I think I made a mistake: I put (~15) seeds of courgette into a big bowl in seed-compost (low-nutrition).

Now one week later they are starting to sprout and I realize that this was maybe not the best choice as they will grow fast and develop roots quickly.

Can I wait one more week before potting them on into a small pot but this time with garden compost? Or should I act now before too many sensitive roots have developed?

2 Answers 2


Do it as soon as the cotyledons open out, before the second set of leaves form, and when you do it, take a lump or mass of the soil in the tray surrounding the root so you don't have to disturb it - transfer it wholesale into a pot containing potting compost, not seed and cutting compost. Lift the seedling out from the bottom, holding the clump of soil rather than the stem or cotyledons. You can use your own garden compost instead, provided its been produced using a hot, aerobic system rather than a cool, anaerobic one.

  • Why is it important to use aerobic compost? I thought the difference between the two is just the number of (weed)-seeds active? - Maybe I need to to do another question for this one?
    – Patrick B.
    Apr 27, 2015 at 14:17
  • Also pathogens - more survive if the compost is produced anaerobically. It might be fine if you want to risk your own, but it might not be...
    – Bamboo
    Apr 27, 2015 at 14:58
  • Thanks again, Bamboo. I know why doing it so quickly is important: before any leaves are coming out of the seeds the root-system is already quite established.
    – Patrick B.
    Apr 28, 2015 at 8:09
  • And courgettes are really rapid growers
    – Bamboo
    Apr 28, 2015 at 9:46

If you are using POTS please do not use garden soil or pure compost!! Get some sterilized potting soil!! Sterilizing garden soil for pots is very smelly. Way cheaper and BETTER to just buy some premade potting soil. Compost is so very important but you still need soil. Little tiny rocks. Do not use pure compost. Bamboo, if you know something I don't about this please holler!! (She is so very good!!) Fill the entire pot with potting soil, no rock or gravel! Get bottom of pot off surface of patio or saucer so that there is air between the two hard surfaces. You can add mychorrhizae (I never get the spelling correct) and bacteria or find it already incorporated in the commercial potting soil.

  • 1
    Brits say "compost" where you'd write "potting soil" - see definition 2 here - in this case that's not the nutritient-rich stuff used as fertilizer.
    – Stephie
    Jul 12, 2015 at 20:56

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