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When the cold weather starts to give way to warmer brighter days you know the time to move your plants into the garden is nigh. Transplanting is an art that can be learnt. Hope you have read Transplant Shock: Understand Your Plants Better to get a good idea of why the following tips and pointers will help you transplant better.
1. Get your garden ready and your plan intact!
Get your garden space in order. Plan out where each vegetable is going. Each type of plant has a different requirement in terms of amount of sunlight, water and nutrition needed and you have to take this into account. Seed packets contain details like whether the plant requires a shaded area or direct sunlight, distance between plants etc.
You have to be absolutely certain that the temperature outside is warm enough to sustain the plants and that the plants new living area is ready. There is nothing to gain but all to lose if you transplant too early so I stress again, do it when the time is right! Plants like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash thrive under direct sunlight whereas lettuce, peas, carrots, kale, swiss chard don’t mind some shade. Do some research and don’t hesitate to ask our experts!
2. Harden off your plants.
Your young pampered (I hope) seedlings need time to adjust to the cruel (just kidding!) outside world. This process is called hardening off and has to be done to make sure that when the time comes to move them outdoors, they will survive. Hence you have to begin this a minimum of 2 weeks before the planned date of the transplant.
In short, to harden off, take them outside and place them under shade for 3-4 hours. Gradually increase the time outside by 1-2 hours a day. In a week’s time you can place them under direct morning sunlight for a few hours and thereby gradually increase the time spent outside.
3. Transplant on a dreary cloudy day. No really!
It has been proven that to minimize transplanting effects it is best to move your plants outdoors when the weather outside is mild, still and fairly overcast, so plan for a late afternoon or an early evening to transplant. According to the University of Minnesota Horticulture Extension Service, plants will mostly wilt the day after transplant but will recuperate in a few days.
4. Treat them like you would newborns.
Yes, their roots are very delicate which is why utmost care should be given while transplanting. Gently lift t
he entire plant from its root balls and place them into its new plot. Do not tug the plant from the top to remove it. If you have to you can turn the pot upside down to dislodge the plant but be gentle. You can also dig up the soil around and then lift the plant off.
5. Water them religiously!
Pay considerable attention to newly transplanted plants to ensure that they do not dehydrate and die off. It is inevitable that a few of those tiny hair-like water and nutrient absorbing structures will get hurt in the process of transplanting and their capacity will have decreased. Therefore sufficient moisture in the soil is mandatory at all times.