Show Notes of Gardening the Hudson Valley Podcast Ep. 017 (April 22, 2015)
All my daffodils are blooming brightly and the forsythia is halfway open, that can only mean one thing, time to plant peas. I’d be willing to bet some of you have already got your seeds in the ground. My soil has been a bit cool, so I’ve held off. But they’ll be planted before the week is out. It’s been cool and damp, perfect for getting them started. I think it’s going to be a good year for peas.
I still have quite a few plants in the cold frame, however I have risked transplanting some broccoli, kale, and even lettuce. So far, so good.
Transplanting is a little trickier than just digging a hole and plopping in the plant.
Any kind of planting is best done on an overcast day, with no wind. Overcast we have plenty of in spring, but the wind can be a problem. Being moved about is enough stress for a plant, especially a small seedling. You really don’t want to expose it to drying winds and the heat of midday. The ideal time to plant is on a drizzly day, but we can’t always schedule one of those on demand and it’s not always pleasant for the gardener.
Evening is better than morning for transplanting, because it gives the plants several hours to settle in, before sitting in sunshine. And one practice to definitely avoid is removing all your plants from their pots and positioning them on the ground where they will be planted, so you can move down the bed and pop them in their holes. You don’t want the root ball sitting out exposed to wind and sun.
Before you even to that point, water your plants well at least 2 hours before transplanting, preferably the night before. You want the leaves well hydrated as well as the roots.
And it you find the plants are are pot bound, with roots filling the entire pot and circling around each other, they will need to be gently loosened, so they can be directed to grow outward. If they continue to circle, they will strangle themselves and weaken the plant. This is not so important with annual flowers that only need to survive for a single year, but for perennial plants to establish themselves and have a long life, teasing the roots will give them an advantage. It’s also good for vegetable seedlings. If they are stressed by circling roots, they may remain stunted or bolt to seed,ruining your chances of a harvest.
For most plants, plant them to the same depth as they were in their pots or slightly higher, since there will be some settling. Gently tamp down the soil, don’t stomp on it as hard as you can. You want to get rid of any air pockets, not compact the soil. The best way to remove air pockets is to water the transplants really well. If there were air pockets, the soil will settle lower and you’ll need to top it off.
Watering well if the final step of transplanting. Transplants will need regular water for the first few weeks after planting. How much depends on the weather. If it’s really sunny and hot, they may need some shade, too. Placing a basket over large plants or blocking direct sun from larger areas with a chair or board should be enough. You want to make sure they are still getting air and water, while they are being shaded.
When you start to see new growth, you know your transplants are happy in their new home and you can ease off on the TLC.
Spring is really just hitting its stride, so we’ll have plenty of time to get things in the ground. And don’t forget that Saturday, May 2nd, is the Hudson Valley Garden Fair, put on by the Hudson Valley Gardening Association, at Montgomery Place, in Red Hood, NY. There will be vendors with unusual plants and other gardening items, gardening demonstrations, a talk by Hudson Valley photographer and writer Matthew Benson on his new book, Growing Beautiful Food, not to mention tours of incredible Montgomery Place. I’ve gone every year and it gets better and better. Bring your own wagon to make hauling your loot easier.
And public gardens open full time in May, so plan to make some idea collecting visits. At this time of year, I highly recommend making it to Stonecrop, in Cold Spring. This garden is great any time of year, but with its naturalistic setting, it is beautiful in spring, with bulbs and wildflowers
And if you want to take a longer day trip, Garden in the Woods, in Framingham, MA, is an incomparable place to see native spring flowers in their natural habitat. So get out there and treat yourself to some inspiration. I’ll have links in the show notes, on the web site.
That’s all for today. I thank you so much for listening today and I hope you will join me here again next week and on the web site at www.gardeningthehudsonvalley.com, for more gardening tips from the most beautiful place on earth.