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There are several options for breeding lemon balm: cuttings, layering, dividing the bush. All of them are relevant if there is access to an already growing spice bush.
But before the growing process, it is better to familiarize yourself with some of the features of planting and caring for the plant in order to get a large harvest at the output.
And how to grow such a useful herb with your own hands, which is called "from scratch", what nuances should be taken into account when starting the growing process? We will try to talk about this in detail in this article.
Preliminary work and landing
For growing seedlings, it is necessary to prepare a place where the containers will be located. Most often, for this purpose, gardeners use east, south-east and south-west windows, and in winter they use additional lighting (the total duration of daylight hours should be 8-10 hours). It will not be superfluous for those who want to grow seedlings to purchase a phytolamp.
When planting a plant in a pot, you can purchase a universal substrate for indoor plants. in a specialty store, or you can cook it yourself, mix:
- 1 part of humus;
- 1 piece of land;
- a handful of sand;
- glass of wood ash.
The soil must undergo preliminary preparation.:
- The soil can be calcined in the oven (+ 180C - + 200C for 30 minutes).
- Spill with boiling water or a bright pink solution of potassium permanganate.
- Treat with fungicides according to the instructions.
All these steps are taken to prevent future seedlings from contracting infectious diseases through the soil.
Choice of capacity
As a container for growing lemon balm seedlings, you can use a regular containerwhich can be purchased from a specialist store (its height must not exceed 10 cm). Instead of such a container, you can use available tools:
- plastic containers for food products, plastic trays;
- you can put together a box with your own hands from planks, plywood;
- you can purchase seedling cassettes, peat or cardboard cups designed for this purpose.
But in all these containers, holes must be made at the bottom, which will ensure the outflow of excess liquid in order to avoid decay of lemon balm roots.
Some gardeners practice sowing spice seeds for seedlings in the so-called "diaper": an orderly arrangement of seeds along the edge of moistened toilet paper, wrapped in a roll with plastic wrap.
This method gives good results, although so far it is perceived with great caution by the bulk of summer residents. If the choice still fell on a container or tray, then it must be pre-treated with alcohol or some kind of fungicide in order to avoid contamination of the soil and future plants with some infectious diseases.
Lemon balm seeds are very small, each seed does not exceed 1 mm in size. Often, in order to make it easier to "keep track" of them, they are mixed with sand or with seeds of other crops (lettuce, radish), which after germination are removed or dived into another container. Lemon balm seeds do not need pre-soaking.
Before sowing, they are simply disinfected by immersing them for 20-30 minutes in a 1% solution of potassium permanganate (1 gram of potassium permanganate per 100 milliliters of water), in order to avoid contamination with infectious diseases of the soil and future plants. After the disinfection procedure, the seeds are washed with running clean water and dried. To prevent small seeds from washing, they should initially be placed in a cloth napkin, which should be tied tightly.
Sowing seeds for seedlings is carried out from mid-March to mid-April, it all depends on the expected date of disembarkation in open ground. If you plan to grow lemon balm in the room, then sowing can be done at any time.
- It is necessary to fill the drainage at the bottom of the container:
- Expanded clay.
- Crushed stone.
- Broken brick, etc.
- Then the soil, which should be moistened with a spray bottle.
- Lemon balm seeds are mixed with sand or other seeds and embedded shallowly into moist soil (0.5 - 1 cm). You can use a pencil to make even furrows and carefully distribute the seeds over them.
- Once again, moisten everything with a spray bottle.
- From above, the container is covered with glass or tightened with plastic wrap, which can be removed with the appearance of the first shoots.
How many days does the seed germinate?
As already noted, lemon balm seeds are very small, they take a long time to germinate: this period can take up to a month. Seedlings of spicy grass are small white-salad green, and after that - deep green sprouts, which have 2 cotyledonous rounded leaves located opposite each other.
What do the seedlings look like in the photo?
The next photo shows the seedlings of the plant.
What if there are no sprouts?
Why doesn't it come up sometimes? The fact that there are no seedlings may be to blame for the wrong conditions of the plant.... Most often, the seeds do not have enough heat and moisture, so it is advisable to adjust the temperature regime and the irrigation scheme. Perhaps the seeds were too deep.
To test this version, you can undermine a small area and make sure that there are some "shifts" in the appearance and development of the future plant. If the seeds do not show any "signs of life", then, most likely, you will have to repeat the sowing, after making sure that the seed is suitable (shelf life, harvest date, etc.).
- The container with the sown seeds is placed in a warm and bright place (+ 20C - + 25C).
- Every day, glass or film must be slightly opened for ventilation, as well as to remove condensation, which can lead to decay of future plants.
- The surface of the substrate needs systematic irrigation (1 time in 2 days) from a spray bottle, so that the water jet could not erode the topsoil and "clog" weak shoots.
- With the appearance of the first shoots, the amount of light must be increased by using additional light sources in the evening.
- When the seedlings grow up to 3 - 5 cm and I will count 2 real leaves, they are seated in separate containers (5 shoots can be in a pot with a diameter of 15 cm) or simply thinned out in a common container, removing seedlings of other plants (the optimal distance between seedlings is 5 cm ).
In order for the spicy herb seedlings to grow strong and strong, they are usually fertilized with nitrogen fertilizers (urea, etc.).
Also, the seedlings need constant irrigation from a spray bottle and watering (3-4 times a week). When the seedlings grow up to 10 cm in height, then they should pinch the top for the future branching of the plant.
10 - 15 days before planting in open ground, the seedlings should be hardened: they should be taken out for several minutes in the open air (not lower than + 10C), gradually increasing the residence time. On the last day, young plants can be left to spend the night in the open air..
When to move to a permanent location?
In May, after the threat of return frosts has passed, young plants, whose age is 40 - 45 days, can already be planted in open ground.
But it all depends on the region (in some such conditions are possible only at the beginning of June) and weather conditions (if it is too cold outside, then it is better to postpone the landing).
Lemon balm seedlings are considered healthy if they look strong and stocky., with a well-developed root system and a thick, sturdy stem. Also, healthy seedlings are distinguished by a bright, rich color characteristic of a particular variety (from dark green to golden salad).
In the pot
Consider how to plant in a pot.
- A drainage layer (2 - 3 cm) should be poured into a pot with a diameter of 15 - 20 cm and a volume of 1.5 - 2 liters, then a substrate (garden soil, sand, humus in a ratio of 1: 1: 1).
- In the substrate, it is necessary to make a depression in which the spice seedling should be placed, carefully straightening all its roots. You can plant 2 - 3 plants in one pot at once.
- All voids are filled with soil.
- The soil is crushed by hand, especially around the stem of the plant for its secure fixation.
- At the end, you must carefully pour the contents of the pot from the watering can along the edge of the container.
In open ground
- On a previously prepared site (the ground is dug up, loosened, fertilized and mixed with sand in equal proportions), holes are dug, the distance between which should be about 40 cm, between the rows - 45-60 cm.
- The wells should be spilled with water, allowing moisture to be absorbed.
- The plants, together with the earthen clod, are removed from the containers and placed in the holes. The root collar of lemon balm should be flush with the ground.
- The voids are filled with soil, the surface of which must be tamped down for better fixation of the plants.
Is it possible to buy ready-made material?
If there is no time to "bother" with growing seedlings, then you can buy ready-made in specialized and online stores. This plant is quite unpretentious, so its seedlings can be bought even on the market without fear for their future development.
When buying, you should pay attention to the condition of the root system: it must be strong and without visible damage.
Sufficiently mature seedlings should not be preferred., since it is these seedlings that are harder to tolerate the adaptation process. A healthy plant is stocky (its height depends on the variety), strong, with a plump stem, without dry leaves and other imperfections.
The average price of lemon balm seedlings in Moscow ranges from 120 rubles for one plant to 230 for 6 pieces. In St. Petersburg, one young plant is paid from 150 rubles and more.
Tea and other culinary delights with lemon balm, grown from seed with your own hands, will be much tastier, more aromatic and healthier than with a purchased plant. Do not be afraid to experiment: it can bring many pleasant and rewarding minutes.