We continued the 2010 Fall season with round 2 of our Seeds to Start workshop. We originally thought we would hold it on July 24th, but the plants weren’t quite big enough. After a bit of a growth spurt, they were ready on the 31st – 3 weeks after we planted the seeds. About 15 volunteers joined us to move the plants from the flats where we started them to individual 4 inch pots.
We started the workshop with Mitch explaining the process and telling his favorite (and apparently only) gardening joke – I won’t give away everything here, you’ll have to attend a workshop to hear it.
We then divided into groups of 3 and filled our 4 inch pots with Lady Bug Vortex potting soil from The Natural Gardener. We’re trying pots made from compost this time – this will allow us to plant them directly in the ground and possibly start some varieties that are more sensitive to having their roots disturbed. The pots are loosely filled with soil to just below the top edge.
One of the tricks to handling transplants is to disturb the roots as little as possible. We use spoons to “tease” the plants out of the flats and then separate them very carefully if any roots have grown together. We also suggest holding the plants by the leaves and not the stem – the leaves are stronger and damaging a leaf is less of a strain on the plant than damaging the stem.
We also use the spoons to create a hole in the 4 inch pot by inserting it into the soil and gently pulling back. It’s possible to do this step with one person, but it’s much easier (and more fun) with 2.
Finally, we loaded up the trays and took them to the beautiful greenhouse space St. Edward’s has provided to us.
It’s important to maintain the 3 key elements during the next phase – water, light, and temperature. The plants need consistent moisture, good light, and temperatures below 90 (preferably closer to 80). Keeping them outside can work as long as they get sunlight in the morning, but are protected from the scorching afternoon sun. A fan can help control the temperature as well.
Stay tuned for a progress report and get ready for our fall dig-ins.