Welcome back to the Planet Forward blog for another organic garden seedling update. Today we’re talking about transplanting. I knew it was time to transplant when my plants seemed cramped in their space. I asked the organic gardening experts that I know, and they all advised me to transplant them to larger containers. The goal was that the plants could grow to become more robust before it’s time to plant them in my garden.
I went a very eco-friendly route by reusing old containers from nurseries. The planters I had ranged from the flimsy plastic containers that are divided into four sections, small round plastic containers, thick cardboard containers and those left over planters from old flowers. I collected each and every one I had and got ready to transplant.
My very first step was to cover my work surface with a few layers of old newspaper. The reason I used multiple layers was so that when the area got really dirty I could roll up one layer and place it in the compost bin. I planted more seeds than I could ever want or use because I was unsure of my success rate. I ended up using two large bags of an organic topsoil/potting mix blend to fill all of my containers. Due to the shear volume of plants I started, it took me a day and half to transplant all of them.
I was faced with a major dilemma after all the pots and containers were full: where to put them. My three TV trays worked well when the seeds were in peat pellets contained in small plastic beds, but not when I had countless pots. A very handy person I know was kind enough to build me a two level work bench/shelf for my plants; made out of repurposed materials that I found in the garage. Between the two level bench and the three trays, I was able to give all of my plants some space near the window. As we’re talking about a standard window, I found I had to rotate the planters to ensure every one of them got the sunlight they needed.
Once the transplant was complete the plants seemed to take to their new surroundings. No longer crammed for space, they appear to be thriving and happy. The only downside to the transplanting is that the soil doesn’t hold water in the same way as the peat pellets. This means that if you over water even slightly, there is a puddle of water on the floor. I’ve had to slither under the bench/shelf structure and the tables with a rag to sop up excess water more times than I can count and it is not fun.
Overall things are looking up given the disaster that was last year’s attempt to start my own seedlings. Even if something changes I’m confident that I will have made some progress and be able to say that a portion of the plants in my organic garden were started from seed. If you have any tips, tricks or stories to please share in the comments. Until next time, happy organic gardening.
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