Time To Transplant The Seedlings!

1.  Transplant your seedlings when they are about the size you see here into 4” by 4” pots.   Through the years I have saved a lot of money by growing my own seeds.  Each plant in the nursery costs what a packet of seeds does and will grow as many plants as I need for about 3 years depending on the viability of that species.  PLUS, I can pick and choose heirloom varieties.  Some of the above are lettuces and herbs; others are tomatoes.

I gather up the supplies I need along with the flat of seedlings, spread out some garbage bags, lay an old piece of carpet to sit on and transplant on the floor in my garage.

TIP:  it is still a touch cold here in Contra Costa County so I plant tomatoes and peppers in early May when it is beginning to warm up. The book I refer to the most for Bay Area gardening is “Golden Gate Gardening” by Pam Peirce. Also, lettuces and some other plants that prefer cooler temperatures can be grown year-round under shade cloth like Reemay.

2.   Use top quality potting soil for your transplants like this one.

3.    First count your seedlings and write the corresponding numbers on the pots.   If I have more than I need and time to transplant extra, I do that and give them to fellow gardeners at the community garden.   After you are done with that fill each pot about half full with the soil.   Take outside to a hose and water the pots to wet the soil thoroughly.

4.    After the flat of pots have drained excess water bring it in and set onto the garbage bags.  I sit yoga style on the floor with a towel to wipe my hands off and my garden journal and pen.

5.     Keep a small basin of soil within reach with a trowel in it so you can easily fill the pots as you hold the transplant in place.

6.    Using a plastic spoon I scoop out the seedling cell and gently place them in the basin so they won’t be damaged.   Gently separate each seedling being careful with roots.

7.    Place each seedling in the pot with corresponding number.  At this point I write down the Number of the pot, how many pots and seedlings I plant of each specie.  I also use a chopstick to dig a little hole to give the roots some depth and plan to bury each seedling up to half it’s stem.

8.    Using the spoon I just fill the pot with soil and firmly press the soil down to make sure the seedling is securely planted.

9.    Once all the pots in a flat are planted, I take them outside and water with a small watering can avoiding the leaves if at all possible.

10.   Wire clothes hangers make usable forms to rest the Remay cloth over to protect the tender seedlings from insects, wind, cold and too much sun.   I place one in each side of the flat or use as many or as few as you need.   Then cover with the shade cloth.  I prefer Reemay which you can purchase through www.TerritorialSeed.com.  If handled carefully it is durable.  Some of the pieces I have are five or more years old.

12.   Now that you have the flat covered you can place it in a sunny spot during the day.   I raise my flats on milk crates or cardboard boxes to keep ants out and also, find a spot where they get morning sun but afternoon shade for about three days, then move into full sun. The only time I use fertilizer for seedings if they are pale.  Otherwise, the nutrients in the soil does its job.   Keep an eye on the seedlings and move the flats if they are getting too much sun, don’t let them dry out and within 3 weeks they will be ready to go into your garden!

One Response to “Time To Transplant The Seedlings!”

  1. J Toner says:

    Thanks so much for the instructions…your detail and photos are fantastic…

    I’m all in…going to use your guide and take the plunge this week…if my results are even 1/4 as good as yours I’ll be walking on air…

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