Today, I spent several hours re-potting my seedlings into larger pots. I started with the zucchini and pumpkins which recently came off my heat pads. These seedlings went into individual 10 cm pots. In particular, I’m really pleased with my Queensland Blue pumpkin seedlings from Yates seeds. Although they expired last August, the packets I sowed germinated perfectly! I’m embarrassed to confess I sowed three packets, but by now many of you will know that I take gardening to extremes! This says a lot about the high quality of Yates products. It probably helped that I hadn’t opened the seeds, as that causes them to lose their freshness faster.
The smallest seedlings in the greenhouse (some tomatoes, chillies and capsicums) went up from an undivided black plastic punnet to a six-cell punnet. I also re-potted some tomatoes, chillies and capsicums that had outgrown 10 cm pots into some larger circular pots.
Why re-pot? As seedlings grow, so do their roots and they need more room to spread out so the plant can continue to grow and form more leaves. It’s always a good idea to move plants up a size gradually as they grow. If you put a very small plant in a large pot, it won’t do well, even if you think you’re saving yourself time in the long run. There does come a point, however, when you can no longer re-pot but by then, it will probably be time to put the plant into the garden. When the weather is nice, as it has been recently, it’s always very tempting to plant out veggies earlier than Labour Weekend. I’m still not sure when I’m going to start planting my summer veggies such as tomatoes, chillies, capsicums and zucchini outdoors but it probably won’t be until at least mid-October. The weather can be very erratic in spring. Sometimes it’s not just the cold that lets us down, but there can be terrible winds even into November which can cause plants to break. This has happened to me before and it was heartbreaking to see my tomatoes snap in two. The elements can be quite cruel. But at some point, you have to put your plants in the garden and after that, all you can do is hope for the best! Take heart, this affects commercial growers as well and explains why sometimes produce is more expensive or scarce than normal. Remember the potato shortage a few years ago? Boy was I glad I had planted lots of spuds in the garden that season!
In the picture, you can see my largest tomato plants. These didn’t get re-potted today but I needed to tie them higher up to their stakes with some more string. For now, I’m keeping them in the greenhouse with the view to moving them outdoors in our patio in October (even overnight) so they acclimatise to outside temperatures before being planted into the garden.