Gardening Update: Planting in Raised Beds & Buckets

March 30, 2021

Today ends a four day marathon of transplanting seedlings. It is amazing to note that all the seeds my friend Collette and I planted have sprouted! In fact, most of the seeds germinated much quicker than was specified in their seed packets. We have babied them, watered them, and brought them in from the heat/cold.

To Wash or NOT to Wash?

Did you know that you are supposed to wash, and sanitize each pot prior to planting a new plant in it? I discovered this fact a couple of days ago when my gardening club began the discussion. Most people had very opposing views. Some said that they had been gardening for years, and had never washed a single pot. I decided to research the topic, and I was surprised to discover that you MUST WASH & SANITIZE ALL RECYCLED POTS!You can find all of the details on how to do this in yesterday’s blog.

We began by transplanting the two plants that grew the fastest: Organic Spaghetti Squash and Organic Butternut Squash. We planted them into one of the raised beds, or troughs. Then, we planted the climbing Pole Beans on the side of the trough that is the closest to the fence. The plan is to string them across from the trough to the fence. On the curved edge of the same trough, we planted the Zucchini.

In the second trough, we planted more Organic Butternut Squash. It is interesting to note that we regrew these seeds from an organic butternut squash that we bought at the grocery. They have already grown two inches in the last couple of days!

Today, we realized that there were several seedlings that needed to be transplanted into our pots. First, we labeled the pots. I painted the name of the plant on the outside of each pot. Second, we watered the soil prior to planting. Third, we gently removed each grouping of sprouted seedlings from each individual pod. Fourth, we carefully dug a hole big enough and deep enough to support each individual root system. Fifth, we watered all of the newly transplanted seedlings in their new pots. Finally, we strategically placed the pots along the side of a wall that is mostly in shade and receives partial sunlight. The goal is to allow the new plantings to become Hardened slowly over the next couple of days.

Hardening is the process of exposing transplants (seedlings) gradually to outdoor conditions. … Don’t put tender seedlings outdoors on windy days or when temperatures are below 45° F. Even cold-hardy plants will be hurt if exposed to freezing temperatures before they are hardened.

Seeds that are planted in recycled pots(3-30-21):

  • Cocozelle Zucchini
  • Cucumber Slicing Marketmore 76
  • Garden-Blue Lake Bush Bean
  • Organic Butternut Squash
  • Organic Spaghetti Winter Squash
  • Oregon Sugar Pod Snow Peas
  • Radish-Cherry Belle
  • Red Cherry Tomato
  • Roma Tomato
  • Snap Sugar Daddy Peas



Tips for Transplanting

1. Plan Ahead

Timing is important when it comes to transplanting: transplant too early in spring and your plants may succumb to frost, transplant too late and your plants may get baked in the sun (and the opposite is true in autumn). In any case, it’s important to pay attention to local weather conditions.

  • First, check our Planting Calendar to see spring frost dates in your area. The date of the last spring frost is commonly used as a guideline for both starting seeds and planting transplants outdoors.
  • Know what conditions your plants grow best in. Some plants, such as peas and spinach, are cool-season crops, which means that they should be planted before outdoor temperatures get too warm. Others, like tomatoes and peppers, are warm-season crops and will be weakened by too-cool temperatures. Find advice for individual plants in our library of Growing Guides.
  • If you start your plants from seed, it’s a good idea to keep track of when you start them and when you transplant them. This will help you plan in future years!
  • Keep an eye on local weather forecasts as you prepare for transplanting. If a serious cold snap is imminent, hold off on transplanting until temperatures are more agreeable.

2. Prepare the Garden and the Plants

When the weather looks like it’s taking a turn for the better, start getting your garden and the plants ready:

  • During the transplants’ last week indoors, withhold fertilizer and water less often to condition them to life outdoors.
  • Before being planted into the garden, transplants should be “hardened off“ outdoors in a sheltered area:
  • 7 to 10 days before transplanting, set the seedlings outdoors in dappled shade that is protected from wind for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to full sun and windy conditions. This will get them better accustomed to eventually living full-time outdoors.
  • Keep the soil moist at all times during the hardening-off period. Dry air and spring breezes can result in rapid water loss.
  • Anything that raises the temperature of the soil will help plants adjust to the shock of the cold ground. Try using raised planting beds and plastic mulch or landscaping fabric to boost soil temperature before planting.
  • Your garden soil may have become compacted over winter, so loosen and aerate the soil before planting. Add fresh soil if necessary; it should capture and retain moisture, drain well, and allow easy penetration by seedling roots. Read more about preparing soil for planting.

3. Plant Outdoors

Finally, it’s time to transplant!

  • If possible, transplant on a warm, overcast day in the early morning. This gives the plants a chance to settle into the soil without being instantly exposed to the intense midday sun.
  • Soak the soil around new seedlings immediately after transplanting in order to settle the roots.
  • If the season is particularly dry, spread mulch to reduce moisture loss.
  • To ensure that phosphorus—which promotes strong root development—is available in the root zone of new transplants, mix two tablespoons of a 15-30-15 starter fertilizer into a gallon of water (one tablespoon for vining crops such as melons and cucumbers), and give each seedling a cup of the solution a few days after transplanting.
  • Watch the forecast for late spring frosts and plan to protect your plants accordingly. Cloches, cold frames, or sheets can be used to protect plants. Be sure to remove protective coverings in the morning.

Kellogg Monthly Organic Garden Guide at

Kellogg Container Gardening Guide at

Have you started planting this season? What have you planted? Please share in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

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