Getting Down to Earth

8.Put pots in a warm place, away from direct sunlight.
9.Examine soil twice a day. The minute it looks dry, sprinkle lightly. Don't get it soggy wet.
10.When plants come up, remove coverings and put pots in a sunny window. Water lightly whenever soil begins to dry out. On cold nights replace glass or polyethylene covering.
11.Water seedlings growing in inert planting mediums (spaghnum moss or vermiculite) with a water-soluble fertilizer solution once a week, since these contain no nutrients. For those planted in soil, one watering with this solution, when plants have their second or third leaves, will be adequate.
12.See that young plants get plenty of sunshine. Turn pots occasionally to keep them from leaning in one direction.

When plants are two or three inches high, or when they have developed their third or fourth set of leaves, they are ready for transplanting.

If weather does not permit putting plants outside when they are ready for transplanting, this must be done in the house, since they now need room to develop.

Each tiny plant should be put into its own individual container, or planted at least 3 inches apart in a seed flat. Containers should be filled with rich, loose, sieved soil.

Remove seedlings by loosening soil with a knife, or by turning the pot on its side and tapping it to loosen the soil. Lift plants out carefully and gently separate roots.

Sprinkle each tiny root with a rooting hormone powder, which lessens the shock of transplanting. Or, if you prefer, you may water with a transplanting solution after repotting the seedlings.

Make a hole in the soil deep enough to accommodate the entire root. With one hand suspend the tiny plant so that the root hangs straight down in the hole. The stem should start at ground level or a little below and the roots should have plenty of room to spread out. With the other hand push earth around roots to fill hole. Firm soil by patting it lightly.

Water with a water-soluble fertilizer solution.

Place transplanted seedlings in a shaded place for a day or two. Then put them on a windowsill where they will get direct light and sunshine. Shade them during the afternoon if the sun seems too hot.

Keep soil moist at all times, but not too wet.

If a coldframe is available, this should be the first way stop for the newly potted seedlings after they leave the house, when weather is still unpredictable. Here they can be covered on cold nights.

Transplants may be put out in the garden quite early in the spring, however, if they are covered with the little paper tents sold under various trade names.