Back to Back Issues Page
Vegetable Gardening Hints, Issue #053
April 08, 2013

Benifits to using Transplants

Are you starting some of your own seeds indoors? Or planning to check out your local nurseries or big box stores for some vegetable transplants? These are both great ways to give your garden a head start.

3 benefits to using transplants in your garden.

  1. Some veggies grow best in cool weather. Cool season veggies like cabbage family, onions, spinach, and lettuce grow best in the cool spring weather. Often the garden is too wet or still under snow in early spring so planting a veggie transplant that was started indoors in late winter will give the plant a head start to grow and produce before the weather warms up.
  2. Weeds grow faster than seeds. Some vegetables take a long time to germinate (for example onions can take up to 21 days to germinate) most take up to one week in ideal conditions. Often weeds will grow faster than most seeds. The weeds crowd them out or as a new gardener you do not know what is a weed and what is the vegetable seedling. We have all been there ☺.
  3. Vegetable seeds need varying temperatures to germinate. For example heat-loving seeds like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants need a soil temperature of above 24 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) to germinate. This would mean you would have to wait till June in most northern climates for the soil to be warm enough for the seed to germinate. Then it needs a few weeks to start growing, maturity is another 60-100 days…it’s now into October …you will never get a harvest by starting these type of vegetables from seed outdoors. These seeds need a lot of attention and care so transplants are a necessity for producing a healthy harvest.

Have I sold you on using transplants for some of your veggies? I have some great tips for when you transplant the seedlings into your garden:

  • Use only healthy transplants. A sickly plant will not grow well and a diseased one may spread the disease and cause problems in your garden in the future.
  • Moisten the garden soil before planting.
  • Give the seedlings a watering before transplanting as well. A seedling with moist soil will be less stressed when it is planted in the ground.
  • Be gentle with plants as they can be easily damaged.
  • Always give the seedlings a gently watering once they have been planted. This will help the roots to become established. When your plants are small their leaves and stems can be easily damaged if watered with a heavy spray.
  • Transplant seedlings on overcast days if at all possible and if there is a chance of light rain that is even better. Transplants love to be watered naturally by a light rain. If it is sunny transplant in the late afternoon or early evening when the sun is cooler so the young seedling will not get burned by the sun.
  • Don’t let the transplanted seedling dry out. Their roots are very shallow so watering daily is usually needed as the top few inches of the soil will dry quickly even in cool weather.
  • You need to carefully watch the seedlings for the first few days after planting; watching for insect or pest damage is important especially for store bought transplants.
  • If there is a possibility of cold weather, a heat wave, or a heavy rain it is wise to protect the young transplants especially in the first few weeks of planting. Some easy ways to protect them is using plastic tunnels, remay, newspaper, old sheets or blankets, or plastic jugs. Make sure you remove any covering during the sunny part of the day so plants will get the light they need to grow well.

For more information on direct seeding and transplanting check out my page on vegetable seeds.

April to do list:
  • Start planting your lettuce, spinach , radishes, leeks, cabbage family crops like broccoli outdoors.
  • Start cucumber, squash, eggplant, and pepper seedlings indoors.
  • Start a new compost pile.
  • Start weeding your garden beds.
  • To help suppress weeds use mulch.

Veggie Recipe

Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 pound spinach, trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • grated fresh nutmeg (optional)
Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak or 10 minutes and then drain. Fry pine nuts in olive oil until they begin to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in spinach and cook quickly until the spinach is just wiled. Toss in raisins, salt and pepper. If you like adding a little fresh nutmeg will give this dish a wonderful unexpected flavor.

Sesame Steamed Broccoli

  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Steam the broccoli until just tender. Heat oil then cook sesame seeds until nicely browned. Add the next 3 ingredients and stir. Add in the steamed broccoli and toss until well coated. Make 2 servings.

Living in a tropical or warm climate?

What to grow now
How to grow common veggies

Your vegetable gardening helper

Garden photos


Catherine's bio

Why is Soil so Important is a great new book giving simple and easy instructions on making and keeping your garden soil healthy.

Other vegetable gardening books written by Catherine Abbott, Your Vegetable Gardening Helper.

Spread the word

Get everyone growing a few of their own veggies. Forward this FREE ezine to a friend.

Happy gardening!


604 740 6706

Back to Back Issues Page