Potting on

organic gardening, seed sowing, potting on
Plants hate being overcrowded. Their roots will compete for nutrients and moisture in the soil.
 
Once your seedlings have grown into spindly little plants, now is the time to pot them on. 
 
Here's how:
1. Prepare pots, trays or other containers which are deeper than your shallow seed sowing tray by filling them with potting compost. (If you are buying this, make sure it's peat free, but it's easy to make your own with a mix of soil and home made compost seived together. See Peat Free Growing.)
2. Using an old seed label or a teaspoon, carefully loosen the soil and lift out a group of seedling plants. 
3. Using a pencil as a dibber, make a hole in the new potting compost.
4.  Holding the seedling by the leaf (not the roots or stem: these are too delicate and shouldn't be damaged) and drop it into the hole.  Plant it down as far as you can, so the lowest leaves are just resting on the soil.
5. Firm the compost around the seedling to prevent air gaps round the roots.
6. Plants grown on a windowsill often get leggy when they are looking for light, so turn the container each day when you water.
 
Planting out
  • As the plants grow, stand them outside on sunny mild days to get the full benefit of light and air. Bring them in at night.
  • Once a mild night is forecast, and they seem to be growing well, leave them outside overnight in a place where slugs can’t get at them.
  • Gradually harden them off over a week to ten days, before planting them in the ground outside. If a frost seems likely just after your plants have gone into the ground, don`t panic! Covering them with a few sheets of newspaper or a piece of horticultural fleece overnight will be sufficient protection against most spring frosts.