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Repotting Seedlings with Repurposing Hints

| 4/17/2018 10:21:00 AM

Seedling shelves with tomato graduates 

My husband recently chuckled when he found 8 of our indoor cats sitting outside the guest bedroom door listening to me chatter away to my seedlings. Yes, I talk to my seedlings. During this time of year, I greet my green progeny with a lilting, “Good morning, babies!” as I turn on their lights. I coo and squeal with delight at their progress. Each night I congratulate them and urge them to keep working hard overnight as I turn out their lights and tuck them in.

Many days between starting the first seeds and transplanting everyone into the garden are spent with high interactivity—spritzing them, watering them, or potting them on as they outgrow their starter blocks. I usually wait until they have at least their second set of leaves before potting them on, but some babies grow too tall, too quickly and have to be rescued more quickly—one of my Rouge Vif D’Etampes pumpkins was raising the mini greenhouse roof at a mere 24-hours old.

Repurposed containers for seedlings

For the first couple of days after potting on, each baby gets its own inverted plastic cup top to help it through transplant shock. I spritz its leaves and choose from one of the three sizes that I have been using and reusing for years. For the bottom (or pot), I’ve used a variety of containers for potting on through the years. Before we stopped drinking milk, I’d repurpose the bottoms of the carton. Now that we drink almond and coconut milk, I cut the containers in half, take off the pour spout, and use both pieces (see photo below). It’s vital to poke holes in the bottom of your carton or cup (if you’re repurposing yogurt containers) so that the water can drain.

I use painter’s tape for labeling each plant so I know who’s who. As shown below, I’ve not only written “Green Drum” for the type of gourd going into the pot, but I’ve also included the number of the spot where it started in the tray. This is a holdover from our homeschooling days when our eldest and I were gardening together.

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