When starting seeds indoors, the germinated seedlings need to be thinned by transplanting into individual pots when they have developed their second set of true leaves. While planting, the delicate seedlings should be handled with care. Seedlings should remain indoors for about a month, until they are strong enough to withstand outdoor conditions. By following a few simple steps, planting your seedlings indoors can be accomplished successfully.
Fill a pot or container with moist potting mix, consisting of equal parts peat moss and sterile compost. Sterile compost can be purchased, or made by baking for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. The same can be done to sterilize builder's sand, perlite or vermiculite, to be added in equal parts to aide drainage, if desired.
Loosen the soil around the new seedlings with a kitchen spoon and lift the seedling carefully. If seedlings are planted closely, a clump can be lifted and the individual seedlings separated from the mass. Gently handle seedlings by the leaves, rather than the delicate stems, which can be easily crushed or bruised.
Insert a pencil at a 45-degree angle into the potting mix, deep enough to accommodate the seedling roots, without covering the stem. Push the pencil forward to an upright position.
Place the seedling in the hole, with roots straight down. Gently firm the soil around it.
Water the seedling immediately, saturating the soil. Follow up by watering daily, to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Place seedlings in a location where they will not receive direct sunlight for a few days to allow them to adjust. Then move to a sunny location and turn the pots frequently to avoid thin, scraggly stems and encourage upward growth. Keep soil moist, but not soggy.