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Transplanting Your Seedlings

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If you started vegetable plants indoors from seeds, here is advice on transplanting your seedlings.

  • Check our Planting by the Moon's Phase calendar.
  • Be sure the plants harden off; that is, gradually get used to unsheltered life outdoors.
  • During their last week indoors, withhold fertilizer and water less often.
  • 7 to 10 days before transplanting, set the seedlings outdoors in dappled shade that is protected from winds for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to full sun and windy conditions.
  • Keep the soil moist at all times during the hardening-off period. Dry air and spring breezes can result in rapid transpiration.
  • If possible, transplant on overcast days or in the early morning.
  • Set transplants into loose, well-aerated soil that will capture and retain moisture, drain well, and allow easy penetration by seedling roots. See when soil is ready for planting.
  • Soak the soil around new seedlings immediately after transplanting.
  • Spread mulch to reduce soil-moisture loss.
  • To ensure that phosphorus—which promotes strong root development—is available in the root zone of new transplants, mix two tablespoons of a 15-30-15 starter fertilizer into a gallon of water (one tablespoon for vining crops such as melons and cucumbers), and give each seedling a cup of the solution after transplanting.
  • Anything that raises soil temperature will help plants adjust to the shock of cold ground. Try raised planting beds and plastic mulch to boost soil temperature.

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Is it alright to plant

By Kristin Litwiler

Is it alright to plant jalapeno & serrano hot pepper seedlings in pots to be kept outdoors rather than beds? I only find guidelines for mild peppers & habaneros.

You certainly can! Be careful

By Almanac Staff

You certainly can! Be careful when handling the peppers--wear disposable gloves. Serranos may grow 2 to 5 feet tall; jalapenos, about 2 to 3 feet, so use an appropriate container for your variety. You might consider 5- to 7-gallon pots.

Good Morning, This is my

By amy erfort

Good Morning,
This is my first time planting seeds indoors, I planted Zinias and Flox in a peat mixture. Currently they are being kept in my laundry room, the area is warm and provides indirect sunlight. The majority of my plants have sprouted and range in height from 1-3 inches. I see that they are straining towards the sunlight. Would it be premature to place the seedlings in an area of direct sunlight? Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Amy Erfort

Hi Amy, The seedlings need as

By Almanac Staff

Hi Amy,

The seedlings need as much light as they can get. Move them to a sunny spot and turn the seed tray so that they get equal amounts of sunlight on all sides. When the seedlings get bigger transplant them into bigger pots.

All the information I have

By B0b

All the information I have found is great for vegetables, is there a table like the vegetable table for herbs? I'd like to get a jump start on production and want to know how early to start.

We do offer a growing guide

By Almanac Staff

We do offer a growing guide for herbs here: 


Hope this helps!

The seedlings I started

By SaraDae

The seedlings I started inside are very small (3 to 4 inches). The ones in the store are much bigger. Should I continue with mine, or buy new ones?

New to site and tad confused.

By Portia

New to site and tad confused. If I start my seeds indoors by the moon favorable dates for indoors when do I transplant them outside?

There is a Best Dates to

By Almanac Staff

There is a Best Dates to Transplant (by Region) chart at www.almanac.com/content/best-planting-dates-transplants-region.

what are the best days to

By Scotty Jones

what are the best days to transplant seedling trees in the fall

Fall and spring are good

By Almanac Staff

Fall and spring are good times to plant trees. If you are looking to plant according to the Moon, the best time is after the Moon is full and before it is new again.

I have been following your

By davidlx

I have been following your chart of moon favorable dates for starting seeds indoors. Do you have a chart that tells me when (Moon favorable dates) to set the seedlings in the outdoor garden beds? Thanks.

Hi, David, There is a new

By Catherine Boeckmann

Hi, David, There is a new Best Dates to Transplant (by Region) chart here. It includes best days by frost and by the Moon.

How late can you start pepper

By kimmyd99

How late can you start pepper and tomato seeds in the house? i was hoping i could start them in April as we have been having light frost the last few days.

You can start peppers indoors

By Almanac Staff

You can start peppers indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost and tomatoes 6 to 8 weeks before. If you look at our Starting Seeds Indoors page, you can use our frost chart (it's linked on the right side under the picture) to figure out when your last frost date is and then see if it's still ok to start to your seeds indoors.
You can also use our Vegetable Growing Guide  to help you get started.
Hope this helps!

You are probably thinking of

By M H 8

You are probably thinking of the "planting by the moon" chart, it tells you the best time to plant above ground and underground crops according to moon phases. Happy gardening!

I'm looking for the page with

By terriemf

I'm looking for the page with the dates of do's and don'ts for planting and other things. I saw it March 4, 2010 and can't find it again. One thing it meantioned was plant underground harvest on the 4th and 5th, but not the 6th and 7th. (I think). can you direct me to that page again? thank you. ie

See the "planting by the

By M H 8

See the "planting by the moon" chart on this sight.

2015 Special Edition Garden GuideCooking Fresh with The Old Farmer's AlmanacThe Almanac Monthly Digital MagazineWhat the heck is a Garden Hod?