n Farmer’s Weekly - Seedlings and seedling trays : vegetable production




Some farmers think that seedlings should not be kept too long because they will not be as productive. They are partly right, but age matters less than physiological development. I learnt about the distinction between age and development in the days before cavity seedlings. We made seedbeds in the soil instead, and when pulling the plants for transplanting, we would occasionally find smaller plants. Their growth had been suppressed by competition from larger, stronger plants. If we ran out of 'good' seedlings, we would later return reluctantly to the seedbeds and the pale, undernourished plants left behind. We did not know it at the time, but these plants were in limbo as they were not being fertilised or looked after any more. However, to our surprise they would end up performing just as well as the others.


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