Thursday, May 6, 2010

When to transplant seedlings

Okay, so the time has come to discuss the transplanting of your little seedlings into larger pots. Doing this right will encourage your seedlings to grow larger and have their stems thicken. Your seedlings need this growth in order to be ready to go in the ground.

Now first, you are not too late if you haven't transplanted your little seedlings yet. You want to get them to the point of transplanting in the next week or so, however.

I just recently transplanted the pumpkin seedlings we have.

Here's what I started with:
One of those pots has 2 pumpkin seedlings and the other has three.

What are the red cups for you ask? They are my larger pots. They are just under 4 inches across and they are nice and deep. I call them perfect pots for seedlings that need to grow up and get ready to go in the ground. Here's how I prepare the cups for dirt and seedlings:

 I just used scissors to poke a couple of holes in the bottom in order to allow for drainage.

Notice also the bag of potting mix in the first picture.

It doesn't technically have potting mix in it. It has compost dirt mixed with regular soil in it. It's a handy bag.

I decided to do this inside because I could sit down and work at chest height, which makes my neck and back more happy then hunching over outside.

So with everything ready, step one was to put a little bit of dirt in the bottom of each new pot. Here:

There's not much dirt in there. Maybe an inch, with a little crater hollowed out in the middle.

Your next step is to remove the seedlings from their pots. If your seedlings have their roots tangled up, it's not a problem. Here's a video showing what you can do. Warning: this is of me so you have to be subjected to my face and voice now.

Now you want to get those seedlings planted firmly in their new pots. Here's a still image of the technique:

You hold the plant up straight in the pot with one hand and with the other hand you arrange soil around the stem. Notice how deep the plants are going in these pots. Here's a video with more detail:

So once you've got all of the dirt in there, just pack it firmly, being careful not to squeeze the seedling's stem. Then water until the water is coming out the bottom.

Then don't water for a few days. I'd say let the top couple of inches get pretty dry. This'll stimulate those roots. After that, water every few days and keep your seedlings in a nice sunny area.

Oh yeah. Be sure to have your assistant label the transplants to keep things straight.

Next time we'll transplant tomato seedlings.

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