Planting out seedlings Co mmu nit y Gardenin g Ba si cs In fo sh ee t # 6 When to plant Planting the seedlings out in the garden Seedlings can be planted out into the garden Push aside any mulch and make a hole one and a when they are about four centimetres tall and half times the depth of the pot with a hand fork or have developed their second set of leaves trowel. Fill in the bottom of the hole with (following the first ‘cotyledons’ that emerge from compost and mix in with a little of the surrounding the seed).They should be full and strong, rather soil. than ‘leggy’. Some gardeners prefer to keep seedlings in the nursery, where it may be easier to Squeeze the pot gently to loosen soil, then tip on protect them from pests and keep them watered, its side so the plant slides out. If your seedlings are until they’re bigger and stronger. in egg cartons, newspaper cups, or other pots that will break down, they can be put straight in the Avoid planting out at hot and windy times of hole without removing their containers. day, as the plants will dry out quickly. Dawn or dusk of an overcast day when rain looks likely is It’s generally best not to disturb the roots of the ideal. plant. However, if the roots have become ‘pot bound’ and are circling the pot, you may want to Biodynamic gardeners use the cycles of the moon loosen them, either by ‘tickling’ gently or – if very to help decide when the best time to plant is. tightly bound – by using a knife to make According to this method, seedlings are best centimetre deep cuts from top to bottom at planted out in the week following new moon. intervals around the root ball. Some people who are on speaking terms with From Growing Community: Starting their plants like to give them 24 hours notice Place the plant in the hole and fill in with soil – and Nurturing Community Gardens. before they plant them out, or even ask if it’s ok make sure the soil level remains about the same as May be reproduced freely for use in community gardens. first... it was in the pot. Firm in gently. Additional copies available from http://www.canh.asn.au/projects/ Hardening off Water your seedlings in well with a watering can community-gardens.aspx The plants you propagate (or buy) are usually or hose with a rose fitting. Always water newly grown in a sheltered, protected environment.They transplanted plants, even if the soil’s already moist. will need to be hardened off so they will suffer Keep your plants well watered for their first few less of a shock when they go into the ground. days in their new home. Before they are planted in the garden, leave them for two to three days in a place with similar conditions to where they will be planted.