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Time to move or wait a little longer?

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Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  BrotherNorm on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 6:43

So, this is somewhat of a continuation of my last seedling mass extinction post....here's a few pic's of my newest batch of seedlings for your perusal. They are all germinating in a tray of vermiculite and this is what they look like as of this morning. They actually germinated pretty fast, I just put them in on Saturday the 10th.

I have learned a few lessons, one is that tomatoes grow roots off the main stem so they should be planted deeper when they are moved. Who 'da thunk.... I have swiss chard in here as well and from what I have read they shouldn't be planted as deep like tomatoes are.

The question is, do these look ready to move from the vermiculite to a container with planting medium?



Here's my beefsteak tomato seedling forrest




Close up.





Some Swiss chard looking good




The beefsteaks again.

The two trains of thought seem to be:

1) In the new SFG Mel recommends moving them as soon as they sprout (tends to be the minority view)

2) Move them when they have their first set of true leaves. (Is there a scientific reason for this or is this a rule of thumb that everyone follows.) I haven't found the answer yet so I'll keep looking.

Anyway, thanks for any suggestions, advice or witty remarks you may want to contribute.

Cheers,

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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  BrotherNorm on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 7:24

I just found this excellent article about plant propagation from seed on the Virginia Cooperative Extension website.

Among other things it talks about pregermination and when to move the seedling from the pregermination medium to the planting medium.

Plant Propagation From Seed
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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  GWN on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 7:39

that is a great article thanks for posting it.
I plant my seeds in the peat pucks.
Some of them I transplant as soon as they emerge, some I wait a little longer.
They ALL seem to be doing very well and it appears that at least 98% of my seedlings survive the process.

I have a few hundred seedlings in pots now, everything from flowers to vegetables.

I found the scarification process interesting in your article, have never seen that much detail on that
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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  gwennifer on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 9:51

I'm not sure if you got your answer from the article you posted, but from your pics I would say wait a little longer. Most of the cotyledons haven't broken free from the seeds yet. The stem of the seedlings is apparently much more fragile than the leaves, so when you transplant you're supposed to hold onto the leaves, not the stem. You don't have any leaves to hold onto yet.
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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  BrotherNorm on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 10:08

gwennifer -

Thanks for the reply. For the ones where the cotyledons have not broken free from the seeds I'll wait. It may not be clear from all of the pic's but there are some that have. For those that have I'll start moving them today and tomorrow.

Thanks again.

edit:

Actually, the article stated to move the seeds from the pregermination medium to the growing medium as soon as the seed sprouts and there are roots.
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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  Furbalsmom on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 16:40

If they were my transplants, I would pot them up from vermiculite to seedling flats or individual pots after they attain their first True Leaves as indicated in the artcle titled Plant Propagation from Seed from VA Tech.

Transplanting and Handling

If the plants have not been seeded in individual containers, they must be transplanted to give them proper growing space. One of the most common mistakes made is leaving the seedlings in the seed flat too long. The ideal time to transplant young seedlings is when they are small and there is less interruption of growth. This is usually when 1 or 2 first true leaves appear above or between the cotyledon leaves (the cotyledons or seed leaves are the first leaves the seedling produces). Don't let plants get hard and stunted or tall and leggy.
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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 22:04

Mel seems to address this on page 122 of the book:

"Seed Leaf
When you're sprouting seeds in a cup of vermiculite, I suggest you transplant them into the four-pack as soon as the tops have sprouted and you see the first two leaves called the seed leaves. Most garden experts say to wait until you have two "true" leaves, but I have found that if you wait until the set of true leaves develops, the roots have already grown so long and tangled that it's almost too late to transplant. The seed leaf comes first, and it's usually a fairly flat, large leaf that doesn't look like the plant's regular leaves. The first set of "true" leaves comes out next as the stem grows higher."

I followed the instructions in the book, when I sprouted in vermiculite and this is what "stepped out" (as Windsor.Parker likes to say) today. I'm kind of excited because these are the most successful seedlings I've ever grown.


I'm still a newbie so didn't really know any different than what the book said... Mostly just wanted to post a picture of some of my "babies" in the sun...can anyone tell I like basil? bounce The others are some broccoli which I may be too late in starting, but what the heck....one tiny little lone oregano plant ...and some Tiny Tim tomatoes I plan to put into some pots and give to my family. Smile
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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  walshevak on Fri 16 Mar 2012 - 5:38

Those are definately ready to pot up. And they are looking good.

Kay

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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  BrotherNorm on Fri 16 Mar 2012 - 6:06

Thanks Kay....

After rereading the responses and the seed propagation guide it dawned on me where some of the confusion may lie in regards to when to move the seedlings from the germination material to a container with planting medium. I think the confusion largely centers around lexicon.

First, if one were to germinate the seeds in vermiculite or a wet paper towel or in any other number of ways where the germination process doesn't involve a planting or growing medium then I would say the seedling can and maybe should be moved into a container with a planting medium as soon as the plant sprouts and there is sign of a root developing.

However, if one were to germinate in a container, most likely a small one containing a planting medium then you would not want to interrupt the growth process by "up potting" until the plant had it's first set of true leaves.

If you think about it this makes perfect sense. If you were to germinate in a wet paper towel would you leave the seedling in the wet paper towel until the first set of true leaves forms. I think it doubtful. Therefore why would you leave the seedling in any other type of material or non planting medium either.

The words that I think are part of the lexicon problem when talking about this subject are, transplanting and up potting which I think are distinct in and of themselves when describing when to move a plant that is already in the growth cycle, post germination.

The germination period precedes the above actions and should be talked about as such using different words. As an example one might say "After the seed germinates and a root develops then it is time to move the germinated seed now called a seedling from the germination area in to a container with a planting medium."

Thoughts?

Cheers,

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Re: Time to move or wait a little longer?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on Fri 16 Mar 2012 - 8:53

thanks Kay! I'm kind of excited. My first year with grow lights and not-so-leggy seedlings! It's on the weekend agenda for them to vacate their current establishment and move-on-up! Smile

BrotherNorm - You made some good observations. The processes are all slightly different and different methods work better for different environments and gardeners. The vocab can sometimes get in the way... Smile

It's so great to have so many experienced gardeners here to help out with their knowledge so that I know whatever method I choose, I can get some valuable advice and better results. okay

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