Pricking Out Seedlings

I have been asked to share with you my ‘techniques’ and ‘equipment’ used when pricking out plants / seedlings from a full sized seed tray into individual cell trays.

So, I decided to use a tray that had the least amount of seedlings in so that it was easy for everyone to see the process. Now, before I begin, please remember that this method does not work well for plants that are adverse to plant disturbance such as POPPIES and other root sensitive plants.

My tray of choice today was DIANTHUS ‘Panda’.  These were seeds that I had collected from plants I had grown in my own garden (and Mums) last year and if I am honest, I was not all together impressed by the germination rate.

To start with, I began with a tray of seedlings and a 40 cell tray with fresh, healthy compost.

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I have been asked a number of times what equipment I use to ‘prick out’ my plants and, it’s a rather expensive tool….not!

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I am sure you can find one of these in most cutlery drawers 😉

It is best to try and do this before the root systems become too entangled because this can take hours, be very frustrating and will inevitably end up with a number if damaged seedlings.

Firstly, I insert the fork gently into the soil, not directly underneath the seedling to reduce possibility of damage, but a little ways away and use the fork to lift out the plant.

I have done this hundreds of times and I have found that by lifting all of the seedlings out and piling them up before trying to transplant them allows you to inspect them better.  Note: don’t try and do this on a sunny afternoon sat in the garden, I made the unfortunate mistake of doing this once and all the seedlings dried out before I had finished pricking them out!!

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Once all of the seedlings are out, I knock off as much of the loose soil from the roots that I can before I put them into their new cell tray or pot.  This way, you get to have a good look at the root system and make sure it’s healthy.

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Once their ready, I gently insert them into their new home and give them a good watering in, simples!!

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3 thoughts on “Pricking Out Seedlings

  1. Good to see this process. Do you use special seed compost? I remembered you saying you needed to do a lot of sieving. I bought seed and cuttings compost on the recommendation of the guy in the garden centre, but found it to be quite lumpy especially for the fine seeds. I ended up sieving some of it. I am sure when I have bought just seed compost that it has been fine enough without sieving.

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