9 Tips For Sukuma Wiki Nursery Preparation.

Planting season is upon us, and here is a reminder to get you through sukuma wiki nursery preparation. One of the reasons farmers or hobby gardeners complain about poor harvest is because they transplant low-quality seedlings into their gardens. 

Diseases will get in if you don’t protect the seedbed from insects and other animals. Proper care during sukuma wiki nursery preparation strengthens sukuma wiki plants. It keeps them healthy to fight off diseases when they get infected.

When you take good care of sukuma wiki seedlings nine times out of 10, you will get healthy seedlings for transplanting a month later. So as you are getting ready for the coming season, let me remind you about good sukuma wiki nursery preparation practices

Nursery beds are also called seedbeds. Seedbeds are where you start your seeds. Seeds are planted in lines made in the soil, covered using dried grass to provide shade and keep them warm. You can use insect netting instead of grass. Insect netting keeps insects out of the nursery, which dried grass cannot do.

You can start a variety of crops in the seedbed, such as Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cabbage, Sukuma wiki, and various other vegetables. Once the seeds are in the soil, the next 30 days are mostly seedling nursery management until transplanting.

Here is the step you must practise in sukuma wiki seedling nursery preparation: 

Watering During sukuma wiki nursery preparation

flooding seedbed sukuma wiki seedling preparation
Flooding seedbed

Make sure your seedbed gets enough water every day. On the first day, you drench the soil with water after planting the seeds. Soaking the seedbed serves a few purposes. First, the roots will have enough moisture to germinate. Secondly, the moisture will activate the manure you applied in the soil seedbed. 

After the first day, you apply just enough water early in the morning before the sun is out. The seeds need air to germinate, so avoid soaking the seedbed after the first day. It maximizes field capacity (water travels slowly in the soil) during the first three days before and after germination. Soaking also guarantees that the seedlings have enough moisture in the ground.

Watering is an early morning activity. Irrigate your seedbed early in the morning before the sun rises. If not, do it late in the evening, after sunset, or when the weather cools to minimize root burning caused by heat buildup in the soil.

Read More: How Much Water Do Kales Need To Thrive?

Fertilizer Application

Adding fertilizer to seedling
Fertilizing seedling

Plants need nutrients to grow into vigorous seedlings. Typically, they would obtain food from the seed during germination. Later, they take their nutrients from the soil. So in preparation, you may apply manure into the seedbed or use fertilizers like DAP.

You may also include some fertilizers if your soil nutrient concentration is low. It happens when the garden is in constant use. It happens when you grow one crop after another in quick succession. Other fertilizers you apply are: 

Foliar fertilizers include easy grow starter, super green, bio grow, and vegimax. Foliar fertilizers help seedlings develop faster when the soil has a low nutrient concentration.

Pest Control

Pests such as the notorious cricket and grasshopper eat away at the seedlings while in the nursery. You can spray insecticides to keep the pests away. However, using an insect net to cover the seedbed will keep the insects out without chemicals. Insects are an excellent alternative for organic farmers.

Nematodes may infect the sukuma wiki nursery through manure. To prevent nematode contamination, any manure needs to be sterilized before use. You can sterilize manure by composting it to burn the nematode eggs and adults. You can also sterilize by heating or boiling for a brief period or sun drying.

Disease Prevention and Control

Just like pests, diseases can start as early as the seedbed. The most common diseases attacking sukuma wiki nursery preparation are fungal diseases such as damping off. Unfortunately, it is a bit too late by the time you see sukuma wiki disease symptoms. So, it would be best to begin spraying as a prevention mechanism. You can also use integrated methods to avoid using chemicals.

However, when using chemicals, use a mixture with low concentration. If you don’t, you might burn your crops.

If you don’t have any fungicide on hand, you can pluck out the infected seedlings or pour water on them until you buy some. 

Weeding For sukuma wiki nursery preparation

The seedbed should be clean so insects and diseases do not have places to hide from you. Also, weeds compete with seedlings for nutrients. Imagine those tiny stems and roots fighting for food against aggressive weeds. They might not survive. 

Weed the seedbed by hand. The seedbed area is small and needs only one person to clear the area. Hand weeding is the easiest way to pick out the weed and not the sukuma wiki seedlings.

Providing some shade

Plant Greenhouse Nursery
Plant Greenhouse Nursery

The first three weeks of a seedling’s life are very delicate. They bruise and damage easily and are sensitive to high temperatures. Seedlings need protection from the sun. The insect netting, shade net, or dried grass roof can provide some shade.

Shade protects the seedlings from the sun and direct rainfall. When installing the seedbed roof, maintain a height of at least 1 meter between the bed and the top. 

Seedlings need room to grow vertically and air circulation while in the nursery.

Hardening off

hardening off seedlings
Hardening off seedlings

Hardening off happens towards the end of the sukuma wiki nursery preparation days. Hardening off means exposing the young seedlings to the sun. At this point, you remove the shade and reduce watering to once every 2 or 3 days.

The goal of hardening off is to toughen the seedlings and get them ready for the harsh conditions outside the nursery. Do this a week ahead of time, and if you’re transplanting in one month, do it a week ahead of time.

You can apply ring mulching around the seedling after planting to prevent moisture loss from the soil on hot days.

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