The time to re-pot a seedling is when it has grown its first set of true leaves and when its roots have filled most of the cell in the seed starting flat.
|Cotyledons vs. True Leaves: Image from: http://www.78stepshealth.us/flowering-plants/seeds.html|
To re-pot the plant follow these simple steps:
2. Water the soil so that it is about as wet as a wrung out sponge.
3. Use a pencil or stick to make a hole in the center of the pot that leaves enough space for the root system of the seedling.
5. Place the roots of the plant into the hole in the new pot.
6. Remember to label your plants!
7. Place the newly potted plants in a bright (preferably South-facing) window. This time of year, in the north, it is a good idea to continue using a grow light since the days are still very short and since most windows do not let in enough light. Continue using your grow light until the spring equinox (when there are at least 12 hours of sunlight a day.) or until you place the plant in your garden.
8. Water the plant when the soil feels dry when you stick your finger into the pot up to your first knuckle. Do not leave the plant sitting in a dish of water. Do not over-water. This can cause root rot. Most plants fail indoors because the gardener "loves them to death." That is, they get over-watered and/or over-fertilized. At the same time, you shouldn't under water either. Do not wait until the plant has wilted to water it. Check the soil!
9. If you have used good quality compost and/or potting soil, you should not need to fertilize the plant between now and when the plant is placed in the garden in April or May (in Michigan). Most compost and potting mixes will contain many months worth of nutrition for a typical plant.
10. If you want a plant to be bushy or to have multiple branches (e.g. peppers, basil, most other herbs etc.), wait until the plant has produced around 6 true leaves and pinch or cut off the tip of the plant below the top two leaves at the level of the stem. This will cause the plant to branch at this level. With some plants you may continue to pinch or even prune the plant periodically so that it will continue to bush. Herbs especially benefit from this treatment. See image below:
|When & where to pinch. Image from: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/h-406/welcome.html|
11. Be patient and RTFSP! That's right! "Read The ____ Seed Packet!" The seed packet when it is the best time to put the plant out in to the garden, how far apart to space the plants & etc. Wait for spring and the last frost. Wait for it..... waaaaaait.....