Sunday, 29 April 2012

Pricking Out and Potting On

My life has been consumed with pricking out and potting on. Every spare centimetre of space in the house has been taken over with seed trays and plant pots. Each lot of seeds sown has a small window in which they should be pricked out into their own pots before they become leggy and tangled and their growth is checked. I have been having mixed success this year. I have got to lots of things just in the nick of time but I have also lost a couple of trays in their entirety because I didn't manage to pot them on in time. Sam has been very patient and understanding of me taking over the entire house and my constant reiteration that it will all be worth it in the end when the garden looks brilliant and we have loads to eat off the veg patch in the summer.
The trouble with this time of year is that although I need lots of space, because of the winds and bad weather, I can't leave too many seedlings in either the main polytunnel or in the mini greenhouses. I have learnt my lesson after losing countless plants when gusts of wind have knocked over mini greenhouses or rocked everything off of staging in the the polytunnel.
I find pricking out quite therapeutic, there's something quite nice about a repetitive task that you don't really have to think about. I quite often spend the evening pricking out seedlings with an episode of Eastenders in the background - I know how to live it up!
My top tips for pricking out are:
  • Always hold seedlings by the leaves and not the roots
  • Keep everything well watered - it is easier to break up damp earth than hard compacted earth
  • Make sure you use clean pots and sterile seed compost, this helps prevent damping off.
  • Work out how many plants you will need, and prick out a few extras just in case you lose any.
  • Fill a few pots at a time and dib holes into the soil to get ready for the seedlings you will be transplanting.
  • Rope in some help - if you have lots of seedlings to prick out, see if you can rope someone in to help, I always get Sam to give me a hand.
Hopefully the weather starts getting a little bit better soon so I can start moving pots into the greenhouses and maybe even out onto the plot. It's certainly beginning to feel like the growing season is well and truly underway!

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