The term "transplanting" means shifting of a plant
from one soil or culture medium to another.
It may refer to the shifting of small seedlings from the
seedbed to other containers where the plants will have more space
for growth, or it may mean the setting of plants in the garden row
where they are to develop for the crop period.
Contrary to general
belief, transplanting does not in itself stimulate the plant or
make it grow better; actually growth is temporarily checked, but
the plant is usually given more space in which to grow. Every
effort should be made during transplanting to interrupt the growth
of the plant as little as possible.
Plants started in seed flats, flowerpots, and other containers
in the house, the hotbed, the greenhouse, or elsewhere should be
shifted as soon as they can be handled to boxes, flowerpots, plant
bands, or other containers where they will have more room to
develop. If shifted to flats or similar containers, the plants
should be spaced 2 or more inches apart. This provides room for
growth until the plants can be moved to their permanent place in
Most gardeners prefer to place seedlings singly in flowerpots,
paper cups with the bottoms pierced for drainage, plant bands,
berry boxes, or other containers. When the plants are set in the
garden, the containers are carefully removed.
Soil for transplanting should be fertile, usually a mixture of
rich topsoil and garden compost, with a very light addition of a
commercial garden fertilizer.
Moistening the seedbed before removing the seedlings and care
in lifting and separating the delicate plants make it possible to
shift them with little damage to the root system and with only
minor checks to their growth.
Plants grown singly in separate
containers can be moved to the garden with almost no disturbance
to the root system, especially those that are hardened for a week
or two before being set outdoors.
Plants being hardened should be watered sparingly, but just
before they are set out, they should be given a thorough soaking.
Plants grown in the hotbed or greenhouse without being shifted
from the seedbed to provide more room and those shipped from the
South usually have very little soil adhering to the roots when
they are set in the garden.
Such plants may require special care
if transplanting conditions are not ideal; otherwise, they will
die or at least suffer a severe shock that will greatly retard
their development. The roots of these plants should be kept
covered and not allowed to dry out.
Dipping the roots in a mixture of clay and water helps greatly
in bridging the critical transplanting period. Planting when the
soil is moist also helps. Pouring a half pint to a pint of water,
or less for small plants, into the hole around the plant before it
is completely filled is usually necessary.
A starter solution made
by mixing i/� pound of a 4-12-4 or 5-10-5 commercial fertilizer
in 4 gallons of water may be used instead of plain water. It is
usually beneficial. Finally, the freshly set plants should be
shaded for a day or two with newspapers.
Plants differ greatly in the way they recover from the loss of
roots and from exposure to new conditions. Small plants of
tomatoes, lettuce, beets, cabbage, and related vegetables are easy
They withstand the treatment better than peppers,
eggplant, and the vine crops. When started indoors and moved to
the field, the vine crops should be seeded directly in berry
baskets or containers of the same size that can be transferred to
the garden and removed without disturbing the root systems.
Beans and sweet corn can be handled in the same manner, thereby
often gaining a week or two in earliness.
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