Move 'Em Out: Transplanting Hints

By Eve Pranis

If you're gardening both in and out of the classroom, it's nearing time to transplant carefully tended classroom plants to outdoor gardens and flower beds. To help your transplants make a successful transition, consider the following tips:

  • Challenge students to find out the average last frost date in your area (e.g., ask gardeners or contact the weather service). Check seed packages or catalogs to determine which seedlings can go out before the last frost date and which must wait.
  • A week or so before transplanting, "harden off" seedlings by setting them outside for progressively longer periods each day to get them accustomed to harsher outdoor conditions. Start with a few hours and increase to a full day.
  • Try to transplant on a cloudy or drizzly day to slow water loss from newly transplanted seedlings.
  • To protect roots, water the plants before transplanting and keep as much soil as possible with the roots when removing the plants from their containers.
  • Remove seedlings from containers carefully, making sure not to bend the stems.
  • Make the transplant holes larger than the seedling rootball. Mix in compost or well rotted manure if available.
  • Plant seedlings at about the same depth as they were in the containers, press the soil gently around the plant, and then water them well.

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