If you're new to gardening, you may suddenly find yourself with a lot of seed trays filled with brightly colored seedlings! So what to do next? Once the seedlings reach a certain height, they need to be transplanted. How do you get these little plants into their own pots? What's the best way to do this? In this article, Savana will show you one guide on how to prick out and pot seedlings for you.

raised garden bed

Now that your seed has sprouted, you may suddenly be unable to figure out what to do next. Well, the next stage in growing your own plants is what the industry calls "Pricking out." This is a term used to describe the separation of seedlings and their respective containers.

This is a relatively easy and fun activity. However, you'll need some tips and tricks to make sure you don't accidentally kill your seedlings! It's time to start planting rice seedlings!

Tools for potting on seedlings

  • Dibber or pencil
  • New pots for transplanting (can be plastic-free!)
  • Multi-Purpose Potting Compost
  • Label
  • Watering can

Why prick out the seedlings?

Pricking out the seedlings is necessary to ensure that each plant has enough compost, water, and space to grow into a healthy plant. If we don't prick out the seedlings then they will compete with each other in our seed tray and we will end up with smaller, healthier and weaker plants.

Step 1: Watering seed trays first

The first thing you need to do is water your seed trays before you start potting your seedlings, giving the seedling trays or pots a good soak.

Watering seedlings has two benefits:

1. This will make it easier to divide the seedlings without damaging them. Lubrication is definitely a plus!

2. It reduces the stress on the plant as it goes from a well-rooted moist environment into a new pot. Drinking a glass of water before a trip can reduce stress

Step 2: Preparing pots for potting on seedlings

Prepare the pots before pulling out the seedlings. If you don't, you'll find yourself rushing to insert the seedlings. During the panic, things will no doubt be knocked over, sparking a banana fight in your greenhouse or kitchen. Nobody has time for that!

Use a good all-purpose compost, since the seedlings are now in the "growing stage" and need plenty of water and nutrients to get the job done. You can also use a tamper to make sure there are no air pockets and the surface is level.

A good compost is essential for potted plants, never reuse compost as it can lead to disease and lack nutrients. Do not fill to the brim, as this will cause messy watering when the soil overflows. Place the compost 1cm below the edge of the chosen pot.

Use your straw or pencil to create a hole in which to place the seedling. You are now ready to remove the seedlings, the exciting bit!

Step 3: Removing seedlings from trays correctly

Now, use the excavator to carefully lift and separate the seedlings from the seed tray or basin. There is no exact art. Some people have found their own way.

Put the excavator into the seedless part of the tray, and then carefully rotate it to push a cluster of seedlings up from the bottom. This then loosens the seedlings from the compost.

Then, when you own the cluster, you can use the excavator to carefully separate the root. In your new flowerpot, the pit digger also doubles as your "hole digger" to put seedlings into it.

Step 4: Never hold seedlings by the stem

Stem is an important channel for seedlings to obtain water and food. If you pick it up with a thin, soft, fleshy stem, you will probably crush it. It's like being pinched! Always grasp the leaves and pick up the seedlings. They can grow more of these damaged.

However, if the plant stem is damaged, the plant will die because it cannot absorb water or nutrients.

When pulling out seedlings, always grasp the leaves, not the stems, to ensure that the plants will not be killed.

raised garden bed

Step 5: Dropping and firming in your seedlings

Using the prepared pot, the next step is to put the seedlings and roots into the hole. Only bury it as deep as the seed plate.

If you bury the stem too deep, it will probably rot. So your goal is to cover the root cause, which is enough. Then use the excavator or fingers to gently fix the soil around the seedlings.

Then water the pot immediately. Watering the seedlings will create a vacuum, and will also pull the seedlings firmly into the compost to protect them.

Don't forget to label the seedlings so that you know which plants are which. This sounds obvious, but in a greenhouse full of seedlings, trying to identify them can be a headache! Then you will soon have a plate of "potted" seedlings, which are labeled and can continue to grow!

Pot choices for Pricking Out Seedlings

As a general rule, seedlings do not need large pots (perhaps sunflowers are an exception). We recommend a 9-11cm planter upper pot. Here are some examples, each of which has a summary. This is personal preference, depending on budget and space.

Terracotta Pots

Terracotta is breathable, durable and looks lovely. It is worth using on Instagram. When it is not used, they will be stacked together. However, they are expensive and bulky for seedlings,

Cardboard Pots

These are also breathable and very lightweight. They can be squeezed together relatively effectively to maximize the use of space. They are not reusable and will become damp if watered too much, so place them on a pallet to keep them rigid. However, you can plant them directly on the ground to reduce interference with the roots.

Newspaper seed pots

These are cheap and pleasant, and are the ultimate choice for recycling. You can purchase clamps online to help you make them easily. If not, a rolling pin (without a handle) can help wrap newspaper pieces and then fold the bottom up after sliding them down (although the clamp is much easier).

The disadvantage is that they won't last long, so they can only be used for 4-6 weeks. Use the pallets again to keep them in shape longer. You can plant these directly. These are suitable for growing your own vegetables when pulling seedlings, because they decompose quickly in the ground.

Toilet Roll Pots

Toilet paper basin is a good way to recycle and make high-quality seedling basin. It is especially suitable for deep rooted seedlings such as peas. You need to fold both ends to create the base. The disadvantages are that their diameters are limited, they cannot accommodate wider seedlings, and they are unstable when standing up. You can put these on a tray.

What is hardening off?

Hardening refers to placing seedlings or seedlings in a temporary environment, such as a cold rack, to help plants adapt to lower outdoor temperatures. Before placing them on the outdoor floor or in a container, you need to harden almost all plants grown from seeds or cuttings indoors or in greenhouses.

If you don't let them harden, a sudden drop in temperature may kill them or damage their young leaves. You just need to use the cold rack outdoors or put them outdoors during the day, and then put them back to the undercover at night or when it frosts to harden the plants for 7-10 days.


December 23, 2022

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