{Bell Pepper Sprout}
Many people live in areas where they don't have growing seasons that are long enough to grow from seed to fruit.  For them I would suggest transplanting!  Transplanting involves starting seeds indoors or purchasing a plant at the store.  Once the plant develops four true leaves, it is ready to be put into the ground. 
{Bell Pepper w/ True Leaves}

If your plant has, up to this point, only experienced artificial grow lights, it will need some time to adjust before being put in the full sun.  Taking a relatively new seedling and plopping it into your garden bed will "sunburn" and kill the plant.  The stems are also not used to strong winds, and will need time to strengthen themselves before becoming accustomed to it. 
About two weeks before you wish to transplant, start taking your plants outdoors for a little "visit."  For the first few visits, keep them in full shade and leave them for about an hour or so.  Gradually introduce them to sunlight and increase the amount of time they spend out doors and the amount of sunlight they get.  This process is called "hardening off."  After about two weeks they are ready for their new life in your garden bed. 

Here's what you'll need to get started:
Items with a * are optional
The Transplanting Process
  1. The day before you transplant your plants, give them a good watering so that they will be well hydrated and able to tolerate the transplanting process. 
  2. Transplant on an overcast day or in the evening hours.  This way the plant is able to concentrate on setting it's roots before it has to worry about eating, and growing and the overall process of photosynthesis.
  3. Water the plant immediately before digging or removing from its pot. Soak the root ball so that the soil will adhere to the roots, when it is dug from the garden.
  4. Do not leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind and don't remove all plants from their pots and place them in the garden. Remove just prior to planting.
  5. Water the hole before you place the transplant into it.
  6. *Optional Step* Following the instructions on the bag, add some rock dust minerals to the bottom of the hole.
  7. *Optional Step* Following the instructions on the bag, add some mycorrhizae to the bottom of the hole.
  8. Place the transplant into the hole and fill it halfway with water. Allow the water to settle the soil around the roots and then finish filling the hole.
  9. Lightly firm the soil around the transplant.
  10. Once again, water the whole plant, leaves and all.

Check the plant daily for the first couple of weeks. Transplants will need watering every day, if not more. If it is wilting, water the plant. Depending on the weather and the plant, you may need to water twice a day until it becomes established. The larger the plant and/or the less roots to top growth ratio, the more water will be needed.

You will notice that the leaves of your transplants will begin to change.  Prior to transplanting, the leaves on your plant were probably larger and flatter.  This was so they could absorb more of the artificial light indoors.  After transplanting, the leaves will become smaller, and slightly curly.

Journal Ideas!
  • Did you decide to sow your seeds directly into your garden bed, or did you transplant? 
  • When did your seedlings develop their first set true leaves? 
  • When they develop four sets of true leaves?
  • How long did you allow for your plants to harden? 
  • How tall were were your plants when you transplanted them? 
  • Did you use rock dust minerals or mycorrhizae? 
  • Where did you purchase these items and how much did you pay for them? 
  • As always, take pictures!


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