The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Seedlings

Question: I have started a variety of seedlings and they are ready for transplanting outdoors. After I harden them off, what should I fertilize with? Should I put fertilizer in the bottom of the hole before planting the seedling? Also, a neighbor told me about something you put in the soil to lessen the shock effect on the plants--what is this?

Answer: It would be easiest on the transplants to go into soil that is well amended with compost, aged-manure, or leaf mold. Just spread 3-4 inches of organic matter over the garden bed and dig it in to a depth of 6-8 inches. Then dig your holes and plant your seedlings, making sure that they're watered immediately after planting. There's a solution you can purchase that's supposed to ease transplant shock, (Vitamin B) but it's far easier to plant on an overcast day, or late in the afternoon, so the plants have time to adjust before receiving full sunshine. If you expose the roots of the plants to as little air and light as possible, and if you water immediately after planting each one, they shouldn't suffer transplant shock.

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