My little seedlings have grown up and after several weeks on the deck getting acclimated in the great outdoors, I’ve finally gotten started on the process of transplanting to large pots for our deck version of a veggie garden. Most survived the transition pretty well (green beans and zucchini in the center, lettuces to the left, the herbs buried beneath them…) and others struggled more (cucumbers and tomatoes). I think the watery warm season veggies just didn’t hack the chillier nights despite often being brought inside when I knew it would be in the low 40s or really cold like that.
Anywho, I was pretty pleased overall with the whole indoor seedling starting process and with a few bags of potting soil from Costco and a collection of pots we bought over the last two years in Pittsburgh, I started transplanting. Because everything was getting so on top of each other in the tray, it was easiest to just cut apart the individual (or pairs) of plants. I put the herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, basil) in medium sized pots with two plants per pot so that they’d really fill out. I think herbs are pretty resilient with their space.
For the larger veggies, we use pretty big pots. We learned the first time we tried this that it’s worth investing in a larger container than you think you need for standard veggies– if you skimp on the container size, your plants will get really top heavy and tip over, or they’ll dry out constantly, or they might just get too stressed altogether and not produce well. I cheat the amount of dirt needed and increase the drainage by putting several plastic containers in the bottom (kind of like using pebbles in a smaller pot) before filling up with soil. Make sure to use fresh soil, or freshly amended soil with compost, because potting soil from the year before (especially with fruits & veggies) will be leached of much of its nutrition. Can’t grow nutritious food without some nutritious dirt. 🙂
Look at these crazy zucchini roots that were growing down into the tray! I think this is why watering the tray worked so well for the seedlings- the largish holes in the little seed starting cells allowed the roots to just grow right down into the tray. I very carefully untangled as best I could and cut the plastic off from around the plants themselves to get ’em loose.
I used three plants in the end– two were growing together from the same cell so I couldn’t really separate them. We’ll see how that works in this large container. Could be a little overzealous, but as long as it’s well watered and fertilized occasionally I expect we’ll be okay.
Surprise! I also planted some carrot seeds directly into a different container outside a couple of weeks before this first transplant stage and those are sprouting up happily now too. I’ve been thinning them down as they grow to get just one carrot per spot- a total of 12 carrots for this size container. Seems like a weird thing to grow in a pot, but when we did this before in Pittsburgh it was one of our most successful crops!
I still have a bit of work to do, but got a good start on things. I’m taking some excess seedlings to work to distribute to friends there and I have more to transplant at home as well. That little guy down on the bottom right in the little orange pot is actually the hydrangea cutting I rooted last summer in Pittsburgh that shed its leaves and wooded up over the winter. It’s starting to make a new bud on top so maybe I will move it to a larger pot or put it in the ground this year. I love that he survived the move!
I’m going to keep chipping away at the transplanting and getting our various containers arranged nicely and hopefully looking a bit more tidy. These pictures are from earlier, but today I actually have multiple blossoms budding on the zucchini already! How did it already become the end of May?