By Victoria Fuller
If you’re lucky enough to live in a year-round gardening climate such as the Southern United States then January is the perfect time to transplant some vegetables into your raised garden bed! Why waste time patiently waiting for your seeds to bloom when you can get stuck in with a transplanted vegetable plant and start enjoying the fruits of your labour almost immediately?
Here is a list of five of the most popular vegetables for your Winter Garden that are easy to transplant using loamy garden soil (and some tips and tricks on how to do so!):
Tomato plants are one of the most popular to transplant, and if you transplant them now they should be ready for a Spring harvest: yum!
- Prepare your raised garden bed by ensuring the soil has a depth of around 12 inches, ensure that the plant has been thoroughly watered beforehand and place the plant in a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball.
- Gently place the seedling in the hole and bury the plant up to the first “true leaves” that are sprouting at the bottom of the plant.
- Fill the hole with soil and ensure that there are no “air pockets” in the soil surrounding the plant, you may also want to consider adding a small amount of mulch around the base of the plant to prevent weeds and to add additional nutrients to the soil.
- Consider having a Tomato cage or trellis on hand for when your plant starts to reach for the skies!
- Keep the soil around your Tomato plant consistently moist (but not waterlogged!) and make sure to prune your plant regularly to encourage healthy growth.
These colourful veggies are a nutritious addition to any vegetable garden and they are incredibly easy to transplant. January is also a fantastic time of year to consider transplanting Peppers as the milder weather is significantly less stressful on the plant.
- Peppers like a lot of sunlight so ensure that your raised garden bed is in a position where it can expect to see 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Ensure that you are gardening in a well-draining planter box (such as Cedar Planters Planter Boxes with their patented drainage system). This will ensure the roots of your plants do not become waterlogged and rot.
- Dig a hole slightly larger than the size of the root ball of your plant and gently place the plant inside, immediately water your Pepper plant to ensure good root-to-soil contact and to help the plant become established.
- Once your pepper plant is growing you will want to water the plant regularly to ensure the soil stays moist.
This popular green vegetable is known for its ability to resist cooler temperatures and thrive in harsh conditions, so January is the perfect time to transplant it! (Although severely cold temperatures can still do some damage so do consider investing in a greenhouse cover just to be on the safe side!):
- Broccoli plants need to be around 4-6 weeks old when you transplant them with at least two “true leaves” on the plant.
- Like their Pepper neighbours, Broccoli likes to have at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day so place your raised garden bed accordingly!
- Broccoli likes to have a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 so try to achieve this if you can!
- Ensure that your Broccoli plants are well-watered before starting to transplant them (this will make them easier to move and will help them settle in faster!).
- Plant your Broccoli plants as deep as necessary to completely cover the root ball of the plant, and be sure to give your Broccoli plenty of room to grow by planting your seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart (this ensures that the plants have room to breathe!).
- Water your transplanted Broccoli thoroughly to ensure that there is no “transplant shock” and to improve the chances of the plants’ success.
- Consider using covers to protect your Broccoli from external threats such as aphids and cabbage worms!
Why not grow your own tasty Beets at home to add a boost of flavour to your salads? Beets are incredibly easy to grow and can handle the cooler months rather well as they have a nice soil blanket to keep them protected and warm! Here are our tips for growing these tasty root veggies:
- Similar to Broccoli, you should wait until your beets are around 6 weeks old and have several “true leaves” before being transplanted into your garden bed.
- Beets can tolerate partial shade but they do tend to thrive in full sun, so try and choose a sunny spot in your garden for them!
- Space your Beet plants around 2-4 inches apart and leave around 12 inches between each row to give them plenty of room to thrive.
- Ensure that you leave enough space to accommodate the root system in each hole before you plant them!
- Water your Beet plants thoroughly and try to ensure that there are no air pockets in the soil.
- Keep the soil surrounding your Beets moist but not waterlogged, and wait until your Beets are around 1-3 inches in diameter before harvesting!
If growing your own tasty salads at home is on your to-do list this year then we would highly recommend including Lettice on your “to-transplant” list! Here are our tips for transplanting this salad staple:
- There are countless varieties of Lettuce, so before you embark on this leafy adventure be sure that you have selected a type that is listed as “cold-hardy” or “Winter Lettuce” to ensure success during the chillier months.
- Lettuce does not require full sun so do not worry if the area of your garden that you choose to plant in gets more shade than some of your other vegetable patches.
- Space your Lettuce plants around 6-12 inches apart with around 12 inches between rows to give them room to spread out their leaves.
- Plant your Lettuce seedling in a hole deep enough that the root ball is submerged and level with the soil surface.
- Water your transplanted plants as soon as they are planted to help them settle in and reduce air pockets within the soil.
- Apply a small layer of organic mulch (such as compost or straw) around the base of your Lettuce plants, this will help insulate the roots, conserve moisture, and suppress weeds.
- Water your Lettuce plants regularly to ensure that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.
- Harvest your Lettuce when they have reached your desired size, you can choose to harvest the entire plant or to just pluck a few leaves here and there!
There are plenty of other vegetables that will happily be transplanted at this time of year including most root veggies (such as Turnips, Carrots, and Parsnips) and plenty of leafy greens (such as Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, and Collard Greens), the list truly goes on and on!
Before you start transplanting, always remember to assess your local weather conditions (these days who can truly predict how the weather will present itself?) and consider investing in some winter covers, greenhouse covers, or frost protectors for your raised garden bed or planter box. This will give your beautiful vegetable garden the greatest chance at success!