The easy sprouts have been potted up, and now it is time to tackle the ingrown ones.
Now, the good thing about seedlings growing through their germinating substrate (the paper towel) is that, if you can be trusted with a pair of scissors and have sharp ones to hand (does anyone besides tailors ever have sharp scissors?), you can trim yourself a little seed mat by which to handle the seedling, making transplanting relatively risk-free. Or you can use a box cutter, if you have a sharp blade and clean it first with a bit of rubbing alcohol.
How to Pot Up Seedlings That Have Grown Through Paper Towels
1. As before, prepare a seed flat with moistened, sterile seed-starting mixture. This flat, incidentally, is an upcycled Chinese food take-out container, and it is perfect for such a task.
2. Taking care not to cut off the root (which may have tiny root hairs emerging from it), guide the blade of the knife or scissors between the sprouted seeds. Cut a small section of towel to support the seedling:
3. Carefully cut individual seed mats out of the towel. Hold the towel up to a light to help you find the space between the roots.
4. Plant the seedlings, giving adequate space to each one. Don’t overcrowd the flat. Gently firm the roots against the soil.
5. Top the seedlings off with fresh seed-starting mix, up to the base of the seed leaves.
6. Water gently, using a rose on a watering can or the spray function of a faucet or squirt bottle, and set in a bright, warm space.
Keep an eye on the seedlings, in whatever form they were potted up, and do not allow them to dry out. Bottom-watering is best: Set the flat in a shallow dish of water and allow the water to wick up through the drainage holes in the bottom of the flat. Once the seedlings have developed one or two sets of true leaves, they may be potted up again.
Very interesting! It’s good when you can plant the bits of paper towel with the sprouts, and they will gradually decompose into the soil. Reminds me of those biodegradable pots that Bluestone Perennials uses.
Stupid me. I pulled all the roots out of the paper last spring when this same thing happened…. wish I would have seen this then! -of course now I know better 🙂