What to do when plants arrive?
Your order will include a plant instruction sheet that describes how to handle plants until planting time. Just a few quick tips here:
- Carefully remove packing materials. Do not lift plant out of the box by its stem but instead by the pot.
- Don’t worry if your plants look a tiny bit wilted – that’s normal after being packed up in a box and they will liven up as soon as you unpack them. Give them a small drink if needed and keep them slightly moist until planting.
- Place your plants in indirect light indoors. Do not put plants in full sunlight.
What is hardening off?
New plants have lived a sheltered life and have not been exposed to wind or even small breezes, wide swings in temperatures, or hot sun. They need to be slowly acclimated to these outside conditions for the best success. After a couple days out of the box and only if the outside temps are in the mid-50s, you may start to slowly move your plants outside. On Day One, choose a sheltered spot that gets sunlight at the later part of the day and let plants stay outside until nightfall. Each day give them a little more direct sunlight, protect them from strong winds, and bring them in at night. Keep them watered! After about five days (assuming nighttime temps will not drop too low), you can leave plants outside. Be sure to keep them in a spot safe from critters as they love baby plants!
When should I plant my plants outside?
This depends on the plant as some such as cabbage can tolerate cool soil and lower nighttime temps. Many, though, such as tomatoes and peppers need warmth all around to thrive. Refer to the plant tag and watch the weather forecast for a prolonged warm (70 or more) temps. If you do plant outside and cold weather is predicted, protect your plants with row covers or light blankets.
How to plant in the ground?
If the weather is hot and sunny, plant in cool early morning or wait until late afternoon or evening to avoid stress on the new plants. Dig a hole a bit wider than the pot and add a little fertilized water. To remove a plant from its pot, flip the pot over, tap on its bottom, and slip the plant out. Do not pull out by its stem. Loosen the root ball and tease the roots apart if they are matted or tangled. Push soil back into each planting hole and firm the soil around each plant to eliminate air pockets, water thoroughly to further settle the soil. Keep the soil around the plants moist but not soggy for the first few days.
Transplant shock is not uncommon but within a week or less the plants' roots will regain their ability to provide moisture to the foliage. If rain is scarce, water your plants deeply and regularly. As your plants start to grow, provide cages or staking, such as with tomatoes and peppers. Once the fruits of peppers and tomatoes start to ripen, water only if plants start to wilt; withholding water at this stage will result in better-flavored fruit. Enjoy your plants!