There are only 18 days until Spring has officially sprung. My seedlings seem to be well aware of this fact and are busy outgrowing their designated space in my kitchen. This year I started out my seeds in a mini-greenhouse which was amazing. I did not have any idea seeds could germinate that fast. Next year, I plan on waiting until later February to start my seeds since I have now had the problem of them outgrowing being inside, but it is still too cold for them outside. Due to this, I have had to transplant them to larger containers and then will have to do it again when the weather is warmer. Transplanting is tough on your plants and a delicate process, so the fewer times you do this, the better.
I keep all of our soil outside in the shed so when I am going to transplant into a pot, I fill a ceramic planter with the dirt I need. Although from what I have read ceramic planters aren’t the best for long term use (they absorb the water out of the soil), they were only 99 cents at the local feed store. Since both the soil and the pot are very cold from being outside, I place them in the oven for about 15 minutes on the warm setting. Make sure you don’t overheat the soil, hot soil wouldn’t be good for the young roots either. After the soil is warmed, I dig down until there is only a few layers of soil between the pot and where the roots will be. Removing the seedling from the original pot is a very gentle process. You want to make sure you don’t disturb the roots or break off any part of the seedling to ensure successful transplanting.
As you can see from the picture, this has more than outgrown it’s little piece of soil sponge (they are what came with the particular brand of greenhouse I purchased). I very carefully pushed up on the sponge from the bottom to remove it from the container. I then carefully place it in the ceramic pot and cover with the warm soil. I then water thoroughly. The ceramic pots I bought have drainage holes, so the roots won’t get rotten from too much water. So far this method has been very successful. As you can see, I am running out of room for all these seedlings!
I use leftover wine corks as markers for which seedlings are what so I don’t get them confused. I also made a legend for the greenhouse to keep those organized as well.
The next steps are to place the lettuce in the hanger planter I have since they will live on the front porch, but I am hoping the weather will warm up before I have to do that. I also have started the majority of my seeds indoors (including ones that recommended starting outside, not inside) just to see what would happen (don’t press the little red button never worked well for me). I am interested to see if they will survive the final transplanting to outside.
Happy transplanting! Until next time…
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