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
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,
do it - 2 tablespoons of 6-8-6 or 4-10-10 to a bucketful of soil
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
this will need to be moistened and sterilized.
Hopefully, whenever you bought plants in the past, you've
pots. 4 inch round or square pots are ideal, but you can use
have on hand, as long as they have drainage holes. Any gardening
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
with a piece of paper towel. Fill the container loosely to the
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
handle or popsicle stick. Lift up the seedlings and separate
one into each planting hole, burying the stem right up to the
(the first set of leaves). Firm the soil around the seedling.
to label your pots. Cut plant markers out of plastic yogurt containers
use permanent marker. (This is a good combination for labeling
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
greenhouse or cold frame. Temperatures in the house will be too
them, and it does the plants good to get acclimatized right away.
don't have access to a greenhouse or cold frame, then a sunny
outside will do. You may need to cover them with plastic at night,
When May comes around, you will have plenty of healthy,
plants. They will do much better than store bought plants, since
those have come directly from a cushy greenhouse. You will most
find you have way too many plants. This is a great problem to
you can now swap with other gardeners, and give away the extras.
is, after all, one of gardening's great joys.