Today, I finally transplanted some of my lettuce sprouts from the seed germination test. The results of the test were
- that the regular 2010 and 2011 seeds sprouted well.
- Anything older than that had significantly less sprouting.
- I mislabeled the pelleted seed as 2018! But checking the seed packet proved that it did not actually time travel and was from 2011. I only got 2 sprouts in that row, and belatedly, so I’m hypothesizing that the pelleting doesn’t age as well as plain seed. It looked like the moisture just wasn’t able to break it down.
The seedlings that did sprout were beginning to look crowded, so I knew I needed to transplant ASAP. Fortunately, I know that transplanting the little guys is not as touchy as you might think by looking at them. All you need is
- a popsicle stick,
- extra pots, and
- moistened soil.
Even if the plants were right next to each other, the popsicle stick could be stuck down into the slightly damp potting soil about one inch to half an inch from the plants. It was then used to lift up the section of soil. With the end of it, or with my fingers, I then gently teased apart the roots of adjacent plants, if necessary. It is important to ONLY hold the plant by a leaf for this process. Neither the roots nor the stem are strong enough and will be easily bruised or crushed by handling. The plant cannot live without a stem or the main root structure. A little bit of torn leaf will not set it back much.
The roots on most of the little lettuces were amazingly well developed, but I even transplanted several of them that were less filled out. Still holding the plant by the leaf, I dangled the roots into a hole that was nearly as long and a bit wider than they were.
Then, I used the other hand to toss more moistened seedling starter potting soil into the pot around the roots. I tamped it down and and up against the stem and roots without applying very much pressure to the plant.
All that was left was to give the newly transplanted sprouts a misting, enough to help the soil settle in a bit more and get some water to the mildly stressed roots.
I have only transplanted 4 of the varieties so far. The masking tape labels that were on the side of the original tray were transferred to the transplant tray. Both trays of transplants are under the lights again.
You can see that I still have quite a few lettuces that I could transplant, if I decide to. All of these newly transplanted varieties have the potential to get much larger than the Tom Thumb lettuce that I grew the first time around. Here is how it looks as several of the plants are partially grown back after picking for tacos a week ago:
If it happens that the weather gets to be perfect for lettuce outside, such that I see lettuce volunteers already growing, I may plant a few of these out there and compare how they grow with the ones in the greenhouse. Meanwhile, I have a small chance of having enough lettuce on hand in a few weeks to satisfy a certain lettuce eater in my house (you know who you are). 🙂