Welcome to the second part of our Seed Starting series where we will discuss how to prick out and pot on your seeds once they have germinated. Pricking out and potting on is simply separating the seedlings that are growing together and transferring them to their own plugs or pots of potting mix.  
Pricking out can be a delicate process, so you want to make sure the plants are in optimal condition before you get started. Water your plants several hours before you get started, and make sure you do not expose them to any extreme temperatures.  
When there are about 4 to 5 weeks of growth, it is easier to separate. When you have plants that are in 3 weeks of growth, you want to transfer them to a 6-inch pot due to the temperature not being optimal for the plant yet, and this allows more room for root growth. In this blog, we will be covering different stages of growth and transplanting each stage – 3 weeks and 4 to 5 weeks of plant growth. 
  • 4 cell pack 
  • Soil  
  • Optional: Soil amendments (Click here for budget-friendly options)  
  • Watering can  
  • 6-inch pot 
  • Dow rod 
  • Can also use a pencil or your finger  
  • Optional: Spoon 
  • Gardening rake 
  • Garden trowel 
  1. Gather a 4 cell pack of your empty seed starting tray and fill it with soil
  2. Wet down the soil with warm water using the watering can 
  3. Make a hole with dow rod 
    • 2 inches of the plug can fit in without hovering tray  
  4. Use dow rod to push from the bottom of your germinated plant to remove from your seed starting tray and safely transfer it to your 4 cell pack. 
    • Make sure to hold onto your plant at the base  
    • Can use a spoon to scoop out 
  5. Guide the plant into the hole you dug and gently push it down 
  6. Continue doing the same process with the rest of your cell packs  
  7. Water seedlings that you potted on. 
  8. Tip: Place the seedlings in the exact environment they were in before to allow the roots time to grow. 
  9. Make sure not to move your potted on seedlings into an area of bright light for the first few days  
  10. Now it is time to place your other seedlings (3 weeks old) into the 6-inch pot. Fill pot halfway full of pre-moistened soil. 
  11. Pinch the base of the plant and gently pull it out of its cell pack. 
  12. Plant seedlings in pot and back fill with some potting soil and thoroughly water. Remember to return these plants to the same environment.  
  13. It is time to transplant your seedlings into the garden. Prepare your ground by raking up the soil and making a line using your trowel. Your plants will be planted 12 to 18 inches apart to allow enough room for the mature plant to grow. 
  14. Gently take out the plant from the cell pack and place it into the garden, supporting the plant just below the two first leaves. Gently cover the roots with soil. 
  15. Finish the row by repeating steps 13-14 to plant the rest of the cell pack.