Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

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Primrose
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Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Primrose » Mon Mar 22, 2021 3:20 pm

Can anybody explain the benefits to me of sowing multiple seeds in trays vs sowing them individually in pots?
I normally grow about 20 tomato plants and half a dozen pepper plants and sow them initially individually straight into in 3 inch pots in whixh they remain u til being planted out.

Being somebobody who has been time challenged in the past this has proved to be a time saving exercise which eliminates the pricking out process but I wonder whether the plants and roots benefit or not from this transitional process?.

Does anybody else so straight into pots? Does it make any difference in preventing plants like tomatoes from becoming more leggy?
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Geoff » Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:31 pm

As I understand it there are two technical reasons for not direct sowing in pots as large as 3". Firstly, normally seeds are sown in a compost that is low in nutrients (I think it is because a rich compost can inhibit germination) so leaving the young plant in this type of compost for a long time would stifle its development. Secondly, it is normally accepted that plants grow best in fresh compost so again being in the same compost for a long time might hold the plant back.
This doesn't mean the alternative is seed tray sowing followed by early pricking out. The method I use for tomatoes, peppers and aubergines is to ¾ fill thimble pots with potting compost (usually my home made mixture) and top them up with commercial seed compost. As with all my sowing I water well then leave the pots to warm up in the propagator for 24 hours before sowing 1,2 or 3 seeds per pot (depending on cost and stock) then grow on one plant per pot to a couple of proper leaves then pot on.
Tougher vegetables like brassicas I germinate in potting compost in 12 per half tray type modular trays and again grow them on a bit before potting up.
Things I tend to want more of like bedding, cutting and drying flowers I do use seed trays and prick out early, usually into modules.
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Monika » Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:03 pm

One advantage for an intermediate stage for tomatoes is the fact that, when sown early, they are quite often rather stretched for lack of light, so pricking them out from a 'communal' pot into individual pots allows you to plant them very much deeper. Like Geoff, I sow brassicas individually, usually into short root trainers.
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Westi » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:59 pm

I suppose Primrose it can only be measured by your success & I do the same as you & (try) to sow one seed per pot which are little dinky things & then pot on as the roots fill the pot & the next & so on until the weather plays ball for final planting. Toms get planted on to below the first leaves, others as root ball dictates so by the end there is a variety of pot sizes based on the plant. Always pots though not trays as you get a right mess then with entwined roots.

It suits me this way & harvest is usually OK (if weather & wild life plays the game)! But if not by then I can just sow direct in situ & harvest a bit later but funnily not by much. An experiment next year maybe to see Primrose??
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby oliviamia1351 » Mon May 31, 2021 9:00 am

Pricking out refers to transplanting young seedlings from their original flat into their new home – an individual pot of their own. ... If you sow more seeds than you need, you can choose the strongest to be transplanted and discard the ones that haven't kept pace. Second, transplanting can make certain seedlings stronger.
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Johnboy » Sat Aug 14, 2021 8:51 am

Being a propagator by profession for many years I observed what a local gardener did with his seeds. For cabbages he simply filled a bucket with a mixture of MPcompost and soil simply scattered an entire packet of seeds in the bucket and when I questioned this he said it will be the survival of the fittest. I watched that bucket weekly and the whole packet appeared to have germinated. He simply left them until he wanted to plant out and by this time those that were the strongest growing had survived and all the weaklings edited by natural selection he planted around thirty very stong plants and they were an absolute credit to him. We grow in module trays of 216 and were doing so when my friend filled his bucket and we do not get very many weak plants as they are greenhouse raised and get to me the correct treatment from day one. Certainly some are larger than others and we need all sizes of cabbage to retail to suite our customers.
When I further questioned the gardener and he simply said I buy new seed every year so I simply bung them all into the bucket and I get more than I really need so whats wrong with that and I had no reply that I could reasonably make.That answer to that is each to their own! The biggest mistake made by gardeners is to sow too early and not having the right area with which to grow seeds they end up very leggy on a window cill. Here we plant by root show and four true leaves for all our greenstuff whatever they are. When they reach the right stage they go straight from the module tray to their final planting place. I am unsure if this posting is being helpful but it simply shows that there is a very wide difference twixt treatments prior to planting out. Cabbages do not need to have germination in a propagator as they fare far better from a slower start. As soon as our cabbages have germinated in a cold greenhouse they are placed on our ouside benches and exposed to the elements but covered aginst aphids and pigeons.
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Primrose
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Primrose » Sat Aug 14, 2021 9:11 am

Johnboy - the bucket sowing method is interesting, and I suppose imitated what would happen in the wild with seeds being blown and scattered indiscriminately with the survival of the fittest. These seeds are all so tiny it's difficult to imagine that some may be genetically stronger than others but I suppose if that method worked for him it was a good as any other! And if he biught new seed every year it was probably in a better state to survive than some of our own seed pockets, some contents of which may be a little more elderly!
Last edited by Primrose on Sun Aug 15, 2021 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby robo » Sat Aug 14, 2021 1:51 pm

I normally scatter seeds over a small tray and put in the propagator when they get tall enough to prick out Ido,
this year was different I deliberately bought tomato seeds that were blight resistant the problem was I averaged 10 seeds per packet I bought three packets of different types the proper gator only has three trays so it worked ok I planted straight into 2 inch fibre pots they all germinated and grew on well and now growing well it cost me around £20 for 3 packets of seeds but the last three years I’ve lost a lot of tomatoes to blight this year none are affected unlike most on our allotment
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Re: Pricking out vs sowing individually in pots

Postby Colin2016 » Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:50 pm

I enjoy the pricking out/potting on it gets me into a world of my own without any interruptions until dog tells me it's time for a walk.
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