Transplants are an easy way to quickly and simply get a full and lush looking garden. They’re great for plants that need a longer growing season or for people who want to ensure their plants are strong and healthy. Whether you start your own transplants or purchase them from a reputable supplier, here area few things to look for so you can choose only the healthiest ones for your urban vegetable garden.
Select Healthy Looking Transplants
All parts of the plant should look healthy and vibrant including the roots, the leaves, and stems. Avoid purchasing ones that have discoloured leaves or misshapen stems. If some of your transplants are looking less than ideal, give them some extra compost at the base of the plants or an application of compost tea to give them a boost in growing.
Avoid Rootbound Plants
Rootbound plants have a tight mass of roots at the base of the plants. These plants will not grow as well once they are transplanted to their final growing location. Instead, look for transplants where the roots have just reached the edges of the container. If you’ve already purchased a plant that is rootbound, gently try to separate the roots at the bottom of the pot OR take a sharp knife or scissors and cut off the just the bottom part of tangled roots to encourage new roots to grow downwards and away from the original root ball.
Avoid Vegetable Transplants with Flowers
Generally, a vegetable transplant that has started to flower (or even starting to produce fruit) is an indication that the plant has been under stress. It will not grow as well once it is transplanted. If you do have a vegetable transplant with flowers or fruit on it, cut or pinch off the flowers before transplanting. This will encourage the plant to focus its energies on developing a strong root system and growing more foliage to prepare for future fruit production
Choose the Right Size Transplant
Garden centres grow different sized transplants. In general, the larger the plant, the older it is and more expensive it is. Some plants are fine to purchase while larger like many herbs such as sage and rosemary,
Not All Veggies/Herbs Should Be Purchased As Transplants
Some plants do best when direct seeded. These include beans, peas, beets, carrots, radishes, dill, and cilantro. Most other plants can be started from seed or purchased as transplants.