After I pressed two posts on starting seeds, I noticed the trend in lots of posts and pinterest pics focusing on seed starting. Yep, we get excited about planting the seeds, knowing that one day they’ll become vegetables and fruit in our gardens, but what now? They sit in their containers or pots or greenhouses and do their thing while we wait, and wait, and wait. Hmmm, all this waiting then suddenly, you have little seedlings on your hands. What next?
Here are a few tips and tricks for tending to those indoor seeds until they’re outdoor plants:
- Keep ’em watered–they need to stay moist–little seedlings in shallow dirt can dry out quickly
- When watering, use a watering tool that has small holes. I’ve seen plenty of preschoolers drown their poor seedlings with those dollar aisle plastic watering cans with big ol’ holes.
- Separate seedlings that are growing closely, or they’ll stunt their growth. You’ve got three choices: replant the ones you pull, eat them as microgreens, or let nature takes it course (ie they become compost for the living plants).
- Keep the seedlings in the sun but not in such a hot place that they wilt. Remember, they are in their infancy, and like babies, they have tender skin.
- That goes for setting them outside too. Always good for seedlings to get fresh air, but not in direct sun that’s too warm. Go for filtered or dappled sunlight.
- If your seedlings shoot up quickly and become spindly, don’t worry. I just replant them in little pots making sure they go deeply enough that the first leaves are just above the surface of the dirt.
- As Spring moves on to warmer days and warmer nights, set the seedlings/small plants outside to get them ready for the outdoors. No need to rush this process–bring them in some too so they don’t get overwhelmed by quick changes.
- Once the concern of the last frost has passed (Mother’s Day is a good rule of thumb where I live in the mountains of NC), feel free to transplant.
- Keep watered after they transplant. I typically will soak the hole I dig before placing the plant in it, soak the roots and dirt around the plant, then soak the whole area around the plant once it is in the ground.
Step back and be prepared to start the waiting again. If you get bored, who says you can’t start a few more seeds! I’ve had fresh tomatoes into November by doing some stagger planting. And yeah, they tasted much better than anything you’ll get in the store, and THAT was worth the wait!