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Everything You Should Know for Spring Transplanting 2021

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It's commonly accepted that spring is the best transplanting timing for most plants. Here is everything you need to know about how to transplant your seedlings successfully into the garden: What you should do before transplanting? What are the general steps for transplanting? And what’s the best transplanting timing for some common backyard plants?

Let's get started.

  • What you should do before transplanting?

You should pay attention to 3 key factors: your plants, the new spot, and the weather.

The very first step for transplanting is to classify the seedlings because most categories will compete for water and nutrition during growth. If there are too many categories that share the same space, likely, some can’t survive. Please also remember to pick out those that are week, diseased, or overly dense and give priority to keep them growing on the original spot. About 7 – 10 days before transplanting, please withhold fertilizer, water enough but less often, and gradually increase your plants’ exposure to the sunlight and windy conditions, which will get them better accustomed to eventually living full-time outdoors.

After classifying your plants, you can prepare the soil. Texture, moisture, and temperature of the soil are the three main parameters you should pay attention to - not only because they are essential for the plant’s growth, dry air and spring breezes will also result in rapid water loss. You can:

  • Loosen and aerate the soil before planting.
  • Add fresh soil if necessary.
  • Water the soil but do not make it too wet or too dry – they are not suitable for root development; what’s more, it would be difficult to transplant the plants in such a condition.

An important tip: Please try anything that can raise the temperature of the soil because it will help plants adjust to the shock of the cold ground. We highly recommend Quictent greenhouses or Quictent raised garden beds.

It’s important to know what temperatures best fit your plants. For example, peas and spinach are cool-season crops that should be planted before outdoor temperatures get too warm, while warm-season crops such as tomatoes and peppers will be weakened by too-cool temperatures. Keep an eye on the local weather forecasts. If a serious cold snap is imminent, hold off on transplanting until temperatures are more agreeable.

  • What are the general steps for transplanting?

Whether you’re moving your purchased plants or cultivated seedlings to a new place, the basic steps for transplanting are the same as instructed below. Please note that you’d better plant the dug plants as soon as they deviate from the original spot. If you purchased the plants, or have to wait for a while after digging up, please try your best to wrap the roots with plastic bags to reduce water evaporation and plant them in 24 hours.

  1. Remove the plant from its pot. Please be careful and do not damage the roots. It would be better to keep a little soil on the roots.
  2. Inspect the roots. It’s a critical step for later growth. Please tease the roots apart if they’re completely covered by soil, or loosen them thoroughly if they are concentrated too heavily at the bottom of the pot.
  3. Place the plant in the prepared hole. The hole should be a bit bigger and at least 1’ deeper for further growth.
  4. Firm the soil around the plant. Do not make the soil too tight, or it will restrain the further development of the roots. Tools are definitely applicable, however, for accuracy, if possible, we highly recommend you finish it with your hands.
  5. Water the plant. Water as much as possible until the soil feels moist deep down because watering will encourage the roots to grow into the soil and helps the plant settle firmly into its spot.

We can call a temporary end for the transplanting after watering. Why it is “temporary”? Followed are the essential and patience-required observation: Please be ready to track the development of the transplanted plants (crops) until they settle down on the new spot. It will do a lot of help for your planting plan in future years if you keep a record at the same time.

  • What’s the best transplanting timing for common vegetables?

Usually, it would be better to move the plants on windless and cloudy days. If it’s sunny and a bit hot that day, the best timing is in the late afternoon because your plants would be likely to survive with the help of dew at night. Below please find the best transplanting times according to your crops. Most of the following crops are vegetables because they are what our customers grow for with Quictent greenhouses or Quictent raised garden beds.

Crop

Direct Seed (DS) or Transplant (TP)

Safe Set Out Date (relative to the last frost)

Age at Transplant

 

Basil & Sensitive Herbs

TP

1 week after

4 weeks

Beans

 

DS/TP

1 week after

3 weeks

Beets

DS/TP

2 weeks before

4 weeks

Broccoli & Cauliflower

TP

2 weeks before

3-4 weeks

Brussels Sprouts

TP

2 weeks before

3-4 weeks

Cabbage

TP

4 weeks before

3-4 weeks

Carrots

DS

2 weeks before

-

Celery & Celeriac

TP

1 week after

10-12 weeks

Corn, Sweet

DS/TP

0-2 weeks after

3 weeks

Cucumbers

TP

1 week after

3 weeks

Eggplant

TP

2 weeks after

8 weeks

Greens, cooking

TP

3-4 weeks before

3-4 weeks

Greens, salad

DS

3-4 weeks before

-

Lettuce, head

TP

3-4 weeks before

3 weeks

Onions

DS/TP

4 weeks before

8-10 weeks

Peas

DS

6-8 weeks before

-

Peppers

TP

1-2 weeks after

8 weeks

Potatoes

DS

5-7 weeks before

-

Summer Squash & Zucchini

TP

1-2 weeks after

3 weeks

Turnips & Rutabagas

DS

2 weeks before

-

Tomatoes

TP

1-2 weeks after

6-8 weeks

Watermelon & Melons

TP

1-2 weeks after

3 weeks

Winter Squash

TP

1-2 weeks after

3 weeks

Source: Michigan State University Extension by Collin Thompson

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