Transplanting seedlings

Transplanting seedlings essentially means to pot up or move seedlings that are a few weeks old into bigger flats or containers. Transplanting into transplant flats or pots allows seedlings to have more food and time before leaving the protection of the cold frame or greenhouse, without taking up too much space.

The resulting plants have big healthy root systems and quickly dominate when planted out into the garden or bigger container. I transplant lettuce, greens, beets, corn, tomatoes, peppers, annual and perennial flowers and herbs; basically any plant that I want to give a head start to for the upcoming season, want to overwinter or plant out for Fall crops.

Seedlings are ready for transplant when they have 2 sets of true leaves. Tomatoes and Peppers should have at least 3 sets of true leaves before transplanting.

Prepare your soil and containers. I mix my own organic transplant mix using Canadian Peat or Coir, organic compost, sand and organic ammendments. I prefer to use wooden transplant flats because I can grow many plants in a small area and the plants are happier and require less watering than those in individual pots.

Dig underneath the seedlings with a wedge or your fingers and pull a clump of seedlings out. Gently tease apart the seedlings, taking care to not damage the roots. The seedlings should be only handled by their leaves and not by their stems. The reason for this is that a leaf can grow back if damaged but if the stem is crushed the plant cannot recover.

Make a small hole in the soil to accept the seedling. Place the seedlings in the hole and gently firm the soil around the roots.

Water plants in using a liquid seaweed feed to help roots establish.

Copy and Photos 2015 By Rachel Lloyd