Friday, April 2, 2021

Seed Starting - Step #2

 Today I transplanted my cauliflowers into individual cells.  They are on the edge of being too big, but they just formed their first true leaves over the past couple of days.  I decided to do cells instead of 3 inch pots just as a space saver.  They should be able to go outside two or three weeks from now and I will move on to tomatoes.

The first thing I did was prep my cells with water.  These are bottom watering cells so I added about an inch to each individual tray and let them sit for a few hours to fully absorb.  This makes the soil damp enough to form but not sloppy.  I use a dibble tool to make deep, wide holes in each cell.

Next I scoop the entire cell of seedlings out onto my work surface.  This is where the intensive cell planting makes the process different from seeding one by one into individual cells.  The roots are intertwined and need to be teased out.  But the advantage is you have at least the number you need, and probably a few extra, and you can choose the strongest plants with the best roots to plant and cull any weak plants.  This time I got 100% germination so I had a couple of seedlings "excess to requirements".

In light, dry starter mix teasing them out is easy.  

These seedlings have awesome root structures!  The best I've ever grown I think.  At this stage you might get just a single tap root.  Ideally you should always handle seedlings by their leaves and not the stem.  If you put too much pressure on the stem you can kink it and kill the plant, but if you tear off a leaf it will grow back.

 I make sure the holes are as wide as they can be then guide these huge root systems into the holes and use the dibble to arrange them and close the soil around the stems.

Then I top water each cell to get the air out.  The cells should be kept quite damp for a day or two until the seedlings appear to be recovered and begin to stand up again.  They go back under the grow light on the same settings but with the fan OFF for at least two days.  Not only do they not need the stress, but also I don't want the fan to dry out the soil or the plants themselves when they are not able to replace moisture quickly.  When it looks like they have all recovered and are taking up water well, then the fan can go back on at its previous setting and I will rotate each tray every day so all of the seedlings get a breeze, not just one side.

1 comment:

  1. Seeing growing seedlings makes me happy. They are little promises of a great summer to come!