Transplanting has always been a bit intimidating to me. Still mortified by the “incident” in May 09. The “incident” was that I had spent all this time growing my seedlings only to watch them die in a day. Sadness. Sometimes annoying things like that happen in gardening, my advice, don’t take it personal. So having learned much since 2009, or at least I tell myself that, I set out to transplant.
Now, before I go any further this is the critical difference between my mishap in 09 and today. This year I decided to “harden off” my plants rather than just planting them in the ground. Melanie did a fantastic guest post on hardening off plants here. Check it out before you continue on to this post. So with my plants nice and sturdy, it was time to transplant!
How to Transplant New Seedlings
Step 1: Have a plan. Sounds easy enough right? Many of mistakes in the past are caused by my inattention to the seed packet details. Who knew reading the directions were so important?
Step 2: Plant in clusters not rows. My planting in clusters you are allowing your self more planting space and in doing so allowing your plants more space to grow. What I mean by planting in clusters is that you can plant two plants in a row 5 inches apart but the next row doesn’t start directly below the first row plant but rather in the gap between the top two plants.
Step 3: Be gentle and don’t harm the roots. If you are using peat pots you can just plant the whole pot in the ground. The peat when it breaks down is actually a good nutrient for the plant and the soil. Right on! If you are like me and don’t want a “pot” in the ground, I know I’m weird, then be careful when you are unwrapping the newspaper and be sure not to break the roots.
Step 4: Plant and water. The best way to water your plants, that I have found, is through a drip system which waters plants at the root level rather than from the top. If you are watering by hand, which I did for several years, be sure to water at the base of the plant rather than the leaves. Believe it or not you actually do more damage than good if you water from the top. By watering plants from the top you can break fragile leaves and even worse stems, you can cause bacteria and mold to grow, and worst of all it is a vacancy” sign for bugs like aphids. I think I need a whole post about my dislike for aphids.
Happy Gardening Everyone. Don’t forget to keep us informed on the progress of your gardens via flickr.