Knowing how to plant garden plants and have them survive, and thrive, is one of the most important skills to learn about gardening. After all, if your plants do not produce you a good tasting bountiful crop what’s the point?
The most important ingredient in starting plants is water, but let’s go through the whole process from the beginning
1. If you buy plants, be sure they have a healthy appearance. The plant should be a good green color and have upright leaves. Stick your finger in the pot to see if it is moist and squeeze one of the plants out of the container to see if it is root bound. There will be a lot of roots and they will be wrapped around the potting soil. Roots are good, you will learn by experience when to many roots are bad.
If you raise your own plants put them in the ground before they become leggy. Leggy is when a plant outgrows itself. It will look spindly and sickly. The height of the plant will be out of proportion to the stalk of the stem.
2. And, get the plants accustom to being outside. Set the flat or pots outside during the day to get them used to the sun and the wind. This will toughen up the plant for the rigors of life in the open.
3. I will set out plants in any weather, but it is easier when the soil is dry. I will dig a hole the size to match the plant. A tomato will take a much larger hole than a cabbage. Dig the hole extra large and dump some compost in the hole.
The amount of compost depends on the plant. Again, the tomato will get a couple of shovels full of compost and a cabbage will get less than one shovel. Mix the compost with the soil around the hole and make a hole the size of the root ball on the plant.
4. Fill the hole with water and set the plant in the hole. A tomato will root anywhere the stem touches the soil, so if you have a tall plant set it with the top 3 or 4 branches sticking out of the soil. The more roots the more fruit. A plant like cabbage will set at just below where it was in the post.
5. Now, soak the soil with water. This will settle the soil around the roots, protecting them from being in contact with air that you mixed in with the soil while working with it.
Come back every day to check on the new plants. If the soil has dried on top I will give them another drink. If they wilt down on a hot day you may still be ok. Just give them a big drink and a lot of them will come out of it just fine.
Setting out plants is not complicated, but you need to pay attention to details. The amount of care you take now will determine the kind of harvest you will get later.
Hope you have great plants this year.
Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century. Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul. It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.
Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family. Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.