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Seedling Care + Tips

Seedling Care + Tips

Now you've spent hours planning your garden and planting those seeds. You have your seeds under light and they've started sprouting! Yay!!! How exciting and congratulations! A lot goes into gardening and starting your own plants, so give yourself a pat on the back because you are doing it and you're doing great!

Once those sprouts are reaching for the light, are getting tall and taking up a whole lot more room, now what?! This part can be a little overwhelming if it's your first time because it happens quickly, especially if you are starting a great deal of plants yourself indoors. Well, we are here to help! 

Keep reading for all the seedling tips and tricks!

When should I transplant?

You probably put 2-4 seeds in each cell and if you read our Seed Starting 101 blog, then you put the perfect amount in, 3! Now that your sprouts are coming up and if your germination rate is good, then you probably have 3 seedlings coming up as well. Yay!! This is great, but now what?

You will want to wait to transplant until your seedling has its first true set of leaves. These leaves will look more like the plants leaves, different from the seedling leaves, which look the same on all the plants. 


Now that you know WHEN to transplant lets talk about how to transplant.
When you are ready to transplant, you'll want to get a station set up with everything you need because it can get a little messy.

You will need: a large bowl, water, soil, watering can, your seedlings, bigger pots (4 inch), permanent marker & labels.
  • Fill your bowl 3/4 ways with your soil. Dump some water in the soil (start with a little and add more if necessary) to make the soil moist but not soaking wet.
  • Fill your bigger pots with soil.
  • Stick your finger in the middle most of the way down.
  • Take one of you seedling cells out by pinching the bottom and gently lifting it up by the bottom of the plant. All your seedlings in that cell should come out with that.
  • Separate the seedlings by slowly and gently pulling them a part. When you have separated the seedlings place one in the hole you just made. Place it as far down as you can but right before the first set of leaves. Add more soil and push the soil down gently around the plant.
Repeat this process with all of the ready seedlings. When you are done transplanting them all. Grab your watering can and give them a little drink. Again, don't over water. Since the soil is moist, it wont take much. Then place them under your growing lights and watch them continue to grow :)

How close should my lighting source be?

When you first start your seeds you want your light source as close to the soil as possible (without touching). As your seedlings grow you will need to move up the light source to make sure the plants don't get burned. But make sure you don't have the light too far from the plants, otherwise your plants will grow tall and leggy. You want them shorter with strong stems. 

How do I help my plants get strong?

By having making sure your room has proper air circulation. This will ensure your plant stems grow strong. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on starting with an hour a day and moving that time frame up every couple days. If you don't have a ceiling fan, you will need to get a smaller fan with different level options. You don't want it too strong - it could hurt your plants and put them through stress. 

Should I fertilize my seedlings?

Yes! Now that your plants have been transplanted and have their first true set of leaves. You are ready to start fertilizing. It is best to feed the young seedlings with a mild dose of either a balanced fertilizer (an equal part of N-P-K) or a fertilizer with higher Nitrogen and Potassium (e.g., 5-2-3, or 3-1-2). At this stage, liquid fertilizers are better than granular fertilizers. Click HERE for our top choice of fertilizer!

Tip: Before you reach for the plant food, make sure you haven't used a potting mix that already contains fertilizer. Some do, and some don't. If the mix has fertilizer, you shouldn't need to add more. For the future, because seedlings can initially feed themselves, you don't need to use a potting mix with fertilizer for starting seed. Using a mix without fertilizer is cheaper, and more importantly, you can control how much and what type of food your seedlings get. The soil we linked above has fertilizer in it, so if you are using Purple Cow Organics, there is no need to add additional fertilizer.

Now what?

Now you are ready to start more seeds!! Each week you should be starting more seeds. Since seed starting ranges from 12-2 weeks before last frost.

Stay tuned! Next month we will be coming out with another blog post on the next step to growing a healthy luscious garden!

Happy Gardening!

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