Transplant to the gardens

 Transplanting is a technique that involves transferring seedlings from a small cell to a larger one. big. This transplantation allows transplants that will stay in multicell for a long time (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants in our gardens) to benefit from a root space additional and new soil again rich to complete their development.

Transplanting is an easy, but delicate operation. Transplanted seedlings are fragile and can suffer from stress if their roots are damaged. To succeed in the operation, we manipulate the seedlings by the stem and extract them out of the multicell by pinching the bottom of the cells, while pulling lightly on the plant. Generally speaking, when the extraction is done at the right stage of development, the roots take up enough space in the cell so that the root ball holds together well. To produce only vigorous transplants, we do not transplant never weak and diseased seedlings and compost them instead with the old potting soil.

A transplant to the gardens

Transplantation is an exciting time. After having been in the shelter for months, the transplants are ready to fill the garden, which then quickly takes shape. However, this work is happening at the moment of the spring rush, when everything is done, and we try to coordinate all of our operations as effectively as possible.

The first step is to prepare the transplants for the “shock” that awaits them. As the latter only experience an environment of growth controlled and ideal, they are not acclimatized to winds, cold, and temperature variations that characterize the external environment. It is therefore necessary Harden. To do this, a week before their transplantation, we transport the plants to outdoor tables set up near the nursery.

We cover them at night with a floating blanket and, in case of frost or very cold, we bring them in the back inside the greenhouse. The idea is to raise awareness of the elements, but gently.

During the hardening period, we work on the preparation of the boards and take care that everything is ready to accommodate the transplants. Amendments are made to the gardens, planks worked with a grelinette when necessary and, for some crops, plastic mulch and drip tips are installed. We closely monitor the weather forecast to plan the opportune moment for the operation.

When the weather is cloudy, we transplant in the morning and, if it is sunny, we proceed at the end afternoon. In any case, we avoid transplanting if it is too hot and/or if the seedlings are in the phase of excessive sweating.

When the planks are ready, we first make sure to water the transplants that are leaving for the garden. This step is very important because the humidity of the soil is necessary for a good resumption of plants and the drier soil in the garden tends to draw moisture from the clouds. Each tray is watered more than once to saturate the clumps of water. The transplants are then ready to be brought to the gardens using the harvest cart.

The location of each vegetable is predetermined, following the plan of the gardens that we have established during our crop planning. To avoid carrying transplants unnecessarily and, above all, to reduce the risk of mess, we write a note that looks like the one below to indicate the cultivars and the number of trays to be provided by the garden. Again we try to be too efficient as possible because we have no too much time. Every detail counts!

Our method of transplantation is rather simple. We work in pairs (or in a trio, depending on the crop) and we sit side by side to extract the plants from the multi-cells before transplant them. We plant the seedlings in rows previously traced with a rake (the same technique used to mark the rows during direct sowing) so that the correct spacings are respected. The fastest person (usually me!) also space the plants in the row using a wooden marker.

When planting transplants, it is necessary to make sure of two things. First, avoid air pockets between the root ball and the reception hole: once the root ball has been transplanted, it is necessary to press lightly the soil to firm it up and anchor the transplant well.

Second, care must be taken to bury the root ball completely, because if it comes out a little from the ground, it will dry faster. In the end, the surface of the root ball should be at the same level as the soil.

These are the instructions that we make sure to well instill in those who participate in the operation.

In the days following the transplant, we keep the host land moist. At this stage, the roots of the seedlings should not lack water, otherwise, the crop may be weakened throughout its growth. If the weather forecast announces sunshine, we install an irrigation line to be able to water the parcel. Crops under floating covers are particularly vulnerable to excess heat and we take no risk: if it is sun during the first days after transplanting, we discover the crops sheltered from their floating cover. This once again represents a lot of handling, but at this last step, every precaution is an investment for the rest of things.