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Guest writers, Nadamayi and Phil

Transplanting is the process of moving a plant from one location to another. In the case of growing your own food indoors, it usually is moving a baby seedling from one container to a larger container.

 When we put seeds into a container or into a small pot or seed block, we usually put two or three instead of one. This is not a necessary thing, it is just how we are used to doing it. We do it to insure that at least one plant will develop from the seeding. When more than one plant comes up, one must decide whether to let the multiple plants grow in the one container, thin the weakest looking plants leaving the one strongest looking, or to transplant so that each plant gets its own container. The transplant option gives you more plants, and allows each plant more soil and thus the ability to grow larger and healthier.

Here we show three arugula plants coming up in the same container. When a seed comes up, the first pair of leaves that show are not true leaves. When the first pair of true leaves show up is the earliest you can transplant. In the above picture, the arugula plants have two pairs of true leaves, plus the first, round looking, cotyledons.

We prepare another container to receive the transplanted plant as shown above, soil in the container with a large depression in the middle where the new plant will go.

Here we are scooping a plant out of the original container (using a spoon!). At this stage, we are not concerned with damaging roots or causing shock to the baby plant, because we are scooping up the entire plant and its root mass.

And now dropping the scooped plant into its new home.

Tamp the new plant firmly into the new container.

The result: three plants in three containers. The interesting thing to note when you do this is that the newly transplanted plants seem to magically appear larger right away. It happens every time – we don’t know if it is true that they are larger, or just that their energy is able to spread out more and they seem larger.

Trickier Transplanting

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