Potting Up

Our week-to-week vegetable gardening progress continues apace and we’ve had lots of zebrune shallots, ragged jack and dino kale, giant from Italy parsley, yellow boretta onion, and cracoviensis lettuce (from saved seed) popping up over the last couple weeks.

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When starting seed indoors in years past, I took the seedlings directly from the starting cells and transplanted them into the ground – skipping the part where you transplant them into larger indoor pots to give their roots more room to grow and then harden them off so that they gradually get used to outdoor conditions.  In retrospect, I think this is one big reason (in addition to starting seedlings way too late) why we had so many stunted plants in past years.

I knew that the time to transplant seedlings into larger pots (“potting up”) was after the first set of true leaves appeared, but I somehow still fell into the trap of being too nervous to mess with anything that looks like it’s growing well.  So a couple weeks after our onions and shallots germinated, they were still sitting in little cells where the didn’t have enough room or probably enough nutrition from the seed starting mix.  Also, I wasn’t really careful with washing out last year’s containers before starting new seedlings in them and I think some moss or mold got a jumpstart on the soil surface.  Though some combination of these factors, a lot of our seedlings started to look a bit yellow and sickly.

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Yesterday I finally got made the move to starting potting them up in larger, thoroughly washed containers with potting soil and I’m hopeful that most of these guys will rebound and thrive.  As I might have expected, they were all starting to look a bit rootbound when I took them out of the cells.

In the interests of frugality, I reused containers from prior years’ perennial starts rather than buying new ones but I didn’t have quite enough to transplant everything so a few poor little guys are still languishing in cells at the moment.

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It might be wishful thinking, but it seems like some of the plants had already started looking hardier this morning.  My biggest problem now is going to be packing them all in under the grow light.

On a side note, it was really exciting to see that the lettuce seeds we saved a couple years back were still extremely viable.  I had way overseeded them in the cells our of pessimism but they ended up being pretty crowded in there!  We’ll see how many we can actually get into the ground.

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One Response to Potting Up

  1. Carol says:

    I’ve found that if you save your leftover seeds in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge, they will keep and grow for several years. If you want to reuse your growing cells, wash them, sanitize with bleach/water solution, rinse then air dry. Just don’t reused growing medium.

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