Less Noise, More Green: A step by step guide to repotting broccoli seedlings

Friday, August 16, 2013

A step by step guide to repotting broccoli seedlings




Poor little broccoli seedlings, completely neglected and in need of some TLC. I should have repotted them two weeks ago but there was always something more important to do and, well, you know how goes. Plants are hardly the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. At least I remembered to water them!

These seedlings were germinated in a soil-less mixture of sphagnum peat moss and horticultural perlite, which is lighter and better suited to very young seeds.  Now they are ready to move to bigger pots. One of the lessons I’ve learned this year with grow lights is to plant seedlings in as big of a container as you can once they have outgrown the germination cells. The size of the pot really affects the growth of the plant. This also eliminates the need to repot again before they are ready to be transplanted outside.

 


I use potting soil in the new containers. I mix a big container of the soil with water until it is moist, not soggy, and fill the pots.


I create a hole in the new pot’s soil. Holding the seedling at the base of the plant, I lightly squeeze the cell to loosen the soil and lift the plant out and into the new hole. I try and keep as much of the old soil around the plant as I can as this will ease the transition for the seedling.



Once all the new pots are full, I give each plant a good squirt of fish emulsion followed by a good drink of water. I like using empty dish washing up liquid bottles when applying liquids to seedlings because I have really good control over where the liquid goes and how much is added. Then the tray goes back under the grow lights.


These plants should be going into the ground this week but they are nowhere near strong enough.  In a week or two I’ll have to decide if there is enough of a season left to merit pulling up the broccoli plants in the ground that are still producing secondary heads, to make room for these young plants that may not produce before the first frost in October.  May be I can find room in the garden to plant these without having to pull up the old broccoli. Hum…. I’ll have to think about this one.




See you in the garden,
Sue


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