by Mireille Bourgeois
There comes a time when the little seeds grow into little leafy things and eventually want to be stretching their roots into bigger pots. It’s bound to happen. I may be the only person that gets stressed out about transplanting her seedlings, out of fear of killing them . It’s always during transplanting that I accidentally drop a pot on the ground with the plant in it, smack the plants with my hand and break some leaves, and generally just feel awkward about how much or how little water they need as soon as they are transplanted. Also, some of my seedlings are growing faster than others, and so I have to start adjusting the grow lights (an inch higher at a time) so they all get what they need.
It’s probably how mothers feel, when their kids reach another year. Much to their amazement, they’ve managed to keep them alive for that much longer. I’m not delusional, I know growing PLANTS is a far lesser responsibility than raising children. I’m just sayin’.
First thing I recommend is to wash any old pots that you’ll be using. Planting new plants in old pots that haven’t been washed is like bathing in someone else’s bathwater. There’s bacteria that you just don’t want to pass on. It’s really the least you can do for your plants. In soapy water, take off any old dirt and rise off the soap. Second thing I recommend is to get moisture control soil. Something with Peat moss mixed in. If these seeds will be sitting in this soil, indoors for a while, you want to use something very fluffy.
The before shot of my seeds. Use pots that are taller than they are wide. You want your roots, especially the tomato roots to be long and healthy. Remove the little peat moss fibre cover and place in a pot with a bit of soil sprinkled on the bottom. Then fill the surrounding area with soil and water a fair amount, but not until the water is slushy. Keep moisture to a minimum while watering deeply. It’s a balance.
Look at this PEPPER! I can’t jinx the little thing, but this is the biggest and fullest pepper plant I’ve grown yet. The biggest advantage to having grow lights are the pepper plants. They are loving it.
The Tomato Cascade on the left, Summer Savoury on the right (not doing so great) and the littlest Brandy tomato seedling below.
I’m not convinced my tomato plants love the grow lights. The three tomato plants growing at our picture window are doing much better than these. They don’t look diseased, just a bit small. Maybe it’s my nervousness about the transplanting. On the right, that’s some Chinese cilantro. Also taking it’s sweet old time grow 😉 It might be time for fertilizer.
The biggest thing I learned with setting up my first grow lights is that ventilation and humidity control is key. To simulate wind, I have a fan running on low when my grow lights are on (about 10-12 hours a day). I forgot to turn it on one day, ONE day and there was mould growing on the soil. SO, keep the air flowing, and when you accidentally over water your seeds (it will happen), turn on the dehumidifier over night to help bring moister under control.
Meanwhile, at my picture window.... Gorgeous tomato plants eagerly await June.