Last week, I showed you guys how to start seeds using a rack of test tubes, and in that post, I promised I’d show you how to safely transfer the little sprouts into a larger pot. Today, I’m fulfilling that promise.
If you scroll down, you’ll also see some instructions for alleviating household plant gnats, a.k.a. fungus gnats, a.k.a. the bane of my existence for the last two weeks. :)
Transplant seedlings from a test tube rack to pots
test tube rack full of sprouted plants
1 chop stick
pot or other container
small plate or newspaper to contain the mess of repotting
Gently remove the seedling(s) from the test tube using a combination of the following. Loosen the soil with a chop stick being careful not to destroy the seedling(s), and also being careful not to compact the soil down into the test tube. Once some of the soil is loose the seedling will fall out or easily pull out of the tube. There will still be soil and the rocks for drainage at the bottom of the tube. You can continue to use the chop stick to work it out, but shaking the whole tube upside down will often knock everything out of the tube.
Fill your pot or container with a layer of pebbles and a few inches of potting soil. Clear a space for each of your seedlings in the soil and place them in the pot. Water the seedlings as appropriate.
Tips for Dealing with Houseplant Pests
I’ve learned a few things about keeping plants alive in my quest to grow a successful vegetable garden in 2012. For one thing, plants can be under OR over watered, both resulting in dead plants. For another, I can’t emphasize how much time I’ve wasted by simply repotting a store-bought seedling or planting some seeds in a pot without researching a given plant’s specific needs. For example, parsley likes to stay consistently watered, while basil likes to dry out between watering.
The huge issue I’ve had in the past month is with indoor plant pests, particularly gnats. Indoor plant gnats, also known as fungus gnats, are a common problem. One female alone can lay hundreds of eggs in the soil of your plants. They thrive in moist soil in indoor environments, particularly moist soil housing plant seedlings. Since I’ve been trying to grow vegetables indoors from seeds, Â it’s no wonder these little buggers have been such a problem for me!
Use a layer of sand
There are a few ways to deal with plant gnats that I’ve found some success with. The first is to use a layer of sand on top of the soil in your planters. It allows you to water your plants normally while blocking gnats’ access to the moist soil they so love.
Let your soil dry out
Another option for dealing with fungus gnats is to allow your soil to dry out between watering, but this has been a challenge for me. Like I mentioned above, parsley seedlings like consistent moisture, while basil likes to dry out. The sand has been a good alternative to letting my parsley suffer by drying out.
Make a red wine gnat trap
The other day I blogged how to make a gnat trap using a plastic bottle and some red wine over at the Urban Folk Circuit blog. The red wine (ps: you can use apple cider vinegar instead of wine if you want) attracts the flies, and the design of the trap, well, traps the flies so they can get in but not out of the bottle. Then they drown. :/
Before I sign off for the day…
Check out my bookshelf garden and my favorite new planter!