Seedlings Trays (Nursery Trays)
- It is made of polythene
- 128 0r 200 cells or plugs
- It can be used to raise vegetables’ seedlings
- It is portable and light.
Seedlings Trays (Nursery Trays)
A seedlings tray is a plastic made gardening tool used for the raising of seedlings. It is also called a nursery tray, germination tray, seed germination tray and seed propagation tray.
The seedlings of vegetables like tomatoes, pepper and cucumbers etc. can be raised in seedlings trays. The seedlings trays prevent transplant shocks and wounds in the roots of seedlings during the process of transplanting.
A typical seedlings tray has a number of holes in it. These holes are usually filed up with plating media like soil, coco peat and a mix of rice husk and soil etc. The seeds are planted in the planting medium placed in the holes in the nursery trays.
Farmers in Nigeria are gradually getting used to the use of seedlings trays because of its benefits. It is not uncommon now in Nigeria to see tomato and pepper farmers raising their tomato and pepper seedlings in nursery trays.
Benefits of using seedlings tray in Nigeria
The following are some of the benefits of using seed propagation trays in Nigeria:
Seedlings trays enable seedlings to grow in compartments instead of bare soil that will make transplanting difficult.
With seedlings trays, the roots of seedlings cannot be disturbed during transplanting.
Seedlings trays prevent transplant shock. Transplant shock can negatively impact plants.
Seedlings trays especially when used with coco peat prevent wounds on the roots of seedlings. Wounds on roots can serve as entry points for pests and diseases.
Types of nursery trays in Nigeria
Nursery trays can be categorized using different parameters, this is explained as follows:
Thickness: Seedlings trays come in different thickness. The thickness is measured in millimetres. Some trays come in 1mm thick, some 1.5 mm and some 0.8mm thick. You will need to choose the how thick you want your seedlings trays to be.
Number of cells: Some nursery trays come in 104 cell seedling tray, 128 cells nursery tray, 200 cells tray and 36 cells. The seedlings trays with smaller number of holes are usually used for the raising of pawpaw seedlings and ugu seedlings. Others are used in raising the seedlings of tomato and pepper.
Materials: Most of the seedlings trays in Nigeria are made of plastic. However, some seedlings trays can be made of materials like clay, coco peat and glass etc.
Colour: Almost all the nursery trays in Nigeria are black.
Biodegradable seedlings trays: Some seedlings trays are biodegradable, these type of trays are better for the environment than the plastic non-biodegradable nursery trays.
Factors to consider before buying a seedlings tray in Nigeria
The following are the factors to consider before buying a seedlings tray in Nigeria:
Price: That a seedlings tray is very cheap does not mean that it is good. You should not buy a seedlings tray because it is very cheap; you can be setting yourself up to buy a poor quality product.
Integrity of the dealer: It is advised that you buy all your agro inputs from dealers who are well known and who have integrity.
Quality: If the price of a seedlings tray is high and the quality is also good, I will strongly advise you to buy the seedlings tray.
Planting media that can be used in nursery trays
The following planting media can be used in seedlings or nursery trays:
Coco Peat: Coco peat is a form of natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut. Coco peat is used as a substrate for the growing of vegetable seedlings. Coco peat is commonly used for the raising of tomato and pepper seedlings. It is also used for the raising of the seedlings of other vegetables like cucumbers, watermelon and okra etc.
To use coco peat in seedlings trays, you need to break up the block and make turn the coco peat into near fine particles. Place the coco peat in the holes in the nursery trays; saturate it with water in order to remove the excess sodium in it. Calcium nitrate solution can be applied to the coco peat in the nursery tray, then plant your seeds in each hole in the nursery tray.
Rice husk: The left over during rice processing called husks can be used for raising of seedlings in seedlings trays. Some farmers mix rice husks with soil in order to successfully raise seedlings in nursery trays.
Soil: Soil can also be used to fill up the cells in seedlings trays. It is advised that the soil is treated before being used for raising of seedlings. Treated manure and ash can also be mixed with the soil.
Where to buy seed propagation trays in Nigeria
Veggie Concept is the leading dealers of seedlings trays, irrigation kits and other agro-inputs in Nigeria.
Should you need seedlings trays in Nigeria, you can call Veggie Concept through 08025141924 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Grow Seedlings in Nursery Trays
The following are the steps you need to take in order to grow seedlings in nursery trays:
- Buy your seedlings trays from well-known dealers like Veggie Concept. Do not buy low quality and sub-standard seedlings trays because they are cheap. They will not last long.
- Suitable growing medium like soil, coco peat, perlite, sawdust or other types of substrates should be used. I strongly advise you use of coco peat.
- If coco peat is chosen as the substrate, you need to make the coco peat into finer particles and fill up all the holes in the nursery trays.
- Immediately after filling up the nursery trays with the coco peat, saturate the coco peat with water. Using excess water will ensure that the excess salt from the coco peat is washed out.
- You can use calcium magnesium nitrate fertilizer to buffer the coco peat. CALMAG fertilizer neutralizes the effect of excess potassium in the coco peat.
- Put one seed of the vegetable crop in each hole or cell of the seedlings tray.
- Ensure that the nursery tray and the medium in it do not get too dry at any point in time.
- Continue to wet the coco peat in the nursery trays and the seedlings until you transplant the seedlings.
- Add soluble fertilizer to the seedlings in the nursery trays.
- Harden off the seedlings before transplanting.
Experience of a farmer who used seedlings trays
Fola, a 45 year old tomato farmer in Abeokuta, Ogun State has been planting tomatoes for several years. He has always raised his tomato seedlings by planting the tomato seeds on the bare soil.
He noticed every year that during transplanting, a significant percentage of the transplanted seedlings do not survive. He also noticed that some of the transplanted seedlings succumbed to bacteria wilt.
He contacted our firm and we advised him to use nursery trays and coco peat for his nursery. The first thing Fola noticed was that his tomato seedlings were bigger and he could not even wait till the 4th week before he transplanted.
Fola also noticed the ease of removing each seedling from the cells of the nursery trays without any damage to the seedlings. After transplanting, he also noticed that all the transplanted seedlings survived. No death at all.
Fola realized later that only 1.9% of his tomato plants succumbed to bacteria wilt, unlike in the past when a significant percentage of his seedlings succumb to this disease.
Fola has vowed to always use seedlings trays for raising his tomato seedlings.
How Long Should Seedlings Stay in Nursery Trays
The length of time seedlings stay in nursery trays depends on a lot factors. These factors include the type of crop, climatic condition, fertility of soil or substrate and prevalence of pests and diseases.
The following are the time spent by various seedlings in nursery trays:
- Tomato Seedlings 4 – 6 weeks
- Hot Pepper Seedlings 5 – 8 weeks
- Sweet Pepper Seedlings – 4 – 6 weeks
- Cucumber Seedlings – 3 – 5 weeks
- Watermelon Seedlings – 4 -7 weeks