Transplanting

I did some transplanting today!

It was time for the tomatoes and peppers to give up their stake in the seed tray for more root room.

Something I’ve forgotten to do before is keep track of varieties after I transplant. I did well enough this year documenting where I planted what in the seed tray. Now to attempt to do well enough tracking the varieties into their new cups.

Things you can use for transplant pots:

  • Cups! I dislike that our recycle service will take #6 plastic, but not #6 styrofoam. This year, I saved up our Sonic cups with the intention of driving them to Ecology Action. Lucky me that I kept forgetting and now had plenty of cups!
  • Bottles. Water bottles, soda bottles, other plastic bottles. Simply cut off the tops, poke holes in the bottom, and voila!
  • Actual pots. I save the little plastic nursery pots that plants come home in sometimes. Occasionally they break, and then they go in the recycle, but otherwise they’re saved and reused.
  • What else do you use for seedlings when you don’t have pots?

So, how to track the varieties through the move? Well, we need to start with the schematic of the seed tray:

Whatever little shorthand codes you come up with to suit your process is fine. I put a dot for each seed planted, and circle the dot if that seed sprouted. This helps me keep track of which seed varieties have a good germination rate. I use that info to either assess my seed-saving techniques to improve, or take my seed-buying-dollars to the best performing seed-saving companies. Interestingly, my Cherry Chadwick, “Newport” purple heirloom, and “Rainbow” tomatoes all had 100% germination rate from saved seeds. The “Rainbow” seedlings didn’t last. I’m trying them again in a new seed tray, one color per row (purple, red, orange, and yellow.) My saved Czechoslovakian Black Pepper Seeds? 25%. Trying those again as well.

Cherry Chadwick as the main stars, “Newport” in the foreground, pre-transplant.

So I took my Sonic cups, counted up my seedlings, and began labeling each cup. I took over the shoe bucket in our foyer, filled it with the cups, and headed outside. Each cup was filled by thirds. The bottom third of each cup I filled with regular clay soil from the yard, the middle third I filled with manure, and the top third received a fresh topping of seed starter. Then, cup by cup, I looked at what was labeled on the side, and matched the seedling in the tray to the label on the cup.

A serendipitous factor of using Sonic cups? You can write on the side!

But how do you label things that you can’t write on easily?

These peppers get an acorn label. I used three other pots just like this with labels of red rock, a white pumice stone, and the cap of this acorn. If you scroll back up, you can see that noted on my schematic. As adorable as I find the row labels, especially the metal ones, I find it a fun (and free!) challenge to find other ways to label pots.

So that’s it? All the seedlings are transplanted?

Well, no. I have a bunch of little lettuces, some marigolds, basil, cumin, and lemon balm. They’re hanging out in a too-shallow (Trial & Error will result in errors!) tray awaiting their turn. Now, to decide where to put them before they strangle one another…

 

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