Mother Nature is taking her own sweet time to finish ending the broad-bean crop in the garden bed in which I’m planning to raise this year’s tomatoes. I’m going to have to ‘pot them on’ to tide me over for another week or two until I can get in there and prepare their new home…
Because I save my own seed I can afford to plant more tomato seeds than will become tomato plants. This sounds wasteful but protects me against germination failures. So I select the strongest plants and move them along to larger pots.
This is a simple-enough process, though it’s hard to toss out young seedlings as ruthlessly as this job demands.
A clump of seedlings is broken out of the original seed tray and one or (at most) two are kept in the hand then moved to the larger pot where I’ve previously placed a small layer of potting mix. The thing is to leave the healthiest plants with the longest roots covered by the most soil; a job for a sharp eye. The roots are dangled over the bottom layer and one’s spare hand can be used to grab potting mix and pour it gently around the plant until the pot is full and the first small leaves are just covered.
Tamp down and move on, while keeping track of labels.