Vegetable gardening step 2: repotting your seedlings
Spring is here, the weather is nice and warm. In April, you planted seeds and there are now young plants growing. It's time for the second step.
No, no, they aren’t ready for outdoor life yet. By June, they will have grown and will be ready to be transplanted to the garden. But before you take them out, there’s another step. You need to repot these young plants into individual pots.
For some vegetables and herbs, it is possible to sow the seedlings directly outside, either in the garden or in pots, starting in early May. Check an online growing calendar to find the right time for each variety of vegetable or herb.
The real question is what is the point of repotting seedlings? Couldn’t we plant them directly in the garden?
They are too small for outdoor life. Repotting forces the plant to make more roots. If there are more roots, the plant will be stronger. A stronger plant will stand up better to being transplanted to the garden or an outdoor pot. You will therefore have a well-stocked garden.
The ultimate goal of this step is to obtain strong and robust plants.
The seeds needed a small space to start germinating. But now that they’ve grown, young plants require more soil to get essential nutrients for their development. Repotting in a larger pot forces them to produce more roots.
When should you repot young plants?
If your young plants have two or three true leaves, this is a sign that they need to be repotted into individual, larger pots.
To successfully repot your seedlings, there are a few steps to follow:
- Start by watering the young plants to be repotted
- Mix the potting soil and compost to put in the new pots
- Gently handle the young plants with a fork or trowel
- Brighten up their life by placing them in the light with a constant temperature of 15°C to 20°C
- Water them regularly, without flooding them
To avoid traumatizing the young plants, it is preferable to repot them in cool weather and without sun. You can then place them in a place where there is plenty of light.
How deep should you repot your young plants?
For the majority of young plants, you should repot them until the first leaves. But as with everything, there are exceptions: young tomato plants. These should be buried with the first leaves in order to promote root development. In general, bury part of the stem of the young plant to form new roots.
The important thing to remember about this second step is that the young plants should acclimatize to the outdoors little by little. When the weather permits, take them outside to get some fresh air! They will be even stronger.