Transplanting is the process of moving a plant from one
location to another. In the case of growing your own food indoors, it usually
is moving a baby seedling from one container to a larger container.
When we put seeds
into a container or into a small pot or seed block, we usually put two or three
instead of one. This is not a necessary thing, it is just how we are used to
doing it. We do it to insure that at least one plant will develop from the
seeding. When more than one plant comes up, one must decide whether to let the
multiple plants grow in the one container, thin the weakest looking plants
leaving the one strongest looking, or to transplant so that each plant gets its
own container. The transplant option gives you more plants, and allows each
plant more soil and thus the ability to grow larger and healthier.
Here we show three arugula plants coming up in the same
container. When a seed comes up, the first pair of leaves that show are not
true leaves. When the first pair of true leaves show up is the earliest you can
transplant. In the above picture, the arugula plants have two pairs of true
leaves, plus the first, round looking, cotyledons.
We prepare another container to receive the transplanted
plant as shown above, soil in the container with a large depression in the
middle where the new plant will go.
Here we are scooping a plant out of the original container
(using a spoon!). At this stage, we are not concerned with damaging roots or
causing shock to the baby plant, because we are scooping up the entire plant
and its root mass.
And now dropping the scooped plant into its new home.
Tamp the new plant firmly into the new container.
The result: three plants in three containers. The
interesting thing to note when you do this is that the newly transplanted
plants seem to magically appear larger right away. It happens every time – we
don’t know if it is true that they are larger, or just that their energy is
able to spread out more and they seem larger.