Planting Transplants

Finally the winter is over so we are ready to plant! Some of the transplants we had inside for weeks were starting to get too big and leggy. We had already been acclimating them to the weather by taking them outside and bringing them in when it got too cold. We are so happy we didn’t take a risk and plant them before Memorial Day when we experienced a late freeze. It would have been devastating to lose almost 1000 seedlings! You can almost depend on a snow storm in late May every year. It’s just hard to predict when the last one will be. Next year we are going to do row covers to allow us to plant earlier, hopefully.

The last seedlings planted were cucumbers you see in the picture. They are the perfect size and should do well. The expansion requires so many more plants it’s going to take a lot more time. So armed with gloves, a shovel, a knee pad and a bag of compost, we spent 3 days planting seedling. We always grow extra because not all transplants will survive. When one dies you plant a spare. We found the black fabric absorbed so much heat that we lost more transplants than usual.

The only transplant that did not do well was the beans. They were too leggy and fell over in the first rain. Luckily we had plenty of seeds and re-planted, a little late but they came up quickly and did just fine.

Due to the drought and the heat absorbing black fabric, we had to hand water the seedlings until their roots grew long enough to reach the subsurface drip tape. It was an added step but once they reached their water source they grew quickly.

I can’t wait to see how much produce we get out of this new expansion!

 

Time to Grow Transplants

Transplants

With the weather warming, I’ve gotten the bug to start growing my vegetables! When I lived in the south I could start growing indoors in January and move everything outside in March. In the North West I’d start early March and have everything outside mid-April. In the Rocky Mountain region we have to wait until April to start both indoor and outdoor planting. There always seems to be a snow storm between now and Mothers Day. It never fails. Hot weather plants shouldn’t go outside until Memorial Day unless they are fully protected. It’s a short growing season here.

Today I’m starting to grow my cold vegetable transplants for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and celery, along with some herbs that usually take a while to germinate.You can buy trays and seed starting mix at any home improvement store. I pick a good quality organic mix.

I’m trying to be more precise in how I plant so I finally bought sturdy plant tags to be sure I don’t mix up what I’m growing (I’ve mixed up plants before!).I also found a neat trick to be sure I plant at the correct depth by drawing lines on a marker in 1/4 inch segments and using it as a measuring tool.

Seed depth measurer

A cover on your tray will help keep the soil moist through the initial germination and then you can remove it. A standard shop light about 12-18 inches above your trays is plenty to grow your transplants. You don’t need a grow light. It’s more important to just keep the soil at least 70 degrees and moist.

transplant tray

We’ll check in a few weeks from now and see how they are doing.