on how not to make snails, where I show the main mistakes. You can watch it on my channel Whether in the garden, in the vegetable garden. I invite everyone to look at my channel, where you will find many useful videos about growing various garden and vegetable crops, preparing blanks for the winter and breeding poultry.