a seedling chopstick trick

A chopstick tip to help separate seedlings

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A couple of years ago, when I was volunteering in the annuals greenhouse at the Royal Botanical Garden, I got to do all sorts of different tasks. At one point during the winter, my job involved taking flats filled with delicate little seedlings and separating them into their own pots. Guess what my most valuable tool was? A chopstick. One of the volunteers taught me a chopstick tip to gently separate seedlings that are growing too closely together.

This may seem so elementary, but for me it was super helpful at home. I’ve always used tweezers to pull out seedlings and then discarded them. But you don’t have to let all those extra seedlings go to waste. You can transplant them all into their own pots, which is what we did in the greenhouse as we prepped for a plant sale.

This is especially helpful for tiny flower seeds that are hard to see. You can just scatter them in one pot and then worry about separating out the strongest of the bunch later. Sometimes I’ll put one in a pot, but for tinier plants, I’ll separate out maybe two or three wee little plants.

Here’s my super duper chopstick tip

A chopstick tip to help with seedlings

1. Gently place the tip of the chopstick beside the seedlings and gently use it to pry one seedling loose at a time.

Use a chopstick to separate seedlings

2. Use the chopstick to make a hole in a new pot filled with soilless mix and plunk the seedling in, patting the soil around it to hold in place.

That’s it! Stupid easy, but a trick I found to be incredibly useful.

Related post: Repotting seedlings 101

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a chopstick trick to separate seedlings

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3 Responses to A chopstick tip to help separate seedlings

  1. Margaret says:

    Love this tip! I’ve been using a chopstick when sowing seeds for a long time, but didn’t think to use one when transplanting – Thanks!

  2. geo L says:

    I prefer a plastic fork for scooping some seedlings out of a pot, and broader separation, then an 8 penny common nail for detail work – which is also tool of choice for preparing root bound plants for planting.

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