Care of Vegetable Transplants

1.  Know when to plant vegetable transplants

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    •  Cool season crops such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kales, Cabbage, Lettuce, etc typically can be planted one month prior to the last frost date
    • All other vegetables should be planted after last possible frost date. National Climatic Data Center compiles temperature information by zip code and analyzes average frost dates. It anticipates you are almost guaranteed to not get frost between May 19 – September 20. However, this is based on average weather patterns. Should you plant your vegetables and there is a frost warning in the forecast, cover your transplants with a plastic or cloth sheet.

 

2.  Hardening off. All of our vegetables are greenhouse grown and will need to be hardened off (acclimated to outdoor conditions). The process can take up to a week and involves setting out transplants in area with morning sunshine and sheltered from wind for a few hours a day and increasing gradually every day until they are left out overnight. This will toughen the stems and get waxy residue on the leaves thickened up for outdoor sunshine conditions.

 

3.  Watering – Just like flowers, it is best to water in the early morning and have plants go to bed dry in evening. Spot watering is preferred over sprinklers. Avoid watering foliage of plants. However, vegetable gardens are generally more forgiving than planters as there is more soil for water to infiltrate through.

 

 

4.  Fertilizer – there are many options available today.   Plant transplants with slow release fertilizer granules/spikes or use water soluble fertilizer once a week. Many gardeners amend their soil with leaf compost which is a natural and organic alternative. Be cautious about using manure as if it is not aged enough, it can actually burn your plants.

 

5.  Support – vertical vining vegetables and tomatoes need support. Tomato cages work well when simply installed over new transplants.

 

 

6.  Wildlife protection – install appropriate fencing around your garden to keep rabbits, deer, etc out. We do offer spray repellants for purchase should have problems. Some gardeners plant marigolds and tobacco plant as natural bug repellent. We have also heard of gardeners hanging tea bags with artificial coyote urine to repel deer. Unfortunately, with any repellent product, wildlife do become familiar with it over time and you may find it necessary to switch up your practices.