It's hard to believe that April is gone and May is here. With May comes more outside gardening work and that includes transplanting seedlings that have been started indoors and hardened off outside. I started them using recycled materials that I wrote about in a previous post. In mini-green houses, I set them near registers indoors to germinate and then took them outside, covered, on warmer sunny days to harden off. The method worked out great as it allowed me to get them started inside but used the sun outside instead of sun lamps or placed on the windowsills.
This method also caused the plants to become hardier and sturdier than they would be if completely raised inside. Even though these little seedlings leaves are a bit battered from being outside in the elements, their new leaves will be more than ready to do the job.
You will know it's time to transplant once the second set or "true" set of leaves start to appear. When these leaves appear, the plants put out a long tap root and you'll want to transplant before that happens to make the it less stressful for the tomatoes.
I decided to use some small plastic cups (8 oz size) that I had left over to use as the new tomato plant containers. These would be perfect for the job. However, drainage is vital for each new plant so I needed a fast way to put in drainage holes. Here's a photo tutorial on how to easily do this. I found this on another garden bloggers site. A great idea I have to say...
With all the drainage holes in place in each cup, I went on to put drainage holes in my mini-greenhouse containers too. Then filling each cup with planting mix, I wet the soil thoroughly and went to hang some clothes out on the line while the soil-less mix absorbed the water. I like to give it some time to settle in before planting the new seedlings.
To actually transplant the seedlings, I used a plastic fork to gently loosen the soil around the plant holding the plant by its leaves (never the stem.) Once it was loosened, I was able to dislodge it from the soil and place it in its new home.
Because tomatoes are a vine, you can bury the stem as deep as you want. It will form roots along the stem and become stronger as it grows. These plants got a bit "leggy" from a lack of light inside, but transplanting them deeper solves this problem.
And there you have it...25 plants all relocated into new homes; larger pots...or in this case - cups. I'll just recycle the cups when they're finished too. I will probably transplant the tomatoes one more time to larger pots before putting in the garden in late May or earliest June. Now that they are in a bigger pot, they'll take off with this round of warm weather we're expecting to have around here. To give them extra warmth, I'll cover them with their greenhouse lids at night to help keep the temps stable and to give them the best start. Tomatoes like warm weather.
Tomatoes done for now...peppers are next!! Looking forward to a great garden this year. Hope yours is too....Blessings!
What are you doing in the garden right now??
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