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GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR TRANSPLANTING SEEDLINGS

There are many tips, tricks, and ways to transplant a seedling.  This is the method I learned as a child from my mother, which has been passed down from my great grandmother (and probably even farther back!)

  1. Before planting, let the plant harden off, by placing it outside for a few hours each day, and then bringing it back inside to rest. This helps the plant adjust to outside conditions (temperature and wind) gradually, instead of all at once.

  2. Most seedlings are going to prefer a spot in full sun with well-drained soil.  Some plants may tolerate some shade or heavier soil, but as a general rule, stick to well-drained soil in full sun.​

  3. If planting in the ground, remove all debris, weeds, grass, etc. Work the soil so that it is loose.  If planting into a container, moisten potting mix and fill the container.

  4. Dig a hole about the size of the container of the transplant.

  5. Fill the hole with water.

  6. Using your forefinger and middle finger, gently cradle the seedling around the stem  at soil level, and  tip the transplant over, being careful that it doesn't fall out.   Using your other hand, work the container loose from the soil until it is free.  Remove the container.  The soil should mostly hold together around the roots of the plant in a clump.

  7. Carefully place the soil clump in the hole with water.  Replace soil around the seedling, filling the hole and supporting the stem.  

  8. In many cases, it is okay to bury part of the stem.  This actually creates a better root system for the plant.  Just don't cover any leaves.

  9. Many baby seedlings benefit from some wind protection for a week or so after transplanting.  An easy way to provide this is to cut out the bottom of a milk jug, place it over the plant, and hill the dirt up around it to keep it in place.   Make sure the cap is off and check the plant often to be sure its growth is not being inhibited. 

  10. Most tomato varieties will require a cage or some sort of support as the plant grows and fruit develops.

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