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Sowing and potting-on


Sowing depth:
Sow twice as deep as the size of the seed. Tiny seeds like celery and basil need only a very light covering with soil. Large seeds like beans need to be sown deeper, 2-3cm.
Seeds will not germinate if you sow them too deep.

Watering: The goldilocks principle applies:
Too much water can lead to rotting seed, or “damping off”- when the seedling rots and dies.
Too little water results in low germination rates and wilted, stressed seedlings.
Just right watering gets water only when it needs it. Keep the surface of seed beds damp but not soaked.
You can judge whether seedling pots need water by lifting them up to see how heavy they are. If they are heavy – don’t water. If they are light, water.
Water if the seedlings are looking wilted.
Pre-soak seed raising mix with water when in the seed raising trays prior to sowing seeds if the mix is dry.
Gently water the seed beds again after sowing.

Pricking out seedlings for potting on:
Pre-soak the potting mix in the pots if it is dry.
Water the seedlings prior to pricking out.
Use a small, narrow tool like a pencil for pricking out the seedlings.
Make a deep hole with the tool into the potting-on mix.
Hold the seedlings by their leaves as you prick them out. Their stems are very tender.
Drop the seedling as deep as you can into the hole. Bury as much of the stem as you can without burying the leaves. Gently press in.
Water gently when done.
Put the transplanted seedling back into the same environment they were in before pricking out. If you have to put them into a cooler area because of room, put them there two days before you prick them out. OR…
Place transplanted seedlings in a cool, shady spot overnight to recuperate. They will get stressed in direct sunlight. Remember to move them to a sunny position later.

Labeling: It is wise to label both the seed trays and the potting-on pots with the plant type, variety, and the date sown. You can use an ice cream stick, cut up an ice cream tub lid, or buy labeling sticks. Anything will do.
It is also good practice to keep a garden diary.