Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Transplanting Seedlings

It's transplant week here at Bailey's Leaf! No, we aren't talking vital organs, though my good wishes and prayers to those in need of them. However, our little seedlings were just aching to get out of their little mesh pots. Just look! They are getting a little big! (For a review on the seed starting portion, please go to that WFMW here.)
I can't put the lid down on the greenhouse anymore! The seedlings are just too tall!
And, they are busting out of their little mesh pouches. Oh, and if you look real close, they are starting to get fuzzy. This is the time to break 'em out of there before the fuzz overtakes them. Don't worry little seedlings, I'm on my way!
My mother-in-law (hi Mom!) will be pleased to know that our kitchen table also serves as a potting bench. I promise Mom that one day I'll have a potting shed outside. For now, we'll use this. But, here is my pile o' supplies.
To start, I like to rip the little mesh covering off. I know, they are there and can stay there. They don't break down though (at least in my findings) and later I find them littering wherever I've planted them.
Break the majority of the soil off and very, very, very gently (with only your most gentle handies, of course) start pulling your seedlings apart. Tomatoes are very resilient, so that's good. Still, don't manhandle them if you don't have to.
Ah. There. They are split into three. (See, I did end up being Oct*om*om. I did have more seedling babies than I planned on!) In this case, these tomatoes gave me 26 plants. I figured that max, I would have 24. I must have had two sets of twins! :) (And for those who google later for that particular subject and get me with two twin sets of Arkansas Travelers, aren't they going to be surprised?!) I'll let you know later if they were identical or fraternal. :)
I label my cups with my trusty Sharpie Marker. (I love Sharpie. I have one that always lives in my kitchen drawer and I'm lost without it. I must get it from my grandmother, who always had a Marks A Lot in her drawer.)
Put a little soil at the bottom of the cup. Stand your little seedling upright, remembering that tomatoes develop roots off of their stem, so they are sturdier if you plant a lot of that stem. Do that again when you plant them into the ground. You'll have a short tomato plant for a while, but a very sturdy one when the fruits come on. (Remember, a tomato is a fruit!)
Fill with your soil. In this case, my husband picked up some organic store brand soil at Wa*lmart. (No, I don't want to come up on Wa*lmart google searches.) It seems nice enough!
This part was tricky. Hold the camera steady, keep the lens cap from swinging in the way and successfully water the plant without losing your visual space and water the table instead. No, I didn't water the table, but the picture came out blurry. Did I give enough excuses as to why? :)
And voila! All the seedlings were transplanted in the span of an hour and 15 minutes. In that time, I even helped K- along with her homework. Two birds. One stone. Works for me. Look at how comfy they've gotten in their new digs! These pictures are from just yesterday.
The tomato is bowing to the light and needs turned. It isn't limp or near death. Just FYI.

In about 5 weeks, they will take residence in our garden. (In mid-May we'll have a WFMW on hardening your plants off.) My garden needs cleaned out from last year. Don't worry. It's on my list. I still have time, though. Plenty o' time.


ChupieandJ'smama said...

I got started a lot later than you did with my seeds, but I'm following you. Keeping my fingers crossed that my black thumb doesn't kill everything :)

Rach said...

Excellent! I can't wait to hear if the babies are fraternal or identical. ;o)

Noel said...

I am so glad you put this on your blog today. I've got to do something with some sunflower plants I've started from seeds and this will be perfect!

mub said...

Thank you SO much for posting this! My tomato sprouts are going crazy and I have been putting off transplanting them... now I can't use the excuse that I'm not sure how *L*

Jamie said...

They look like great little growers! You def have a green thumb.

JessieLeigh said...

I SO need to do this! My peas are getting awfully tall and crowded. :) They look great... wishing you a bountiful harvest down the road!