F12 Care of young seedlings

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As the seeds grow, they develop into seedlings. These need room to develop. Thin out to leave just one seedling in each container and well-spaced seedlings about 5cm (the length of a finger) apart in beds.

With care, you can prick out seedlings into empty bags or new beds. Loosen the soil with a knife. Lift seedlings up gently with some soil attached to the roots. Replant them carefully into empty containers or beds. 

Use a stick to first make a hole and place the seedling into this, allowing plenty of room for the roots. Press soil firmly around the seedling. Do not plant it any deeper than it was before. Keep young seedlings well weeded. 


  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of planting seeds directly into containers? 
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of sowing seeds into small trays and then pricking them out into containers? 
  • How difficult is it to prick out seedlings carefully, so that they quickly begin growing again? 
  • Try practising pricking out seedlings. Use tree seedlings if you have plenty available. Alternatively, you can practise using tomato seedlings. See how many seedlings are still growing after a few weeks.