Following the growth of seedlings is a rewarding activity. You get a front row seat for the springtime action of an outdoor garden, even whilst the ground outside is still too hard to dig. Pre-growing also gives the plants a head-start on spring. This way, they get their growth cycle up and running whilst also being kept safe from the cold, darkness, rain and wind, which lies in wait for them outside.
Pre-growing plants is necessary for many varieties, especially for any gardener living in more northern climates. For these shorter growing seasons, many plants would not have time to bloom and produce at all if they were not first pre-grown indoors.
Plantui: the only pre-growing pot you need
Seedlings can be grown in all our devices, but you will get the largest number of seedlings when you add a separate pre-grow tray to the Plantui Smart Garden 6. This will turn your inner garden into a 12-slot nursery without the need for other pre-growing equipment.
In this article, we’ll walk you through:
- The benefits of pre-growing in a Plantui device
- Ideas for choosing plants to pre-grow
- When to start pre-growing
- How to transplant seedlings to the soil
Benefits of pre-growing in a Plantui
There are a few tricks to growing healthy and vibrant seedlings so they can be used in a short time. Pre-growing in a Plantui is particularly easy, fast, and hassle-free, as smart technology ensures that every green enthusiast is successful.
Suitably moist for germination and seedling growth
A germinating seed is particularly fragile, making it vulnerable to drying out or being over-watered. The Plantui device ensures that moisture is even and suitable at all times. Your seedlings can also be left alone for longer periods of time, unlike in small, soil-filled growing pots, from which moisture can quickly evaporate.
Seedlings get plenty of the light they really need
Pre-growing seedlings requires a lot of light, several hours a day. Otherwise, there is a risk that the seedling will stretch, growing ‘leggy’ and weak. In the Plantui device, the plants receive enough light without them having to reach out for the sun’s rays, leaving the stem in peace to grow strong.
This optimum dosage of light means the pre-growing of seedlings can start much earlier in a Plantui than would be possible on the windowsill, for example. This is especially useful for plants that grow very slowly, such as chilies and peppers.
Plantui’s patented technology enables fast growth. This means, if necessary, seedlings can be pre-grown more quickly, long into the spring and summer.
Adequate light ensures that the plant does not have to use too much energy in order to reach it. In addition to strong stems for pre-grown seedlings, it is also possible to grow healthy roots in a Plantui. When you lift out the plant capsules, you’ll see how beautifully white the roots are. When the roots are healthy, it’s easier to transfer the plant to the soil later. A decomposing, rockwool plant capsule can be left in place to support the entire plant as it’s transferred to the soil. Only the plastic part needs to be removed.
Safe from plant diseases and weeds
When seedlings are pre-grown in soil, it must be hygienic. Such good fortune is not guaranteed. For example, a small, sensitive seedling can easily contract and die from a fungal disease. In a Plantui, a seedling grows in clean conditions, safe not only from plant diseases carried by the soil but also from weeds.
Ideas for pre-grown seedlings
How attractive is the thought of your own herb garden, from which you can pick aromatic rosemary to spice up steaks and give your potatoes a flutter of flavour with thyme and oregano, all summer long? Mint flourishing alongside in the same garden will give you the summer’s freshest mojitos.
Rosemary is a good example of a herb that needs pre-growing to get started. When rosemary starts to grow, with good care, it can be turned into a perennial friend. Rosemary shouldn’t be watered too much because its leaves will dry out and turn brown.
Thyme is also a perennial species that grows larger year by year. Did you know that thyme also grows wild in Finnish nature? The beautiful purple flowers of flourishing thyme can be found on sandy beaches.
No herb garden is complete without mint. It grows slowly at first, but soon nothing will hold it back. The cooler evenings of late summer are perfect when spent under a blanket in the garden sipping mint tea.
The pre-growing time for these herbs is about a month.
In addition to herbs, you may want to try pre-growing other things. Plantui’s Experimental Kit also allows you to select seeds to pre-grow from outside the Plantui range. A Plantui is also great for pre-growing vegetables. For example, cucumbers, pumpkins, and peppers that thrive in the greenhouse. For these plants, it is a good idea to put 1-3 seeds in each empty seed capsule and, after sprouting, leave only one seedling to continue growing. This means the plant will flourish as it has plenty of room to grow. The pre-growing time for these plants is six weeks.
Do not move cucumbers, pumpkins and peppers outside until the temperature stays above ten degrees celsius, even at night.
When to start pre-growing
Starting pre-growing is affected by several things and it is difficult to give one answer. As a rule of thumb, however, it is a good idea to start pre-growing plants a little late rather than too early.
To find out the best time to begin pre-growing, count backwards. So, if you know that in mid-June the climates are suitable for moving tomatoes outside, count back the time to pre-growing. For a tomato, it’s about two months. The same goes for pre-growing summer flowers. If you want your flowers to reach full splendor in early July, sow Marigolds, Asters, Ipomoea, Black-eyed Susan and Malope’s six weeks before. The pre-growing period for the Impatiens and Bellflowers is eight weeks and about twelve weeks for Violet, Lavender and Geraniums.
The pre-growing times of plants in the Plantui plant range are approximately the same as the growth rate category to which they belong. Thus, growing herbs typically takes 5-8 weeks, while tomatoes and chilies take 8-12 weeks.
How to transfer seedlings to the soil
When it’s time for the seedlings to leave the nest, remember this:
Before transplanting to a greenhouse or potting garden, cut off the plastic parts of the plant capsule. The rockwool capsule can be left in place. It will decompose and also protect the roots during transplantation and after planting.
When transplanting plants outdoors, keep in mind that they are not used to sunlight. You should let them get used to sunlight during the first week or two by:
- placing them outside or in a greenhouse without UV-protection. When planting, cover the plants with a thin fabric for a week or two.
- putting the seedlings planted in pots and putting the pots outside for an hour or two at a time, before taking them back inside.
Transplanting is always a bit stressful for the plants. You can make the process easier by watering the plants for 1-2 weeks with water containing Plantui’s nutrient solution that the plants are already familiar with. Use the same proportions as before: one measuring spoon in one litre of water.
Before transplanting, be sure to make sure the plants are prepared for the outdoors. If the air suddenly cools too much, especially at night, you can cover the seedlings with a meshed blanket.