If you want to increase the success rate of growing transplants of plants that have very small seeds that are not as easy to grow in the open garden, then try planting the seeds in a pot of loamy potting soil in a location off the ground. This will provide an environment that is more ideal, controlled and out of way of snails and other pests. Some of the plants I grow using this method are basil, rose moss and petunias.
Plant the seeds
Make sure there is a drain hole in the pot and fill it with loamy potting soil. Put the pot in a location off the ground. Sprinkle the tiny seeds over the surface of the soil. Then gently firm the soil with your hand and water the soil well with a mister bottle or the mist setting on a water hose. Water well. Continue to check on your plants daily and mist them whenever the soil begins to dry. Moist soil is crucial for germination. Continue to mist your plants until they are at least an inch tall. Then you can water with the gentle shower setting without blasting the tiny plants out of the soil.
When to Transplant
Plants can be transplanted from the pot to the open garden whenever they have at least two new sets of leaves. A dining fork works well as a transplant tool for this tiny work. Gently push the fork straight down into the soil within a ½” or more from the stems of your transplants. Then lift the plant with soil still intact around its roots and then transplant the plant into the garden, raised beds, or other pots. Water your transplants well and don’t let them dry out too much over the next few days as they adjust to their new home. Transplanting in the evening is ideal so your new transplants can heal a little more during the cooler hours of the night.
Growing delicate small seeded transplants this way not only increases the chance of more plants germinating and gives them a good start away from pests on the ground, but also allows you to have a back-stock for more plants in case some don’t make it in the garden. And finally, it is a great way to have extras to share with friends and neighbors.