So, we’ve talked about deciding where to build your vegetable garden, how to amend your garden soil and when you should plant. Now we bring to you… how to plant the vegetables! I know, it seems like maybe we’re explaining the obvious but in all honesty the process isn’t that predictable if you’re not familiar with it.
Here are the steps we at Seedlings Gardening use:
- Clear off any mulch that’s on the bed (if you’re starting a new bed then you’d skip this step). We usually scoop it off onto a tarp so it doesn’t get mixed into weeds/gravel/soil that’s outside of the bed.
- Dig a hole for your plant that looks about the same size as the pot it’s currently in. It should be the exact depth of your plant. I usually dig first and then put the potted plant in the hole to test out it’s size.
- Gently shake or pop the plant out of it’s container – sometimes you have to push it from the bottom, sometimes you have to tip it upside down, sometimes you just have to cut the container. I always try to keep my hand on the top soil around the stem of the plant so as to handle the stem, roots and leaves as little as possible. Don’t break up the root ball – try to keep it intact.
- Place the plant in the hole you dug. The top of the soil in the pot should be even with soil at the top of the hole, i.e. you shouldn’t have to build up a mound of soil around your plant to cover it, nor should you have to push garden soil over the top of plant and up to the stem to make it even. (Tomatoes are an exception and we’ll talk about that in tomorrow’s post.)
- Wrap foil around the main stem of the plant (starting where the stem meets the soil to about 1 or 2 inches up the stem). We keep this on for about a month while plants are still young and fragile – the foil protects from cutworms.
- Sprinkle organic granular fertilizer over the bed. A good four finger pinch around each plant will do. This is the “slow release” food for your soil life and plants.
- Evenly spread your mulch over the bed and around your plants.
- Water immediately after you finish planting – give everything a gentle and steady shower. We go over everything once slowly (at this point the water soaks the top layer of the ground), and then we go back over everything again (and now the water soaks down into the soil and through the roots).
- (This step isn’t necessary but do it for best results and if you can!) Water with a seaweed fertilizer -usually 3 oz. to a gallon of water mixed in a watering can- after you water the garden. This helps reduce the impact of transplanting shock.
Cages and Trellises
This is also the time when you want to place small tomato cages around tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and tomatillos and trellises near melons, cucumbers, climbing squashes and climbing beans.
Here’s what we only transplant (i.e. what we grow ahead of time or buy in the 4” pots and plant as specified above):
Here’s what we only start from seeds we plant directly in the garden (following the instructions on each seed packet):
We use both methods (transplanting and direct seeding) for all the plants listed below:
Are you about to start planting? Did you already plant? How’d it go?