Tuesday 14 April 2015

Pricking-out Brassicas and Lettuces

I have moved my Brussels Sprout seedlings into individual pots now. Technically this is called "pricking-out".

The time to do this job is when the plants have formed their second true leaf (you discount the cotyledons or seed-leaves).

I am intending to grow only four Brussels Sprout plants this year. Last year I felt that six in one raised bed was too many. The plants did not really have enough room to develop their full potential, and they produced small sprouts.

Allowing for casualties, and to give me a good choice of plants, I have kept 3 plants each of 4 different types, giving a total of 12. The types are "Brilliant", "Cromwell", "Napoleon" and "Bosworth".

However, in my usual fashion, I have not yet discarded the others! I originally sowed about 10 or 12 seeds of each type, so I have kept 3 more of each in the original pots, just in case the pricked-out ones don't "take". I will discard them in 10 days or so if everything is well.

In similar fashion I have pricked-out 17 Lettuces. These ones are "Devin" and "Cervanek".

During the daytime these little plants will be kept outside in the fresh air, but at night time I will move them into the mini-greenhouses, because the nights are still very cold. Notice also that I have put a few slug pellets in each pot, because tiny lettuces like these are very attractive to slugs.

At this time of year I do a LOT of moving plants to and fro!


  1. Looking good. I'm having a go at sprouts this year, mine aren't quite a big as yours yet, I think they've only got two true leaves so far so they'll stay where they are for a while longer.

  2. Those are big pots for lettuce seedlings. Is there a reason you don't just put them into the beds right away? I'm usually way too lazy to pot up my seedlings. I always wonder if it gives them a better chance because of a more controlled environment or if hurts them because it constricts the roots.

    1. The pots look big compared with the lettuces, but they are in reality only 3-inch pots. Anything smaller than that would dry out too quickly. I do like to grow the seedlings in pots for a while because if sown / planted direct they are very prone to damage by animals.

  3. Pricking out is the one job I dont like, so I try and sow individual seeds in plug trays and then pot on, although I have got three trays of flower seedlings that are in the process of being pricked out. Your sprouts are looking nice and healthy I have only just sown mine today :-)

  4. Yes, the back and forth has started here as well - hardening off is definitely one of my least favourite jobs.

  5. Oh dear the spare plant conundrum!

  6. I am taking the true cottage garden approach and popping plants in wherever there is a gap big enough. I am certain that the Aubretia will be wonderful weed suppressing ground cover for some veg plants.

  7. Your little seedlings look good. I haven't sown any brassicas yet, I was going to direct-sow at the weekend but it was too windy. I also don't really enjoy pricking out and potting on and hardening off is the same, so where possible I've been direct sowing the last few years. I'm also usually running late for work in the morning so having to move everything in and out is extra time (ok, I could get up earlier). Having said that, some things seem to do better for me if they're sown at home earlier, like sweetcorn, so I accept it still needs doing!

  8. You've been busy, it's all looking great, I must must must get my veg seedlings pricked out, it's still going to be a while until it's warm enough at night here for them to be planted out.


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