Transplanting seedlings

Every year I get lots of questions on how to start seeds and transplant seedlings. To see how I start the seeds go here, but here’s how I transplant my baby seedlings up into larger pots.

transplanting seedlings_before transplanting

Here are the seedlings today from when I planted on February 8.  Notice the first true leaves are showing. They are now ready to transplant. Can’t let them get too big in these shallow seedling trays. With my marks, I can see what didn’t germinate.


seed starting tray with journal entry.jpg

Here’s the line up of what each number represents again if you want to see how each seed variety grew.


transplanting seedlings_rinse packs

I use 4 and 6 pack pots for transplanting up. I disinfect them in a kitchen sink full of water with about 2 tablespoons of bleach. Just dunk the pots and any trays you may use and then rinse them off and they are ready to plant. You don’t have to scrub them, just dip them in quickly, like they use to do with the glasses in those old college bars (oops, giving away my past!) If they are brand new, never been used before, then skip the bleaching.



I’m using ‘Moonshine’ planting soil. I talked about it here. Great stuff.


transplanting seedlings_moisten soil

Be sure to pre-moisten the planting soil. Here I’m using a shallow ‘Tub Trug’. I love those tubs—so handy-from this to harvesting crops later and they come in fun colors.


transplanting seedlings_make holes

Make some holes with your finger big enough to accommodate the root ball. You’ll be surprised how big the little rootballs are.


transplanting seedlings_using knife

I take a small knife (this one plastic) and gently pry up the seedling out of the tray and carefully put it into a hole I made in the soil.


transplanting seedlings_transfering to 4 pack

Pick up seedlings by the leaves NOT the stem. The stems can get easily damaged so always handle them from the leaves. Notice the roots! I usually like to put the stems a little deeper in the hole so they stand upright.


transplanting seedlings_tamp soil

Gently pack the soil around them so they are sitting up nicely and not leaning.


transplanting seedlings_use seaweed

Water them with a diluted solution of  seaweed fertilizer and Superthrive to help with any transplant shock. Do NOT give them any fish fertilizer as that may give them too much nitrogen when first transplanting and send them into shock. Wait a couple of weeks before giving them any fertilizer with nitrogen. The seaweed and thrive help reduce any transplant shock.

transplanting seedlings_flat of transplants

Here is one of the first flats transplanted. Ain’t they pretty?! Now they are ready to take off and really grow! The next replanting will be into the greenhouse raised beds when they are bigger!

7 comments on “Transplanting seedlings

  1. thanks for sharing! last year I bought some small plants and used seeds that I could plant directly into my raised beds. But as I wanted to try new types of vegetables (old ones that are now rare to find) I started my seeding this week. I see from the last picture that you have a lot of light. Are you using growing lights? My boyfriend has now constructed and ordered LED growing lights as we do not have a place to put them where we would have sufficient light….


    • Yes that is a good point I forgot to mention. They need light. Everyone needs to get lights as even the brightest window is not enough (The plants will either lean toward the light or end up frying from too much heat from the window). Mine are under a shop lite I bought from Home Depot that has 3 T-5 natural lights in them and there are 2 of those light fixtures over each shelf. Shop lights with only 2 lights works ok as well but since I switch to the 3 light fixtures, I’ve noticed the plants never grow spindly anymore. The lights should hang (from a chain) closely over the plants- 1-2 inches and moved up continually as the plants grow. I use one of those kitchen shelving system made out of metal so hanging the lights is easy. I’ll have to write a post on this soon-good point!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks a lot. I checked them, they have bright white light. We are trying now with LED with a mix between blue and red light which they say it’s stimulating growth… will let you know if it works 😉


  2. I would love to see a post about your lighting system!


  3. Liberty Teeth says:

    Where can I get trays like that, with the long narrow channel?


    • I got them on Amazon. They are great-I cut them down into 5 or 6 channel sections because i don’t need 20 rows all filled up at once. You can only get it in a 5 pack-the germination is so much faster in them. Although I use them for small seeds only (like tomatoes, peppers, greens, lettuce etc), never for large seeds because they are not very deep. Once they get their first true leaves which is after their baby leaves which are first, I transplant them to either a 4 or 6 pony pack (like in the nursery) They are called ’20 row seedling flat’ from Amazon. Just type it in Amazon search and it should pop up.


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