Spring is in the air and it’s time for growers in North America to prepare their windowsill seedlings for outdoor growing.
While moving your plants from one home to another can pose the risk of disturbance leading to root damage, a carefully performed transplant can lead to a more robust root system and remarkable flower production.
If your seedlings have sprouted four to five sets of leaves and you can see healthy white roots poking through the containers’ drainage holes, they’re ready to be transplanted.
Here are three steps you should take to successfully transplant and harden off your plants:
1. Prep Your Plants for a Smooth Move
Preparation for a successful transplant begins well before spring. It starts when you choose the right plants and soil for your climate and the best nutrients to protect your plants from mother nature’s whims.
Knowing, ahead of time, whether you’re growing your plants in the ground or in containers above the ground is also important. Do your planning well in advance.
Local extension offices provide calendars that indicate when flowers and vegetables can be safely transplanted outdoors. The National Gardening Association has an online Planting Calendar where you can enter your zip code to get insights relevant to your location!
2. Harden Off Seedlings (the easy way)
If you’re growing your plants in pots above ground, be sure to dig a hole in the new soil before you start the transplant process. The last thing you want is an uprooted seedling with nowhere to go.
When you’re all set, turn the small pot upside down and lightly squeeze its side. When the plant pops out, gently place it in the new container, top it with more soil, and water generously. For the first few weeks, it’s best to keep your plants protected under light shade.
When your plants have grown at least five or more sets of proper leaves, you can expose them to longer stretches of sunlight, preferably early morning or late afternoon. By the time the first day of summer rolls around, your plants are ready for maximum sunshine and every tantrum mother nature throws.
3. Give Your Plants a Much-Needed Boost in the Early Days
While some plants may not appreciate the transplanting and hardening off process, most will rebound, and a few might not make it. Products like HYSHIELD and Hygrozyme can help your plants survive this delicate procedure.
Dipping your seedling tops in a chitosan solution like HYSHIELD, just before transplanting, can help them survive this severe moisture stress period. Besides helping your plants survive their initial transplant, HYSHIELD can increase their ability to endure in cold stress, high heat and drought environments and also reduce plant transpiration without lowering crop output. The benefits of decreasing transpiration are extensive, not only for the plant but also for the environment. (Here, you can learn how it can help you save valuable water, time and money!)
Additionally, the application of an enzymatic formula like Hygrozyme, used early enough in the growing cycle, can prevent root rot by speeding up the breakdown of dead root matter, converting it into simple sugars and feeding your beneficial microbes.
When growing outdoors, planning in advance, hardening off seedlings, and giving your plants a boost in the early days is vital to having healthier plants and a better harvest.
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- On April 12, 2021