Planting out seedlings
- Gradually harden off seedlings over a couple of weeks by slowly exposing them more to the elements.
- Before you plant seedlings out into your garden, they should have at least four leaves, and their stem should be strong enough to hold the plant up.
- Before planting, submerge the punnets in water up to the top of the soil for a minute or so to ensure they are thoroughly moist.
- Select the most robust seedlings to transplant as these usually make the most vigorous and productive plants. Gently hold the leaves (not the delicate stem) while gently lifting from beneath the roots with a dibber, pencil or ice-cream stick.
- Replant either into a pot or straight to your garden bed if the seedlings are strong enough and the garden is sheltered. A cloche can provide additional temporary protection or even plastic soft-drink bottles with the bottom cut off.
- Place each seedling into a pre-dug hole and plant at the same level that they were previously planted. Gently press the soil around them. The guide on the plant tag (or the original seed pack) will tell you how far to space out the seedlings.
- Water gently to soak the soil around the roots, then spread mulch over any bare soil to help retain moisture. You could also use a weak solution of liquid fertiliser such as worm tea to help give them a boost and reduce transplant shock.