Transplant Seedlings to your Garden

Starting seedlings provides excellent flexibility and control for gardeners. You get to sift through countless varieties of fruit, vegetables, and herbs that may not have been available at local nurseries. You can plan for the exact number of plants, and determine planting dates that work for your garden.

As rewarding and exciting as raising your own plants from seedlings, it comes with challenges. Transplanting seedlings outdoors is often stressful with the possibility of unpredictable weather—especially here in the PNW.

For a successful transplant, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are my seedlings large enough for transplanting?

Either you transplant too early, and your seedlings succumb to the PNW elements, or wait too long, and you now have plants bound to their nursery pots. It's difficult to tell when a plant is ready based on size—seedlings lacking light can grow taller than a seedling that's actually ready to be moved outdoors. We recommend waiting for true leaves after the cotyledons (first leaves to emerge).

2. Are my seedlings cool-season, or do they prefer hotter weather?

It's crucial to plant cool-season varieties early enough to reach the entire growing cycle—typically in early spring, even before the last frost. On the other hand, warm-season plants require higher air and soil temperatures. Plant warm-season plants after the last frost. If nighttime temperatures are dropping below 50, make sure you're using some sort of plastic covering or protective barrier to reduce the chances of frost.

3. Did I harden off my seedlings?

Hardening your seedlings prepares them for life in the garden. Depending on the weather, one to two weeks before you plan to transplant, place your seedlings outdoors for a few hours a day in a protected area. Preparing seedlings for life outside is incredibly important because the elements outdoors are much greater than in the greenhouse.

4. Am I reducing the chance of transplant shock?

Water, water, water. Containing the soil around the roots is an excellent trick for reducing plant shock. Transfer to high-quality potting mix that's already been moistened. Once transplanted, water your seedling and allow the surface soil to dry out before watering again.

Pair these tips, with the following Neal Creek products to really optimize your gardening.

Garden Boxes

Compost & Soil