- Describe the challenges of transplanting young starts
- Describe the best practices for transplanting young starts
The flagship Edible Learning Lab in Buffalo, WY is challenged by a short growing season. Most local gardeners will transplant starts over Memorial Day weekend though most that advise our program wait until early June.
In 2014, the first winter snow, a heavy wet tree splitting snow, hit on September 11th and wiped out everything but root crops. In 2015, most pepper and tomato crops were decimated by a freeze in late August. That’s just a bit more than 2 months to grow anything that fruits above ground.
But there is a vibrant local food movement in Buffalo and the other towns that dot the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. We grow a wide variety of vegetables despite the short season. That is only possible because of the techniques we use to extend the season as much as possible. High tunnels are invaluable but costly.
For the home gardener, the secret lies in starting seed indoors and properly transplanting healthy starts when the soil temperature permits. This technique can give us as much as an extra month of growing time and that makes all the difference. Knowing how to effectively transplant young starts is a skill every gardener should master.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Garden hand trowel
- Soil amendments
- Starts for transplant
- Hardening off
- Transplant shock
- Soil amendments
Introduction (5 minutes)
This lesson follows the work that the Students completed in the Good Neighbors: Basics of companion planting and Breathing Room: Spacing plants for health and yield lessons. The markers were used to form a location plan for the starts. Companion planting was then considered and spacing changes were made to create the final version of the plan. Begin the lesson by reviewing the best practices for transplanting starts and describe the challenges plants face if this is not done correctly.
Activity (25 minutes)
Have the Students replace each marker with the start it represents. Demonstrate how to amend the soil and prepare the holes for each start. Transplant all starts and give the entire planter a good soil drench.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What should we watch for that might indicate that a plant is having a hard time adjusting to its new home? How do we remedy that? Recalling what we learned in a previous lesson, how do we know when to water?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you have transplanted seedlings that you’ve grown from seed?
- Now that you know how to properly trans-plant starts, how many of you think you could do this on your own?
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