Transplanting means that your garden dreams are getting closer to coming to fruition! Planting vegetables, herbs and flowers in the ground is the exciting part.
Two weeks before transplanting I like to prep both my garden beds and seedlings.
Amend Garden beds with mycorrhizal fungi, bonemeal and compost 14 days ahead of when you plan to transplant. This is also the perfect time to begin hardening off your seedlings. Hardening off is the practice of slowly exposing young seedlings to the outside elements so they don’t go into shock. Check out my post on hardening off for more details.
On transplanting day, I give my seedlings a nice long drink, so they are fully hydrated. Then I go about the garden laying out seedling trays and pots where they are to be planted. Once the plants are laid out in their general locations I’m ready to begin planting. I plant bed by bed. At each raised bed I pop each seedling out of the tray or pot and place them where they’ll be planted. Once I’m happy with the layout, and double check that it matched my plan, I plant!
Sidebar: All-Time Favorite Garden Tool
My most treasured—and most used—garden tool was given to me as a gift from my husband (that man knows me so, so well). It’s a transplanting trowel. Essentially it’s hand shovel, except with longer, narrower blade that makes transplanting a snap!
To plant my seedlings I insert the trowel deep. Pull back the soil. Drop the seedling in and pull the trowel out. Then finish by firming the soil around the young plant. This takes SECONDS! I move through the entire bed this way, then repeat in the next one.
I find it takes more time transporting and laying out the seedlings than it does to actual transplant them. Last year I had just over 600 seedlings to get in, and it only took me 3 hours all by my one-sie.
While most plants benefit from an early start under lights or in a hoop house or greenhouse, there are several that MUST to be direct sown. Direct sowing simply means that the seed is planted directly in the garden. Plants who have long taproots do NOT like any root or soil disturbance. Therefore, do not start these babies early in pot or trays, plant them directly in the ground.
You might also hear gardeners describe sowing seeds “in situ,” which is latin for sow your seed “in place” or “on site.” Dill, peas, carrots and bupleurum are just a few examples of seeds that prefer being sown into open ground.
Several plants that are recommended to be direct sown can be seeded early, if they are sown in larger pots at the appropriate time. Minimizing root disturbance is a priority. Bells of Ireland, sunflowers, nasturtiums, chives and lettuce all fall into the direct sown category, but they can be seeded early with proper precautions.
Download my Sowing Schedule for the full list of which veggies, herbs and flowers that prefer to be direct sown. It also denotes which direct sow seeds can be sown early along my entire schedule for starting vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed.