After installing double-glazed windows, many gardeners I know began to complain that their seedlings and indoor flowers began to grow poorly. Having studied the information on the Internet, here are the conclusions I came to.
I will only write about those characteristics of a glass unit that affect plants. First, I found out about the structure of a glass unit and its main advantages.
A double-glazed window is a glass-air sandwich that provides modern windows with excellent heat and sound insulation properties. The outer glass is covered from the inside with a heat-saving, usually silver coating, invisible to the human eye. As a result of this protective layer, windows significantly reduce the penetration of solar radiation and reflect ultraviolet rays (that is, ultraviolet rays do not penetrate the room at all). This is done so that in summer, when it is hot and sunny outside, thermal energy (sunlight) is reflected from the glass, this protects the room from overheating, and furniture and wallpaper from burning out.
In addition to this protective layer, many consumers order glass unit manufacturers to install self-cleaning glasses with a special low-emission coating based on titanium oxide, which ensures self-cleaning of the outer glass from organic contaminants. And this is another coating that additionally blocks sunlight up to 7%.
In addition to these coatings, ultraviolet rays are also reflected by argon - an inert gas, which is most often used to fill the inside of a glass unit (the space between the glasses). This gas only allows 66% of visible light to pass through. Argon, as the cheapest gas for filling double-glazed windows, over the years (after 8-10 years) gradually evaporates through the emerging pores or microcracks, but this is not harmful for people and plants, according to experts. And for plants, even, on the contrary, according to biologists, it is useful, since it favors their growth.
Now let's dwell a little on the sun's rays in order to understand that plants on windows with double-glazed windows are receiving less. Sunlight (solar radiation) is the only energy source available to green plants, thanks to which, as well as water and carbon dioxide, the process of photosynthesis takes place. Solar radiation is a flux of radiation, which is electromagnetic oscillations with different wavelengths. The optical part of the solar spectrum consists of rays with different wavelengths:
- ultraviolet (UV) with a wavelength of 290-400 nm (nanometer);
- visible rays with a wavelength of 400-760 nm;
- infrared rays with a wavelength of 760-2800 nm.
About 30% of solar radiation does not reach the earth's surface. Near the Earth's surface, the ultraviolet part of the solar spectrum is 1%, the visible part is 40% and the infrared part is 59%.
Of the entire spectrum, photosynthetic active (380-710 nm) and physiologically active (300-800 nm) radiation are important for plant life.
Ultraviolet rays with a wavelength of 315-380 nm delay the "stretching" of plants and stimulate the synthesis of some vitamins, and ultraviolet rays with a wavelength of 280-315 nm increase the cold resistance of plants. UV rays help to stop the spread of harmful microbes and fungi, purify polluted air. Summing up the above, we can say that UV rays affect the growth (plants are larger), flowering (it comes earlier), fruiting (larger fruits) and productivity (more flower buds are laid) of plants. Unfortunately, these rays are completely reflected by the glass units. Perhaps these rays still somehow affect the growth of plants, due to which the seedlings die or grow frail.
Spectral ranges with certain physiological characteristics are identified within these boundaries.
But the main suppliers of energy for photosynthesis from this spectrum are (they are most important) red (720-600 nm) and orange (620-595 nm) rays. This part of the spectrum is absorbed by chloroplast pigments and thus is crucial in plant life. Green plants need visible light for the formation of chlorophyll, the formation of the structure of chloroplasts; it regulates the work of the stomatal apparatus, influences gas exchange and transpiration, stimulates the biosynthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, increases the activity of a number of light-sensitive enzymes. This light also affects cell division and elongation, growth processes and plant development, determines the timing of flowering and fruiting, and has a form-building effect. In general, the red spectrum accelerates the development of plants, enhancing the growth processes. And also there is an increase in productivity.
When the seedlings are illuminated with a red spectrum of lamps, the flowering of long-day plants (lettuce, radish, spinach) accelerates and the flowering of short-day plants (cucumber, beans, peppers, eggplant, some varieties of tomatoes) is delayed. Therefore, lamps with a red spectrum cannot be used for growing seedlings of these crops.
Visible rays in the range of 320-400 nm in small doses have a powerful bactericidal effect.
Blue (400-500 nm) rays in adult plants regulate the width of the stomata of leaves, control the movement of leaves behind the sun, and inhibit the growth of stems (they do not stretch). They stimulate the formation of proteins and regulate the rate of plant development: there is a change in the rate of development of plants in favor of reduced growth (due to this, the stem becomes stronger, and the leaves - larger) and the fastest onset of fruiting. Plants of a short day begin to bloom faster, and, therefore, bear fruit.
Yellow (595-565 nm) and green (565-490 nm) rays of the visible spectrum do not play a special role in plant life.
Plants receive 34% less visible rays on windows with double-glazed windows.
Infrared rays suppress the development of microflora. They also affect the timing of the ripening of the crop. If you want to get an early harvest, then you should increase the level of infrared radiation. If the growing season needs to be lengthened in order to obtain a harvest for a longer time, then the fraction of the infrared part of the spectrum must be reduced.
Now, again, back to the silver coating of the double-glazed windows. Their purpose also lies in the fact that in winter the heat from the room, having passed inside the glass unit, is reflected from the silver coating of the glass and goes back to the apartment, which significantly reduces heating costs. In other words, the coating leaves heat where there is more. During the heating season, the tightness of modern windows, on the one hand, ensures the absence of drafts, which is good for plants on window sills, but, on the other hand, problems arise with air exchange. These windows are characterized by low air permeability - they cut off a significant portion of the supply air: there is no inflow, no exhaust. Moisture is not removed in the warm season, it is absorbed by walls, furniture, and during the heating period the air in the apartment is too dry - below 30% (as in the desert), while the most comfortable air humidity for humans and plants is 50-55% at a temperature of + 20 ... + 21 ° C. The leaves of plants suffer from dry air - they dry completely or dry out and the edge of the leaf turns brown.
Another problem arises in apartments with gas stoves and "sealed" sealed windows. When the gas stove is operating with closed windows, there is no air flow, and oxygen is needed for gas combustion. Consequently, oxygen burns out - it is difficult for a person to breathe. But plants also need oxygen in insignificant quantities for respiration.
When the windows with double-glazed windows are closed, the air is even more polluted than in a similar apartment with old wooden frames. Pollutants are: a) chemical (construction and finishing materials, household chemicals, furniture, gas stoves); b) biological (spores of microscopic fungi, mold and dust mites; c) EMF (electromagnetic fields): electrical appliances, electrical wiring ... These pollutants are not visible to humans, but they have a huge and constant effect on him. So in an apartment with polluted air, not only people but also plants are not comfortable.
Well, and the last reason for the poor growth of seedlings. In winter, it is very hot in an apartment with double-glazed windows, and therefore you often have to open windows for micro-ventilation. Cold air from the street, passing through the cracks of a double-glazed window, directly enters the plants, since it does not open like an ordinary window or window, but spreads to the sides. In the process, the plants quickly cool down and die.
In my opinion, the main reason for the death or poor growth of seedlings and indoor flowers growing on window sills, where the windows are with double-glazed windows, is excessive dryness and stagnation of air during the heating season and the flow of cold air from a window open for ventilation. Protective films have almost no significant effect on plants. But ultraviolet rays, which do not pass to plants, cannot have their positive effect, which was discussed above, on plant growth.
Double-glazed windows were invented in the USA, later they came to Europe (where seedlings are not grown) and then only to Russia. Unfortunately, in our country and in other states, detailed studies on the effect of double-glazed windows on plants have not been carried out. Therefore, our scientists have a lot to do. I think their research will be important for us - gardeners. I do not blame the manufacturers of double-glazed windows for the bad effect of modern windows on plants - these windows perform their task of insulating the room, protecting it from noise and dust - I just tried to explain to gardeners why their seedlings grow poorly. I hope that those gardeners who grow seedlings on windowsills with double-glazed windows will share with us their observations of how their seedlings grow, and how they take care of it, and will tell about it in the magazine.
Olga Rubtsova, gardener,
PhD in Geography
Photo by the author
Planting gazania in open ground and further care for it
In its care, gazania provides for watering in moderation, as well as mulching and loosening the soil, plus the regular removal of flowers that have already bloomed.
If the soil of the area where the flower grows is fertile - feeding should be done once every one and a half to two months, if the soil is poor in minerals and macro and microelements, humus - then the plant should be fed every 2-3 weeks.
The plant itself hibernates without problems in a cool room - at the end of September or at the beginning of October it should be dug up and, together with an earthen lump, should be planted in a box or a spacious flowerpot and left in a cool, but bright room with a temperature ranging from 7 to 10 degrees Celsius. Watering in this case is moderate, in the spring months they can be transplanted into a flower garden and at the same time the shoots that have grown over the winter can be shortened by half.
Gazania itself is an almost ideal plant in terms of watering - rarely and abundantly, which is suitable for those who water their garden, so to speak, once a week with a margin. All this is due to the fact that this is an African flower and an excess of water, and in the absence of drainage and loose soil, it can lead to its death. Nevertheless, in dry weather, you should not forget about watering, taking for this purpose settled in barrels or rainwater.
Soil for gassing and fertilization
The best option for gazania is loose soil, while it should not be dense, clayey - sandy soils or light, nutritious leafy ones. In terms of their composition, they should be as nutritious as possible - on the poor in macro- and microelements, humus, the flower will be small, grows poorly and bloom. Along with this, the pH in terms of acidity varies from 5.5–6.5 - then the plant will delight its owners with bright colors.
If the lands are not rich in humus, macro- and microelements, it is imperative to feed the plant with mineral complexes and organic solutions, using manure or chicken droppings. The frequency of feeding when planting gassing in fertile areas is every 1.5–2 months, with poorer lands - once every 2–3 weeks.
Diseases and pests
Caring for such a bright and beautiful plant as gazania also provides for the fight against pests and diseases. Despite the fact that the plant is very resistant to disease, but due to its dislike of excessive moisture and with excessive watering and constant high humidity, it can be affected by gray rot. In this case, it is optimal to spray it with antifungal drugs, for example, Bordeaux liquid.
If we talk about pests that can infect a plant, then gardeners distinguish the following:
- Aphids, when an onion or garlic planted between gazania bushes will help to overcome this green invasion - these plants, with a pungent, characteristic odor, will scare away these pests. It is also worth washing the plants with water and baby soap diluted in it.
- A spider mite and it is this pest of greenery that is very afraid of insecticides - enough to eliminate it, it will spray gazania with preparations containing this component and wrap it up for several days with a film, creating such a greenhouse effect.
- Slugs and garden snails - These pests are best removed by hand without using chemicals, or by attracting birds and hedgehogs for food. In addition, they are scared away from plants and planted spices - sage or parsley and garlic.
Seedlings of this sunny African flower, and the bushes themselves after wintering, or a very overgrown plant, is quite easy to transplant. As a rule, in this case, the plant itself should be watered first and, with a damp earthy clod, removed from the flowerpot and carefully planted in prepared holes dug out in the open ground.
They should also be pre-watered and good drainage should be created at their bottom - the distance between them should be about 25-30 cm. The holes for planting themselves should be dug deep enough, and after planting, the land around should be compacted and watered abundantly.
Seedling cassettes, technological pots for seedlings wholesale and retail from the manufacturer from 6 rubles
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Vegetable cultivation always starts with seedlings. We have to sacrifice the beauty of the home interior and place all kinds of containers on the windowsills. However, now there is a large selection of seedling containers that do not spoil the appearance of rooms and windows. They are compact and quite exotic fit into the interior.
Moreover, modern containers meet all the requirements for growing plants, they are convenient, comfortable and practical for transportation to the personal plot. It remains only to make the right choice and know all the nuances of this or that type of container. Any gardener will prefer small and handy containers that do not need to be stockpiled after planting season. Such containers are considered the most practical and are called peat tablets. In addition to them, there are other types of containers, no less convenient and effective. All of these species will be discussed in this short horticultural guide.
Peat tablets - a convenient "home" for seedlings
This type of seedling container is gaining more and more confidence from gardeners. Tablets are very convenient, as they take up little space on the windowsill and look very impressive. Seeds germinate in them quickly, the plants feel great right up to planting in the ground.
Description of peat tablets:
- A peat tablet consists of several types of peat, pressed and impregnated with growth stimulants.
- The container looks like a small tablet.
- It is clothed in a special "living" shell, which decomposes when it gets into the ground. Keep in mind that the composition of the tablet in the soil takes a long time to decompose.
- The peat tablet pot is covered with a special paper mesh impregnated with fungicides. Depending on the type of tablet, the mesh may be absent. Such containers are slightly cheaper.
- The composition of the tablet itself also differs, mainly in the acidity of the peat. It is affixed to the tablet packaging. Therefore, be careful when choosing containers and buy exactly what you need. The acidity of the substrate for a tomato will be different than, for example, for conifers. The acidity index can be found on each tablet, it is indicated on the package.
- Each container must be packed separately. If the tablets are sold in bulk, without specifying all the initial data, then you are probably facing a fake. Be careful when buying.
The container is very easy to use. The tablet should be immersed in a small container and gradually filled with warm, settled water. It will begin to swell and rise. There is a small depression in the container, a seed is planted in it either by covering it with earth or leaving it on the surface, depending on the type of plant.
According to gardeners, peat tablets do an excellent job.
Seeds sprout amicably and grow quickly. However, there are also sad cases. Many buy a fake and pay off with dead seedlings. The fact is that the mesh of such containers is not made of paper, but of another cheap material. When it gets into the ground, it does not decompose and does not allow the plant to develop. As a result, the seedlings die. In this regard, be careful and purchase containers only from trusted companies. Remember that each tablet must be packaged and labeled, the composition and acidity must be indicated.
With a similar composition, containers are also produced in the form of cups, cubes and other shapes. The principle of operation is the same here. The container together with the plant is planted in the ground, the container decomposes in the soil. Often peat cups, tablets or cubes are used for picking. It is convenient to plant an already grown seedling in them.
Wooden boxes are another solution for planting seedlings
This type of container for seedlings has been known to everyone since ancient times. It is very convenient and can be quickly put together from scrap materials - unnecessary trimming of boards or plywood. The bottom of the container is lined with foil and filled with the substrate necessary for seedling.
The beauty of the boxes is that the gardener himself can vary its size depending on the location of the seedlings - a window sill or a table. It is easy to dive plants from the box and transplant them, for example, into peat pots, tablets or cubes.
After use, it is advisable to dry the container well in the fresh air and put it in a dark, dry place until the next season.
Many gardeners treat containers with special antibacterial wood lubricants. So the box will serve no season. Some gardeners put peat pots in boxes and cover them with plastic wrap. It is more convenient for them to grow seedlings. You can think of many options for using a wooden box, it has always been and will be the most affordable container for seedlings.
Seedling cassettes and their types
Peat cassettes. This type of seedling container will appeal to those who have a personal plot far from home, the seedlings have to be transported in transport or by car. Often such an event gives a lot of trouble, you want to transport seedlings in convenient and lightweight containers. They are cassettes made from various materials. One of the most popular types of cassettes is a peat container. The cassette is a platform made up of many small plant holes. In appearance, the container is compared to an egg container. Its convenience lies in the fact that it is very light and accommodates a large number of seedlings. It is convenient to transport it.
Peat cassette "works" in the same way as peat cups or tablets:
- The substrate is poured into the container and one or two seeds are planted.
- It is very important to monitor the moisture content of the cassette. Remember that natural material should not dry out, otherwise the plant will quickly die.
- Peat, cardboard and humus do not hold moisture well, so you should often water the seedlings or spray pots, cassettes or tablets. But the container should not be poured either - rot will appear, young shoots may again die.
- Peat cassettes are very convenient in that they will not break or crack when compared to plastic. They can be planted with the plant without damaging the root system. The desired cell is simply broken off from the cassette.
Plastic cassettes. Containers in the form of cassettes are also made of artificial materials. The most reliable are polystyrene and polypropylene. The first is considered a safer material for both seedlings and humans. However, it also has such a disadvantage as fragility. Therefore, you have to carefully and carefully handle such a cassette. Polypropylene is a more resilient material and is also suitable for horticultural purposes. Such troubles as cracks or fractures will no longer happen to them.
It is preferable to purchase a container made of terracotta polypropylene.
Cassettes made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are not recommended for use, since the material has a negative effect on humans and plants. The use of cassettes is simple:
- The containers are filled with the desired substrate.
- One or two seeds are planted in it.
- Plastic cassettes are also good because they keep moisture longer, which cannot be said about natural material - peat, cardboard.
- Peat pots or tablets should not be overdried, in which case the seedling will quickly die. In a plastic container, this will not happen, the material holds water better and longer.
According to gardeners, the best option would be plastic cassettes made of polystyrene. They are very convenient, easy to store and transport to your garden plot.
Plastic cups - gardeners' favorites
Another favorite container for seedlings gardeners are plastic cups. They can be purchased at any store specifically for seedlings, as well as simple, ordinary drinking cups. At the bottom of the seedling container, as a rule, there are already holes for draining excess water. When it comes to simple drinking glasses, gardeners make their own.
The containers are used for those types of crops, the seeds of which are easy to plant one at a time, for example, tomatoes. The material for the container is often polypropylene. It is safe for both plants and humans. The containers are easy to store and transport. Usually the cups are placed in wooden boxes and transported to the backyard. Seedlings are carefully shaken out together with an earthen clod and planted in open ground.
The plastic holds moisture well, the earth does not stick to the walls of the cup, which allows you to shake out the substrate and transplant the plant without any problems.
Then the containers are washed, dried and put away in a dark place until the next season. Any plastic container must be treated with a weak solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection. Natural materials, if not already processed by the manufacturer, are steamed or treated with fungicides. All these measures help to disinfect the composition of the containers and prevent the appearance of blackleg, which often happens with seedlings.
Alternatives to purchased containers
Popular homemade seedling containers:
- Very often you can see edged boxes of milk, fermented baked milk and other dairy products on the windowsills. Seedlings are planted in them. This option is considered the most optimal if it is not possible to purchase a special container for seedlings. However, it is worth remembering that holes in the bottom should be made in such cups. Otherwise, the seedlings may die due to the appearance of root rot, which often happens when using milk cartons. This container does not allow air to pass through and retains water for a long time. Therefore, it is imperative to make holes.
- Many people make cups from regular plastic. This option is not very convenient when transporting to a personal plot. Therefore, it is recommended for those who live next to the vegetable garden. The cups are placed in a wooden box, leaning against each other so that they do not fall over. The option is convenient in that it is not difficult to transplant seedlings. The film is cut or simply laid out without any damage to the plant root system.
- Many gardeners build containers from cardboard or use regular jars.
- Someone grows seedlings in cans. When choosing an alternative, always consider the comfort of the plant and its compatibility with the container material.
- It is very easy to build a container with your own hands. A variety of materials are used from newspapers to wood. Everything is only limited by the gardener's imagination.
Seedling containers are selected depending on the type of plant. That is, you need to take into account the fact whether the seedlings will dive or not. If not, cups, tablets, or cubes will do. If picking is necessary, gardeners use wooden boxes or ordinary plastic containers and then plant the seedlings in separate cups. When choosing a container, consider all the nuances and features indicated in this short horticultural material. Good luck with growing seedlings!
More information can be found in the video.