Vegetable gardening step 3: transplanting your seedlings to the garden
Late May or early June is normally the time to plant our seedlings outdoors. You have given your young plants a lot of love, and now is the time to let them grow outdoors.
While your young plants are now big enough to grow in the garden, they will take a while to adjust to the change. At least two weeks before planting outdoors, put your pots outside during the day and bring them back inside the garage or house at night. This way your plants will gradually acclimatize to the sun, wind and rain.
Vegetables fall into two categories:
- Vegetables that can withstand cooler weather (cabbages, lettuce, onions, etc.)
- Vegetables that love hot weather (cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, melons, etc.)
Young vegetable plants that can withstand colder weather should be planted around the end of May or early June, i.e., the date of the last frost.
For vegetables plants that like heat, wait 7–10 days after the last frost before planting. Be careful! The nighttime temperature mustn’t drop below 10 °C.
Preparing the garden
Before planting, you need to prepare your vegetable garden:
- Remove the weeds
- Turn over the soil
- Add some compost
Don’t forget watering! That’s right, you must water the soil even if there are no plants in it. Your young plants will receive less of shock when transplanted if the soil is moist.
Picking the ideal time for transplanting
You may think a sunny day is the ideal time to transplant your young plants. Think again! A grey or even rainy day is perfect for transplanting. Even the evening would be better than in the hot sun.
Transplanting to the vegetable garden
When the risk of frost is ruled out, it’s time to transplant.
Green thumb tip: arrange all your potted young plants in your vegetable garden at the desired distance. This will give you an idea of the layout before you even transplant them.
You should dig each hole two to three times bigger than the pot. Carefully remove the plants and place them in the centre of the hole. Use the soil to fill in the hole around the plant, press lightly, then water.
For strong plants and healthy vegetables, it is important to keep the soil moist—not soggy, just moist.
If your seedlings grew in a pot of peat, do not remove it. Plant the peat with the plant—it will break down and the roots will be able to push through it.
Sowing directly outdoors
Some vegetables and herbs can be sown directly outdoors, in the vegetable garden or in pots, starting in early May. Even if you’re already into June, it’s not too late! Check out an online growing calendar for when each variety of vegetable and herb should be planted.
To preserve the seeds you accumulate over the years, get a kit designed for seedlings or use a binder with hockey card pockets.
You’ll be ready for next year, but first, have a great harvest!