Make Sure To Have A Container To Transplant Your Seeds

Posted on May 26 2010 - 3:45am by Mike Lieberman

Yes it might sound obvious, but when you start your seeds make sure that you have a container to transplant them into. I didn’t and had a tray of dead seedlings. This could very well be one of the biggest gardening mistakes that I’ve made.

Last week the seedlings were slanting a bit. This week they are all dead.

A few of the pots were popped open and the roots appeared to be a bit compact causing their demise.

The toilet paper roll seed starter pots are so shallow and don’t allow for much root expansion. There is about 1/2″ of soil at most in each one.

This is not to say that these seed starter pots aren’t good to use. What I am saying is that if you are going to use them to make sure that you have containers or pots readily available to put them in or something larger to transplant them into before putting outdoors.

All is not lost. The dead seedlings were tossed into my worm composter and will eventually make their way back into my urban gardens.

Point your finger and laugh, but I’m sure you’ve made your own obvious mistakes in starting your seeds. Let’s hear them.


13 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. this_urban_homestead May 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm -

    Question, was it both the inside and outside seedlings that died or just the inside?

  2. Jennifer G May 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm -

    I started some of my seeds in toilet paper rolls, but I used the whole roll per pot, so they were a bit taller than yours. The moss rose I had in one still hadn't outgrown it when I transplanted it last night, but other kinds of seedlings had roots protruding from the bottom a couple weeks ago when I transplanted them.

    My biggest mistake was not giving my seedlings enough light when I first started. But even the leggy lettuce seedlings from my first attempt are doing great now. Another thing I had to get used to was not watering too much, letting the soil get dry first.

  3. Tiffany May 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm -

    This is our first try at a patio garden, and my boyfriend was being pessimistic and thought that our seeds wouldn't grow, so he planted ALL of the seeds. We ended up with a tiny pot full of 20+ seedlings, and have a ton more that won't be transplanted to bigger pots. Now we feel bad about letting them die off, but there's no other option. In the future we'll make sure not to plant more seeds than we can accommodate, with just a few back ups.

  4. Mike Lieberman May 27, 2010 at 6:03 am -

    Hahaha. Even I was more optimistic than that. That's the fun of just doing this stuff – making the mistakes (even the obvious ones), learning and continuing on. All good.

  5. Mike Lieberman May 27, 2010 at 6:03 am -

    Ahh that gives me hope and inspiration for my next set.

  6. Mike Lieberman May 27, 2010 at 6:04 am -

    The outside seedlings in the toilet paper rolls never even sprouted. I just tossed those.

  7. Jennifer G May 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm -

    I planted some lobelia seeds – these are super tiny, smaller than grains of sand. I ended up with maybe 30-40 little plants in a 2 or 3 inch diameter area. They started out as the tiniest seedlings! I just let them grow, and when it was time to repot them, I broke the clump into three sections. All three groups are doing great, still! No flowers yet, but the plants are happy.

  8. Sketchkat06 May 27, 2010 at 5:56 pm -

    Next time don't cut the rolls in half, I use mine full size and the seedlings last quite a while before I HAVE to transplant them.

  9. this_urban_homestead May 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm -

    I am thinking that lack of light is your enemy here. Your sprouts got leggy trying to reach the light. This means they were lengthening and getting too skinny to support themselves. If you put a good light directly over your next attempt, even in the half tubes, you should have much better luck.

  10. Mike Lieberman May 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm -

    Lack of direct light definitely isn't helping, but in the new seeds that I've started I've been rotating them every few hours to even em out and that seems to be working well.

  11. Mike Lieberman May 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm -

    Word. That will likely help to prolong the life of them in the rolls.

  12. AshtonLea February 8, 2011 at 5:15 am -

    Great advice! I have been looking for cheap Eco-friendly way to start my seeds indoors. I will be sure to have pots on hand when I am ready to transplant.

  13. Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm -

    Haha. Yea it sounds like an obvious thing, but I totally overlooked it.

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