Transplanting Seed-grown Annuals
Back in April I wrote a post on Starting Annuals from Seed Indoors. With most annuals I don't bother with individual pots or seed cells, a tray will do just fine. Once frosts are unlikely, you can move the trays outdoors to harden off. A little bit of shade will help keep the leaves from burning the first few days. I use my porch because it is easy to keep things watered or run out late at night to protect tender seedlings from frost.
So, here we are mid-May and it is finally time to start transplanting out the frost-tender annuals here in Cambridge, MA. You can see that the cleome is ready to get out of that little tray.
Water well, and then start tugging apart the seedlings. You may break a few, but that's why you plant extra. Seeds are pretty cheap, or even free when you save them year to year. Even runty seedlings will usually rebound once transplanted.
I had about 20 viable cleome in that tray. Some went to the community garden plot, a few to the front flower garden, one to the new bed by the shed, and then I filled a six pack for swapping later. Don't over think it - poke the root part into the soil, pat down, and keep the soil well watered for the next few days. Or even better, time your transplanting for when you have a few overcast, drippy days coming up.
Did you wintersow? It may be time for some of those seedlings to be transplanted as well. Most wintersown seedlings do well with the same method of transplanting.
Except poppies - they don't like having their roots messed with. Transplant poppies young and in chunks rather than dividing out each seedling. My "Beauty of Livermere" went out a few weeks ago. Soon I'll thin each chunk by cutting out the weaker seedlings with scissors.
Oh and check it out! Dylan helped me add a place for readers to comment on the site.