All of my seedlings/young plants seem to be doing really well, despite the weather being very temperamental recently. Im still waiting for 4 seeds to germinate, which is very late on in the season and I’ll be lucky to get much out of them, but its mainly about the experimentation and learning process at this stage anyway. Plus I just enjoy planting things, Im not super bothered what it is.. but I am trying to be realistic in planting things we’ll actually use at some point. I LOVE the look of Rhubarb plants, their huge leaves and pinky red stalks, but theres just no point because we simply wouldn’t use it. maybe one day I’ll convince Matthew to come up with a recipe that will allow me to grow some… The dream!
Okay so my late blooming tomato seedlings are definitely ready for a new home and today is the day I gave them one. since I repotted them from their original tray, where they didn’t have enough room to grow and all their roots were tangled together, into a propagator tray where they have their own little space to develop they have EXCELLED. I mean really, within the space of a week or two they have grown dramatically (the ones that survived anyways) and have developed their second leaves.
BEFORE TRANSPLANTING TO PROPAGATOR
AFTER TRANSPLANTING TO PROPAGATOR
From what I’ve read, tomatoes are pretty easy to grow, so maybe my mass celebration isn’t so much of a big deal to a lot of gardeners, but to me any achievement is worth celebrating!
to repot your tomato plants at this stage is a bit fiddly. Personally I wouldn’t wear gloves for this because you can get a better feel of how much pressure you’re putting on the plants roots (you don’t wanna feel anything snap by pulling slightly too hard.) and you can also get a better grasp on the plant as it is still very small. Unless its really necessary, wait until your seedlings are around 6-10 inches tall before deciding to replant. Smaller than that and you’re at risk of losing some (as you can see by the above picture, not all of mine made it.)
- You want to make sure you’re plants are really nice and moist, if you have yours in a propagator tank as well, then you’ll more than likely find that they’re nearly always very damp anyways, but if not, water them in the morning and let them sit for a few hours to let the moisture soak through, ready for their repot in the afternoon.
- Fill your new pot with compost, you can find the one I use here. leaving a space in the middle big enough for your seedlings root ball. Personally I wouldn’t plant your tomatoes straight into the ground at this stage as they’re still very vulnerable and can be easily devoured by hungry snails and caterpillars. They may be okay in a raised bed, I’m the wrong gardener to ask that question to. Get back to me in a year or so and I may have more of a definitive answer.
- Now you want to prise the seedling out of its pot. Careful not to tug too hard and snap its roots. Do this by gently squeezing around the pot, this will allow for some movement and loosen the soil. Tilt the pot on its side with one hand and the plant should fall into your free hand, roots and all.
4. Tease the roots slightly to take off a bit more soil. This allows the roots to not grow in the round shape it has been trained into in its last pot, but allow them to grow further down and further out in its new pot.
5. Take the pre composted pot with hole in the middle and place your little seedling into it. Ensuring that the free roots are at the bottom and haven’t gotten caught at the top. Press your seedling down firmly in its new position and cover over with more compost to make sure its securely in position.
6. Last, the most important part. Feeding your seedling!! its very important that you give your tomatoes (and all your other newly repotted veg) a good feeding with some diluted liquid tomato feed (personal preference, I just find liquid easier to use and more effective.) Mix 20ml of feed with 4.5 litres of water and give your plants a damn good watering! It says on the bottle that 4.5 litres is enough for only 2 plants, but I find that they don’t tend to need quite that much, especially not at that size, when I waterthem everyday when it tends to rain here a lot anyways.
And thats it! ready for the next stage of their lives.
Although I’ve completely focused on tomato seedlings here, the same general rules apply when replanting any sort of plant, I just so happened to be doing my tomatoes today.
As you can see my container garden is growing vigorously as my plants get bigger, stronger and need more space. But I can’t help love seeing new things happening everyday.