The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Potting up

Repotting tomatoes

Daddy's rule of soup is: "Choose your pot wisely, because soup will expand to fill the space provided."  My rule of indoors plants is: "Don't buy potting soil because your plants will expand to fill the soil available."  Since I found a second stump dirt tree this year, that means I've been having fun starting more seeds inside than usual.


Mixing compostIn a perfect world, seedlings in flats would be potted up soon after they emerge into larger containers with higher-fertility soil.  My seedlings don't usually enjoy that perfect world, but I figured my tomatoes deserved a bit of pampering this year.  So I mixed an equal quantity of stump dirt and well-composted horse manure in the wheelbarrow and used that mixture to fill individual pots for the baby tomatoes.  This way, the plants can keep growing without hitting any boundaries, which is what keeps seedlings big and strong.

The broccoli, cabbage, and onion seedlings will go out in the garden much sooner, so I opted for a lazier approach to their health.  Instead of Repotting tomatopotting up, I simply soaked some composted manure in water and used that rich tea to water the seedlings right in their flats.  Stump dirt is relatively low in nitrogen, so this should give the seedlings a boost without requiring the extra space that larger pots would require.

Of course, emptying out the tomato flat meant that I had an extra flat on hand, and I had just enough stump dirt leftover from my weekend walk to fill that flat up.  So I started a few more varieties of tomatoes, some peppers, Malabar spinach, and even a few zinnias.  It's a good thing I've run out of stump dirt for the moment because I've also run out of space to put plants in front of sunny windows....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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