SEPARATE SEEDLINGS & MINIMIZE TRANSPLANT SHOCK
Published: June 21, 2020
Here at The Urban Lady Bug Homestead, we are huge advocates of utilizing every seedling that sprouts, giving every single plant a
chance at life.
That means even if we don’t plant it in our raised bed garden, we will find a home for it somewhere.
We have hundreds of spare pots, we can directly plant them in the ground around the property or we can always give them away to friends or family who may need a plant or two.
There are so many ways to make sure each plant has its chance to provide something to our planet. Whether it be food, oxygen or beauty, they all serve a purpose.
(Our indoor seedling tent, filled to the brim!)
Whenever we sow seedlings we always plant 3-5 seeds per cell and usually that means that 3-5 seedlings sprout. So after the seeds have gotten their feet, I gently separate them. Ill link my YOUTUBE VIDEO below for you to reference if you want a video representation of how to separate your seedlings. Please also reference pictorial below.
4 SEEDS IN 1 CELL
Using your finger push the root ball out of the bottom of the seedling cup . The roots can take a lot of trauma so don't be afraid to rip them on while separating them from the other root balls.
Try to wiggle, shake and gently separate the seedlings as best as you can, as shown in video above. Holding each plant by the stock and slowly pulling away from each other. Some roots with break, pop and rip, again that's ok!
UTILIZING ALL PLANTS
Most people just snip all but one plant down at the base of the soil but why not utilize every plant if you can? Seems wasteful and our heirloom seeds are not cheap nor easy to source! I value each seed that sprouts.
REPLANT IN POT
Once you have all your seedlings separated, re-pot seedlings, burying all of the roots, and most of the plant stock until you reach about an inch from the top of the plant. This encourages roots to come out of the long lanky seedling stock and gives it a better chance of survival. Immediately water! If you want you can also make a root enhancing water by adding Great White (mentioned more below) to the water and then water in seedlings! Follow label instructions, 1 scoop makes 2 gallons of water.
Yall know me and my obsession with limiting our plant/garden/food waste in all ways possible and so I’m sure you could imagine how hard it is to for me to throw away or waste literally ANYTHING. So you can imagine why I can’t waste any seeds and by that I mean perfectly good plants! I mean, they just deserve better than that!
Separating seedlings is easy and I highly recommend everyone to do it! Share the wealth with others if you can! Giving away plants is a simple act of generosity and it could mean the world to someone you love or someone who you don’t even know! Especially in times like these!
For as long as we have been gardening we have always separated each seedling and replanted in individual pots. Sure, it takes time and patience but it’s more than worth it. And I mean, why would anyone want to waste perfect LIVING plants? Ammi, right?! If you cant find space in your own garden, sell em on Cropswap and make a few extra bucks if you want, or donate to a local community garden or school! Give them away to family or friends or a local gardener on you met on Social Media, the possibilities are endless, my friends! Everyone loves plants!
MINIMIZE SHOCK WHEN
Once a few weeks has passed and our seedlings are ready to be transplanted in the ground or raised beds, we always give their roots a good solid boost with a good bacteria and bone meal.
Root Boosters help give your plants a fighting chance at survival after the trauma of having their roots messed with, they will encourage new roots to grow out of more areas of the main stock and they promote explosive growth within your plant.
(One of our tomato plants just dying to be planted into the ground (literally, its becoming root bound!)
In my video below I show you how easy, quick and simple it is to apply any powered root enhancer directly to the root system of your transplant! You can generously apply and mix different inoculates without fear of hurting your plants!
If you are sowing seeds, simply dust the powder in the top couple inches of soil, lightly mix it in with fingers and directly sow seeds!
ROOT ENHANCING BOOSTERS!
We have a few different go-to brands and products that we use but regardless of what brand you decide to choose, just make sure it's always organic!
A few of our favorite go-to brands for root enhancers are Xtreme Gardening, Burpee, ESPOMA, Jobes and Plant Success but there are many others on the market that are also very good!
BENEFITS OF MYKOS & AZOS
We use Xtreme Gardening often in our garden and we love both their AZOS and MYKOS inoculates. We use their MYKOS most often and always when transplanting.
(Our market garden after planting out tomatillos and tomatoes, we used mykos in every hole.)
We use the given scoop in the bag to measure how much to drop into the plant hole where we are going to set out tranplant into. There is a larger and smaller scoop and we use the smaller size. One scoop per hole.
"MYKOS® mycorrhizae is a natural and organic species of beneficial soil fungi that create a "sponge-like" mass which collects and stores nutrients and water, increasing the uptake of both.
This single species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi contains only Rhizophagus intraradices, formally known as Glomus intraradices.
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi
Enhances Root Structures for Added Uptake Capabilities
Fastest & Most Aggressive Colonizing Mycorrhizae
Improves Efficiency of Nutrients & Water
Can Increase Yields & Secondary Metabolites"
(Nutrient facts sourced from )
Same method of application used above for MYKOS we use for AZOS.
"AZOS® is an all-natural, growth promoting, Nitrogen-fixing bacteria ideal for cloning and transplanting. Azos converts nitrogen into a usable form that is readily available to the plant. Nitrogen is critical for forming vegetative matter and supporting abundant growth. Azos promotes growth while boosting natural root development.
Fixes Atmospheric Nitrogen into Plant Available Food
Use for Rooting Cuttings
Natural Growth Promoter
Shorter Veg Times"
(Nutrient facts sourced from )
(Image sourced from Xtremegardening.com)
BENEFITS OF BONE MEAL
(Tomato plants we were transplanting into our raised bed garden, we used Burpees Bone Meal and Mykos in every hole.)
To be honest, we never measure our bone meal. We grab a handful, shake it in the hole or around the base of the plant and call it a day! Its so benign that it really cant damage your plants even if you put a little too much. I think the actual recommend rate of application is somewhere around 10 lbs per 100 sq ft, if you are curious.
"Bone Meal is an all natural source of readily available phosphorus and calcium.
Adding phosphorus to your soil promotes strong root development, encourages plant to grow faster, and helps develop excellent fruits and flowers.
Bone meal breaks down slowly, releasing nitrogen for insane growth throughout the season; it also will not burn plants."
(Nutrient facts sourced from )
BENEFITS OF GREAT WHITE
We use Great White as directed on back of packaging. A little goes a long way, 1 scoop makes 2 gallons of water.
"Great White is a cutting edge formula that contains 15 different species of mycorrhizal fungi, 11 different species of beneficial bacteria and 2 species of trichoderma all in one product.
Research shows that this powerful formula will ignite plant and root growth giving plants the tools they need to maximize yields. Great White's concentrated formula ensures optimum colonization of root systems by the fungi for less money.
The water soluble powder makes application a snap and delivers the spores directly to the roots for immediate germination. Users should look for explosive root growth, increased yields, increased fruiting and flowering, increased nutrient and water absorption and improved transplant success."
(Nutrient facts sourced from )
(Our very well used and loved Great White, I'm glad I snapped this photo, it reminded me we are almost out!)
TO SUM IT ALL UP....
Regardless of how you do it, more than likely your plants are going to experience some form of transplant shock, especially when having to separate multiple plants from each other. The shock may be minor or it may be severe, but by utilizing resources available to us we can try to help minimize that shock and support our plants root systems in developing strong healthy roots to grow huge plants!
I hope this article inspires you to utilize every single seed that sprouts in some way or another and that you were able to take a few helpful tips on how to minimize and reduce transplant shock on seedlings and starter plants once they are ready to go into their permanent locations!
Please leave me a comment below and feel free to add your favorite root enhancing inoculate too!
(Affiliate Disclosure: If you choose to purchase from the Amazon links above, we may earn a small commission from sales but at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products we use and love!)