Planting Seedlings Outdoor - 28. April 2020
Some gardeners prefer to make their own seedlings from seeds, while others buy them from nurseries or from makets, which ever way we choose, seedlings have to be transplanted outside at some stage.
There are few things to observe when transplanting seed outside, here's a checklist to help you going through the process, ensuring that your seedlings will not suffer and will continue to grow healthy.
1. UNDERSTANDING WHEN SEEDLINGS HAVE TO BE PLANTED
There are some important signs to watch out for, in order to understand when it's the time to plant seedlings outside:
a. SIZE: once the seedling is two times the size of the pot, it might have a hard time to get water from the now small amount of soil that's available.
b. ROOTS: try removing the seedling from the pot by holding the plant upside down from the stems. If you see that the roots are growing round and round the edge of the pot it mean that it's time to give the plant more space.
c. LEAVES: if you notice that the leaves are not as bright green as before and they start curling or falling, this might mean that the plant is not getting enough nutrients from the available soil.
d. SOIL: usually the nutrients present in the soil in a small pots will suffice for 8 weeks, after that the plant will need more nutrients.
If you notice these signs it means that the plant needs to be transplanted, however you must be sure that there are the right conditions outside in terms of temperature and weather otherwise it would be best to repot the plant in the bigger pot and wait out a little longer before to plant it outside.
2. PLANNING WHEN TO TRANSPLANT
a. Each plants has its own requirements, first of all check the instructions on the seeds' packet/seedling's label to understand when it's best to plant it outside.
b. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, be sure to choose a day in which it's not neither excessively warm nor excessively cold. If you see that temperatures are meant to fall in the upcoming days, hold off for another while before to plant. It is tradition to start planting outdoors after the 'ice saints' which are usually around the middle of may. But each year is different and it's not granted that there won't be no frosts after those days/
c. Choose an area of your garden that is relatively protected from wind. This can do serious damage to your seedlings.
b. Make sure that you're going to be around for the few days following the transplant, to check on the health of the seedlings.
3. PREPARE THE GARDEN AND THE PLANTS
a. Accustom the seedlings to outdoors' conditions. Before planting outdoors, start withholding fertilizer and water less often. Another good thing to do is to place the seedlings outdoors to get them accustomed to outdoors temperatures. Make sure not to place them directly in the sun and wind.
b. Prepare the soil outside by loosening it and adding compost, also add fresh soil if needed.
4. PLANT SEEDLINGS OUTDOORS
Once the time comes, start plating your seedlings outdoors. If possible plant on an overcast day, to avoid the direct sun. Follow the steps below to ensure the health of your seedlings when transplanting.
a. Turn the plant upside down and gently slide the plant out of the container by holding onto the stem. If it's proving difficult try to genlty squeeze the bottom of the container.
b. Be careful not to damage the roots.
c. Prepare a hole in the ground (or larger pot/raised bed). Most seedlings need to be planted at the same level as they were in the pot. However tomatoes seedlings should be planted a lttle deeper as they will grow roots out of their stems (when you see little hairs).
d. Place your seedling in the hole and cover it with soil.
e. Water the plant immediately and keep the moisture level in check.
f. If the temperatures lower you can cover your seedlings with sheets or hay and remove the covers when the sun is out.