Transplanting; Getting the Best Crops
In honour of spring making some appearances...finally, we have begun to get started on our planting season! Simply put, transplanting means moving plants from one place to another, but why would be moving a pre-planted plant aways?
A growing technique our farm, Gardners, & many other farms practice is to begin the growth of their plants indoors & when the outside soil is ready, we transplant the seedlings to the fields. There are farms with many glass greenhouses that continue to grow their produce inside all season long. Many green houses are a very big investment so here at Cooper's we only have a few. We also are very successful and enjoy growing outside, we work with land.
"Why do you do this?"
The goal is to get the seedlings growing so that they will produce their best out in the fields. They can't stay in their plugs as they out grow them and they need a better growing environment.
Time Management; Cold temps can last up to mid April in Canada, pre-planting can get a head start on the plants growth so as soon as the outside soil is warm enough, we can transplant them outside.
We know what grew; We can see the seedlings pop up in the green house trays, so we know how many plants successfully grew. Knowing what grew at this stage in the plants growth can help keep replants at a low cost. Planting right into the field can be more challenging, plants may not grow and we will have many gaps, wasting space & now replants will be more costly.
Assisted Growth; Giving the seedlings the perfect environment really helps them to get growing. Vegetable crops can have a very hard time popping out of their seed coat in the ground out in the field. When they have grown a few inches to begin with, their future growth in the field becomes much more successful.
How does transplanting work?
First we order all of the seed we need, then we purchase planting soil, seeding trays, & name tags. This begins the Pre-planting stage.
We have a green house, so we make sure it's nice and warm. The sun does most of the heating.
We fill trays with planting soil, then we put a seed in each plug.
We top the trays off with a nice layer of soil and soak it with water.
Some vegetable seeds require a lot of heat & moisture to make a sprout pop out of their seed coat. We have a incubator for these plants that make it a little more toasty for them.
We then place the trays on risers off of the ground and water them daily until the seedlings grow a couple of inches.
They are them moved outside when the plants & the soil is ready.
How to do you replant them?
The trays have individual plugs, a single plant grows in each one of these and it makes it very easy to pop the plant out. We have transplanting machines to make the job a little quicker as we are planting A LOT of plants. One planter is manned by our staff, it takes 4 of us to plant as there are 4 sections on the transplanter so we can plant 2 rows at a time. We place a seedling in the spinning wheel which grabs the plants and places it in the ground. The planter is pulled behind a tractor very slowly, as we move forward, the planter makes a hole in the ground for the seedling and then covers the plant with soil after we pass over it. Voila! We continually check to make sure the plants are being properly placed in the ground and then we keep on planting.
Our 2 seater transplanter is a little different. The staff place the seedling in the soil themselves & the seedling receiving watering as it goes into the ground. See video below.
Any one can use this technique! If you live in a house with a garden in your back yard, or an apartment with large pots on your balcony. Begin you plants inside where it is really warm, keep them by the window for some sunlight, water them when needed and your plants will begin to grow! Come the warmer temps outside, your plants will already have a great head start & will be at their best condition to grow outside. *Remember to keep the roots on the transplant!
Just a little farm for thought on how we use transplanting to get the best crop yields!