Pot-bound seedlings

'Pot-bound' celery seedlingSomething happens to plant nurseries over the Christmas-New Year holiday; its almost as though the efforts of spring and the rising heat of summer bludgeon them and their clientele into a state of apathy during January that results in rows of woebegone seedlings sitting listlessly on shelves where once beauty and vigour reigned.

Still, even these ‘pot-bound’ seedlings can be turned into vegetables, provided only that one takes a little care in breaking out the root system that has been tying itself in ever-tighter knots inside the confines of the tiny pots in which they arrived at the nursery months ago.

.Seedlings whose crowns have over-grown their root volumes, and have survived only though continuous watering

Take this celery seedling in the foreground above, from instance. It had a vigorous crown, which just shouted for a chance at life. Squeezing the side-walls of the pot helps pop it out of the container. Once the roots are exposed, they must be brutally broken apart to allow them to diverge in the soil; they won’t do this if simply placed in the ground, and will soon die.Root-bound pots must be brutally opened up, or will fail to survive

I just stick my fore-finger up through the bottom of the root-mass and pull the root ball apart, as shown above.

Once the bell-shaped root volume is laid in the planting trench (left) one need only push soil around it and pat it down (right)Then it’s simply a matter of maintaining this ‘bell-shape’ root mass when planting out the seedling in the ground. Weeks later, all celery plants are 300mm high and growing like Jack’s beanstalk!


becky3086 said...

I truly wish we cold get celery plants at the garden centers here but we end up with the same stuff every year. If you want something interesting you have to start them yourself.

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