Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener today I'm going to plant my transplants in the garden. Starting from transplants as opposed to direct seeding is necessary for most of the US if your planting long season crops like tomatoes or other cops you can get an earlier harvest and avoid seedling loss. For the last week or so i've been harding off my starts that means I'm getting them used to be outside all day long.
To harden off seedlings take them outside and place them in a shady location for a couple of hours initially gradually increase their time outside and sun exposure until they can spend an entire day in the full sun. During the hardening off time time avoid fertilizing your seedlings, gradually reduce the water they receive but don't allow them to wilt. If you're buying your transplants from the nursery there's a couple of things that you want to check out make sure you choose the ones with healthy green leaves look at the drainage hole and avoid ones with roots sticking out the drainage hole they're likely to be root bound. Check the underside of the leaves for white flies or some kind of aphid infestation don't buy infested seedlings. Transplants that are not flowering should be preferred over ones that have blossoms already some varieties of plants that work very well as transplants are peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. Plants like squash, cucumbers and chard are trickier to transplant but with a little care can do well.
Some plants particularly root vegetables and plants like beans and corn do not take kindly to transplanting if they are grown in a block, peat pot or peat pellet that can be dropped directly into the ground it is possible to transplant them however the best time to transplant is on a cloudy day like today or in the late afternoon. Avoid transplanting when it's hot out because that can put undue stress on your plant you want to dig a hole about twice the size of the plants roots. You want to disturb the roots as little as possible when transplanting i like to use a tool like this widger that helps me get the transplants out of the planting trays, backfill the soil but don't compress it. If you're planting a soil block or a plant in a peat pot you just plant them directly in the ground so the roots are not disturbed water with a high phosphorus starter fertilizer.
I'm watering with Liquid Fish and Thrive Alive B-1. A fish and kelp combo is a great starter fertilizer the fish feeds the plant and the kelp with B-1 helps reduce transplant shock. Just add some dry soil around the plant to replace the soil that has settled put something like a pot over your seedling to shade it for a day or so while it gets established. If you need some frost protection Agribon floating row cover really works well and the Agribon Ag 19 is a thin, light floating row cover which is a great pest barrier to fend off aphids and cucumber beetles just remove it when the plants flower. You can also add something like this cut worm shield to protect your little plants if you have trouble with cut worms leave it on for a couple of weeks transplant some vegetables and grow organic for life!