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Part Two: Transplanting Your Seedlings

Part Two: Transplanting Your Seedlings

Wendy, The Front Yard Farmerteaches us all about the next steps to take when planting from seed. From the best way to plant according to your way of living, to the right growing mixes, Wendy is letting us in on her secrets and showing us how it's done.

- By Wendy Weiner

Starting plants from seed is an empowering experience. Watching as the plants emerge and grow can be especially fulfilling if these plants are something you will eventually eat. Like any baby, our little seeds grow up and become too big for their original home. However, it would be shocking to take new seedlings out of their cozy indoor environment and throw them in the ground straight away. Before they hit the outside world, they must first be acclimatized.


In part one of the Spring-gardening story, we spoke briefly about how to acclimatize your plants before they hit the ground outside. One week prior to the date recommended on your seed packet for setting your plants into outdoor garden beds, it is time to start taking your seedlings outside and putting them in a protected area that is free of full sun and wind. Light is okay to shine on the seedlings, however full sun will burn them.

It is also important to make sure that the seedlings have been watered before being set out, as you do not want them to dry out and wilt from thirst. Up to 8 hours of the outdoors per day is sufficient for the plants, being sure to take them in at night. Once inside, they no longer need to be put back under supplemental lighting. This process of bringing the plants in and out of the house should continue for around 5 days, gradually adding more direct light for hours at a time. If there is a chance, however, that you will not be home and able to move them around, be sure to have them in a less sunny spot. By the end of the week, they will be ready for the big move.


Your seedlings can be planted in a variety of ways, depending on the space available in your house, or apartment.

If you are lucky enough to have a lot of garden space, take advantage and cordon off an area just for your growing garden. Find a space that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day and utilize the space as the perfect spot for your plants and vegetables.

The benefit of planting in a pot is the ability you have to move them around as the seasons change and the sunlight shifts. However, when growing your plants in pots, they are more dependant on you for their necessities in life, as they are in a limited amount of soil and their roots are restricted. Whichever pot you choose must have holes in the bottom, to allow the excess water to drain away from the soil and not drown it.

There are a variety of different garden boxes being put to use. If you are handy, build your own! Pine or Cedar woods work well for the purpose of building a garden box, just be sure to avoid using treated woods, as the chemicals the are treated with can be harmful to your soil and plants. If you want to get creative but do not know about building from scratch, there are many other options. We have seen old wooden draws, wooden wine boxes, wheelbarrows or even regular old storage containers. Of course the other option is to buy some pre-assembled beautiful garden boxes. We recommend the company, Gardeners Supply, for the best you can find.

One cute and easy method for planting is using grow bags. This company sells adorable grow bags for all sorts of different growing needs.


If you live in an apartment, growing your garden can be a little more compact. If you have access to a balcony or rooftop, you can easily use garden boxes, as long as the area is not in direct sunlight all day. Another beautiful idea, however, is repurposing a pallet.

Building a vertical garden is new and different, and can actually serve as a great decoration for your apartment. Here is how to do it:

REMOVE every other slat on the pallet
STAPLE in a man-made felt (or garden fabric that is often used in gardens to keep weeds from growing through) in the shape of a pocket. 
NAIL the extra slats onto the back of the pallet (optional for effect).
FILL the pockets with potting mix and plant with your herbs. 
MOUNT the unit on a wall. It is advisable to mount it before adding the soil so it is easier and lighter to move.



When choosing the site for your garden, box or pot, try to find a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day. All cold weather crops like a lot of sun too, but once it starts to get really hot during the day around late June, their internal clock tells them it’s time to reproduce and set seed.  If they are kept cool, they will not get the clue to start making seeds. If they get a little shade, they might last longer, so if you know part of your garden might get more shade earlier than another spot, think about putting your "cool weather" crops in that spot.

Cool weather crops include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, arugula, mache and asian greens.
Warm weather crops that are frost sensitive and are planted after the threat of frost include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, squash.

TIP: if you know the sun moves around your patio and you have planted in pots or boxes, consider mounting caster wheels on the bottom to move your garden into the sun when needed.


If you are planting into a box or pot, you want to use a potting specific mix. This means that amendments like coir or perlite have been added to the mix to keep it light. Remember, we want to steer away from any products that have peat in them. A good company for finding the best soil mix is Organic Mechanic.

When looking for a fertilizer that will also be added to your boxes and beds, look for one that is not chemically based and is used for vegetables and herbs. Always go organic, like this >>


On the day you plant, be sure to condition your soil with compost and a sprinkling of fertilizer. Dig a hole about 1 1/2 times the size of the vegetable you will be planting and place the seedling, with all its soil, from the container in which it was grown, into the pot at a depth that is equal to the surface of the plant that is going in the hole. It should not be below or above the grade of your garden bed, but even to it. This is the same method whether you are planting in the ground, in a pot or in a garden box.

If you are using a potting mix for the first time, you can go ahead and plant without supplemental amendments, they can be added in the future according the schedule listed on the fertilizer package.

Plants that are potted in pots or above ground in beds or boxes will need to be watered more often, especially if you choose a pallet garden.

Posted in: In the Garden   

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