Wet Feet

Twice, thrice or even more frequent daily observation of seedlings in the greenhouse was not going to make them grow any quicker, but I was beginning to notice that those I had pricked out later seemed to be thriving rather more than the others. I did have an inkling that I had re-used some compost when I was pricking out the earlier ones and in retrospect realised that the poor dears might now be starving and that it was a mistake not to have used fresh compost. Even though there wasn’t a huge difference in size, I decided today to pot the earlier ones on into the 9 cell trays I had bought in later, removing them from the useful big trays of 5 x 8 6mm pots.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of root in many of the pots, but dumbfounded by how WET the compost was, as all the trays are on gravel or matting. As the pots were removed from the trays it soon became clear why, as the right hand photo below shows – the machine cut bases were not accurate enough to ensure that the drainage holes in the pots were not blocked, so I was lucky not to have lost many seedlings from this. There are a few zinnias that have failed, but other than that the earlier seedlings have generally just been slow and a little pale round the gills, but hopefully they will bounce back in their new homes. Meanwhile they have been in and out of the greenhouse to harden them off, and although I have noted we may have a frost on Friday night I look forward to planting them out in another few weeks.

wet.feet IMG_1958

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6 Responses to Wet Feet

  1. Christina says:

    Too wet can be a big problem, I find I can’t use irrigation trays through the summer as I would like because the plants become too wet and no rots developed at all! I also noticed that the later I pricked out the better developed the plants were even though (or maybe because) they were having to compete so much with others.

    • Cathy says:

      That’s interesting about the pricking out Christina – and I had thought I was being a bit tardy with it. I am certainly realising that water accumulates in the gravel trays more than I realised, so I shall probably change all the gravel to matting over time

  2. Well caught, glad you didn’t lose anything. My tomatoes are starting to look a little leggy, they need to get planted out, hope my compost arrives soon…

  3. Julie says:

    It is potting on time here too – lots of my little seedlings have outgrown their first homes, but I don’t want to put them out just yet. Bigger pots, fresh compost and nipping out will be the order of the day. Apart from the predicted frost I have lots of problems with bird damage in late April/early May & have learnt to put out bigger plants later in the season. The early seedlings that I did plant out a few weeks ago were pulled up straight away.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh that’s a shame, Julie – the pigeons or collared doves go for my polyanthus and any young veg but as I haven’t done a lot with other seeds for many years I will have to find out by trial and error! More for the learning curve!

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