We have now passed “The First Critical Week” – and are now 6 weeks into our project with successes and failures. Remember, everything is a learning experience! Our other sprouts will be updating their journals soon. I saw something great today at Tee Sprout's house. She has successfully had Cleome sprout in her absence.
We observed the first set of leaves (the cotyledons) emerge from the seed. The next set of leaves to appear are called the first “true” leaves. Seedlings should be transplanted soon after these appear as when lots of seedlings grow in the same container, the roots intermingle and the seedlings stretch for the light. If your seeds are sown thinly or in individual containers, or in a single cell in a multi pack, then you can delay the transplanting until there are several sets of true leaves. (*Note from WV Sprout - mamsprout warned me about doing this too soon, but I was impatient and didn't listen. I felt sure that my hibiscus were ready to move up - check out my journal to see how tiny those little roots were.)
|Going from our 6 pack starter cells to a 3" black pot (in foreground)|
|More of kitty sprout's hyacinth bean |
ready to go home - graduated to a 4" pot
|4 o'clocks ready to untangle from the |
6 cell seeding tray
|4 o'clocks in new homes|
STARTING TO FERTILIZE
At 4-6 weeks you can start feeding your seedlings. Check your fertilizer package and use one with equal amounts of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus. Although soilless mixes come with some "built in" fertilizer, it dissolves in water so your plants are ready for a little boost - but only a little! Just as leaves can be burned by the sun, roots can be burned by too much fertilizer. The best fertilizer to use at this stage is a water-soluble general purpose type. Use a half-strength dilution for the first few weeks, and then switch to full strength. Substitute the mix instead of water every time you water, from the bottom of course.
P.S. try to transplant to the outside on a cloudy day or in the evening, and shield the transplants from bright sun by tenting them with sticks and cloth for a few days.