How to have better success with your bedding plants

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With warmer weather now upon us ……finally…

you may be thinking of picking up a few tomato, patio cucumber, marigolds or other bedding plants.

But there’s a common problem you need to know about to avoid a shocking situation and disappointment.

Plants are rooted by nature. They simply were not designed to move from place to place.

So, when we start moving them around, well –

they get stressed, really stressed.

This stress occurs as the plant struggles to adapt and adjust to its new environs, which it simply may not have the resources to cope with. When it becomes simply overwhelmed it goes into SHOCK. It’s what’s known as transplant shock.

With the nature of plants, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s a very common problem.

At Green Hart Farms, we transplant thousands of plants every year … it’s just part of what we do.

Ever wondered how the pros do it?

Just follow these steps to increase your bedding plant success.

Steps to Minimize Transplant Shock and Increase Your Transplant Success

  1. Choose carefully. Seek out healthy green plants, that are rather stocky instead of long thin and spindly.

  2. Avoid leaving new bedding plants in a closed up vehicle for long periods as the the temperature can get very high quickly on sunny days. When you get them home, get those plants out of the car and into a shaded area while awaiting transplanting.

  3. For fruit bearing plants such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, remove any blossoms by carefully pinching them off. You don’t want them putting energy into producing fruit when they are going through the stress of transplanting. Don’t worry they’ll set new blossoms later on, and your plant will then be stronger. While you will wait a little longer for that first fruit, you will be rewarded with more and bigger ones. Your plant will thank you.

  4. The evening before or at least a few hours before transplanting water your plants well. Water temperature should be 20C for minimal shock. Putting a little soluble seaweed in the water and stirring it in will provide extra nutrients for your plant to handle the stress of transplanting better.

  5. Prepare the new home for your bedding plants.

  6. Make a hole larger than the lump of soil that comes with the plant. While not essential, you can add a little worm castings to the bottom of the hole. These castings will provide living soil organisms and extra food for your plant as it begins to take root in its new location. This can be particularly helpful where you have gravelly or very sandy soil with little organic matter.

  7. Carefully turn the plant container upside down with one hand on the underside supporting the plant. Then tap or gently squeeze the sides of the container to loosen the roots and soil from the container. Work quickly, keeping the roots out of the sun to minimize exposure of the roots to light and moving air. You don’t want them getting dry.

  8. Place your plant in the hole so that it is at the same level as before. Some plants such as tomatoes can benefit from being planted a little deeper than they were in the container, as it will then grow a larger root system from higher up the stem.

  9. Fill the hole around the root ball and gently press the soil down a little without injuring the plant.

  10. Water the plant thoroughly with water at 20 degrees Celsius. Again, adding a little soluble seaweed to the water and mixing it in will help your plant handle the stress of transplanting better.

  11. For the first couple days your transplants need to be protected from full sun so that they can have a chance to settle into their new home. Full sunlight right from the start will encourage them to grow, but they need to root into the new soil and adjust to their new environment. So providing a cover to create a partial shade condition for couple of days will help your plants to root better and adjust. Then you can remove the temporary shade for more normal lighting. Then they’ll be ready to grow more vigourously.

  12. Ensure your plants are safe from foot traffic and protected from animals who may find them tasty morsels or simply uproot them.

  13. Keep an eye out for cool nights and frosty mornings. Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, melons and cucumbers need to be protected from frost. Members of the cabbage family such as broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts are frost hardy so you don’t need to worry about frost for these. Be sure to know the frost hardiness of the plants you’re working with!

  14. Check on your plants regularly. Ensure they get adequate water each week, but don’t overwater. Generally, an inch of rain a week is ideal for most bedding type plants transplanted outside in our climate.

  15. Keep competing weeds under control.

  16. Be nice to your plants. Did you know plants actually respond to different music? Or, you might try talking to them with encouraging words…check out this link!

We hope you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour.



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