Thursday, May 13, 2010

Transplanting Tips

from The Old Farmer's Almanac

May is a green as no other,
May is much sun through small leaves,
May is soft earth,
And apple-blossoms,
And windows open to a South Wind.

–Amy Lowell (1874–1925)

For many gardeners, May is the biggest transplanting month. A seedling’s move to the outdoors can be traumatic. Here are some tips to minimize transplant shock:

• Be sure that the plants “harden off.” During the plants’ last week indoors, lower temperatures a bit, withhold fertilizer, and water less often.

• For the last 7 to 10 days, bring seedlings outdoors for increasing periods each day, first placing them in dappled shade, protected from winds, and then gradually moving them into full sun and wind.

• Do not leave outside if there is danger of frost. See your frost-free dates.

• When buying transplants at a nursery, choose stocky plants with deep-green foliage. You’ll need to harden off these transplants, too.

• Ideally, the transplants that you grow or buy are in individual containers so that you do not disturb the roots of neighboring seedlings when you remove each plant.

Read more tips on transplanting.

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