Transplanting Your Seedlings
If you started vegetable plants indoors from seeds, here is advice on transplanting your seedlings.
- Check our Planting by the Moon’s Phase calendar.
- Be sure the plants harden off; that is, gradually get used to unsheltered life outdoors.
- During their last week indoors, withhold fertilizer and water less often.
- 7 to 10 days before transplanting, set the seedlings outdoors in dappled shade that is protected from winds for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to full sun and windy conditions.
- Keep the soil moist at all times during the hardening-off period. Dry air and spring breezes can result in rapid transpiration.
- If possible, transplant on overcast days or in the early morning.
- Set transplants into loose, well-aerated soil that will capture and retain moisture, drain well, and allow easy penetration by seedling roots. See when soil is ready for planting.
- Soak the soil around new seedlings immediately after transplanting.
- Spread mulch to reduce soil-moisture loss.
- To ensure that phosphorus—which promotes strong root development—is available in the root zone of new transplants, mix two tablespoons of a 15-30-15 starter fertilizer into a gallon of water (one tablespoon for vining crops such as melons and cucumbers), and give each seedling a cup of the solution after transplanting.
- Anything that raises soil temperature will help plants adjust to the shock of cold ground. Try raised planting beds and plastic mulch to boost soil temperature.
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