GOT MILK-JUGS? I certainly do! Twenty-four of them, all filled with annuals and perennials achieved from last January’s winter-sowing efforts. It’s time to give some of these naturally hardened-off seedlings permanent positions in the open garden. Here are three techniques I use for separating and transplanting the youngsters, along with a tip for releasing them from their milk-jug greenhouse all in one clump:
First, release the young plants from their milk-jug greenhouse: cut a flap in the side of the venue, as pictured above. Then tilt the container. Out will come soil and plants, all in one clump.
Next, separate the plants by pulling them apart, as if you were stretching taffee. Pull gently; the goal is to sever roots as little as possible. Should you mangle several roots, don’t despair! Winter-sown seedlings are itching to grow, and will recover from the trauma with lightning speed. I’m speaking from experience here.
Now plant the individual seedlings, according to the spacing and light requirements indicated on the seed packet. (You did save your seed packets, right?)
Brownie Technique (for thickly-sown seedlings). Tiny plants like Creeping thyme (above), which have been thickly-sown, are best separated in clusters. To do this, remove seedlings and soil as described earlier. Then, with a knife, slice through the soil lengthwise and across, as if you were cutting up a pan of brownies. Plant the clusters as is.
“Hunk-o-Seedlings” Technique. Trudi Davidoff suggested this method of transplanting, which is ideal for large, thickly-sown growers, such as Evening Primrose. Proceed as for the Brownie Technique, but after you’ve planted them out, pinch off unwanted seedlings as they grow in order to achieve suitable spacing.
As you can see from the photo above, I’ve got miles of transplanting ahead of me. But I can hardly complain. These perennial splendors were so easily achieved, and their care over winter was non-existent. To read more about winter-sowing, be sure to click the links below.
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