Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Newspaper Cups and Moving Up Tomatoes

Separating and transplanting
The tomato seedlings in the greenhouse are large enough to separate and move up to lager containers.  I am using some of my leftover recycled newspaper plant cups.  I made a lot of them last year and had a bag left.

Thank God for You Tube!  I am not great with small motor skills and seeing the how-to makes it a lot easier.  I watched some demos on making the newspaper plant cups and tried it out.  It took longer than I thought and it was a little harder than I thought, but eventually I got the hang of it.  I learned a few lessons along the way.  It is easier to use taller newspaper cups than shorter ones.  They don't have to be perfect to work.  They work better with large seeds and plants.  The bottoms don't have to be real even.  If you pour water into them and wet the bottoms before putting the soil in it helps them be stable.  Don't plant them into the garden in the paper, take them out and put the newspaper in the compost.  The newspaper won't decay fast enough in the soil and will get in the way of the plants roots.
Tomatoes after two days recovery

  When I worked in a nursery I helped move up the seedlings.  Flats were thickly seeded with three rows the length of the tray and when the plants got their first set of true leaves (the next pair of leaves after the seed leaves) they were separated.  You can plant hundreds of seeds in a flat this way.  The young seedlings are resilient and after watering them well and carefully and putting them in a shaded space for a few days they recover and resume growing.

Time for another pet peeve... I mean helpful tip!  If you use peat pots or "jiffy pots" cover up the pot completely when you plant.  If you don't that pot will act like a wick as the top edge sticks up into the dryer air.  It will pull moisture away from plant roots! Keep an eye on them, they dry out quickly! Another tip, if you see material at the big chains that you want to buy, whether it be six packs of plants or bags of bulbs or tubers or bare rooted vines or plants (packed in sawdust or peat usually) and if it looks good... buy it then, don't wait.  It is shipped in peak condition and will only go downhill until it is planted.  Of course you have to consider your temperature  and planting conditions but sitting in a plastic bag in a chain store will not help your plant material.

Now I just have to figure out the date of the last frost and I can be on my way to honest to goodness fresh tomatoes!

1 comment:

  1. I grew some in my little garden last fall. I liked it, but the rest of the family didn't care for it much.