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Using those free *Jiffy Pots*

April 21, 2011

Transplanting for more Root Space

A few days ago I ‘splained how I use old newspapers, a glass, scissors and a stapler to make *almost free*  (dirt cheap) jiffy pots.

Tools needed for dirt cheap, almost free jiffy pots

The way this process went, I made up a bunch of 3″ pots, on the kitchen table.

A bunch of home made plant pots

I went out in the garage and mixed a five gallon bucket half full of potting soil with warm water and brought that into the kitchen.

Moistened potting soil

Then, after my hands were nice and dirty from mixing the soil and water, I thought it would be nice to take some pictures.  Thankfully, our “Little Princess” was home from school, and “volunteered” to be the photographer.  Thanks, Little Princess!

Next I brought the seed tray with the taller-than-they-oughtta-be-for-that-size-seed-tray plants and set them on the table.

These tomatoes are a little too "leggy" for their domicile

By gently squeezing the inverted cone shape one can E-A-S-E the soil plug with the plant, intact, out of the seed tray.

Tomato "plug" freshly removed from seed tray

Then I set the plug down, take one of my home made, dirt cheap pots and fill it full of moist potting mix.  (This is the funpart, coming up)

Compressing the soil outwards

Compressing the soil outboard

I jam 2 or 3 fingers into the center of the pot, and compress the soil against the side walls.  This leaves a hole in the center, all the way to the bottom.  The hole is created not too little, not too big, but Just Right for the recently removed plug, and that plug is then very gentlypushed down as deep as it will go.  With tomatoes, I try to bury them right up to (within 1/2″) the bottom of the true leaves  (Not the dicotyledons).  If the plant is still too tall, I spiral the trunk around in the hole. The *trunk* magically becomes root, and this is good.

Setting the plug in the created hole

And then, ideally, the soil at the top of the plug is just slightly lower that the soil around the edges, as this will funnel water right down to the root ends.  If the plant is too far down, just add in a little more potting soil. When you have done all this, the new transplant looks kinda like this:

Tomato transplants sitting in waterproof egg tray

After you have finished with the transplanting, give the fresh transplants a good drink. The newspaper gives you feedback that the soil is well moistened, but it does not *contain* the water.  At this stage you can see I use the top of a styrofoam ( thank you Jon Huntsman!) egg carton as a drip barrier.  The newspaper pots must be coerced somewhat to fit in and rest flat.

Four homemade Jiffy Pots per egg carton top, ready for watering

So a little watering and a return to the south-facing windows, and your transplants can stretch out their legs (roots) and continue on growing until their eventual trip to the garden.

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