All Things Gardening forum: What's the easiest way to remove seedlings from seed trays?

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Views: 789, Replies: 35 » Jump to the end
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Feb 26, 2016 5:14 PM CST
The subject says it all. I'm not using plugs instead I have the 2" inserts filled with seed starting mix and soon it will be time to transplant some of my seedlings to pots. What's the easiest way to remove the seedlings?
Chris
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Feb 26, 2016 5:36 PM CST
I just pick up the tray and poke something like a pencil through the bottom of each cell, pushing the cell up and out. If the seedlings are well-rooted, the root-ball will be firm and stays together.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 26, 2016 5:46 PM CST
Thanks Ken, I'll give that a try when it's time. Appreciate it.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 26, 2016 8:43 PM CST
Ken's right, pushing from below is the gentlest way.

Sometimes I cut up my propagation trays into 3-4 "slices" so I only have to handle a few rows at a time. By "slice", I mean cutting a 1020 tray "the short way". For example, if it had 8 X 16 = 128 cells , I might cut it into four "slices", each with 8 x 4 cells.

("Insert trays" are usually flimsy and pre-cut or at least "perforated" so you can tear the 6-paks apart by hand. Propagation trays or plug trays are much more sturdy and easier to re-use several times. In fact, they are a little hard to cut up. )

If I'm transplanting out into a raised bed, sometimes I turn the whole "slice" at an angle, and push & shake many of the plants out onto the soil surface at the same time. (This may be a little rough on some seedlings, but it goes faster.)

Then I quickly re-arrange them into the trench I had ready, cover the root balls up, and moisten.

Just don't dump them straight onto their "heads". The weight of the root ball might crimp the stem.

Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 27, 2016 7:40 AM CST
Thanks Rick, that's how most of mine are now too except for the new ones though my trays are much smaller either 4x8 or 4x9 I use the 2" inserts.

Thanks all for some great ideas on how to do this, I really appreciate it.
Chris
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Feb 28, 2016 8:30 PM CST
In addition to pushing up from the bottom as Ken suggested, I often run a plastic label around the circumferance for those being tuff.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 29, 2016 8:24 AM CST
Good idea David, thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
Chris
Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Garden Ideas: Level 1
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CommonCents
Feb 29, 2016 2:09 PM CST
I've used a plastic spork. This is one of the few things where that is (almost) an appropriate (almost) tool.

And there's always the Jamie Hyneman (of Mythbusters) alternative. "If at first you don't succeed, C4". Please, don't try that inside your home, or outside for that matter.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 29, 2016 3:21 PM CST
I really don't want to appear stupid or demented Eric but what exactly is a 'spork'?
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 29, 2016 3:47 PM CST
This is a little off-topic, but a kitchen fork with bent tines is good for "pricking out" seedlings. I bent the center two tines down and the outer two tines up. Then I spread the lower tines a little.

The result is four tines or prongs that straddle the roots. The leaves and stem can rest against the tines and "body" of the fork.

That worked better for me than a cocktail fork. It was good for untangling roots, but seedlings kept falling off the cocktail fork.

P.S. When I was in college, I heard of a series of pamphlets about making C4 at home. The very LAST pamphlet in the series was titled "Making C4 at home SAFELY".
Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Garden Ideas: Level 1
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CommonCents
Feb 29, 2016 4:08 PM CST
chris1948 said:I really don't want to appear stupid or demented Eric but what exactly is a 'spork'?

A spork is half spoon, half fork, and generally a really bad idea. You find plastic ones at some fast food places (KFC comes to mind), and you find titanium and stainless ones if you look really hard for camping/hiking or 'survival' gear.

Don't call it a foon.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 29, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Thanks Rick, I'd probably get shot if I try to bend any of our forks, best I go to Walmart and find some cheap ones to experiment with. I should have Googled that Eric didn't think of it. I've gotten a lot of good ideas on this thread can't wait for my seedlings to get more mature to give them a try.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Feb 29, 2016 4:34 PM CST
chris1948 said:Thanks Rick, I'd probably get shot if I try to bend any of our forks, best I go to Walmart and find some cheap ones to experiment with.


Good point! I think all our "silverware" came from Goodwill or Salvation Army. Certainly all the ones I mangle for gardening came from GW or SA.

Also, never use a spouse's turkey baster to suck runoff water out of plant saucers and seedling trays!

Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 29, 2016 4:47 PM CST
Never thought of GW or SA, SA is way too expensive around here but I'll look at GW next time we go there for wife's clothes and my garden books. Good thing to remember about the baster too, I'll put that in my book of things not to do.
Chris
Name: Paul
Madison, IN (Zone 6a)
delab
Feb 29, 2016 5:09 PM CST
Just as a future thought, I use yogurt containers (the small single serving ones) like you would get from Kroger's or Walmart, not the Dannon or Yoplait ones that are angled the wrong way. I poke some holes in the bottom with a drill, fill them, plant seeds, when it comes time to transplant, a gentle squeeze on the side lets them out. I put them in short plastic trays to store, transport and water. You can also use cottage cheese/sour cream containers too. They last forever, you can sharpie the name of the plant on them, and once you're sick and tired of them, into the recycle bin they go. They ain't too pretty, but they are effective and they store over winter very compactly.

just a thought for next year.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Feb 29, 2016 5:35 PM CST
You might want to check this thread out, Paul. http://garden.org/ideas/view/donnabking/2314/Repurpose-Yogur...
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 29, 2016 7:31 PM CST
Great idea Paul maybe I should add yogurt back to my diet again and quit the triple chocolate chip muffins. They come in a nice plastic container of 3 and when I'm done I hose them out and into my bleach water tub they go for awhile. Right now I have Lunaria and some Red Yucca seeds in them waiting to germinate.
Chris
Name: Paul
Madison, IN (Zone 6a)
delab
Feb 29, 2016 7:41 PM CST
chris1948 said:Great idea Paul maybe I should add yogurt back to my diet again and quit the triple chocolate chip muffins. .


Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down there ram-jet, there's no need to be all crazy talking there. Give up triple chocolate chip muffins, what are you thinking???? You can slather some raspberry yogurt on them and make them triple chocolate chip raspberry muffins. All healthy and such. Then you'd have four containers. I don't bleach mine, just rinse and dry, no problem for years.

Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Feb 29, 2016 7:51 PM CST
You're right, what was I thinking! Just because I weigh 185 the VA says I'm overweight and always trying to get me to eat right. The raspberry yogurt is a good idea too then I can tell my VA doctor that I'm eating healthy. Rolling on the floor laughing
Chris
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
DavidLMO
Feb 29, 2016 8:01 PM CST
chris1948 said:Thanks Rick, I'd probably get shot if I try to bend any of our forks, best I go to Walmart and find some cheap ones to experiment with.


Or $ store or Good Will. I have lots of things I use in gardening from $ tree.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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