Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

After Seeds Have Sprouted in Indoor Greenhouse Trays, Should I Remove the Clear Plastic Lid? And Do I Need to Move Them to Bigger Containers?

4/1/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: greenhouse, seeds

When tomato and pepper seeds have sprouted in their indoor greenhouse containers, is it OK to let them continue growing in there after they’ve hit the ceiling? Or should I remove the clear plastic lid and let them continue to grow in their little containers? Or do I need to move them to bigger containers once they reach a certain height?

Those clear plastic lids that are often sold with seed-starting trays are really not necessary. (Mostly, they are a way for stores to charge a Transplanting Tomatoeshigher price.) All they do is help keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout; after that you should remove them so that the seedlings can grow without artificially high humidity.

Seedlings may need to be moved to bigger containers before it’s safe to set them out into the garden, but this will depend on when you started the seeds and how large your initial containers are. In general, once the plants have grown to about two times as tall as the height of their container, they should be moved to bigger containers if it will be a week or more before you can put them in the ground. But young plants are pretty sturdy and can cope with smaller-than-ideal containers for a week or two, as long as you keep them watered well.

And be sure to “harden them off” before you plant them into the garden. To do this, move them from indoors to a shaded, sheltered spot outside for a few hours each day. Then gradually increase the time you leave them outside each day, and move them to sunnier spots. (If you move them from indoors directly into full sunshine, the leaves may sunburn, just like we do if we are in the sun too long.)

—Cheryl Long, editor in chief

Photo By Walter Chandoha


Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on .



Related Content

How to Start Tiny Seeds for Fall Crops

Sowing tiny seeds for fall crops is easy with discarded plastic seedling trays and strips of fabric ...

Double Your Tomato Plants

Tomatoes are a great vegetable, perfect for all occasions and relatively easy to grow. Here is a way...

Sprouting: An Edible Experiment

DIY sprouting experiment to get kids interested in growing and eating sprouts.

Easy Tips for Starting Your Seeds Indoors

One way to get a jumpstart on the growing season is to start growing your seeds indoors. For most of...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.