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TRANSPLANTING IN THE GROUND

TRANSPLANTING IN THE GROUND

If you started vegetable plants indoors from seeds or you purchased small plants—sometimes called “plugs”— here is advice on transplanting them into your beds:

  • Check our Planting by the Moon’s Phase calendar.
  • During your seedlings’ last week indoors, withhold fertilizer and water less often—this helps toughen them up.
  • 7 to 10 days before transplanting, set the seedlings outdoors in dappled shade, protected from wind for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to full sun and windy conditions—this hardens them off in preparation for transplanting into the ground.
  • 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 young roots.
  • 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 2 tablespoons of a 15-30-15 starter fertilizer into a gallon of water (1 tablespoon for vining crops, such as melons and cucumbers), and give each seedling a cup of the solution af-ter transplanting.

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