Transferring Seedlings From Jiffy Pots to Larger Pots

Hi, everyone.

I am sprouting my vegetable seeds indoors for the first time and so far, it is very successful. I have lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, basil, oregano, and thyme. I am using grow light bulbs plugged into a cheap light fixture for light. Most all of the seeds have sprouted and range in size from about 2 inches to 4 inches. The cucumbers are the ones that are 4 inches and everything else is around 2 inches. How do I know when to transfer the seedlings from the jiffy pots to slightly larger size pots? I know they need to be hardened off before putting outdoors. The last frost date predicted for my area is April 10, but I usually wait for several days after the last frost date because of surprise frosts.

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For most things I sprout indoors, I wait until the first set of true leaves are present. The first set are cotyledons and are not real leaves. This usually means there are four leaves. Many herbs are really delicate so that doesn’t always work. If space is an issue, you can generally wait until they get close to being root bound, especially when you are growing them indoors. Basically you want them to be large enough that you can handle without harming them and small enough that they are not competing with a neighbor in the pot next too them.

I start mine off in small plastic cells and let them get to a reasonable size that I can manage with my fingers and then pot them up to a large plastic cell size. My experience has shown that most people do it too early and end up damaging the growing seedling. Better to err on the side of late than doing it too soon.

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Thanks, John. That’s kind of what I was thinking also. I will give it at least another week and then re-examine the plants to see if it is time. When it is time, I am planning to transplant to peat pots that are slightly larger than the jiffy peat pellets.

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I’d go ahead and get your carrots in the ground as soon as it’s feasible. They don’t mind the cool weather and their tap root may not like the small pots. Last year I successfully used @krisbordessa’s method for sprouting carrots in the garden from the blog; using it again this spring!

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Thank you! I usually have just direct seeded carrots, but I thought this would give me a longer growing season and better harvest.

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If you try both ways, let us know how it goes!

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