Have you hardened off your plants yet? If you haven’t, you still have time; if you have, you’re ready to plant.
This weekend is Canada’s REAL planting weekend (although Newfoundlanders will have to wait one more week yet). The cool temperatures we are experiencing this week should be over by the weekend and we aren’t likely to get too many more cool days before summer officially starts.
To help you get those hardened plants into the ground, here are some basic transplanting tips.
Water your plant well before you even remove it from the pot. This will not only make removal easier, but reduce the stress put on the plant as well. Water the hole where the plant will go and allow moisture to move downward before dropping in the plant. The water will fill air pockets and roots will seek out moisture as temperatures rise.
For new plants, you will want to keep them happy. Provide water when the top of the soil is dry (3-5cm). Or when your plant begins to wilt. Obviously every plant is different and this is just a guideline but if you water well for the first few weeks of its life, forcing roots to travel downwards, you will find that you are watering less and less frequently as the summer rolls on.
Before I put my plants into the ground, I spread a few centimetres of finished compost or cattle manure over the soil. The worms will pull it down and it saves me the hassle of turning it in. As an added bonus, not turning it in means the soil structure is less disturbed.
If you’re not using compost or manure, be sure to follow the label on whichever product you use. Too often I have seen pictures of yellowing or browning leaves from a gardener with good intentions who thought more fertilizer was the answer.
Be careful where the fertilizer pellets go – many packages will tell you not to let the fertilizer sit on leaves or against stems. You can actually burn your plants green parts if the fertilizer sits too closely. Remember that it is meant for the roots.
3. Avoid Root Bound Plants
A while back I told you to avoid buying root bound plants. Sometimes, though, it happens. If you pull your plant out of the pot and you can see way more root than dirt (or roots spiraling round the bottom in the shape of the container), do yourself (and your plant) a favour, and break it up a little.
AFTER watering well, pull the plant from the pot and gently massage the roots. You will break some and that’s OK. Your plant is much better off with a few broken roots than being put into the ground root bound. Once you’ve broken apart the spiraling circle of roots, plant it like you would any other plant.
We are underway Canada – let your gardening begin (that is, if it hasn’t already).