Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to transplant vegetables

Farming, like most jobs, involves a lot of repetitive tasks. Currently we are transplanting hundreds of vegetable plugs each day, by hand. We try to optimize efficiency in order to complete this work quickly, and save strain on our backs.

I appreciate you may not need efficiency tips on transplanting. I challenge you however to consider how you might improve the way you accomplish the repetitive tasks in your life.

Would it help you to try some bulk cooking? Should you modify the way you handle your email in box? Is there a task you could accomplish while standing in line or waiting at the doctor's office?

Transplanting vegetables is a relatively simple task. If you won't be transplanting any vegetable plants this year, then you can stop reading here, no offence taken, and I'll see you tomorrow!

How to transplant vegetables:

1. Harden off plants before transplanting by setting plants outside during the day, and bringing them back inside at night. Repeat for two or three days. Then set plants out for two days straight. Reduce watering by about one-third.

2. Prepare soil by tilling or hoeing area to remove weeds, and make soil more workable.

3. Make a note of required spacing between plants from seed packet or transplant tag. Also consider width required between the rows. If you'll be weeding later by mechanical means, like a tiller or tractor, modify width between rows to accommodate the machine width.

4. Use a string line as your guide to make straight rows.

5. Don't hoe a trench, as you might when planting seeds. The ground should be level both before and after you transplant.

6. Remove plugs from pots and drop on the ground at the approximate spacing. Then work your way back down the row to plant.

7. Reach left, centre, then right to plant without moving your feet. This is easier on your back, and faster, than doing the sideways crab shuffle, or standing up and squatting again for every plant.

8. Don't make a divot to put the plug into. Just plunge the plug into the level soil until the top of the plug soil is just under the garden soil. One quick sweep of your hand should put adequate soil on top to make the surface level. Most vegetables don't like to live in a puddle, so a level surface around the plant is best.

9. Water the area well when you are finished to give the plants a good drink.

10. Stand back and admire how you accomplished this task with less effort than usual.


  1. When you said "I challenge you however to consider how you might improve the way you accomplish the repetitive tasks in your life," it made me think of the father in Cheaper By the Dozen (the book and the old movie), who is an efficiency expert, and was always looking for ways to make their daily lives more efficient. He even timed which was faster, buttoning his vest from the bottom or from the top! But I agree that it's a good idea to pay attention to efficiency and organization. Lately, I have been trying hard to get more organized in the way I do things, because I have so much to do over the course of a single day that if I just saunter along, I'll never get everything done.

    Bulk cooking is a really good idea, I don't know why I have never done that. We have a deep freezer that is never more than half full.

  2. Hi Laura;

    You're right, more organization and efficiency can only help us accomplish more in our busy lives.

    So I'm off to make a double batch of oatmeal cookies, and try to get some in the freezer before we eat them all. :)


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