Saturday, 29 August 2009

pricking out all of my marigold seedlings came up and meanwhile in some punnets two seedlings germinated.  So this weekend I decided to prick out the double-ups and pot them into the empty punnets.  This is the first time I've done this but I think it went well.  You wait until the seedling has its first set of "true" leaves (not the two leaves that come straight out of the seed), but don't wait much longer or else it'll have a lot more roots that you can potentially damage.  You use a pencil to gently loosen the soil under the seedling, waiting until you feel the roots release their hold on the soil.  If you tug, you'll likely break the new roots.  And as you can see here, they do have a decent set of roots on them even when they're this small.  No wonder they grow so slowly when they're this small, they're spending as much time building roots as building leaves.

NOTE: I later found out that you're not meant to hold them by the stem as I'm doing here.  You're meant to hold them by a leaf, preferably the seed leaf not the true leaf.  If you accidentally smoosh the stem, the whole seedling dies but if you accidentally smoosh a leaf it'll survive.

Once you've got one out, you just carefully place it in a hole dug into another punnet.  I watered both before and after with a diluted seasol solution.  Seasol is made from seaweed and it's not a fertilizer, rather it nourishes the roots and reduces shock.  I'm optimistic that all of my transplants should take just fine.

This is good practice as I'll soon have to do the same thing with my tomato seedlings.  They're in tiny punnets and next weekend I'll move the four that came up into their own four-inch punnets.  Oh and in the meantime, my lettuce-leaf basil came up exactly six days after sewing, just like the cinnamon basil.  But on the chili front, I still have only the one Serrano seedling.  Chilies just don't seem to like me one bit.


Funkbunny said...

Thanks for the info about pricking out. Very useful. I am growing all my summer veg (and marigolds) early in punnets this season so will need to do this soon.