You can sow seeds in a small flower pot. Some weeks later, plants can be put in a bigger pot or in the garden soil. Taking out the plants with the complete rootball is not easy.
Taking out the plants goes very well when you use a “root ball lifting flower pot”. This post describes the procedure.
You can use this procedure for example when sowing early lettuce. About 4 weeks after sowing, plants are put into the garden soil. The plants have small roots then.
Two equal flower pots and a thin sheet of plastic, e.g. the plastic lid of a margarine box. The pots on the photo are 2 inch wide at the top and 2.5 inch high.
Make one “insert” by cutting away about two thirds of the side of one plastic flower pot. Then you have one flowerpot and one insert.
Cut a “lift strip” from a thin plastic plate (for example, a lid of a margarine box). The strip may be rectangular or spoon shaped. Strip width is about 15 mm (5/8 inch inch). Length about 4 inch. Bend the strip at one end. The short part of the strip must fit in the insert.
C)# Filling and sowing
Put an insert into an empty flowerpot.
Put a lift strip in the empty insert. On the photo you can see two systems, one with a rectangular lift strip and one with a spoon shaped strip. Both systems work well, although possibly the spoon shaped one works better in larger pots.
Write information on the long part of the lift strip. Fill the insert with potting soil or sowing soil. Press a little on the soil. Lay seeds on the soil. Cover the seeds with (potting) soil or dry sand.
D)# Taking out
When plants are big enough they can be taken out. Carefully pull at the top edge of the insert and take the insert with root ball and plants out of the flower pot.
Pull the strip a few millimetres (about 1/4 inch) to above. Then release the strip. The rootball will first loosen from the insert and then return to its position again. It will not stick anymore.
Take the rootball with palnts between your thumb and fingers. Put the rootball at its desired position (soil, another flowerpot etc).
E)# Putting in the garden soil
This is a description about putting the root ball with plants into the garden soil.
Top photo: Make a small hole in the soil. Put the flower pot with plants (or an empty flower pot with the same size) into the hole. Shove the earth against the flower pot and push on the earth around the pot.
Middle photo: Take the flower pot out of the soil. Take the insert out of the pot. Loosen the root ball using the strip.
Lower photo: Take the rootball from the insert and drop it carefully into the hole in the soil.
- Try the lifting procedure before laying seeds on. Then you can test if the potting soil is moist enough. “Feel” how the procedure works. If okay, put the rootball back in the pot by doing the steps in reverse order. If not okay, clean the parts and start all over again. Push some harder on the soil or make the soil more moist.
- Spray some water on the (potting) soil before “lifting”. Then the (potting) soil will not fall apart so easily during handling.
In Wikihow I wrote an article about this. Click at: wikihow pot