Campbell River, British Columbia 
 Gardening in Campbell River

Garden Thoughts for April

Part II - Transplanting Seedlings

Last month I talked about starting your own plants from seed. If all went
well, you should have containers bristling with seedlings ready to be

Before starting, you will need some transplanting soil. The soil we used
for starting the seeds has very few nutrients in it, so be sure you select a
good potting soil that has had some fertilizer added, either by you or the
manufacturer. If you're adding your own to plain potting soil, don't over
do it - 2 tablespoons of 6-8-6 or 4-10-10 to a bucketful of soil is enough.
You can also make up your own transplanting soil from scratch. Use 3 parts
garden soil, two parts peat and one part sand. As with the seed sowing mix,
this will need to be moistened and sterilized.

Hopefully, whenever you bought plants in the past, you've stockpiled the
pots. 4 inch round or square pots are ideal, but you can use whatever you
have on hand, as long as they have drainage holes. Any gardening friend who
doesn't start plants from seed will no doubt be happy to donate pots to the
cause. Before filling with the potting soil, cover over the drainage holes
with a piece of paper towel. Fill the container loosely to the top, then
tamp down with the bottom of another pot.

You can buy specialized tools for poking the planting holes, and for lifting
up the seedlings, but all you really need are an old pen and a teaspoon
handle or popsicle stick. Lift up the seedlings and separate gently. Drop
one into each planting hole, burying the stem right up to the seed leaves
(the first set of leaves). Firm the soil around the seedling. Don't forget
to label your pots. Cut plant markers out of plastic yogurt containers and
use permanent marker. (This is a good combination for labeling fall bulbs
too, as the marker will stay readable for at least a year.)

Once your seedlings are all potted up, place them in a bright spot out of
direct sunlight for a few days. Then, ideally, you can move them into your
greenhouse or cold frame. Temperatures in the house will be too warm for
them, and it does the plants good to get acclimatized right away. If you
don't have access to a greenhouse or cold frame, then a sunny protected spot
outside will do. You may need to cover them with plastic at night, during
cold weather.

When May comes around, you will have plenty of healthy, well-adjusted
plants. They will do much better than store bought plants, since most of
those have come directly from a cushy greenhouse. You will most likely also
find you have way too many plants. This is a great problem to have, since
you can now swap with other gardeners, and give away the extras. Sharing
is, after all, one of gardening's great joys.

Read March's issue here

Karen Barber is an architectural and landscape designer in Campbell River.

Her company is Madrona Design, which sponsors this Gardening in Campbell River webpage.

 Check out her site as she has added a discussion page to her website.
Like a BB where people can post questions etc. get there by clicking on the button below...

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