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Upshifting Your Seedlings

Are your seedlings outgrowing their little cell packs? If the plant's roots have become so large they fill all the space in the pot, they can become stressed and won't perform as well as plants whose growth is unchecked. It's best to 'upshift' into individual pots. Choose pots that are 2" to 3" in diameter and height and that will provide the plant with about 25% more root space than it presently has. Upshifting is a little extra work, but pays dividends in transplant success and eventual yields. It also makes the 'hardening off' process much easier. A key tip when handling a seedling is never to handle it by its stem. Once damaged, a stem usually doesn't recover. Breaking a piece of leaf, however, is not harmful, so cradle the rootball in your hand and steady the plant by gently holding a leaf between your fingers. Make an opening in the soil mix in the pot and gently insert the rootball, lightly firming the soil around it. A kitchen fork works well for removing the rootball from the original container.

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