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help with transplanting seedlings

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a (jesusbeloved29@yahoo.com) on
Sat, May 28, 11 at 16:37

Sprry if these seem like stupid questions, but I've never transplanted anything before. I don't to inadvertently kill my seedlings in the process of transplanting them, because of not knowing what I'm doing.

The main question I have is can these rules-of-thumb (in regards to the questions I'm asking) be used with transplanting eggplant and pepper plants as well?

First off, although I've grown tomatoes before, it has been from seed, and via direct sowing.

I've never transplanted anything before, so could really use advice with this. The tomato seedlings are all in peat pots, I'd say they're about 4-6 weeks old.

I watered them yesterday because they were looking kind of droopy, and weren't being transplanted immediately.

When they are transplanted, how moist should the soil be? Wet but not soaking, or should it be bone dry? Should they not be watered prior to transplanting?

Also they have been hardened off, so can I just put them in full sun or do they still need to be gradually accustomed to
outdoor weather?

When they're transplanted they'll be where they're to grow
for the rest of the season.

Also they are in peat pots, should I just plant them pot and all or should they be taken out of the peat pot? If planted pot and all, does the bottom part of the pot need to be removed and/or sides?

I was also told they can be 'buried' up to a certain set of leaves on the plant, however up to which set of leaves or how far up the length of the plant (stem) can they be buried?

I've done research that you should apply a high phosphorus fertilizer to reduce transplant shock. When should this be applied? Immediately after transplanting or should I wait? If so, how long?

I plan to transplant them tomorrow. I was told the weather should be cool and overcast, that this will minimize transplant shock, help them to adjust faster, etc.

It will be warm but supposedly overcast. Is the warm weather a concern since tomatoes do like warm weather?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

I would make sure they are moist but then water after you transplant. Take the peat pots off, they can block root growth. Prune off the bottom set of leaves and bury them right up to the next set of leaves. If the plants are long, lay the stem down in a small trench and bury it. I would also put some kind of mulch around them to keep splashing dirt off when it rains. For peppers you don't bury the stem.


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

I pour a minimum of two gallons of water on the tomato plant immediately after I transplant it, but I live in southern California where the soil will always be dry unless you water it because it doesn't rain here except in the winter. If you water before you transplant and have clay soil like I have you will just make it very messy to dig in it.


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

  • Posted by bets z5A ID (My Page) on
    Sun, May 29, 11 at 12:08

"Also they have been hardened off, so can I just put them in full sun or do they still need to be gradually accustomed to outdoor weather? "

If your tomatoes have been properly hardened off, they will not need to become accustomed to outdoor weather, they should already be used to it. If they have not been outside in the weather, they aren't hardened off because that is part of the process.

But if they have been outdoors and properly hardened off there, yes, you can plant them in full sun.

Many people cross cut the bottom of peat pots so that the plants don't have to work so hard to get their roots into native soil or whatever they are planted in. Others take them off, some slash the sides and bottoms.

As for fertilizing when planting, that is a pretty good time to do it. If it isn't an organic (slow to break down and release nutrients) be careful to keep it away from the stems and roots by at least 5-6" so that you don't get fertilizer burn.

Betsy

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardening Off and Physiological Changes


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

Well I mean which would be better for the plant with the peat pot, removing it entirely or just cutting off the bottom part of it?

Also I was told that the more you bury the stems, the stronger the plant will be?

That I should bury the plant up to the first set of leaves (with tomatoes; I also will be transplanting tomatillo plants, so would this rule apply to them to?)

A really stupid question but where is the first set of leaves? How far up the plant do they go? When it says the first set of the leaves, is it referring to the cotelydons (baby leaves) or the first set of true leaves?

Also this is off topic but on the bottom leaf, there are some pale brown spots. The leaf is kind of yellowish-green. The rest of the plant looks healthy. Is this something to be concerned about? I don't know what the cause of it is really.


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

Well I mean which would be better for the plant with the peat pot, removing it entirely or just cutting off the bottom part of it?

Remove it.

Also I was told that the more you bury the stems, the stronger the plant will be?

True. Roots develop all along the buried part of the stem. Try to bury at least 1/2 the stem but since you are using containers that may not be possible.

That I should bury the plant up to the first set of leaves (with tomatoes; I also will be transplanting tomatillo plants, so would this rule apply to them to?)

Yes.

where is the first set of leaves? How far up the plant do they go?

It is obvious where the first set of leaves is and no, the cotyledons are not leaves.

there are some pale brown spots. The leaf is kind of yellowish-green.

Just remove it before planting it.

Dave


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

  • Posted by bets z5A ID (My Page) on
    Sun, May 29, 11 at 13:00

"Well I mean which would be better for the plant with the peat pot, removing it entirely or just cutting off the bottom part of it?"

"Remove it."

I've seen a lot of tomatoes in peat pots, and their roots had seriously grown through the pot and if that is the case with yours, I'd be hesitant about ripping off all those roots, as that would probably really increase the transplant stress.

If the roots have not grown through, remove the pot. If they have grown through, do what you can to allow others to grow through in a natural environment. (For some reason roots will grow through the pot easily until they are planted into their final home, then it is like it becomes a brick wall. Perhaps because the perched water level becomes much lower than the bottom of the pot?)

I'm just sayin'.

Betsy


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

Sorry to disagree Bets but there really is no benefit whatsoever to leaving the peat pots in place and many well documented benefits to removing them. Removing them is the #1 best way to avoid stressed/stunted plants.

Soak the peat pot well first and it will tear off easily. Any damage done to the roots is minimal and actually stimulates new root development just as cutting/dividing the root ball of any root bound plant will do.

Dave


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

So if you want to compare, after you remove the peat pot, plant it and then check on it later in the season. End of season would be best but don't forget. I don't use peat pots any more.

Leaving peat pots on does stifle the root/plant development.


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

This is a helpful string. I am planting tomatillos for the first time this year and have wondered how much to treat them like tomato plants. What if the tomatillo seedling has flowers and buds. Should I pinch them off prior to transplanting so that the plant puts it's energy into root development?


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RE: help with transplanting seedlings

I would pinch them off, yes.


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