The Q&A Archives: Cells or Pots: Confused About Seed Starting

Question: When I start my vegetable seeds indoors I use the cells that are about 3 inches deep and six in each pack. When the seedlings appear do I have to transfer them to bigger pots or can I leave them in the cells until it's time to plant outdoors?

Answer: The answer depends to some extent on what you are growing and on personal preference. Many gardeners start a number of seeds (of one variety) in one four inch pot or a shallow pan and then "prick out" individual seedlings into cell packs. This saves space during the germination phase and can be especially useful for plants requiring specialized conditions such as a custom germination mix or bottom heat or for those which may germinate unpredicatably over a period of months. Other gardeners put several seeds in each cell and then thin to the strongest seedling once they emerge. (This can save time and is less nerve wracking for gardeners who dislike handling tiny seedlings.) In either case the resulting plant is grown alone in the cell until it either outgrows it and needs to be "potted up" to a larger container or can be planted in the ground. Good luck with your seedlings!

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