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Old July 31, 2022   #866
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 7,019

I have successfully transplanted squash and cucumbers from DE to other pots and into the garden directly with no problems. I just wet the DE an hour before transplanting and scoop them out with a spoon or knife.

I prefer DE for starting tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and spinach. I later move all of them except lettuce into a small cup with potting soil. For larger faster growing things like cucumbers, squash and beans I prefer to start them in the pots with potting soil since they get larger faster and require more room and watering. I rarely if ever have any damping off problems with my seedlings planted in DE unless I leave them in a watering tray keeping them soaked. I used to have major problems especially with tomatoes damping off in potting soil or other potting mixtures.

One thing that I have found that DE is especially good for is starting onion seed. I use a fairly large pot and fill it with a mix of medium size DE and the smaller sand size DE and sow the seeds heavily. I have to be very careful when fertilizing them to not disturb the small seedlings but once they get four or five inches tall they have a good root system and are not disturbed as easily by top feeding. Once they get to the size I want I let the DE get fairly dry and pull the whole clump of seedlings and the DE out and shake the DE off the roots. It works much better than trying to separate onion seedlings that are densely planted in potting soil. My success with onions improved dramatically once I figured out how to do this.

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