Warm spring weather makes me want to pop my home-started seedlings into the ground immediately. But I know better. It's best to wait until the ground warms and the temperatures are consistently above freezing before I start transplanting my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. If you're growing transplants of cool season veggies, such as lettuce, Swiss chard and kale, plant these outdoors two weeks before your last expected frost date. For warm season crops, wait until after that date.
But what do you do if your seedlings have outgrown their seedling pots? The solution is to transplant them into a pot one size larger. This will enable your home grown beauties to put on more roots, become more robust, and not get stressed. Try using the 4-inch sized VELCRO® Brand Peel Away™ Seedling Pots. These pots give your young seedlings more room to grow and the roots are naturally air-pruned so the plant doesn't get root bound. Also, with the peel away sides, you won't damage the roots when it's time to transplant them into the soil.
When transplanting home grown or even store bought plants it's best to harden off your seedlings first. You can use a cold frame to gradually get them used to the outdoor conditions or just place them on a deck or patio. Here's how.
- On day one move your transplants outdoors to a protected spot with morning sun for a few hours. Keep them well watered and out of the wind. Then bring them back indoors into a sunny window.
- Each day thereafter, gradually extend the amount of time you keep the seedlings outdoors.
- By the end of the week leave the transplants outside overnight. They will be used to the wind and sun and can be transplanted without any risk of transplant shock.
Have any questions for Charlie? Leave them in the comments below and the answer may just be our next blog post!