Remember that seedlings are like babies – they need tender, loving care. Whether you buy seedlings from a store or grow them yourself, transitioning can be beneficial. Keep seedlings outside in the garden (in their original containers) to harden them for about 2 weeks. This allows the plants to become accustomed to the environment – temperature changes, wind, rain, etc. Exposing them to the elements will help seedlings grow.
When to Plant
The day before planting, make sure to water the seedlings. This will ensure that the soil is moist and soft. When moving them into the garden or container, it’s best to plant them in late afternoon or early evening. This will ensure that the plants do not bake in the heat of the sun. Also, make sure you handle the plant by its roots or leaves. Never pull a plant by its stem, as this is the weakest part, most likely it will break. Plant seedlings at the same depth of the container it was housed in. Once the seedlings are in the ground, lightly water them at the roots.
Watch seedlings closely for the first week they’re in the ground. If leaves are wilted or drooping, this is a sign of transplant shock. Make sure the soil is damp. If the top inch is dry, water it; otherwise, do not water until the top inch of soil is dry. If the sun and wind are an issue, cover the seedlings with covers, sheets, or plastic sheeting during harsh weather to protect their young stems. Also, with heavy rain you can cover the seedlings.