I have both of Murray’s DVDs, the first one shows cleaning the soil off potted seedlings to plant them in a clay media GB. The “Secrets” DVD shows the net pots with vermiculite for starting seed. As I am planning to do DWC for many of my greens, I can see that the net pots will transfer directly to the floating raft which promotes a seamless transition for growth.
My question is about transferring taller plants started in 2 inch net pots with vermiculite to the clay media GB (such as tomatoes and peppers). Should I rinse off the vermiculite and push the bare rooted plants into the clay media, or is it better to plant the seedling along with the net pot/ vermiculite in the media? My concern on the latter method was that I didn’t want the net pot to constrain the roots on bigger plants and I was concerned about vermiculite getting loose in the grow bed – are these real concerns? What are the best options?
Many plants do great seeded directly (so long as I can remember not to kill them off while transplanting other stuff, keeping track of the small seedlings in the gravel is the challenge I struggle with.) Direct seeded plants never have to recover from transplant shock.
However, if you don't like the idea of the vermiculite getting washed into the regular grow beds, I would have a bucket of water handy when you go to transplant. Dunk the roots of the seedling into the bucket to wash off the vermiculite and then plant it into your grow beds. I would not leave the net pot around the roots of anything that is going to get really big as it might tend to destroy your nets pots for future use and could be constricting of the roots for some plants. (Keep in mind, I've got trees in some of my grow beds.) For something like lettuce, you could leave it in the net pot as that is a short term plant.