One of the most therapeutic gardening jobs must be potting on. Sitting in a warm greenhouse, hands in soil, I often become so engrossed in separating my seedlings I lose track of time.
So far this year we have potted on my cucumbers, little gem lettuces, candytuft, calendula, and cornflowers. Next on my to-do list are the tomatoes, hot chilli peppers, and cape gooseberries. But I'm not complaining, I love it.
Over the years, I've received many hints and tips from fellow gardeners about the best ways to pot precious seedlings. So as Joey and I pot on the tomatoes here are our ten steps for potting on success.
- Choose the pot you would like to rehome your seedlings into, I sometimes find there is just too much choice of plant pots. I used to waste a good 10 mins in a store pondering over whether to use a 7cm or 9cm pot or a plastic, terracotta or biodegradable pot. Usually, I now go for what I have to hand, after a few years of gardening you tend to get a nice collection.
- Fill the pot you wish to rehome the seedlings in to with good quality compost.
- Create holes will a small dibber if you have one to hand, if not use a pencil or pen.
- Seedlings are usually strong enough to transplant once they have a second set of leaves, called the true leaves.
- Loosen the seedlings from their current pot or tray, be gentle and try not to handle the plants by the stems as this tends to damage the plants.
- Roots may have become entangled so gently tease them apart with your fingers to start with then use the second set of leaves to softly pull the seedlings apart.
- Once the seedling is free from the others gently place it inside one of the holes you created in the compost.
- If your seedlings have become leggy when they have been fighting against each other for the light, it's a good idea to re-pot them up to their first set of leaves. To do this you need to have created a deeper hole in the compost to accommodate the plant's leggy stem.
- When you're happy with the positioning of your seedling gently secure the seedling in place by moving the compost in gently around the stem.
- Water the seedlings with care as using too much water at this stage can damage the plants. I use a fine garden pressure sprayer until the seedlings are more established in their new home.
I hope our knowledge of potting on is of some use in your garden. We would love to hear what you have been potting on recently. You can join us in the forum on our website www.purplesweetpea.com and If you would like to see more of our progress please feel free to visit our YouTube Channel too https://www.youtube.com/c/purplesweetpea206
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