Pots and Trays

IMG_1526I relieved several trays of their contents yesterday, pricking the seedlings out into trays of little pots or multicell trays – not stopping at the larger seedlings but also pricking out some of the smaller ones like the Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ at the back of the picture below. Having started on the aquilegia I was surprised at how extensive the roots were even of the tiniest seedlings, so will continue with the rest of them. This is the stage I have tended to miss out in the past, so I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a difference it makes. I am also dithering over the different pot sizes so would be interested to know what others think – Bishop’s Children are in a tray of 10cm pots but I also have trays of 40 6cm pots – is this adequate for most seedlings or not?


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13 Responses to Pots and Trays

  1. croftgarden says:

    Size matters! If you over pot you run the risk of excess moisture in the compost and root rot. I usually move seedlings to 5-6cm pots, but anything really vigorous or with a tap root moves to 10-12cm pot fairly rapidly. I also tend not to prick-out until the seedlings have their first true leaves (the ones that cone after the cotyledons).
    Everyone has their own tried and trusted methods, you have to experiment, learn from experience and do what suits you. You can’t be doing much wrong your seedlings look healthy.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for that, Christine – really helpful. You are quite right about the experimenting and learning from experience – with many failures at the start of last year I have been putting more effort into it this year so time will tell. As you say though, so far things are looking good – hurrah!

  2. Chloris says:

    This is the stage I dread because not only is it tedious but I start to run out of room. I get round it by sowing very thinly. Aquilegias are so obliging that it doesn’t seem to matter when or how you prick them out. The Bishop’s Children are easy too. Good luck with them all. They all look great.

    • Cathy says:

      I think that’s probably why I haven’t bothered before, Chloris, and why I have probably only had very mixed results.

  3. Christina says:

    As Christine above said it is important not to pot on into pots that are too large. For the pricking out I use a very small size module that I get if I buy ready grown plants for the veg garden. these are of course running out as I grow more of my own seeds.

  4. wellywoman says:

    Pricking out today. I tend to use individual little pots or module trays. Although bigger seeds go into bigger pots straight away. It’s that time of year when everything needs a lot of juggling about. Initially it’s fun but by May I tend to be a bit fed up. There is a huge sense of relief when everything is finally in the ground and I get my windowsills back. 😉

    • Cathy says:

      I think I will be juggling soon – although admittedly I haven’t used windowsills, as ours are a bit small 😉

  5. bittster says:

    Looks good! I always falter at this stage because I just don’t have the room for all those pots. Things get crammed in everywhere under every last bit of light and it’s probably not the ideal situation.
    I can’t wait to see your dahlias come on. That’s a mix I’ve long wanted to try but haven’t been willing to place the order, so I’m looking forward to yours!

  6. Oh, that is intriguing, reading what everybody else does! For me it depends on how extensive the root system is. I’ve actually reduced my pricking out by moving over to large coir jiffy pellets for any seed large enough to station sow, they stay in them until their roots start to show through the bottom, and then get potted up in 6cm round or 7cm square pots – I am moving over to square as and when I can as they fit on trays better, you can cram more in! For fine seeds I sow in quarter trays and prick out once the first true leaves appear. Usually into modules, and then on to 7cm square pots, but sometimes I find the roots are large than I thought and I go straight to pots instead. Then it is a race to see if I can plant out any annuals before they need to be moved on to 11cm square pots, which are great, and I use for my perennials, but take up more room and compost… I love it, the whole process, the experimenting, all of it!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, Janet, I too am enjoying what I feel is my first proper year of experimenting with the whole process – well, taking it seriously, that is. I invested in quarter trays at the end of last year and use those wherever I can, saving both space and compost. I even managed to avoid sowing complete packets!

      • You’re doing better than I am then, I kept counting out a sensible number of pellets, and then noticing that there were only a very small number of seeds left, and thinking I might as well use them all, as I have plenty of pellets, forgetting that this was supposed to be two year’s worth, and that each pellet will then need a pot and compost and probably a bigger pot… Fun though, isn’t it!

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