Vegetable garden questions
Last year my vegetable garden did not turn out as well as I had hoped. So this year I want to ask some questions that may help me. I bought the Jiffy seed starter trays from Wal-Mart, kept them inside the house by a window until they had starts on them. As soon as they were getting too big for the tray, I repotted them in Dixie cups and they seem to do okay for a while. However, I have a greenhouse and am wondering if the plants are too small to plant directly into the greenhouse boxes? Do I need to harden these plants off before putting them in the greenhouse like putting them on the deck during the day and back in at night? I am afraid if I put them in the Dixie cups, then the greenhouse boxes then in the outside garden, that might be too much transplanting. I live in Eastern Washington so we have a short growing season and cannot put in the ground until mid or end of May. Would like to get them started earlier in the greenhouse, if possible.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Yes, I think your moving your seedlings to much.
Seed starting trays are great for getting the little seeds going.
Many times you then need to select or 'prick out' the little seedlings that will eventually go to the garden.
These seedlings that you select can be then moved into individual pots--generally a 2-4 inch pot.
You mention using small paper cups. Make sure you provide a good drainage hole.
Your seedlings need plenty of sunlight and air movement.
When moving your seedlings from indoors to your greenhouse, the sunlight is much stronger. You may need to screen the sunlight during the day.
Using a fan in your greenhouse helps provide airflow to grow strong seedlings.
I also gently brush the seedings with my hand several times a day. This helps the seedlings grow nice and strong.
Make sure your rotating the seedings and pots also, ensuring even sunlight and growth.
Don't worry, gardening is trial and error and it does get easier and we all learn 'tricks' along the way.
Here are some great articles to help you get started.