Have you used sphagnum as your seed starter for your seedlings? If so, you probably already know that it contains zero nutrients.
When the seedlings begin sprouting their first sets of true leaves, it’s time to transplant or thin them, and fertilize.
Some seed starting mixes contain slow release fertilizers, so you will need to check the package to determine if yours does. I like to treat my seedlings to fish emulsion. (Okay, I don’t like it, but they like it!) This natural fertilizer adds micronutrients, in addition to the big three – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Beyond fertilizing, and later hardening off, the only real question left is when to repot these little darlings.
I used some old peat pots for the basil, and they weren’t staying particularly moist, so I decided to remove the wrapper and have a look at the seedling roots.
As you can see, the basil seedlings have been busy underground sending their roots out. These seedlings are two and a half weeks old, and the peat pots are about 2 inches tall. The roots are already stretching beyond the peat pot.
This is the time to transplant the seedlings, while the roots are easy to reestablish. If you are using individual cells and want to snip off extra plants that germinated, that’s another option. I have a hard time killing these baby plants, so I just use an old ballpoint pen to tease them out and repot them into their own cells.
Nicotiana sylvestris presents a challenge, though. The seeds were so small, I spilt way too many into the cells. Any suggestions? I’m guessing this is a survival of the fittest scenario.
What’s amazing about the Nicotiana sylvestris is that the seeds and seedlings are so small, yet it is one of the largest annuals in my garden.
I don’t see it for sale at our local garden centers, which is weird because it’s such a great, late-blooming annual that looks striking and sends out a sweet fragrance. Maybe customers don’t want to wait for it to grow.
There are my six for this Saturday. As you can see, things are growing along in the basement, even though the weather outside refuses to cooperate.
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