A website from UGA Cooperative Extension

If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with starting seeds. Every year I go back into the closet and get out a large paper envelope that I keep my seed packets in. I look through my options and select a few winners that I think will be good for this year’s garden. I take my time, gently putting each seed into a soil blob in a seedling tray. This will usually entertain me for a while as I check on them daily and enjoy watching the little sprouts come up.

Now that it’s April, it’s time to get those seedlings into your vegetable or flower garden (always check seed packets- some seedlings can go outdoors earlier than others). Make sure your seedlings have a few pairs of true leaves already. If you started your plants indoors, prepare to “harden off.” This means preparing the plants for the fluctuations in temperature, light, and wind they will experience in the great outdoors. Start by setting the plants outdoors for a few hours and then bringing them indoors at night. After a week, they will be ready to plant.

On a windless, overcast day after the threat of frost has passed, bring your seedlings outdoors to transplant. Prepare your soil bed or garden row for the plants by turning the soil and digging a small hole for each plant. Tomatoes can be planted deeply as any buried stem will root. Other transplants should be planted in holes just slightly deeper than their root ball. Once they are in the ground, give them a good drink of water. Watch the weather for a few weeks after planting. Seedlings may need additional water to get started should the temperature turn hot. Alternatively, if the temperature dips down to 32 degrees, tender transplants may need a light cloth covering to protect them from frost damage.

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