Gardening Update: April Planting in Raised Beds & Buckets

April 8, 2021


Yesterday, I transplanted several of my seedlings into the raised beds and the recycled buckets. My friend, Collette, and I are excited that all our seedlings are doing well. Most have matured enough to be transplanted into their new homes. Thus, we prepared the soil, labeled the buckets, made many new plant labels, dug holes, and carefully planted our seedlings.

Another milestone that our seedlings have reached is that they have all matured enough to be hardened. Up to today, we have been babying the seedlings by bringing them in from the cold at night, and taking them out to get sun early in the morning. Now, they are strong enough to stay out at night, and all day in the sun.

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.https://extension.umd.edu

This is the first season that I have used raised beds, or troughs. I am very pleased with the results so far. As soon as we transplanted the seedlings into the raised beds, they seemed to double in size within a couple of days. Currently, the Zuchini-Cocozelle, Butternut squash, Spaghetti Winter Squash, Blue Lake Bush Beans, and the Blue Lake Stringless Beans have grown an extra 2-4 inches.

First, we labeled the pots. I painted the name of the plant on the outside of each pot. I also created more plant labels from a recycled yogurt container. 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 the shade and receives partial sunlight. The goal is to allow the new plantings to become Hardened slowly over the next couple of days (see definition above).


Seeds that were planted in recycled pots(3-30-21) & what they look like today:

  • 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

Seeds that were planted in recycled pots (4-7-21):

  • Arugula—Roquette
  • Beefsteak Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Green Onion—Evergreen Bunching
  • Honeynut squash
  • Jalapeño Pepper
  • Kale
  • Lettuce—Green Leaf Black Seeded
  • Spinach—Bloomsdale

RESOURCES:

KELLOGG MONTHLY ORGANIC GARDENING GUIDE by GARDEN ZONE at kellogggarden.com

KELLOGG CONTAINER GARDENING GUIDE by GARDEN ZONE at kellogggarden.com

THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC at almanac.com

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.

Which vegetable do you wish to grow this season? Please share in the comments.? Thank you for sharing!

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