Transplanting seedlings (soil)
What's crappenin' all? So today was transplant day here at the pharm, and I thought I'd share some pictures to help anyone who has ever had trouble transplanting, or is hesitant to try at all! Whoever wants to know! It stresses a lot of people out but is really pretty simple. One important caveat though is that your soil shouldn't be too moist - like don't transplant immediately after you water. The soil will be very crumbly and unconsolidated, be messy, and probably more work/hassle than it needs to be. I wait until it's slightly moist, but decently dry (not bone dry so it crumbles when you squeeze it and has dried the roots out but 😆, you get it).
Step 1: set up your gear. Makes it easier and less infuriating if you have everything where it needs to be. Obviously. New pots, soil, scoop (if you don't use your hands), table, trays, etc.
Step 2: Fill your pot with soil. I leave about 2-3 inches before you hit the rim. Then dig out a small pit in the middle of the pot to plant your seedling. Make the hole as deep as the plant can go, without burying the first set of leaves. Try to dig it deep enough to hold the whole root ball, but not so deep that you will bury the plant. Set the plant still in its pot inside your hole that you made. If it looks like it would be okay if you covered it there, you're probably good. You can always add/remove more after if it doesn't quite go.
Step 3: Hold your plant with the stem wedged in between your middle and ring finger. Slide the stem up to to your hand so your palm covers the pot. Now, flip the plant over and lightly squeeze the outside of the pot to loosen and dislodge the root ball from the pot. After some squeezing and maybe some tapping on the bottom, the root ball should slide out. This is where it's important to not have it too moist; if it's very wet, the soil may just crumble away and leave you with a mass of unconsolidated roots - not horrible but definitely not as easy to work with. This is also a good time to inspect the soil for nasties (for example, I found some fungus gnat larvae being gross and slimy, hanging out of the side of the soil).
Step 4 (optional): This step is optional but, I always do it if I'm able. Loosen up the rootball a bit, especially if it's very root-bound to encourage proper root formation and what not. Basically, just work your fingers in the bottom and around the sides of the rootball, trying to be as gentle as possible so as not to tear the roots (you will rip a few - this is ok). This won't be necessary for very small plants, as their root systems won't likely have filled the pot to become rootbound yet.
Step 5: After the roots are freed up a bit, or not if you choose to skip step 4/your plant is small enough that loosening is not necessary, set the little plant inside your pre-dug hole, trying not to squish the now-hanging roots up too bad. Set it in, and fill in around the root ball with the soil you pulled dug out to make the hole. Pat the soil down lightly and even it out. After a few waterings, the soil will sink down a bit and settle, which is one important reason to have good drainage.
Step 6: Give your new transplant a little bit of water, sticking close to the base of the plant. If you water the whole pot, it will likely stay wet for a long time, and probably give you more problems (encourage fungus/disease i.e., damping off, etc.) than you need. Since the roots are still concentrated around stem area, that where you want to water. As the plants grow, the roots will fill the pot and be able to use more water. After that, you're finished! Keep the new transplants moist, but be careful not to overwater, as previously stated.
Hope this helps anyone hesitant/having issues regarding transplanting!
Happy growing (and transplanting)!
Life's a garden...dig it - Joe Dirt
Welcome to Percys Mark, i hope you like the place mate
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