The transplanting season will soon be among us. You’ve worked hard getting your seed ready for a successful grow, and now you have a sprout. What next? Assuming you have not planted your seed directly into soil, you will need to transplant your seedling from it’s starting pot or medium, into its permanent home; for this article, we’ll assume an outdoor plant in fully prepared soil. It’s typically best to start your seed in a small container, which optimizes root growth. Seedling’s will struggle to develop roots if planted directly into a large pot. They’ll still grow…it will just take longer. Timing is important, generally seedlings will grow in 2-6 weeks; if you leave it too long, you run the risk of your plant becoming “root-bound” which could stunt the growth of your plant. You can tell when a seedling is ready for transplant by looking at the physical size. If germinating in rockwool, you will see the roots start to poke out the substrate. Physically, the plant will have grown to the same circumference as the container (think plastic drink cup sized). Generally you should see about 3 to 5 short nodes. Prepare the final resting place by using a similar container that your seedling is in and making an imprint in the soil of the transplant location. Grasp the plant lightly between your fingers and turn the container over so that you are holding the plant upside down in your hand; gently releasing the soil/roots from the container. Be mindful to not tough the roots so that you avoid contaminants. Place the plant into your prepared hole. Even out the soil, but don’t tamp it down as that could interfere with root development. Once transplanted, make sure to give ample water premixed with your nutrients of choice, although, I’d recommend to only give a half-serving of nutrients to reduce the chances of shock. You’ll also want to avoid giving the plants too much light after transplanting, or at least not as intense; again, to lessen the chances of shock. If you can identify an overcast day or two, that would be ideal. Now it’s time to monitor your plant’s health and water/feed according to your growth recipe and methods. The next big-step, sexing the plant, which we’ll discuss next month.
Here’s another great resource that discusses in-depth methods and potential problems you could encounter during the transplanting process.