Monday, August 21, 2006

Transplanting Seedlings

Before transplanting, water the seedlings well. This helps limit the shock of transplanting and ensures that the seedlings are turgid. Moist, well-drained soil mix separates easier than dry, or overly moist mix. With your finger, or a dibble, gently remove seedlings individually, or in clumps, lifting as much of the root system, and its attached soil, as possible. Place the plant, or clump, in the palm of your hand, or on a flat surface. Holding only the leaves, pull individual seedlings free of a clump. Try not to disturb the soil that is adhered to the roots. Poke a hole in the soil, and in the transplant container. Then, with your finger, or the dibble, guide the roots into the hole, so that all roots are buried and the seedling is neither deeper, nor shallower, than it was in the germination container. A simple flick of the finger replaces and settles the remaining soil into the transplant hole. Don't press the soil around the seedling; this can reduce the soils aeration and water-holding characteristics. The soil will settle enough the first time you water. Water the seedlings soon after transplanting.

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