Growing on seedlings

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Growing on seedlings

Postby GoldenWattle » Tue May 10, 2011 10:43 pm

I've taken a photo of a seedling tray which has Iceland poppies and Pansies in them. The former are in the 2nd and 4th rows from left and the latter are in the 2 right rows. I'm not sure if the pansies are ready to pot on. If I leave them in the tray, should I thin them out? The poppies look very delicate (fragile).

Normally, I would use a flat surfaced item like a spatula to scoop the soil out of the compartments without disturbing the roots too much. I assume that I'd need to thin out the seedlings to give them a better chance to develop. With stronger seedlings like zucchinis, I would pull the seedlings up if I had 2 or 3 in one compartment. I'm assuming poppies and pansies wouldn't cope well with that kind of treatment? It seems like a waste to thin out seedlings and discard them, but I assume not many would survive if re-planted? I'll give it a try anyway, but I was wondering if anyone had any first hand experience?

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Re: Growing on seedlings

Postby karyn » Thu May 12, 2011 12:24 pm

They look so small, maybe wait a little? I use a fine screwdriver, and just loosen the soil and lift the roots out. I trim the roots if they're too long, and replant in a nice wide hole then use the screwdriver to put the soil back. If you're gentle when handling the leaves and stem you'll probably be ok, but probably wouldn't hurt to wait a week or so!
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Re: Growing on seedlings

Postby GoldenWattle » Thu May 12, 2011 3:31 pm

karyn wrote:I use a fine screwdriver, and just loosen the soil and lift the roots out. I trim the roots if they're too long, and replant in a nice wide hole then use the screwdriver to put the soil back.

Those sound like good tips. As far as waiting a week goes - I think there's been little change with the pansies since they've popped up. I'm not sure another week will make much difference. What do you think about adding vermicastings or a liquid fertiliser while still in the seedling tray?

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Re: Growing on seedlings

Postby Lou » Thu May 12, 2011 5:07 pm

Golden Wattle, I had a beautiful Spring garden last year, mainly grown from seed and I have been doing it from seed for years now. I consider these, in my photo below, still too young to plant out. I have always let them stay where they are until they reach the size they are when you buy them as seedlings in nurseries. I find them much easier to handle, much tougher in the roots so you can tug them apart without hurting them, and they seem to do alright in the punnets. Where do you have your trays? Mine are just in a small growhouse but they get sufficient light and sunshine to keep them growing.
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Re: Growing on seedlings

Postby GoldenWattle » Thu May 12, 2011 7:38 pm

Lou wrote:I consider these, in my photo below, still too young to plant out. I have always let them stay where they are until they reach the size they are when you buy them as seedlings in nurseries. I find them much easier to handle, much tougher in the roots so you can tug them apart without hurting them, and they seem to do alright in the punnets. Where do you have your trays? Mine are just in a small growhouse but they get sufficient light and sunshine to keep them growing.

I have them in a north-facing bay window in a mini-greenhouse. The room is heated, so I'm wondering if they need additional nutrients to grow. I planted them in a seed raising mix. Do you fertilise your seedlings? Typically with vegie seedlings, I plant out without ever having fertilised in the trays. I did see an interesting study showing seeds raised with worm castings vs those that weren't. It showed the seedlings developed much better roots with the worm castings. I have a worm farm, but usually forget to add the castings to my seed trays. The castings are pasty/sludgy and it's a bit fiddly to add it to the fine seed raising soil. I added worm castings to acacia seedlings that I potted on in forestry tubes, but I'm unsure if it's made any difference. Maybe I should post the photos of the control sample vs those with worm castings - and let others be the judge.

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Re: Growing on seedlings

Postby Pam » Fri May 13, 2011 7:30 am

GW, seed raising mix usually has no nutrients, so your seedlings would benefit from a very weak feed. If you're using liquid fertilizer, perhaps 1/4 strength. Slow release fertilisers probably require more heat than you're currently getting to work, so are probably not a good option at the moment.
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