How to Plant New Vegetable Starts

The feature picture shows how to plant cucumbers with companion marigold plants in front of them.  In this post, I will explain how to plant new vegetable starts to improve your success rate and have healthy plants in your garden.

The Best time of the day to plant Vegetable starts

Early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler and the sun is not as intense. This will help to reduce stress on the plants and give them the best chance of survival. It’s also a good idea to plant on a cloudy day or when there is a chance of rain, as this will help to keep the soil moist and reduce the need for frequent watering.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the soil is well-prepared and that the plants are planted at the appropriate depth and spacing for their specific needs.

Know your Frost dates and Nighttime Temps

Each plant will have the optimum temperatures to plant them for the best growth.  Since frost dates can fluctuate you should watch weather forecasts and outlooks for 10-14 days to ensure your planting times.  Also, it is critical to know what your nighttime temperatures are since your plants are sensitive to these temperatures.


Hardening off the Seedlings

It is important to harden off your seedlings before planting to make sure they are successful and not killed or damaged by the transition.

To harden your seedlings off you can place them out in your garden for 3 days if the weather is cloudy all day before planting in your garden.

If it is sunny you can place the plant out in the shade for 1-2 hours the first day and increase that each day over the next 3 days, after that introduce the plant to filtered sun for a few days and finally to where they will be planted as long as it is not too hot for 2 days.

Be sure to keep them watered since they are still in containers.

Planting new Vegetable Starts

There are several steps to ensure the plants will transition well.

For all plants other than Tomatoes you should plant the vegetables at the same level as they are in the containers, do not bury them too deep.

Tomatoes can be planted much deeper trimming off the lower stems so that you can bury the plant deeper which will promote roots all along the main stem.

Add a good organic fertilizer in the bottom of the hole mixing in the fertilizer with the soil.

I like to muck the plants in to ensure the roots are good and moist and do not dry out.

Location, Location, Location

It is critical that you plant your vegetables in a location in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day.

Spacing Plants

Follow the directions for each plant if you are planting directly in the garden.

If you are planting in raised beds you can ignore the directions on the rows but plant as directed on plant spacing.

When planting on strings for tomatoes and cucumbers you can plant closer together, usually 10-12 inches apart since the plant will be growing vertically and not be spreading out as much.

The same with growing summer squash for planting closer together when you place a stake next to the plant to grow it vertically.


It is critical to mulch your plants once they are established so that the plant’s roots receive the water you provide and it is not evaporated.  One key to remember is to not mix the mulch into the soil since this can deplete the soil of nitrogen especially if you use wood chips or shavings for the mulch.


Start your watering schedule as soon as the plant is well established by consistently watering, my schedule is every 3 days unless you have a heatwave.

You want to provide approximately 1 inch of water per week for most plants during normal summer weather.

Protecting them from Pests

When you have planted your seedlings into the garden know what pests may be lurking to eat them so that you can provide the protection they need to survive.

Sluggo and Sluggo Plus is a great way to protect your seedlings from slugs and snails that are just waiting to eat your new seedlings.

In closing you want to transition these seedlings to your garden since they have been babied indoors protecting them from wind, sun, and cold temperatures during their entire life up to this point.  By slowly transitioning them into your garden they will provide you with a summer of the best yield possible for you and your family to enjoy.


I hope you have all the knowledge you need to be successful in planting your new vegetable starts in the garden.

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