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Upon germination, the first set of leaves (embryonic leaves) that emerge from the seed are called cotyledons. The plant develops a second set of leaves that are the true leaves. These leaves look like miniature versions of the leaves on the adult plant. The plant can be easily transplanted once the second set of leaves are present.
Supplies for how to transplant seedlings:
- Organic potting mix moistened with water that has RootShield added to it.
- seedling starter trays:
- seedling that you grew from seed.
A few notes:
If you are only growing a few plants you can direct sow the seeds into the seed starter trays.
In place of the potting mix my SIS (simple is smart) method also works well. Use organic compost and add some organic perlite to it.
If you use your homemade compost moisten it with water that has RootShield added to it. RootShield is a biological fungicide that will prevent damping off. Damping off occurs when a fungus attacks the tender young roots of your transplants and destroy the roots. If this happens the plant won’t grow and will wither and die in a few weeks. Nothing is more disheartening than watching all that hard work of seeding and transplanting wither away
Now it’s time to get those babies into their new bigger home.
- Fill the starter trays with the potting mix. Press the soil firmly but gently into the individual cells.
- Remove the seedlings from the clam-shell
- Gently separate each individual plant from the rest. Try to keep as much of the dirt that is attached to the root of the plant as you can.
4. Poke a hole in the middle of the soil-filled cell of the seedling starting tray.
5. Place one plant gently down into the hole until the root is entirely into the hole. Gently firm the soil around the root.
6. Carefully water those brand-new transplants once all the cells are filled with a plant.
7. Place the plants back under the grow lights to give them a chance to recover from the transplanting. After all, they deserve a rest after you ripped them out by their roots and moved them to a strange place.
Once they have recovered and are looking chipper again, it’s time to harden them off. Hardening the transplants off is nothing more than getting them used to sunbathing. Like us, they can get sunburned if they spend too much time in the sun after being indoors all the time. Take them out to sunbathe. Start with a half hour and increase the time by a half hour every day until they can spend 10 to 12 hours a day in the sun. Then you can leave them out full time. However, watch the thermometer and bring them indoors overnight if there is a chance of frost or freeze. If you have a little greenhouse put them in there until it is time to plant them in the garden. You may still have to bring them indoors if there is a frost or freeze. They can be planted in the garden after the last frost date. To find the last frost date for your area, google “last frost date for my area.” The Old Farmers Almanac is a good resource.
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