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.