Introduction: Transplanting Seedlings
Seedlings are the easiest and most common way of starting a Vegetable patch. Seedlings are basically the germinated stage of a seed, taking out one of the harder steps in getting into gardening. You can see what is growing immediately after planting, which will make it much easier to dedicate your time to growing your patch, without waiting weeks to see s single green leaf.
Seedlings are quite cheap and can be bought at any hardware or gardening centre.
Seeds can be grown and germinated in small containers, old jars, basically anything, but when they get to seedling stage, they need more room for their roots to grow. The seedlings must then be transplanted into a bigger pot/container, or if room allows, a garden bed.
Prepare a hole in well fertilized soil. The hole should be wider than the seedling pot and also about an inch and a half deeper, depending on the size of the seedling.
Place your hand over the soil allowing the seedling stem to come between your fingers not leaving too much of a gap - we don't want to lose it's original soil- and squeeze the bottom of the seedling pot to loosen the soil and the roots from the inner walls.
Continue squeezing and rotating the pot until you can slide the root cluster with the soil straight out of the pot. When using a pot with sufficient drainage, this should all come out as one 'clump'. separate the roots a little with your hands once you pull it out to allow new space for growing.
NOTE: If it falls apart or crumbles away as you take it out you have either over watered your seedling (Or not allowed enough drainage) or not a lot of roots have developed. Either way you can continue with the transplant and pay extra attention to the plant in future. If you are struggling to get it out of the pot and have to cut the pot from the plant then this means plenty of roots have developed, this is usually not a bad thing unless you have left the pot crowded with roots for a long time, this can traumatize the roots and prevent further growth.
Place the seedling in the hole while filling it with quality soil or potting mix. It is advisable to bury part of the stem in the soil as any of the stem that you bury will grow new roots and boost the plant's future growth! However, do not bury leaves else they may cause rot with watering, it's best to remove the lowest leaves to avoid such rot.
fill the hole around the seedling and do not press the soil down. Tempting as it may be this will compress the underlying soil and remove air pockets which are crucial in supplying water and oxygen to newly transplanted roots.
Water generously and apply top soil/mulch/compost of choice. You will notice that here I have applied a thin layer of (chemical free) firewood sawdust. This is because I have a bit of a snail problem and they don't like the sawdust. If you are going to do this then do not use treated wood such as treated pine as the chemicals can damage your plants. Another option I have read about is crushed eggshells. The snails dont like them either, both options will also provide beneficial nutrients to the soil!
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