In our previous post, we showed how to pre-sprout lemon seeds using the zip lock (or baggie) and container method. In about 2 weeks or less, if you followed the steps well, your seeds should have sprouted and should be ready to be planted in the soil.
Transferring lemon sprouts and seedlings to your garden soil is straightforward — simply take the seed and bury the roots in the soil. Easy. But…
What are the things to keep in mind to ensure its survival?
Soil Container Size
Soil containers play an important role in any plant’s growth, especially in its early stages.
Since soil carries the nutrients that the plants need, does it mean a larger pot with more soil is better for your tiny sprout or seedling?
The answer is no.
A large pot can hold too much water in the soil. It can also take too long to dry out — creating a breeding ground for mold to thrive, which can then lead to root rot or root diseases.
The key is selecting the right container size for optimal growth. A pint pot with 3 to 4 inches in diameter is just right for sprouts and seedlings.
If there are no pots available, you can also use alternative containers first such as cardboard egg trays. The holes on these trays are deep enough to hold soil and are perfect for housing your tiny sprouts. Keep the egg tray cover, you’ll need it.
Ideal Planting Depth
Seeds, in general, should be planted at a depth of two times its width. A seed with a half-inch of width, for example, can be planted an inch deep. Much tinier seeds such as tomatoes or pepper can sit barely covered on the soil’s surface.
For our pre-sprouted lemon seeds, simply make a hole in the soil about an inch deep using your index finger and place the sprout inside — root first, of course. Cover the roots but leave the main seed peeking just above the soil. You want to water it generously.
Air, especially on hot days, can dry out your potting mix fast. And when your soil dries out, your plant is next. At this stage, you may want to cover the tray to maintain it’s moisture. The egg tray cover comes in handy. It’s also nice to have a water sprayer around to keep the soil from drying.
You don’t want to expose it to direct sunlight. Keep it covered until you see the small stem and leaves. When the leaves are present, make sure the seedlings get enough light so they don’t become ‘leggy’.
It is also important not to keep the plants cramped for too long in your egg tray container as they will battle for nutrients with the others.
At this point, they really need their own space.
Transferring Seedlings – Mind the Roots
Roots are sensitive and should be carefully handled when transferring plants to avoid shock.
Make sure to water the soil first to keep the plant nourished before transplanting. You also don’t want the soil to crumble when moving the plant to the next container — the moisture will keep the soil intact.
Carefully pull the plant block without damaging the roots and transfer it to your pot. Make sure to keep the roots from direct sunlight.
For easy transfer, fill the pot with your potting mix, water it, and create a hole with the size of the soil block — it’s easier to mold it when damp.
Next, dunk the plant block and add soil as needed. This time, you can cover the main seed.
There you have it. Transferring lemon sprouts and seedlings shouldn’t be complicated, just be sure to remember the tips above.
We’ll post an update after a few more months.
For now, check out this avocado time-lapse with water nutrient comparison:
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