These are sunflowers seeds that have just emerged from their embryonic state. They’ve used up all the nutrients inside the shell and need a weak solution fertilizing each week. The shells that held the embryonic seed –are still attached to the seedlings.
The shell protected the little embryo until the seed was planted. Once planted, the embryo started to grow and produced two seed leaves. Those leaves are now taking in carbon dioxide from the air and making its own food. The sun provides the energy source to start the chemical reaction that turns CO2 in to sugar for the plant. It’s a chemical reaction that is very complicated. Pure oxygen is released back in to the air. In a sense–it cleans the dirty air and uses it to make food. Oxygen is the plant’s waste.
These are my cosmos seeds with their seed sheels still attached. It will soon fall off and break down as food in the soil. These next few weeks until the plant has more leaves and stronger roots are the most critical. Until now, it has been surviving on the stored food inside the seed. Now it needs to make a good root system. It needs to have moist soil but not wet soil.
It’s very important right now that those trays don’t trap too much water. These are strips of terry cloth placed in the bottom of each tray and hung over the edge.
Excess water standing in the tray is wicked away by the terry cloth strip. I only need one to two strips per tray.
I can reuse the water for those plants drying out more quickly. That makes this wicking process a water-wise activity and environmentally friendly. I do reuse these styrofoam cups for a gazillion different projects. The plants in paper cups will go directly in the ground after having a few holes cut in them here and there.
This works on established containers as well. If you have a container that just will not drain then that plant is going to drown. Plants need to breathe and stay moist. But when wet…..they drown. The roots rot. Take a kitchen case knife and gently push a terry cloth strip way down to the bottom of the container. Keep it right up next to the edge of the pot where the dirt meets the side.
Hang enough of the strip over the side that it hangs 3/4 the way down the outside of the pot. Excess moisture will slowly begin to wick away from the roots and out of the pot. You can leave that terry strip in there for the rest of the season If it quits wicking–then add another strip and remove the old one. Old towels and washcloths work the best.