Sunday, May 18, 2008

Transplanting Seedlings - Phase One

Four weeks after I planted seeds and put them under grow-lights in my dining area, I finally set to work on Saturday morning and transplanted roughly 18 young tomato and zinnia plants from their starter tray (above), where they were getting quite cramped, into much larger transitional pots. Over the next week or so I will gradually accustom them to outdoor conditions until they are able to tolerate full sun. Yesterday and today they had a few hours in a sheltered, shaded area outside my back door, with just a bit of late afternoon sun, and I brought them in again at night. Each day when I put them outside I will move them a bit closer to the sunny side of the patio, so they'll get a bit more sun each day. They'll dry out much more quickly than they did inside under the grow-light, so I'll keep them well watered.

I was not able to get most of them out of their little cells in the starter tray without disturbing their roots, and several of them showed signs of transplant shock; you can see them drooping sadly in the photo above. By this morning (below), however, all but one had perked up considerably. I lost only one -- a cherry tomato plant that did not survive the transplanting process.

Still in the starter tray I have some basil and pepper plants that don't need to be transplanted quite yet -- I'll give them a chance to get bigger before getting them ready to move out into the garden.
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