Pricking Out Guide

Plants grown from seed need to be given space to grow by ‘Pricking Out’ or thinning.
This process gives young plants space and nutrient necessary for healthy growth.

Guide for Pricking Out

  • For seeds grown in seed trays, ‘prick out’ the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle.
  • Use a small tool or dibber to loosen the seed compost and lift out the seedling.
  • Hold by the first green leaves not the roots.
  • Plant in rows in a new tray of multi purpose compost using a dibber to make holes. Firm the compost around the plant.
  • Space the seedlings 1-2 ” apart depending on the vigour/size of the plant you are growing.
  • Water using a watering can with a fine rose.
  • Shade from direct sunlight for a couple of days.

Other Pricking out Activities

  • Prick out into modules to save time and further root disturbance when planting out.
  • Bigger plants like Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Dahlias etc can be pricked out into individual pots.
  • I put Mesembryanthemums direct into the garden after hardening them off.
  • Seedlings grown in Jiffy pots are best potted into there own plant pot.
  • When starting off sow in modules or cells. Seeds can be sown individually or in small number where the weaker seedlings can be sacrificed to allow the strongest to grow. (Thinning out).

Seeds sown direct into their final position in the garden may need to be spaced. Pinch or pull out seedlings that are cramped, to leave a space between your selected plants for growing on. Carrots and plants that don’t tolerate root disturbance are treated this way.

Seeds sown in a garden seed bed can be pricked out if required but I sow them thinly enough to be able to just move them once into the final growing position.
Some flower mixtures are best just broadcast and left to grow where they germinate.

If you are growing a seed mixture transplant a range of seedlings not just the largest. Often different coloured flowers grow differently at the seedling stage.

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