I make all Fresh From Seed soils in house. The formulation I use in 95% of the plants I sell is coconut fiber (coir) based. This soil dries out much faster than the peat based soils you’ll find at nurseries and big box stores. Check your plants for dryness at least once a day. The soil surface is light brown to tan when dry and dark brown when wet. Once the soil has turned light brown, go ahead and water. If you prefer to bottom water, I don’t recommend sitting plants in water for more than an hour.
An added way to know when to water is to feel the weight of pot after watering and again when dry. You can quickly know the difference after just a little practice. It’s what I do and part of being a skilled gardener. Got 20 potted plants with mulch on top? Stop digging in and start weighing!
The soil I use is highly friable. Because of this the plants you purchase from me in soil can be bare rooted, though some are shipped that way in the first place. The best way to do this is wait until the soil is on the dry side, but not wilting the plant. Remove the plant from its container as recommended. Hold the plant by the root ball and gently tap it against a firm surface such as the side of a bucket or a shovel. The soil will fall off after a few taps.
In only a few cases will the super fine roots of a plant make this nearly impossible, such as with Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicale). I don’t recommend bare rooting plants just because, but it’s an option if you need it with Fresh From Seed plants.
The main guideline for removing a Fresh From Seed plant from its container is to never pull on the plant to remove it. Except on plants that have gotten large for the container size, pulling on the plant will tear off the majority of the roots on the plant. Also, wait until the soil is on the dry side before starting. Wet soil is heavy and breaks roots. The best methods of removal are:
- Cover the top of the container with your fingers going around the base of the plant. Turn the container upside down and gently lift off the container. Your fingers around the base of the plant prevent the plant from falling to the ground and keep the soil in place.
- If the plant doesn’t come out easily, continue holding it upside down and squeeze the bottom of the pot to work the roots loose from the container.
- If all else fails, use a pair of scissors to cut the container away. This can happen on 1 inch plugs where the roots actually stretch the sides of the container so the opening is no longer the largest dimension.