The Q&A Archives: Seedling Care

Question: I started tomatoes, peppers etc. indoors last week using your seed 'n start kits. Some of the tomatoes have sprouted while others in the same container have not. When do I remove the plastic cover and set the containers in a sunny spot? When can I transplant into the peat pots I ordered and how do I water these from the

Answer: Usually seeds of the same kind will sprout within a day or so of each other, so when a few have sprouted it should be safe to remove the cover and move them to the brightest location you have. The plants need light immedaitely. (Many gardeners use fluorescent lights with the bulbs kept just a few inches above the plants.) Continue to keep the soil moist so they remaining seeds do not dry out and die. Remember too that you can only keep one plant per cell or they will be too crowded to grow well.

You can transplant them when they seem to be filling the cells with roots; if you plant to thin by transplanting you canmove them when they are large enough to handle -- at least one set of true leaves.

Bottom watering can be done by setting the pots in a tray of water and allowing the soil to wick up moisture. Then let the pots drain for a bit so that the soil is not sopping wet. If it is too wet the roots will rot and the peat pots will fall apart. By the time they are in peat pots you should be able to water carefully from the top.

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