The Q&A Archives: Transplanting School-grown Plants

Question: My daughter's class started beans, lettuce, and tomatoes from seed as part of a science project. She has brought the plants home and wants to transplant them outside in the spring. When are they ready to move outside?

Answer: Most vegetables can be transplanted outside after living an indoor life. The key is to do it gradually and wait until the earth has warmed up. Each vegetable has different growing preferences -- some like it hot, some like it cool, and all have different days to maturity -- when they'll be ready to harvest. Remember to give each plant a big enough hole and water it regularly.

Beans are "warm weather" plants, and they should be moved outside after the danger of frost has passed. Lettuce is a "cool weather" crop, which means it can be transplanted outside in late spring. Transplanting lettuce can be a little tricky. Make sure you transplant the entire root system by gently placing the lettuce in the dirt and patting soil around the transplants. Water lettuce gently at first. Tomatoes like it on the warm side. Wait until the soil has warmed up (maybe a few weeks after the typical last frost) to transplant. Make sure to plant the tomatoes deep in the hole; they'll thank you for it later.

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