How To Transplant Seedlings Into Starter Pots. Oh What Fun!

Using a hoe to transplant vegetables in a backyard garden


Time To Cover How To Transplant Seedlings

f you used starter pots to germinate your seeds directly, you can skip all or most of the first step and move directly to hardening off your young plants before sticking them in the ground.  Otherwise, look over these thoughts about how to transplant seedlings into biodegradable pots.


Biodegradable Pots for Transplanting

I use biodegradable pots so I can transplant the whole pot containing the young plant.  You will need to have some small pots and vegetable potting soil.  In “Homemade Biodegradable Plant Pots“, I show you how to make your own biodegradable pots using materials commonly found around the house…to save you a TON of money.

Tomato seedlings ready for transplanting

Fill small pots about 3/4 full of potting soil and moisten the soil.  Make a small hole in the center of the soil about 1/4″ deep, place 1 or 2 seedlings in the hole, lightly cover the seedlings with soil, and place the pots next to a window that gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.  Keep the soil warm, about 60 °F (15.5 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C) and moist (not soaking wet). 

After a few days, the seedlings will begin to pop up out of the soil and their first “baby leaves” will spread.  Soon after, their first permanent leaves will appear.

One drawback with using the window and sunshine approach is the seedlings may become tall, spindly, and weak because they are trying to reach more light…or…the sunlight is making them too warm.

I use grow lights and position the lights directly above the pots, keeping them no more than a couple of inches above the plant and I make height adjustments as the plant grows.  The stems and leaves get more direct light and will grow sturdier and healthier.

Tomato seedlings ready for transplanting

When the seedlings are around 3 to 6 inches long, they begin to outgrow the small pots.  You may choose to plant them directly into your backyard garden at this time.  For tomatoes, I prefer to move the small pots to bigger biodegradable pots and allow them to grow a few more inches before transplanting them into my garden. 

Make sure the bigger pot is deep enough so potting soil can cover most of the seedling…up to the “baby leaves.”  This will help give the seedling a better root system and top growth before you transplant it into your garden.

Then put it back in the window for sunshine or under your grow lights.  Just remember to keep everything warm and moist (but not soggy wet).


Have I sufficiently convinced you of the importance of biodegradable pots for your seedlings?  Do you have other unique alternatives?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me:


Another step in the right direction.  Keep on…keepin’ on!


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener


2 thoughts on “How To Transplant Seedlings Into Starter Pots. Oh What Fun!

  1. jeffrey16201 Reply

    I have always wanted to try growing plants from seeds, but I never do because I wait too long to get started and I am not sure how to really do it with success.

    How would one choose the right grow light to start growing plants from seeds, never did this so i have no idea anything about purchasing a grow light to get started doing this next year?

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