A bit of planning ahead is needed for successful transplanting:
• Give the seedlings a deep soaking the day before preferably in diluted seaweed fertiliser. This will strengthen the seedling and reduce transplant shock. Transplant shock is best avoided; it means the seedling may just sit there for many weeks without making growth or in some cases such as lettuce it may bolt to seed without producing a head.
• The very best time to transplant is on overcast days or even better, in gentle rain.
• Prepare the hole, fill it with water and allow it to drain away before gently planting the seedling.
• Handle the seedling by the leaves if at all possible, if it is necessary to hold it by the stem use a feather light touch. Too hard a grip will crush the channels in the stem needed for the transport of water and nutrients and the seedling will only make poor growth.
• Firm the soil around the seedling gently, never tramp or pack the soil down hard around the seedling as you are damaging the soil structure and reducing the aeration.
• Water the seedling well with a gentle spray as soon as possible after planting.
• If hot weather is expected try to cover the seedlings in the hottest part of the day with shadecloth.
• Put snail and slug protection in place immediately; a lot of seedlings can be lost the first night. Use either a small amount of snail pellets around the seedlings or a circle of copper barrier tape.
Article by Frances Michaels
Green Harvest Organic Gardening Supplies