Thursday, April 15, 2010

Noobliest of Noob Questions

It's time for some stoopid questions about growing things!

Here's rabe on the left, and broccoli.  They were both flopsy a few weeks ago.  While the broccoli has recovered nicely, the rabe is growing from sideways stems.  That's not actually my question.  Even though it looks like they got kindof a rough start, I'm going to assume they're OK until they outright die on me.

My question is about re-potting.  The handy dandy planting book says I should plant these outside the week of April 26th, but as you can see, they're bustin' out now.

This Industrial Engineer (who is all about optimization) thinks that re-potting for 11 days and then planting in the ground is a little ... inefficient.  Is that really what people do?

Let's just say I don't re-pot them.  What bad things would happen?  Could I kill them?  Would I be more likely to kill them if I DO re-pot them or if I DON'T re-pot them?  Oh, my gosh, this responsibility has me completely tied up in knots!


  1. Okay. Take this advice with a grain of salt and do what you feel like doing. It's the best way all of us gardeners learn . . . just by doing.

    Your plants looks very healthy in the picture. I wouldn't worry about the ones growing "sideways." Once in the ground they will straighten out and fly right. I.e., start growing up big and tall.

    I would repot. What if your weather takes a really cold turn around April 26th and you want to hold them indoors for another week? By repotting them, you'll only increase the strength of the roots. The roots that are growing right out of their little bundle of medium right now. It will give them new soil to expand and grow in and, in the end, make the plants stronger.

    That's just what I would do. Doesn't necessarily make it "right."

  2. I totally agree with Mama Pea. If you don't give the roots that are busting out new nutrients and soil their growth will slow. By re-potting you allow their roots to expand so that they're more stable when they do get in the ground, meaning healthier plants that produce sooner down the road because they won't have to put so much work into their root system right off the bat.

  3. Another vote for re-potting! As you know, living up on the tundra, spring inches in late. Not that I want to jinx us, but we still could get snow into May. The plants look very healthy, by the way...


  4. Okay, so I'd like to see how this goes because I would trust the advice from Northern gardeners more than I would my own. Having only grown things in California, my first instinct would be to plant them in the ground this weekend and throw garden cloth over them to keep them warm, just in case.

    Repotting them now will buy you a little time in case you don't have time to get them into the ground in late May.

  5. Another vote for re-potting, especially because it will help when you harden them off. I'd think trying to harden them off with just the peat-pellets would cause them to lose a lot more moisture than re-potting first. Less chance of accidentally drying them out too much.