How to keep seedlings until spring?
Many gardeners panic if, immediately after buying seedlings, suddenly winter begins and a layer of snow and ice hides the soil. What to do with seedlings, where you can put them, how to save them so that they do not die? Now about all this we will tell you.
- Fear has big eyes
- Storage of seedlings indoors
- How to dig seedlings for the winter?
- Tips for storing seedlings
Fear has big eyes
Immediately discard the stone fruits, a separate conversation about them. It has already been written and said more than once that stone fruits - cherries, plums, cherries and so on - are best planted in the spring. How to dig in seedlings of stone fruit if they were bought in the fall, we will talk a little lower, and now about something else.
As you know, biologically the roots of various fruit crops, in particular pome crops, can freely develop in the soil if its temperature is only about three degrees above zero. In addition, the surface part of the plant, that is, most of it, is asleep, so the plant will not feel a transplant or division in this state.
When planting in cold ground, not frozen, namely cold, in seed crops, a kind of immunity is formed, the root system develops more powerful and deeper, therefore, the drought tolerance of plants increases. So, if the soil is only slightly frozen above, then you should not panic.
Before the plant is securely buried, you need to think about how you will transport it. Very often you can observe this picture: the roots of the plant are securely packed, and its entire aboveground part is bare, and the car rushes with a trailer full of seedlings along an icy road. This is fundamentally wrong and can lead to the death of the aerial part, its freezing. So, when transporting in this way, be sure to cover both the roots and the aerial part of the plant, and the second is even better than the first.
Storage of seedlings indoors
They brought plants and we see that the soil is completely frozen, say, 6-7 degrees below zero. It is already impossible to plant or plant plants in such soil. Then we resort to the old, good and proven method over the years: we place seedlings in the basement, in wet sawdust. In this case, the roots can either be packed in a plastic bag (if the basement is very cold - that is, almost like on the street) or not packaged, but simply sprinkled with damp sawdust if the basement is about zero in the direction of a negative value.
The main thing is that not only the root system of the seedling, but also the lower part, to the root neck, is sprinkled under the sawdust, and if it is an annual (that is, one rod), then a couple of centimeters higher.
After the seedlings have been stored in the basement, begin to monitor the temperature in this room. So, if it suddenly started to grow and rise higher, then you will have to open the windows and doors to let in cold air and lower the temperature, because even at five degrees above zero the buds can begin to wake up, that is, the plants will start to wake up, and this does not bode well good.
To store seedlings, if winter has suddenly come, you can not only in the basement. The main thing is to ensure the optimum temperature and prevent the sawdust from drying out. In fact, any impermeable room with moderate humidity in it is quite suitable for this - it is a cellar, a cellar, a balcony (of course, if it is not heated, but it is necessarily glazed), where the temperature is kept at zero from minus one (plus- minus a couple of degrees, but no more).
Storage of seedlings of stone fruit crops
As promised, let's talk about seedlings of stone fruit crops, they can also be stored in the basement if the soil is already frozen. The main thing for stone fruit is to remove all the foliage, because it draws moisture from the shoots, and often stone fruit is sold with an abundance of leaf blades, especially sweet cherry.
Stone fruit can be stored in separate boxes or crates, while plastic bags are best not to be used: the root neck is very sensitive to heating in these crops. Remember to keep the sawdust slightly moist.
Before placing in a box or box with stone fruit, be sure to carefully inspect the roots. If it seems to you that the roots are not wet enough, then there will be nothing to worry about if you place them in cold water for a couple of hours.
How to dig seedlings for the winter?
If you plant late, and the soil is not frozen yet? Then dig right on the site and as soon as possible until the ground is frozen. In order to preserve, in fact, any seedling in the soil, it is necessary to construct a hole or trench and arrange it approximately from east to west.
The size of this hole is unambiguously difficult to describe, it depends on a number of factors: here the number of seedlings, their length and age (whether the seedling is branched or not), how developed its root system is - all these factors play a role and affect the size of the hole. Consequently, the more seedlings, branches on them, the stronger the root system is developed, the more there should be a hole (trench) in length and depth.
When choosing a site for the pit, try to choose the driest and most well-ventilated place. It is wonderful if it is protected from the cold wind on the north side and there is more snow accumulating there.
To make it easier for you to calculate the length of the fossa, we note that for about every plant, in addition to dipping the root system, there are also two dozen centimeters of shelter for the aerial parts of the soil, and in stone fruit all three dozen.
The average depth of the pit should be approximately 50 cm, and the width should be 30-35 centimeters (again, these are all average sizes). Try to dig a trench so that from the south there is a slope having an angle of 45 degrees (we are talking about the walls), and make the north side as vertical as possible.
On heavy soil, where meltwater can accumulate under seedlings, it is advisable to make a “litter” of a mixture of peat and river sand in equal proportions.
On top of seedlings, before you sprinkle them with soil, be sure to lay coniferous paws, sprinkle with needles and coniferous sawdust. Then you can sprinkle them with soil, the layer thickness of which should be equal to ten centimeters.
You can remove buried stone crops from the trench only in mid-April, when the soil warms up and it will be possible to land them in a permanent place.
Excavation of seedlings of fruit seed crops
We pass to fruit pome crops (this is an apple tree, pear and others). These plants, in principle, can be attributed to fairly cold-resistant, of course, if you have selected varieties suitable for your cultivation region. Given this, it is possible, if the soil has not frozen, then even in the later periods to plant them on the site, if it is seized with frost, then it is definitely worth digging. If you don’t want to take risks at all, then it’s also worth it to plant the seedlings regardless of the condition of the soil and just focusing on the timing.
The digging of pome crops on the site can be carried out according to the same principle as the stone fruit crops. There is not much difference here, although the stem can be covered with a third less, the main thing is that the roots are in the hole, were moist and well covered with soil.
Some gardeners additionally cover all dug seedlings with plastic wrap. Actually, it is undesirable to do this, because condensate accumulates under the film if sunlight enters it, which can lead to rot in the future. If you really want to cover your prikop with something, then it is better to use lutrasil or other non-woven material that “breathes” for this. Conduct shelter at the beginning of the first frosts, you should not rush with this.
In the basement, pome crops, like stone fruit, are dug into sawdust. You can do this by placing seedlings both vertically and under a slight slope. And if it is a balcony, then a seedling or several of them can be placed in a wooden box, on the bottom of which pour sawdust, put a seedling in them and cover the box with sawdust to the very top.
General rules for digging
That with pome crops, that with stone fruits, that with any shrubs or shrubs before storage - in the basement, cellar, boxes, for digging - it is necessary to remove all the leaves. Firstly, they draw water from seedlings, even if they look sluggish in appearance, and secondly, leaf blades, dying and crumbling, begin to rot, and rot can easily spread to shoots.
Next, pay attention to the roots, we already wrote about this a bit above, but it’s useful to remind once again: if the root system causes any suspicions, for example, it seems to be dried, then do not be lazy and soak it for a day in water, only clean, without fertilizers and other substances that can stimulate plant growth. After this time, seedlings can be stored.
Important! When placing any seedlings in a trench, it is necessary to arrange them so that the roots are located to the north, and the tops of the seedlings look to the south. It is this position of the seedlings in the trench that can protect the plants from gusts of cold wind (which can cause desiccation) and from active sunlight, which can lead to burns.
Further, and this is also important, any digging of seedlings, wherever it is, must be protected from rodents. There are two ways: one, let’s say, is dangerous, and the other is not dangerous. A dangerous way is to lay out a large number of poisoned baits - it is dangerous because both a pest and a useful animal or bird can eat the bait.
The safe method is to cover with a solid network, plastic or metal, the entire digging and fixing this network at the edges with anything, if only it is durable.
You can use sticky glue in the basement: it’s unlikely that you have hares in the basement, but you can easily catch mice and rats with sticky glue. It is safe for pets and deadly for rodents.
Tips for storing seedlings
If the necessary covering materials, such as, for example, sawdust, rags, moss, sand, and the boxes themselves are frozen, frozen, frozen, then it is easiest to freeze them by pouring boiling water. You should not beat back and chip away: there will be significantly more physical costs, and you can damage, say, at least the same box.
If the seedlings are very small, for example, sent by mail, but it’s too late so that there is no way to put them on the street, and there is no elementary space in the basement, then they can be put in the refrigerator, but you need to wrap it with a film before branching, you can and ordinary food.
Bottom of such an improvised package you should definitely make holes, small, you can pierce the film with an awl or a thick needle, and when the snow height outside the window reaches 18-20 cm, seedlings can be transferred directly from the refrigerator into the snow without removing them from the package.
So that the snow does not melt during the thaw, the snowdrift in which you dug the seedlings must be covered with a layer of sawdust, preferably at least a dozen centimeters thick.
I would like to say a few words about coniferous plants and rose seedlings.
Storage of seedlings of coniferous plants
Start with coniferous plants, so, it is not advisable to store their seedlings in the cellar, it is better to dig them in the garden, but at the same time choose a place protected from the sun and wind. Due to the fact that conifers are always sold in containers, that is, with a closed root system, it is completely optional to dig large pits, you can simply put them in boxes and place them on the surface of the soil.
The main thing is to make sure that the roots of such seedlings are slightly moist, you can warm the top of the pot a little more, sprinkling with soil, permissible - dry, and the sides of the container should be wrapped with any covering material, say, lutrasil. If there is a lot of lutrasil, then you can make a cone out of it and cover it with the plant completely or the whole box with the plants as a whole.
If you received seedlings of coniferous crops when there is already real frost on the street, then you should not leave them on the street, transfer them to a room resembling a garage. It should put boxes or boxes, pour a couple of centimeters of sawdust to the bottom and place seedlings in these boxes or boxes, sprinkle all the empty spots with sawdust and pour at least a couple of centimeters of sawdust on top. At the same time, it is not necessary to cover the crown of coniferous plants in the garage, the main thing is that the roots are insulated, and if severe frost is expected, then the boxes themselves can be wrapped with felt cloth or any old clothes or blankets.
Important! The soil in containers with coniferous crops should be slightly moist, but not moist or dry.
Storage of rose seedlings
Finally, about roses. The end of October is an ideal period to take care of summer beauties. Until about mid-November, they can be planted in the ground without fear in the center of Russia. If the soil is frozen, then they should also be placed dug in the trench. To do this, you also need to dig a trench with a depth approximately equal to the bayonet of a shovel, put a seedling there, cover it with soil, and sprinkle fir paws on top or spread any covering material.
Small seedlings of roses are well stored in an ordinary household refrigerator, the main thing is to place them on the lowest shelf, the one where the temperature changes from zero to four degrees of heat. It is advisable to wrap the roots with slightly moistened paper, moreover, it is quite possible to use newspaper, and then place them in a plastic bag and tie it tight.
When storing roses in the basement, try to keep the temperature at the same level. Remember that roses are better stored not in sawdust, but in wet river sand, buried in it by two-thirds of the stem.
Well, that’s all I wanted to tell about the storage of seedlings. If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them in the comments.