How To Transplant Seedlings To The Garden

Your seedlings have been started and the time has come to transplant seedlings out into the garden, but if you don’t know how to transplant your seedlings you run the risk of killing your new plants so in this article we are going to tackle everything that you need to know about how to transplant seedlings both to the garden and bigger pots. 
 
 It doesn’t matter if you are planting in the ground or using raised beds like us, we’re going to teach you how to give your plants a chance to thrive. Gardening can be really intimidating, especially to those who are new at it but we have a secret for you! Transplanting is super easy!

 

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How To Transplant Seedlings To The Garden

How to transplant seedlings to the garden is a process. You can transplant them straight out of the garden but it can send your plants into shock and if the soil isn’t ready your plants won’t thrive and you’ll end up having to replant. 

When Should I Transplant Seedlings?

You’ll want to transplant seedlings into your garden once they have developed there the second set of true leaves. Once they have produced these leaves you can get them out in the garden, or thin them out so they can grow bigger without competing.

How Big Should Seedlings Be Before Transplanting Them?

A good basis to go on is when the seedling has three to four true leaves, it’s large enough to plant out in the garden. If your plant is outgrowing its root space in the pot but not quite ready to be planted out in the garden try repotting it into a larger pot. 

 

Before You Transplant Seedlings Into Your Garden

Before you go to transplant seedlings out into your garden, there are some things that you need to do:

  • Check frost dates for your area.
  • Check the conditions each of the plants you plan to transplant needs to thrive.
  • Keep an eye on your local forecast if you are expecting a cold snap hold off until the weather is more favorable.
  • Harden off your seedlings before you transplant them into the garden. 
  • If you started your plants from seeds try keeping a garden journal with the date you planted the seeds and the date you transplant them, this can help you next year when you go to plant.
  • Don’t water your plants as much this week and withhold fertilizer so they will get used to garden conditions

Preparing Your Garden To Transplant Seedlings

Now that you have your seedlings ready to plant out in your garden, its time to prepare your garden to transplant seedlings:

  • Clear any weeds from your garden and prepare the ground for planting. You can read more about preparing your garden ready for spring in this article.
  • Add well-rotted manure or compost to your soil, this will help feed your plants over the year. 
  • You may also want to plan your plots at this stage and figure out where rows and walkways will go.
  • If you are keeping a garden journal it may be helpful to sketch your beds before you transplant seedlings into them.

 

How To Transplant Seedlings Without Killing Them

The time has finally come to transplant seedlings to the garden, whether you are planting in a raised bed, pot or in the ground these steps will set you up for success:

  • If at all possible transplant seedlings on an overcast day, or in the early morning, or dusk/evening hours. This way transplanted seedlings have some time to adjust before being exposed to the intense midday sun.
  • Dig a hole large enough to comfortably hold the roots of the plant, push the soil back covering the roots. Label where you planted each plant. If you are keeping a garden journal you may want to sketch your garden and where everything is planted.
  • Water the soil around the seedlings after transplanting, but be careful not to damage the plants.
  • Fertilize every couple of days using a boxed fertilizer or compost tea. Use a big bucket and place some manure at the bottom, fill the rest with water allow to sit for several hours. Use this to water your plants. *if you fertilized your soil before planting this will not be as necessary.*
  • Watch for late spring frosts in your forecast. You can cover your plants with sheets or build a cold frame around them. Another option is to run Christmas lights between your plants to keep them warmer. Plant too early? We did a video on how to protect your garden from frosts.

 

Can You Separate Seedlings?

Yes, if you are very careful you can separate seedlings that came up together and plant them in separate pots. However, it’s very easy to damage your plants like this. 

How Do You Transplant Seedlings Into Bigger Pots

To transplant seedlings into larger pots instead of the garden, select a pot that will better hold the seedling. Add some soil to the bottom of the pot and then insert the plant. Follow that with more soil until all of the roots are covered. Gently firm the soil over the roots and water. 

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