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Start Your Seeds Indoors #4 – Transplanting Seedlings into Bigger Pots

Well, my light hut is off and running and full of life.

seedling 2

If you’re reading this for the first time & don’t know what I’m talking about here’s the scoop:

The best time to move plants is once they develop 2-4 sets of true leaves (the cotyledons, first leaves, don’t count).  The egg carton cells just aren’t going to be big enough to provide enough nutrition for the long haul.  In order to remain healthy and strong from now until they hit the garden they will need a little more space.  Once you move them into roomier vessels, they will be good-to-go.  After this move (to bigger pots) the next time you move them it will be to the garden.  Yay!

If you are like me and want to move your little, baby plants this week -you have my permission.  Even if the 2-4 true leaves are microscopic.

I relocated mine a couple of days ago.

Why I transplanted my baby plants this week:

  1. I had more than one seed germinate in some cells & wanted to get them relocated to their own cell.
  2. My egg cartons were ‘biodegrading” at a more rapid pace than expected and if I didn’t get my plants into something a little more substantial they were going to be growing on the bathroom floor.
  3. Some of the leaves on my baby plants were getting a yellow tint.  This can be a sign of a lack of nutrients.  Egg cells just don’t provide room for much soil, so I think the plants may have eaten up all the goods and needed some more food.
  4. I had some free time.

What I can tell you is that in the 2 days that followed the transplant – my little guys doubled in size.  They turned into IronMan plants.  I think they are happier now that they have roomier living quarters.

Here’s how to Transplant your seedlings:

#1 Get the new containers ready

seedling 5

I am re-using old pots from years past.  I have a flower problem and can not be held responsible for my actions around deeply discounted petunias.  Sorry.  Because of my flower problem, I have lots of little pots.  Perfect for tomatoes (and other veggies).

My daughter is helping organize the pots and fill half-way with soil.

#2 Moist Soil

Speaking of soid, be sure the new soil you are using is well watered and damp.  You don’t want your baby plants to dry out in their new homes.

#3 Separate

You can use scissors to gently cut the egg cells apart or just rip them apart if your cartons are in the condition mine are in.  🙂  
seedling 6

I am leaving my plants in their egg carton cells.  Since the egg cartons are completely biodegradable (and mine are degrading before my eyes) you can just move the whole thing into a larger pot.

To help the roots escape the egg cell I tore off the the bottom.

#4 Bury Deep

seedling 1.4

You can’t see it, but that egg carton cell is down there under the soil.  I am burying these guys up to their necks in moistened soil.  The plants will grow new roots on portion of the stem that is buried.  This makes for strong, well developed roots & that is good.

#5 Outside

seedling 1.5

If at all possible, you may want to do the transplanting outdoors.  It can get messy & if you’re outside, it won’t matter if you spill a little dirt on the ground.

#6  Label

seedling 1.7

Good grief.  Please label your plants.  All of them.  

I always think I am going to remember that the Jelly Bean Tomatoes are in the far left row in the light hut.  Ya’ Know what?  I NEVER remember what I planted where.  Maybe it’s a blonde thing.  Or peroxide poisoning.  Or scatter-brain-ness.  Or I have too much going on.  Or I over-populated.  I don’t really know why….

None-the-less, there’s no way I will remember what I planted & where I planted it in a month.  No way.

Popcycle sticks are my labeling tool of choice, but I don’t have any.  I have sticky-notes and skewers.

#7  Water

I know I already used moist soil to bury my little plants up to their necks, but I am going to water them too.

seedling 1.6

Now that everyone is in their big-boy-beds they are all set until the big move to the garden.  Keep them watered.  Keep them under the sun light.

This is all folks!  We are done with this project!

In May, I will be hardening them off & moving them to the garden.

Until then, just keep them watered & watch them grow.

I can’t wait to hear from you.  Please let me know how your seedlings are doing in the comments below.  🙂

 

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XO,

Candi

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